DESCRIBED as a 'bijou market town' in the South Lakes Kirkby Lonsdale has taken the top spot as the best place to live in the Northwest by The Sunday Times.

Chosen for its stunning scenic location between the Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales and made complete with booming local businesses it was the town's community spirit which truly inspired the judges to name it as the best of the best.

However, according to The Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide the landscape alone would have been enough to earn Kirkby Lonsdale the top spot on any respectable wishlist.

Councillor Geoffrey Buswell said he wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

"It's very difficult to pinpoint one key factor but it's such a friendly town," he said. "Kirkby Lonsdale is so idyllic, there's plenty to see and do and all the shops in the town are occupied."

The Milking Parlour, the 'cow to cone' ice-cream shop which opened 11 months ago received a notable mention in the guide due to it's popularity with the community.

Sarah Beattie, who owned the business with her husband Edward, said they were incredibly pleased to have been recognised.

"We are over the moon with this," she said. "But we are lucky to live and work here, and it's really down to the fact we feel extremely supported by the community as a family business."

The ice-cream parlour make all of their artisan Gelato using fresh milk from the Crackles family farm in Burrow, less than three miles from the shop in Kirkby Lonsdale.

This year The Sunday Times home editor, Helen Davies, said the judges were looking for community spirit along with convenience and culture and with a 1,800-strong population the school, the church and the rugby club apparently reflected this.


Cartmel, titled as 'the tiny Lakeland honeypot' by the national newspaper has also made the cut, despite being missed out last year. It's also in the running to be Countryfile's village of the year.

With Simon Rogan's top-end restaurant and other local food eateries including Harry's cafe the judges named Cartmel as the 'tastiest village in the land'.

However, the judges deemed Kendal as a 'What's Not Hot' after it apparently failed one of the judge's test. The guide wrote, "No town has failed 'what's it like on a Monday night?' test quite dismally as Kendal: a sad display of closed-down pubs and ugly traffic-filled ring road