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The local area guide to living in Kirkby Lonsdale

Famous for its idyllic country views, Kirkby Lonsdale is a traditional Cumbrian village that has attracted the artistic eyes of Turner and Ruskin over the years. It’s neatly positioned just between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, offering the scenery of both. Ruskin was particularly fond of the panoramic country views that one can admire from the churchyard of the Church of St Mary of the Virgin. This is known today as ‘Ruskin’s view,’ though the church itself is also well worth a visit with its 12th century architecture.

Kirkby Lonsdale boasts centuries of history amongst its cobbled lanes and market squares. You can admire 17th and 18th century buildings and open-air landscapes. It’s been occupied at one point or another by the ancient Romans as well as the Normans, and was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Today’s Kirkby Lonsdale is not all history and pastoral views, however. Residents can take advantage of modern boutiques, an array of services, and a strong sense of community that permeates this small town. Don’t miss the chance to visit during the annual Victorian Fair, or visit the historic Devil’s Bridge with its three arches spanning the River Lune.

Information about the local residents

According to a Place Survey in 2008, 91% of Kirkby Lonsdale residents reported being happy with the parish as a good place to live. At the time of the 2011 census, the total population in the parish was 1,845, comprising 855 households.

There’s a range of ages, with 56.9% of residents classified as being of working age. However, the percentage of residents over the age of 65 is higher than the national average. This may be due to the high quality of life or longevity of residents, with many choosing to stay in Kirkby Lonsdale for the long term. Occupations are also varied. The top three categories listed in census figures include managerial roles, professional jobs, and skilled trades.

Nearby schools

Kirkby Lonsdale may be relatively small, but it is home to its own primary and secondary school. These enjoy a strong reputation, drawing in many families to the area. St Mary’s Church of England Primary serves pupils from P1-P6. In an Ofsted report from 2012, the school was rated as ‘good’. The students’ behaviour and safety also received a rating of ‘outstanding’.

Pupils in Kirkby Lonsdale then progress to Queen Elizabeth Secondary School. Boasting academy status since 2010, this is a coeducational comprehensive school. Admissions are coordinated with the Cumbria County Council. Ofsted’s report in 2008 was glowing, rating the school ‘outstanding’ in all areas. Sixth form students can select from a range of A-level subjects. For the younger students, BTECs and GCSEs are also offered.

Getting around

Positioned near the Lake District, Kirkby Lonsdale is well connected by motorway to the rest of the region. The M6 is just a few miles away, leading north to Carlisle or south to Manchester. It can be accessed via the A65 or A683, depending on the direction residents which to travel.

Public transport is also available in Kirkby Lonsdale. Though it does not have its own train station, one is extremely close in neighbouring Wennington. Bentham and Kendal also offer convenient rail services for Kirkby Lonsdale residents. Bus operators in the area include Stagecoach Bus Services or Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire. These serve neighbouring towns such as Sedbergh, Lancaster, Skipton, and Kendal. National Express also stops in town.

Local shops

Kirkby Lonsdale is well known for its postcard-perfect town centre, which includes a historic marketplace and Main Square. Strolling around its cobbled lanes, one can explore the numerous hotels, pubs, cafes, and restaurants that dot its streets.

There’s a wealth of shops available for residents and visitors. These include familiar high street names as well as specialist local shops. Chocolat is known for its handmade luxury chocolates, or you can sift through the treasures at shops like Dales Antiques and Interiors. Booths is a local supermarket that can be found throughout Cumbria, offering farm fresh produce and daily specials evoking the feel of a country market.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.


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