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Places to visit in Cumbria and the Lake District. Towns, lakes, shops, fells, castles, museums, restaurants - more


Kirkby Lonsdale - the Lune Valley.

Kirkby Lonsdale. The Lake District and Cumbria.

Location Accommodation

Welcome to the EDGE Guide to Kirkby Lonsdale. Kirkby Lonsdale is an extremely handsome and unspoilt market town in a beautiful setting.

The town is situated in the idyllic Lune Valley which provided inspiration to such artists as Constable and Turner; and the poet and philosopher Ruskin was so impressed that he wrote in its praise: "I do not know in all my own country, still less in France or Italy, a place more naturally divine."

The Lune from Devil's Bridge.

Kirkby Lonsdale has retained its unique character. It has never been developed as a tourist destination and therefore has not been subject to the pressures this inevitably brings.

Despite great differences in the ages of the various buildings in the town there is a pleasing uniformity about the place.

Here you will find no yielding to questionable stylistic and fashionable additions to the town's public face, no huge plate glass windows, no corporate identity hamburger bars or unsympathetic shopping chains. Put Kirkby Lonsdale high on your list of towns to visit when you take your holiday with us.

Kirkby Lonsdale. The Lake District and Cumbria.
Market day in the square.

King Henry III granted a market charter to the town in 1227, The market was originally held in the church yard but later moved to its current position in the middle of the town. The Monument built in 1822 is at the centre of Market Square surrounded by restrained and attractive buildings.

There are a number of good walks in and around Kirkby Lonsdale, especially, down the narrow streets and lanes, and through the church yard to the gazebo to admire "Ruskin's view" along the Lune Valley.

There are a number of good walks in and around Kirkby Lonsdale.

In the middle of the town is one of the finest churches in the county, St. Marys Church. A fine Norman building it was probably built between 1090 and 1130, it can be found behind Market street down an alley beside the Cl0? pub.

The church looks as though it had been planned as a much larger construction this becomes obvious as you walk around inside. The impressive Norman arched doorway has good detail decoration, echoed inside the building on the columns and arches.

Kirkby Lonsdale. The Lake District and Cumbria.

The tower has been rebuilt and increased in height on a number of occasions and also has a rather unsympathetic addition, the clock, the faces of which have been imposed on the walls without regard to the effect they would have.

This would be a blight in most circumstances, but here it can be forgiven, adding to the charm of the building. Inside you enjoy the full benefit of the stained glass in the windows and can admire the magnificent Norman columns.

The grass in the grave yard is only cut once a year in order to promote wild flowers and insects and the policy has paid off, the grass in the summer is long and full of life and flowers. Well worth a visit, sign the book and make a donation to the churches upkeep.

The Devil's Bridge a scheduled Ancient Monument takes its name from a local tale about an old woman outsmarting the devil. For pedestrians only, the bridge dates back to the C15, spanning the River Lune in three elegant arches.

Kirkby Lonsdale is a small town but benefits from good shopping and recreational facilities of its own and is close enough to Kendal to share that town's amenities.

A busy calendar is an extra draw for visitors, highlights include the Victorian Weekend when inhabitants and the many visitors to the event dress up in Victorian Costume.

Lunesdale Agricultural Show will appeal to those with more country oriented interests. Not far to the north is the village of Barbon, just off the A683), where sheepdog trials are held as are speed hill climbs for racing cars and motorcycles.

8 miles or so over the border into the Yorkshire Dales National Park you will find White Scar Caves. You can join a guided walk through the cave system there. Just turn off onto the B6255 in Ingleton.


Kirkby Lonsdale: OS ref SD 610785 Sheet 97. Get the map.

Map of Kirkby Lonsdale