Advantages Free to visit, good views
Disadvantages Not a lot of it left
Kendal is a very historical town in the Southern Lakes and its castle is just one of its many attractions, which I would recommend a visit to. I visited Kendal in June 2010 and although I’ve walked around the town on many previous occasions and seen the castle high up on the hillside, this was the first time that I had actually walked up to it.The walk to the castle from the town centre is about a 15 minute walk. It is situated on the edge of the town but well sign-posted and it’s also visible from afar. It isn’t a difficult walk to the reach the castle although the last part of the journey does involve quite a steep climb through some woods so unless there is a different approach to the one that I made I don’t think that it would be very accessible for disabled visitors.
The castle today is only a ruin but there is quite a lot of it still there. In fact it has been a ruin since Tudor times so considering that it’s suffered from over four centuries of neglect it is quite remarkable that there is anything left here at all.When I reached the castle the first thing that I noticed was that it was surrounded by a large grassy area and its setting looked very pretty. There were a couple of people walking their dogs in the area and the grassy area has plenty of good quality footpaths. I headed straight towards the castle because I didn’t have a lot of time but I couldn’t fail to notice the view and I did stop for a moment to admire it. I noticed an old beacon at the side of the path, which looked in very good condition so I presume that it wasn’t original but it provided a good insight into what would have been here once. There would have been beacons like this on many of the hills around here, where fires would have been lit at night.
As I approached the ruins of the castle I noted that there were several information boards showing illustrations of what the castle would have looked like in its heyday. These were especially useful for me as I hadn’t been here before and knew very little about it. The only thing that I did know about Kendal Castle prior to my visit was that it had an association with Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII.During my visit I learned that the castle dated from the 12th century and was originally built for the Barons of Kendal. It was built partly with defence in mind, which is why the site on top of Castle Hill, the highest point in the area was chosen. It later became the family home of the Parr’s, whose most famous daughter was Katherine. Katherine was born here but moved to London when she was quite young.
The main parts of the castle wall still survive along with the tower and it is possible to climb up to the top of the tower from where you will get the best views of the town of Kendal below. From the top of the tower you can also see the full layout of the castle and you realise that its design is circular. Surrounding the outer walls there is now a deep ditch but this would have originally been a moat filled with water with a drawbridge across it to access the castle.The castle has been in the hands of the local borough council since 1897 and there is no charge to visit it. It is open all year round and accessible at all times. For further information there is a large exhibit on the castle at Kendal Museum in the town.
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With free parking and leisure facilities, this award-winning hotel sits in 14 acres of wooded gardens. It has free Wi-Fi, a 2 AA Rosette restaurant...
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