30 free things to do in Kendal

Kendal is a thriving market town that’s steeped in history and surrounded by beautiful sights and attractions. As a result, holidaymakers flock here for history, heritage and spellbinding scenery.

But, not only is Kendal a lovely place for a holiday, but it’s also somewhere you can enjoy on a budget. With this in mind, here are 30 free things you can do on your next visit to Kendal.

1. The La’al Studio Gallery

The La’al Studio Gallery is an artist-led space that showcases work from the best artists in the South Lakes. The studio only opened its doors for the first time in December 2018, but it’s already very popular with locals and tourists alike. You’ll love the original artwork and thoughtful cards on display. If you fancy a splurge, everything’s reasonably priced.

2. Cross Lane Projects

If you’re a lover of contemporary art, then make sure you visit Cross Lane Projects during your visit to Kendal. Founded by Cumbrian-born artist Rebecca Scott and her husband Mark Woods, the space is a haven for lovers of contemporary art. The exhibition space regularly hosts talks and discussions and is home to three contemporary art exhibitions each year.

3. AC Gallery

The AC Gallery in Kendal is a family-run business that’s a main dealer for the artist Peter Brook. However, the AC Gallery in Kendal stocks work from a wide range of the country’s best artists, so you’ll also be greeted by fine pieces from Danny Abrahams, Roger Davies and Andrea Hunter, among others.

4. Signature Gallery

Kendal’s Signature Gallery is home to some of the finest original paintings and prints in Cumbria. The gallery showcases work by local artists and features an ever-rotating cast of pictures and paintings that are sure to draw your eye. It’s the perfect place to spend an hour on a rainy day. The manager, Peter, gets rave reviews from visitors, too.

5. The Antiques Emporium

Kendal’s Antiques Emporium is an Aladdin’s Cave of goodies and oddities. The emporium has been open since 2014 and it’s packed to the rafters with antiques, collectibles, retro furniture, jewellery and paintings. If you’re looking to spend a couple of pounds on a memento, you won’t struggle to find one here.

6. Kendal Indoor Market

Kendal’s indoor market is held on the first floor of the Westmorland Shopping Centre and it’s open to visitors six days a week. The market is full of local traders who offer excellent goods and trinkets. On Saturdays, so-called ‘butter ladies’ also visit and sell homemade goods. The Kendal Indoor Market has a great mixture of permanent and temporary stalls, so you’ll find something new each time you visit.

  • Address: First Floor, Westmorland Shopping Centre, 50A Stramongate, Kendal LA9 4BD. Opening times here.
  • Walking distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 16 minutes.

7. Kendal Farmers’ Market

The farmers’ market in Kendal is one of the best in Cumbria. It’s held on the last Friday of every month and traders travel from far and wide to sell their wares. Expect to find organic vegetables, fine meats, fabulous baked goods and plant stalls. It’s the ideal place to look for gifts and sample the great local produce.

8. Kendal Parish Church

30 free things to do- kendal

Kendal Parish Church is the oldest building in Kendal. Plus, it also holds the distinction of being the widest church in England. In fact, it’s only four feet narrower than York Minster. When you’re inside, there’s lots to see and explore here. Queen Katherine Parr’s family is commemorated in the Parr Chapel and there are fragments from a cross from 850AD.

9. St John’s Church

30 free things to do- Kendal

Photo: Ron Shirt

St John’s Church in Helsington is one of Cumbria’s finest churches. The intricate masonry on show here dates all the way back to 1726 and the stained-glass window on the east side of the church is a popular photo opportunity. Although the church itself is stunning, it also sits in a beautiful location on a hilltop. You can stay and admire the views for hours.

  • Address: 53 Bellingham Road, Kendal LA9 5JY. Opening and service times here.
  • Walking distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 20 minutes.

10. St Margaret’s Tower

St Margaret’s Tower has stood in Staveley since 1388. Over 600 years later, one of the original three-light windows remains. The tower is closed to the public but it’s free to tour the exterior and the gardens. You can also view the plaque that commemorates the locals who fought in the South African campaign of 1900-01.

11. Walk around the town centre

30 free things to do- Kendal

Kendal is a paradise for walkers. But, if you don’t fancy heading out into the countryside, you’ll find plenty of lovely walks in the town centre. Start by heading to the Town Hall and looking for the Explore Kendal sign. This will show you all the different ways you can navigate around the town. If you like, you can find all 17 of the signs dotted around the town centre.

  • Address: Kendal Town Hall, 9a Lowther St, Kendal LA9 4DL.
  • Walking distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 12 minutes.

12. Kendal Culture Trail

30 free things to do- Kendal

Photo: John Salmon

Taking a walk on Kendal’s Culture Trail is a great way of learning about this historic market town’s cultural heritage. The walk takes you through quirky yards, down ancient streets and past all of the town’s top cultural attractions, such as the Brewery Arts Centre. The walk takes about an hour to complete and is a fantastic learning experience.

  • Address: Brewery Arts Centre, 122a Highgate, Kendal LA9 4HE. Route information here.
  • Walking distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 10 minutes.

13. Kendal Historical Trail

The Kendal Historical Trail makes it easy to discover Kendal’s story. This short walk is perfect for children because it allows them to get interactive. They can skip across the cobbles of Branthwaite Brow, explore the Kendal Unitarian Chapel and visit the ruins of Kendal Castle.

  • Address: Kendal Town Hall, 9a Lowther St, Kendal LA9 4DL. Route information here.
  • Walking distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 12 minutes.

14. Kendal Woodland Trail

Kendal is packed with green spaces and, if you follow the town’s Woodland Trail, you can see them all. On the route, you’ll pass picturesque picnic spots, historic gardens and breathtaking views. Depending on whether you’re travelling with little legs or not, you can also skip the hills to make the route easier. If not, you’ll need to budget around 4 hours.

  • Address: Kendal Town Hall, 9a Lowther St, Kendal LA9 4DL. Route information here.
  • Walking distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 12 minutes.

15. Wander along the River Kent

30 free things to do- Kendal

The River Kent runs right through the heart of Kendal, so take a stroll along the banks of the river and see the town at its very best. On your way, you’ll encounter a number of information boards that will tell you all about the local wildlife.

16. Climb up to Kendal Castle

30 free things to do- Kendal

Although Kendal Castle is now a ruin, it’s a site that’s well worth visiting. Plus, although the climb is quite steep in places, it’s still accessible for children. Once you reach the summit, you can explore the ruins and make the most of the brilliant views over the town. For this reason, it’s a popular picnic spot in the summer months.

17. Visit the Serpentine Woods

The Serpentine Woods are a great place for the whole family to visit. As soon as you arrive here, you’ll find the sculpture trail, which is loved by kids. Follow the trail and you’ll come across a number of outdoor sculptures that each depict a letter of the alphabet. If you need a map, you can get one from the Kendal Tourist Information Centre.

18. Scale Tarn Crag

Tarn Crag is a little bit outside Kendal, but it’s one of the Lake District’s prettiest fells, so it’s a great place for a day trip. The area is remote and quiet, so it’s the perfect choice if you’re looking to get away from the action. In total the walk will take a few hours, but the route is stunning. We recommend packing a picnic and your camera.

19. Traverse the Kentmere Horseshoe

30 free things to do - Kendal

If you fancy a challenging route, then the Kentmere Horseshoe is perfect. Although the route is not for the faint-hearted, it’s incredibly rewarding because it takes you past 9 Wainwrights, 7 Hewitts and 7 Nuttalls. Just make sure you take supplies with you because the walk will take you 6-8 hours.

  • Address: Kentmere Institute Car Park, Kentmere, Kendal LA8 9JL.
  • Driving distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 53 minutes.

20. Kentmere Reservoir

30 free things to do- Kendal

Kentmere Reservoir may be out of the way, but it’s a hidden gem that’s well worth finding. The scenery here is stunning and it’s always incredibly peaceful. Plus, there’s a lovely circular walking route that the whole family will love. You can even complete it in around an hour.

  • Address: Kentmere Institute Car Park, Kentmere, Kendal LA8 9JL.
  • Driving distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 53 minutes.

21. Foulshaw Moss

Foulshaw Moss is a 350-hectare site that’s full to the brim with wildlife. It’s a great place for families to explore because as soon as you leave the car park, you’ll be met with plenty of walking routes that follow the boardwalk (so you’ll never get lost or muddy). If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, you’ll be in your element at Foulshaw Moss.

  • Address: Near Witherslack, Witherslack, Cumbria LA11 6SN.
  • Driving distance from our Kendal hotel: 11 minutes.

22. Scout Scar

30 fre things to do- Kendal

Scout Scar is a limestone ridge that overlooks the beautiful Lyth Valley. If you fancy a bit of a challenge, then you can walk up to Scout Scar from the centre of Kendal. But, if not, there’s a small car park nearby. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Lakeland Fells and Morecambe Bay. As a result, it’s a great spot for watching the sunset.

  • Address: Scout Scar Car Park, Underbarrow Road, Kendal LA8 8HB.
  • Driving distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 7 minutes.

23. The Helm

The Helm is a prominent hill in Oxenholme. It’s a great place for a stroll and you can walk right along the length of the ridge while you enjoy spectacular views over Kendal and the countryside beyond.

24. Fletcher Park

You’ll never struggle to find space for the whole family at Fletcher Park. With woodland areas and large ornamental trees, the park is great for exploring. But, the park’s grassy areas and large tree stumps are the biggest hits with families. Follow the path that leads through the park and you’ll reach Kendal Castle.

25. Abbot Hall Park

30 free things to do- kendal

Abbot Hall Park is Kendal’s most popular picnic spot. The park sits on the banks of the River Kent and it’s next to Abbot Hall and Abbot Hall Art Gallery. It’s a quiet spot, but you’ll still find a playground and picturesque pathways. Visit in summer and you may even see street performers and musicians.

26. Gooseholme

This peaceful park is just minutes away from the centre of Kendal but you’ll feel a million miles away from the action as you relax on the banks of the River Kent. If you fancy spending a few pounds, you can even use the park’s putting green, which is open in the summer months.

  • Address: Gooseholme Park, St George’s Walk, Kendal LA9 4BB.
  • Walking distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 14 minutes.

27. Nobles Rest

Nobles Rest is a favourite park of the locals and it’s easy to see why. Even though the park is only small, it’s packed with magnificent trees, stunning floral beds and a beautiful wildflower meadow. There’s even a sensory garden at one end.

28. Kendal Walking Festival

The Kendal Walking Festival celebrates the town’s best walking routes. During the walking festival, you’ll have lots of opportunity to explore Kendal and the surrounding landscapes while tackling one of the festival’s 18 walking routes. All the walks are even graded so you can choose the perfect one for your fitness levels.

  • Address: Kendal Bus Station, Blackhall Road, Kendal LA9 4BT. Event information here.
  • Walking distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 16 minutes.

29. Kendal Torchlight Carnival

Every year, Kendal’s streets come alive when the Torchlight Carnival takes place. The carnival is loved by locals and tourists alike and it’s not uncommon for thousands of people to line the streets and watch the procession. Expect dedicated floats, dancing groups and marching musicians to pass by as you stand and watch.

  • Address: Kendal Leisure Centre, Burton Rd, Kendal LA9 7HX. Event information here.
  • Walking distance from our Kendal town centre hotel: 11 minutes.

30. Kendal Christmas Lights and Market

Christmas is a big deal in Keswick and the locals love the annual Christmas light switch on, when a huge celebration is held. The lights are turned on for the first time at the end of November and the celebration lasts for an entire day. Expect to enjoy the Christmas market, listen to live music and watch thrilling street performers before the main event takes place in the evening.

Book your trip to Kendal today

Whether you fancy exploring the fells or relaxing by the river, Kendal is a great place to visit on your next family holiday. If you’re thinking of visiting this thriving market town, then take a look at our great range of hotels in Kendal before you book your trip.