Kirkby is a delightful old market town on the River Lune, with narrow streets, quaint old worker's cottages and several fine Georgian buildings. Located 13 miles southeast of Kendal, the town is a commercial and social centre for the surrounding area and an ideal base for exploring the Lune valley.

Kirkby Lonsdale Bridge
Kirkby Lonsdale Bridge © David Dixon (CC2)

The River Lune at this location is said to be one of the loveliest scenes in Britain. To the southeast of the town a handsome 15th century bridge crosses the river; attractively set in beautiful scenery with delightful riverside walks. This graceful three-arched limestone structure, known as Devil's Bridge, is one of the most photographed sites in Cumbria. In 1932 another crossing was opened for motor traffic further downstream to protect it. The rocky pools below the bridge are a popular salmon fishing spot.

Kirkby Lonsdale is a typical Pennine town built of mellow and dark limestone, with cobbled streets and several friendly old inns of great age. The main thoroughfare has many quaint family shops, restaurants, tearooms and hotels, and an old stone market cross adds a touch of character to the main square. The area has an ancient past and relics of Roman occupation have been found here.

The part Norman Church of St Mary the Virgin has an impressive interior with a magnificent archway beneath the tower and massive pillars in the north arcade. It was built over a much older Anglo-Saxon site, making it one the earliest of the churches in the valley. Turner famously painted the scenic view from its churchyard. A viewpoint that has been called 'Ruskin's View' ever since his elegant quotes upon it. Several Ruskin inspired walks are signposted to the north of the churchyard.

The Bronte sisters attended Casterton Girls' School at Cowan Bridge, nearby, and Kirkby is said to be the model for Lowton in Jane Eyre.

Map of Kirkby Lonsdale


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