We’d arranged a long weekend in Kirkby Lonsdale during October and to meet up with my brother Jason and his partner Nicole. We arrived on a very wet and damp Friday night at Woodclose Caravan Park about 1/4 of a mile outside Kirkby’s town centre. Jason and Nicole were already there when we arrived and Dave their caravan was all set-up, they had already headed into Kirkby Lonsdale town, eager to get a beer. We quickly set-up our motorhome and head into Kirkby town centre whilst there was a brief interlude in the rain, passing by the famous Devil’s Bridge.
It was our first visit to Kirkby Lonsdale and what a top place, loads of pubs, places to eat and some very individual shops for such a small place of about 2000 residents. We headed to the the grand looking Royal Hotel directly facing the town square to meet up with Jason and Nicole. It was very cozy and welcoming, serving some excellent beers as it would do, being part of the James’ Places owner of the Bowland Brewery based in Clitheroe. From the Royal we moved on to Kirkby’s micro brewery The Royal Barn just a round the corner and what another excellent find, very rustic serving a large range of their own beers brewed on site. You can watch the process on certain brewing days, the place was packed to the rafters with a great atmosphere and some very unique urinals in the gents. After a few in the Royal Barn it was time to eat. On the recommendation of Jason and Nicole we headed on to The Red Dragon just around the corner. A nice looking pub, really friendly staff and a couple of things that really stood out, myself and Jane had Lamb Jennings which was about £4.00 cheaper than lots of other places we have had the same and it came with vegetables and no extra charge. It was also very good, we asked for mint sauce and they’d run out, but instead of leaving it at that and saying sorry, one of the staff went out to a local shop and bought some, excellent service as well as food. After a few more beers we all headed back but didn’t manage to avoid the rain that had bee raging all week, we all got soaked.The following day we planned a walk I’d downloaded to my phone.
It had poured down all night but at least when we woke up the rain had stopped. We’d agreed to meet our Jason and Nicole at 10:30 and sure enough they were suited and booted ready to set off bang on 10:30 as usual. We weren’t far behind so we set off not knowing what to expect, the intention was to do about 7 miles and end up in Kirkby town centre for a late lunch and few a drinks or more. We hadn’t gone far when we hit the first obstacle, localised flooding, the lane was flooded. We managed to get round by climbing a fence and crossing an adjacent field.
We hadn’t gone much further when the road was flooded again, this was easier to get round but we were encountering flooded lanes every few hundred yards or so. We decided to find the most direct route back to Kirkby Lonsdale and seek solace in one of the many local hostelries, which happened to be The Orange Tree Hotel, it turned out to be another fine pub, very oldy world with a good selection of cask ales. We stayed for a few pints and some lunch then took the tour of Kirkby town calling in at a number of the local pubs, what a gem this place is love it. We were booked into Avanti Restaurant and Bar for our evening meal at 18:00, so it turned into quite a session before we managed to get to Avanti, another top place and a restaurant which was dog friendly as were all the other pubs we’d been to during our stay at Kirkby Lonsdale, as they need to be as we have to take Doris the Jack Russell everywhere with us. Following our evening meal it was an early return to the van as we’d being on the beer since about 12:00.
The following day Jason and Nicole headed for home. We were staying another night and due to all the local flooding we encountered the day before, we decided to take a leisurely walk along the path that followed the River Lune into Kirkby Lonsdale which was mostly a gravel path and well drained. The route takes you past devils bridge and up the Radical Steps
and onto the famous viewing point Ruskin’s View of the Lune Valley. This scene was painted by the artist JMW Turner in 1822 and the picture so impressed the 19th century art critic, social theorist, painter and poet John Ruskin, that he wrote: ‘I do not know in all my country, still less in France or Italy, a place more naturally divine.’ In 1875, Ruskin described the panorama as ‘one of the loveliest views in England, therefore in the world’.
From Ruskin’s View you enter Kirkby Lonsdale through the beautiful Norman Church of St Mary the Virgin and follow the pretty alleyway and emerge at the Sun Inn. Once in Kirkby we had a look round the many individual shops and as usual Jane bagged herself a present, a new 40’s style dress from a little shop on the Main Street just before Salt Pie Lane. After being dragged round the shops for an hour or so I managed to direct us to The Royal for some lunch and a few beers.We managed to spend a very leisurely and chilled afternoon in The Royal before one final visit to The Royal Barn and before heading back to our van and the last look at Kirkby Lonsdale, but we will be back.