Why not explore two National Parks in one day? From your cottage in the Lake District you can enjoy a charming drive though winding country roads flanked by dry stone walls, hedges, fields, woodland and mountains. Dip into the Yorkshire Dales then back into Cumbria and the Lakes.
This route takes you through the three attractive market towns of Kendal, Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale.
With a river running through the centre, Kendal is a vibrant market town and a major player in the woollen textile industry. It has numerous yards which were once filled with workshops processing cloth, leather and foodstuffs and is synonymous with the production of Kendal Mint Cake.
Today it has a lively arts and culture scene with the Brewery Arts Centre, Abbot Hall Gallery, Cross Lanes Project and the ruins of Kendal Castle, once home to Katherine Parr the only surviving wife of King Henry VIII, offers panoramic views.
Walk along the river, enjoy a cuppa at Farrer’s Tea & Coffee shop Est.1819. There is more than enough to keep you entertained all day, but if you can drag yourself away you’ll be treated to remarkable views.
Take the A684 from Kendal towards Sedbergh, which takes about 25 minutes. You’ll enjoy views of the Howgills as you approach Sedbergh, which is in Cumbria and also within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It was built on the historic woollen trade. Now it boasts quirky shops along its narrow main street and was named a ‘Book Town’ in 2003
Five minutes outside the town Fairfield Mill, is a vibrant arts and heritage centre, housed in a restored Victorian woollen mill and now one of leading venues for textile arts in the North West. There are artist studios, workshops, a shop and café to linger in.
Then back on the road you have two options: one is to head to the pretty village of Dent with its narrow cobbled streets and heritage centre then follow the signs to Barbon, the second is to go towards Kirkby Lonsdale via the A683 and through the peaceful Barbondale valley.
As you reach Kirkby Lonsdale you’ll pass a car park and Devil’s Bridge, often lined with motorbikes at the weekend and with a very popular burger van! Kirkby Lonsdale itself is a wonderful old market town overlooking the Lune valley.
With plenty of small independent shops, local pubs and riverside walks to enjoy. Pop into the Bath House boutique shop for delightful fragrances or sample a locally brewed pint at the Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery.
Beyond St Mary’s Church, is Ruskin’s view, a fabulous viewpoint over the River Lune valley which the famous Victorian art critic John Ruskin once described as “one of the loveliest in England, therefore in the world”.
Eat at one of the restaurants such as Platos before getting back on the road for the drive back into the Lake District to relax back at your comfy cottage.