Although the college is back open, the Castle Dairy remains closed for the time being. Updates can be found at kendal.ac.uk/covid-19 or on the college’s social media.

We would like to welcome you to the Castle Dairy, Heritage & Education.

We would like to welcome you to The Castle Dairy, Heritage & Education Centre.

The Castle Dairy is the oldest, continuously occupied, medieval building in Kendal, built in the early part of the 14th century, and is bursting with heritage. We are very proud and privileged to have a building with such history within our beautiful market town.

Our aim is to celebrate the Castle Dairy as a historic resource that is open for the community to access and appreciate.

We will be creating a programme of quarterly activities, giving local people the opportunity to develop and learn new skills, and take part in a variety of enjoyable social activities.

The History of the Castle Dairy

The Castle Dairy has had many uses since it was built; from a farmhouse to a gentleman’s home to a restaurant. Since 2011, it has been part of Kendal College, first as a Restaurant, and now hosting various activities and educational opportunities.

The Castle Dairy name implies a connection to Kendal Castle. ‘Dairy’ may come from ‘dowry’ as it has been speculated that the property was the home of a widow at some point.

Wildman Street was once known as “Wildman Gate” and alternatively as “Wildman’s Gate”. Who ‘Wildman’ might have been seems to be lost in history. Wildman Street has seen many changes, having been significantly rebuilt in 1819, and widened more than once.

The Castle Dairy would originally have had open views to the nearby River Kent before the buildings of Wildman Street were erected. It was refurbished in 1564 for Anthony Garnet, and his name, initials and associated dates can be found in carvings and stained glass windows. It is still very much an original structure, which has had only limited alterations in the intervening years.

The inside of The Castle Dairy maintains its character. The southwest wing has sections of what is thought to be the old Roman road, that ran through Kendal along the banks of the River Kent and joining up with the Roman ford that used to cross the river where Stramongate Bridge is now.

The original kitchen has an oak mantel running the full width of the house. On the upper floor is a bedroom, which contains a large oak bedstead and other period furniture. The windows show four diamond panes of stained glass with a date, pictures and words to decipher. A doorway gives way to what was reputedly the chapel of the house. Some external features to look out for are the ancient doorways at the back and the smallest window in Kendal at the front.

There is so much more to discover in this remarkable building – please get in touch if you have any Castle Dairy history or stories to share.