Just 90 minutes drive up the M6 from Manchester, the town’s chief attractions include a Middle Age church and bridge of no small historic interest and a comfortable array of restaurants, pubs, and cafes.
But it also offers convenient access to a selection of walking routes to suit amblers and determined hillwalkers alike. A mere few minutes from the centre of this busy little town, through the historic church- yard of St Mary’s church, and you are rewarded with a striking view of the River Lune.
From a commanding position up high on a valley, walkers have enjoyed the breath-taking view of the river from this position and the location – known as Ruskin’s View – has been immortalised in one Turner’s most recognisable paintings. Praised by Victorian critic John Ruskin as a ‘priceless possession’, the sweeping crook of the Lune and the flat landscape below remain just as dramatic as they were in Victorian times. A walk along the river bank will take to Devil’s Bridge – a noted 14th century crossing point – whose Middle Age construction by York’s powerful Abbots has defied centuries of wear and tear.
Do also pop into St Mary’s church itself. The Norman church from which Kirkby Lonsdale – the church by the Lune Valley – takes its name is a feast of architectural oddities, including a cheeky Green Man carving which has somehow slipped into the Christian iconography. Further afield, there are more challenging walks, such as an invigorating circular route to the next town of Whittington or, for the more adventurous, the stunning subterranean scenery fo White Scar Caves just eight miles away.
But it’s not just outdoor pursuits that Kirkby Lonsdale has to offer. Tucked away on the outskirts of the town (a few minutes drive away), is a unique venue experience tempting families and locals alike with the promise of Hollywood-style private screenings.
Majik House, by day a showroom for the latest home technology catering for discerning film and music buffs, is transformed at night into a luxury venue where couples, families, or parties can enjoy food, music and a film in complete privacy. Memories of overcrowded multiplexes were dispelled as we enjoyed ice cream, homemade pizza on the ultra-sharp screen while enjoying the comfort on an almostly impossibly automated chair. Of course, after a hard day’s hillwalking and a late night flick, you need somewhere to lay your head. Fortunately we were booked in at a very fine hostelry indeed, one of the best I’ve stayed at in some time. The small gallery of commendations and certificates, including its two AA restaurant stars, in the foyer of the Sun Inn tell their own story.
The former 17th century coaching house tell has been brought on a treat under owners Mark and Lucy Fuller, who’ve spent the last decade turning the venue into an AA five-star inn, comprising cosy pub, comfortable rooms, and fine dining restaurant with delicious, unpretentious fayre.
The Sun Inn’s 12 rooms are comfortable and stylish whilst retaining the quirky character of a 400-year-old building. A boot rack – with free wellies on hire for those planning a tramp over the hills, and the large number of clients who bring their dogs on holiday (the inn even has its own separate dining area for patrons and their dogs) – show the place caters for those enjoying outdoor pursuits.
And chef Sam Carter should be commended for sympathetic, enjoyable, and deceptively simple dishes which make the most out of Lancashire meat, veg, and produce. After an enjoyable two nights in Kirkby Lonsdale, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
To find out more about the partnership between Majik House and The Sun Inn visit: http://www.sun-inn.info/rooms/special-packages-offers/the-big-night-in-private-cinema-experience/