I never forget how fortunate I am to live in Skipton, a small market town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, popular with tourists from around the globe. I’m not a native of the town, (or even of the county of North Yorkshire being born over The Pennines in Lancashire), but it’s been home for more than a decade and I love it. Because of the wealth of walks, country pubs, and stunning scenery on the doorstep, it’s easy to forget that there are countless other equally desirable locations within an hours’ drive from here. The Lake District is one such place. Its breathtaking natural beauty and picture-postcard perfect vistas are widely known and it draws visitors for those reasons alone. I think of the Lakes and I think of childhood boat trips between Ambleside and Windermere and of picnics in the rain and I recall ambling in and out of souvenir shops which seemed to only sell fudge, Kendal Mint Cake, walking sticks and all things sheep. Oh and those postcards showing two identical rainy scenes depicting The Lake District in Winter and The Lake District Summer. The Lake District-perfect for walkers, ramblers and family days out but not somewhere I’d think of as being a good place to shop. Or so I thought until I spent the day in the South Lakes town of Kendal.
It was my first visit to the town centre and I was quite surprised to learn that there is a two-storey shopping centre, Westmorland which has its own car park. As well as being home to well-known brands Topshop, Waterstones and Clintons, it has a wealth of independent retail stalls that are there for several days a week including Floristry by Carmen, Macarons by Al Strong, alterations and homemade cushions and gifts by Naomi at Maid n Found and bath bombs by a very friendly gentleman whose name I didn’t note, but you’d be able to follow the scent to find him.
|Floristry by Carmen|
|Floristry by Carmen|
|Floristry by Carmen|
|Macarons by Al Strong|
|Macarons by Al Strong|
|Alterations at Maid n Found|
|Bath bombs at Westmorland Shopping Centre|
|Entrance to Westmorland shopping centre, Kendal|
Westmorland shopping centre leads onto the main shopping street.
Like Skipton, Kendal is a market town with cobbled streets and yards coming off what is quite a linear main street, and home to high-street favourites Pandora, Joules, Specsavers, Lakeland, Next, Costa, TK Maxx, Toni & Guy plus several
|Well-known brands, Joules and Pandora|
|Kendal has a wealth of independent cafes|
|The view down Kendal’s main shopping street|
Almost directly opposite the main entrance to the shopping centre is Elephant Yard which boasts Monsoon, Boots, Laura Ashley as well as Kendal Library.
|Well-known brands, Next and Costa|
Wainwright’s Yard is further along the high street and is where Pizza Express, Booths Supermarket and Maya Maya, (stockiest of both menswear and well-known womenswear brands including Masai and Sandwich), are located.
|One of the shopping ares off the high street|
|Maya Maya- menswear and womenswear|
There are two beautiful independent lifestyle stores too in Wainwright’s Yard. Armstrong Ward stocks popular brands including Emma Bridgewater and Cath Kidston, as well as cards, candles, furniture, toys and cushions and it has a fabulous cafe downstairs with a great menu and a very tempting array of cakes.
|Lifestyle Store, Armstrong Ward|
Opposite is La Maison, another delightful lifestyle store selling home accessories, jewellery, mirrors and occasional furniture. I spent a considerable time in both of these gorgeous shops.
|Beautiful interior accessories at La Maison|
|Occasional furniture at La Maison|
|A wide range of home accessories at La Maison|
The end of Wainwright’s Yard opens out and from here is access to Marks and Spencer, a florist, cafes and more car parking.
|Independent florist in Kendal|
Further along the high street, up from Westmorland Shopping centre and on the opposite side to both Elephant Yard and Wainwright’s Yard is the Market Square and a little further still is the rather fabulously named Finkle Street. This is where Beales department store is situated. Beales carries well-known brands including Wallis, Moda in Pelle, Warehouse, Fantasie (lingerie) and a whole host more. White Stuff, Phase Eight and Wave, a contemporary jeweller, also sit on this street.
|Contemporary Jeweller, Wave|
Perhaps most surprising is that are two Jules B stores; one for gents and one for women, I spent a lovely leisurely time time in the women’s and chatted to manager Lisa Jackson whilst browsing the designer collections. An award winning independent retailer of designer clothing and accessories, Jules B in Kendal offers clothing by Victoria Beckham, Self Portrait and Alicia & Olivia, bags by Sophie Hulme and bags by Kendall and Kylie and Michael Kors. I would, without question, make the one hour journey for this shop alone.
|Jules B menswear|
|Designer womenswear at Jules B|
|The latest collections available at Jules B|
|Self Portrait at Jules B|
|Designer labels at Jules B|
|Victoria Beckham at Jules B|
|Sophie Hulme handbags at Jules b|
|Kendall and Kylie and Michael Kors at Jules B|
Just off Finkle Street is Beast Banks which has the The Famous 1657 Chocolate House, an Aladdin’s Cave where chocoholics can eat, drink, dip and buy chocolate to their hearts’content.
|The Chocolate House|
|A mouthwatering array|
Up from this is the Kendal Tourist Information Centre and adjacent to this is another beautiful home accessories and childrenswear store called Forget me Not, which sells sofas, mirrors,cushions and a very tasteful selection of gifts.
|Beautiful sofas at Forget Me Not|
|One of several rooms full of home accessories at Forget Me Not|
|Accessories for every room in the home at Forget Me Not|
Opposite is Hogarth’s Jewellers and close by on New Shambles is Iridium Fine Stationery which sells fountain pens, leather notebooks and beautiful artisan paper.
|Iridium Fine Stationery|
As well as this excellent fashion and lifestyle offering, Kendal runs a Courtesy Toilet Scheme. This provides members of the public with clean, safe and accessible toilets across the town. There are several car parks and plenty of places to eat and get a drink.
Take a look at the brand new website Visit Kendal for everything you need to know.
It was a true eye-opener and I absolutely loved my day in Kendal. I thoroughly recommend a visit. There really is so much more than Kendal Mint Cake and cagoules.
* Leopard print jacquard jacket, currently half price at £27, Kaleidoscope
*Italian grey suede saddle shoulder bag, £79, Marks and Spencer
Large silver coloured dragonfly brooch, £17.50, Lizzy O.
Black, taupe and champagne crystal set bracelets, £12.50 each, Lizzy O.
Black top, Next, past season
Skinny jeans, Next, past season
Black leather Chelsea boots, Marks and Spencer, past season
Disclosure: *These items were gifted. This blog post was written in collaboration with Visit Kendal My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support What Lizzy Loves