Kendal, known earlier as Kirkby in Kendal or Kirkby Kendal, is a market town and civil parish within the South Lakeland District of Cumbria, England. Historically in Westmorland, it is situated about 8 miles (13 km) south-east of Windermere, 19 miles (31 km) north of Lancaster, 23 miles (37 km) north-east of Barrow-in-Furness and 38 miles (61 km) north-west of Skipton. The town lies in the valley or "dale" of the River Kent, from which it derives its name, and has a total resident population of 28,586, making it the third largest settlement in Cumbria behind Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness. Kendal today is known largely as a centre for tourism, as the home of Kendal mint cake, and as a producer of pipe tobacco and tobacco snuff. Its buildings, mostly constructed with the local grey limestone, have earned it the nickname Auld Grey Town. The Town’s coat-of-arms, which first saw the light of day on a Speed map printed in 1610, reflects these historical influences. It has a gold background depicting a cowhide whilst the teasel (a prickly plant which dries like a sharp hairbrush) and bale hooks found in each of the sections of the shield represent the wool trade. The motto, pannus mihi panis, is often interpreted as ‘wool is my bread’ which would underline the importance of the industry which, for centuries, supported the people of this busy town.
Kendal has been twinned with Killarney for many years. Known as the ‘Gateway to Ireland’s Majestic South West’ Kendal and Killarney share many similarities, including a Lake District on its doorstep. Kendal has been twinned with Rinteln since 1991. Rinteln is situated on the River Weser in the region of Lower Saxony approximately 60 kilometres west of Hanover and 25 kilometres North West of Hamelin.