One of Kendal's best loved restaurants is to close at the end of March.

The Castle Dairy restaurant, in Wildman Street, which is operated as part of Kendal College is set to close its doors at the end of March.

The college said the restaurant, which has been in operation for eight years, had been earmarked for closure as part of a strategic review and in a bid "to ensure that students remain at the heart of college operations".

Three full-time staff and two apprentices are affected by the closure, although their apprenticeship qualifications will have been completed by the end of March.

The college said all staff had been consulted and would be supported in finding alternative employment.

Principal and CEO of Kendal College Kelvin Nash said: “This was not an easy decision to make, however the restaurant trade is tough; we have had to deal with oversaturation in the market, changes in customer eating habits, as well as rising costs. While the decision is regrettable this is a step toward ensuring that our focus as a College is not distracted away from our students and our core business of providing education and training to Kendal and the wider surrounds of Cumbria. We’re incredibly grateful to the dedication and hard work of every single member of the Castle Dairy team, and we would like to thank the loyalty of the clientele that have supported the restaurant."

All restaurant bookings up until the March closure date will be honoured, and bookings beyond this date have been notified and alternative arrangements made where possible.

The college said holders of any Castle Dairy vouchers are encouraged to use them prior to the restaurant closure; unexpired vouchers that have not been used after April 1 will be refunded. The restaurant is now closed for its annual post-Christmas break and will reopen on Wednesday January 23.

No decision has been made as to the future use of the site, but the college said it will look to utilise the Castle Dairy building in alternative ways to both "celebrate the building’s heritage, and to support educational and training opportunities".