Kendal is a Southern Lakes market town which boasts the annual Mountain Festival as well as September’s Torchlight Festival, the music festival Kendal Calling, and plenty more. With plenty of arts & culture alongside these festivals, there is plenty to do for a day trip – visit the mediaeval castle, pop into indie cinema & arts space Brewery Arts, or pop into the Museum to see its fascinating collections of local archaeology, geology, history, and natural history from both the vicinity and the wider world. After Barrow-in-Furness, it’s the largest town in Westmorland & Furness, so you can rest assured that it has plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. We’ve broken down the best places to eat in Kendal into cafes, perfect for a great coffee and bite of brunch, and lunch & dinner venues, favouring those that are local, independent, and family-run.
Caffeine Hits and Brunch Bites: Kendal’s Best Cafés
Adjoining the Crossfit gym, Fold is a stylish new coffee haunt that serves up great coffee as well as brekkie and brunch options. Flick through a copy of Cereal mag whilst you wait, and listen to the gym bros making their way out, flat white in hand for some added fitness-by-osmosis! Go for avocado on rye bread with feta, lime and chilli for a filling brunch, or grab a fresh croissant, rich bake, or portion of protein overnight oats to satisfy those morning munchies.
No-Hands Rest is one of Kendal’s newest coffee haunts, opening up halfway through 2023. This speciality coffee house is hygge haven, perfect for co-working or for a catch up with mates. Get there near opening time at 8 for the freshly baked patisseries – when they’re gone, they’re gone!
Photo credit: Scott Heleniak & Marc Langley
Farrer’s is a Kendal institution. This tea and coffee merchants has supplied coffee and tea across the county and beyond since 1819, from their 18th century listed building on the high street – a quirky building that wouldn’t look out of place in Harry Potter. Sit in to enjoy the wonky ceilings and wooden staircases whilst tucking into delicious bakes and light meals from breakfast through lunch time – or grab a cake and a takeaway coffee from the front counter.
This vegan, family-run bistro has changed hands ov the past fw years, but has always been a stalwart choice for anyone wanting plenty of vegan options (and with plenty on the menu to satisfy omnivores, too). Their hearty, always interesting salads will get you feeling fully nourished, but if it’s chips and cake you’re after, they can do that too!
Coffee not your thing? Then head to Kakaw, a specialist hot chocolate cafe just behind Wainwright’s Yard! Pick through the penrcentages to find the perfect cup of hot choccy for your tastes, and complement it with one of the specialist marshmallows in glass jars along the bar, from cinnamon churro to honeycomb & chocolate flavour!
Sarnies and Small Plates: Best Kendal foodie spots for Lunch & Dinner
Sitting just up a ginnel off the main thoroughfare, this stylishly renovated cafe-come-restaurant is the perfect spot for a lazy lunch or quick pick-me-up plate. Their freshly baked piadina takes some beating (piadine are small Italian flatbreads, like a mini pizza), whilst bruschetta, sourdough pizzas, warming ‘al forno’ options like aubergine parmigiana, and salads complete the menu. In finer seasons, enjoy their suntrap of a courtyard – perfect to while away a lunchtime. Marra also does pop-up pizzas at The Factory Tap pub, every Tuesday and Friday night from 5pm.
Serving up Spanish-inspired tapas options aplenty in a warm and modern restaurant right on Highgate, Comida is always a lively and welcoming spot for a bite to eat. Owners Alba and Simon, from Valencia and Yorkshire, respectively, took over this empty unit back in 2017 and haven’t looked back since. Serving up all the classic Tapa favourites, from Patatas Bravas to Albondigas to Padron peppers, Comida also offers more unusual dishes such as Tostada Sobrasada, Valencian fried chicken, and Pulpo, alongside a fab brunch menu.
Nestled in a small backyard off the main drag in a 16th century building, Joshua Tree is a small family run bistro. As well as small plates and snacks, Joshua Tree offers larger dishes, from Mixed Grill of Seafood to Crispy Fried Buttermilk Chicken Burger to Crisp Slow-Cooked Duck Leg with fricasseé of garden peas, bacon, onion, and parsley. A great lunchtime option for hearty, homemade, and traditional foodie choices.
Baba Ganoush Canteen
This veggie-focussed cafe (they have some meat options too) has long been a hit with the Kendal crowd. Four homemade soups are on the menu daily, accompanied by freshly baked sourdough from the next door bakery. They also offer grilled sarnies, melts and wraps, as well as daily specials, slow-cooked and scrumptious, and salads that’ll put a big smile on your face. Don’t fill up on savouries though, as they have great dessert and cake options too.
As you can see, there is no shortage of great places to grab a bite to eat in Kendal. So as well as all of the chain restaurants to be found in every town, from Pizza Express to Cafe Nero, why not try some of the fab indie and family-run options above, to get a real taste for all this bustling town has to offer?