14 Jun

Let’s move to Kendal, Cumbria: a proper town in permanent festival mode

You have the luxury of two of the most magnificent national parks – the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales – at the edge of townWhat’s going for it? Auld Grey Town, they call it, and under a heavy blanket of cloud and drizzle rolled in from the fells, it sure is, though the cheerier among you may notice the light sparkle in the stones of its limestone streets, and the fact that the steeply sloping sides of the town mean the lush green fields of the countryside are never far from sight. (You have the luxury of not one but two of the most magnificent national parks – the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales – at the edge of town.) What Kendal lacks in colour, though, it makes up for with joie de vivre, seemingly permanently in festival mode. The tweeness that bedevils much of the Lake District is absent. Instead, it’s a proper Cumbrian (though, correctly, Westmorland-ian) place, where they still make snuff and mint cake, and sheep-shearers hunker down in the pubs. Cultural behemoths Abbot Hall and Brewery Arts Centre have a roster of great lineups. But there’s something in the water, too. This wee town gave birth to Wild Beasts and British Sea Power, Postman Pat, and, beside that sheep-shearer in the pub there’s probably a painter, a poet or a grime-jazz fusionist nursing a pint.The case against The traffic: it seems as if the whole town is one gigantic gyratory system. The rain: love it, or leave town. Continue reading…

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