Businesses in Kirkby Lonsdale Towns and Villages of Cumbria

Kirkby Lonsdale

Kirkby Lonsdale Market Square By Ian Hardman, John Botterill, David ThirskIn Cumbria's southeast corner, between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, the historic market town of Kirkby Lonsdale sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Among its attractions are the medieval Devil's Bridge (a scheduled ancient monument) over the River Lune and ‘Ruskin's View’. The famous watercolourist, J. M. Turner (1175-1851) painted landscapes in the area, the best known of which is ‘Ruskin's View’, named for John Ruskin, a Lake District poet, painter, and social critic. After viewing Turner's painting, he Ruskin's View Kirkby Lonsdale By Ian Hardman, John Botterill, David Thirskwas quoted as saying, “I do not know in all my own country. . . . . a place more naturally divine.” The viewpoint, a mile out of the town, overlooks the Vale of Lune, Ingleborough, Casterton Fell and Barbon Fell.

The three-arched Devil's Bridge got its name from an old tale, in which the devil was outsmarted. Supposedly built by the Devil (but most likely by the monks), a widow needed to use the bridge to reach her cow on the other side. Devil's Bridge Kirkby Lonsdale By Ian Hardman, John Botterill, David ThirskThe Devil's payment was the possession of the first soul to cross the bridge. The widow had her dog cross the bridge, thus ruining the Devil's plan to acquire her soul. The walk to the bridge is sign-posted from the town square.

Like many other towns in the area, the Romans, Danes, Saxons and Normans all left their mark. ‘Cockpit Hill’, a large mound, is thought to be the first place settled in the area. Kirkby Lonsdale goes back as far as the Domesday Book of 1086. It received its market charter in 1227 from King Henry III. Markets, originally held in the churchyard, still take place on Thursdays in the market square.

Buildings, many of grey stone, reflect a number of styles and periods, among them 17th and 18th century ones. The town is largely unspoiled with many shops and white flower bedecked homes, narrow streets, and yards. The Queen Elizabeth School was built in 1591. Kirkby Lonsdale's gardens have won the “Britain in Bloom” national award three times.

Kirkby Lonsdale Church By Ian Hardman, John Botterill, David ThirskThe parish church of St Mary (1090-1130) still retains its Norman arcade and arched doorway, and both its south and north aisles run the length of the church. The western tower was constructed in 1705. Inside are many monuments and stained glass. In particular note the east window.

Kirkby Lonsdale Vicorian Fair By Ian Hardman, John Botterill, David ThirskThe town has a Christmas weekend which is always the first weekend in December. Santa parades through the town on the Saturday and, with his magic wand, lights up Christmas trees outside all the shops on Main St. and Market St. There's street entertainment and a Santa's grotto as well.

For more information about Kirkby Lonsdale, visit

Riverside and country walks, outstanding views, great shopping and friendly people-all abound in Kirkby Lonsdale, a little Cumbrian gem.

Photos courtesy of Ian Hardman, John Botterill, David Thirsk at the official Kirkby Lonsdale Town site

Kirkby Lonsdale located 6 miles from M6, exit 36, then A65 14 milse (23km) NE of Lancaster By bus from Lancaster and Kendal.

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