They say happiness begins at home, and now that is a proven fact if you live in Kendal.

That's because the market town has been voted in the top 20 happiest places to live in the UK according to an annual study conducted by Rightmove.

It came in at number six and in its Happy at Home Index, the property company has ten factors for happiness that range from how friendly the neighbours are, how good the local services are to the sense of belonging and the quality of nature and green spaces in the area.

As a mixture of town and countryside, Kendal residents are lucky enough to enjoy both of what each has to offer. There's plenty of beautiful scenic places to escape to as well as plenty of things to do all year round.

In terms of property, there’s a good selection of houses ranging from period properties to new-build homes. Commuting further afield is easy too as there are excellent road and rail links set to a spectacular backdrop of lakeland scenery.

Here at Cumbria Live, we took a look at some of the things that make the market town so great.

Gateway to the Lakes

Coniston Water

Known as the 'gateway to the lakes', Kendal sits less than an hour away from six amazing lakes so you can explore without being too far from town comforts.

England's largest lake, Lake Windermere, is one of the most popular places to visit in the Lake District and is only nine miles away. This landscape also acts as a great starting point to carry on exploring with a number of walking and cycling routes nearby. At the Southern tip of Windermere is Fell Foot Park which is a great family day out. It has plenty of green space for ball games, picnics, walks with even an educational tree trail.

Also within an hour's drive are Coniston Water, Fell End nature reserve, Brockhole Lake District Vistors Centre and of course the Lake District National Park. According to chair of Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School, being near a body of water makes us calmer and healthier. With so many of the country's spectacular lakes nearby to escape to, no wonder Kendal residents are content.

Excellent schools and colleges

The town has access to an excellent range of schools and colleges on its doorstep. Kendal College, located on the edge of the Lake District National Park has over 30 years experience in delivering quality degree courses and was rated 'good' in its last Ofsted inspection in 2017.

There also a number of excellent high schools in the area such as Independent school Cambian Whinfell school Cambian Whinfell which scored 'outstanding' in its most recent Ofsted inspection. Other excellent high schools are South Lakes Academy and Kirkbie Kendal School.

It's no wonder many people choose the town as a place to start a family.

Music

Kendal Calling

One of the highlights of the summer months and one of the most-well loved festivals in the UK, Kendal Calling, takes place amidst the picturesque landscape of Kendal. This award-winning independent, family-friendly festival in Lowther park has grown from strength to strength.

Having started as a 900 capacity event in 2006, the festival is now a 13,000 party with an incredibly diverse lineup that spans from rock and indie to electronic music. The good thing about Kendal Calling is it is smaller than the likes of Glastonbury however attracts famous and break-through artists who tend to return.

Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Tinie Tempah and Primal Scream are just some of the big names that have made their mark on the stage. When July comes around, it's time for everyone to share the joy in Kendal.

Cake

Cakes makes everyone happy, and Kendal mint cake has been making the residents of the town happy since pre-historic times - if legend is to be believed.

A local old folklore tale is that the town is so good that it somehow created its own cake. The story goes that the unique geological conditions of Kendal created sweet, marble-like deposits in the caverns which miners carved out and took home.

Although this is not true, though we'd like it to be, its invention is still quite interesting. The treat was created by accident in 1869 when a confectioner named Joseph Wiper accidentally neglected his sugary mixture during the making process and noticed it was cloudy and had begun to solidify. Hence Kendal Mint cake was born.

The cake, which is more of a bar, has been making exhausted hikers and climbers happy ever since and can often be found at the bottom of many of the Lake Districts most famous fells and mountains to this day. Some have even gone as far as to say that this is the world's first energy bar.

Arts and Culture

Quaker tapestry museum

Those that hail from Kendal have always been creative people, so it stands to reason that the town has an excellent collection of galleries, museums and art centres with exhibitions all year round.

From music to comedy, Kendal has a vibrant and inspiring arts and culture scene. All of its venues are weather friendly where you can visit an internationally renowned art exhibition, learn the areas history and heritage or head to a concert.

Abbot Hall, located on the banks of the River Kent, is one of Britain’s prominent small art galleries, set in a beautifully restored Grade I-listed Georgian house. The gallery holds an exceptional collection of 18th-20th century fine art and runs an imaginative temporary exhibition programme throughout the year.

The Brewery Arts Centre is another great place to visit and has hosted thousands of exciting and vibrant artistic events with many famous names gracing the stages of the Malt Room and the theatre performance spaces.

Must visits also include the Quaker Tapestry Museum and Lakeland Museum.

Sizergh Castle in Kendal

History

As far back as the first century, the Romans settled and built a fort on the bank of the River Kent. As the generations grew, a town began to form around the fort and survived into the fifth century after the Romans had left. There is evidence of a thriving community here in the Domesday Book in 1086.

Its first market came in 1189 when King Richard I granted the Baron of Kendal, Gilbert Fitz-Renfried, the right to hold a weekly market which helped to guarantee the town's prosperity.

It's not without a bloody history though -  in 1210 Scottish raiders under the Earl of Fife devastated Kendal and The Scottish ransacked the town, and killed women and children who had sought refuge in the church.

Kendal managed to survive however, and became the centre of the medieval wool trade. This was the lifeblood of Kendal and the surrounding area until it diminished in the 18th century but Kendal was an important trading centre and became a prominent shoemaking and snuff manufacturer.

Some of the amazing historical sites you can visit are Kendal Castle, Castle Howe, Sizergh Castle, Levens Hall and Abbot Hall to truly get a sense of belonging.

Kendal Walks

The River Kent in the Little Aynam area of Kendal

Kendal has an exceptional variety of walks for residents and visitors to embark on if they feel the need to escape for a while and get back to nature. Luckily they are all within a ten mile radius and are of varying levels of difficulty.

The Kendal Ten Bridge Walk takes you over several bridges where you can also see a castle and a ski slope. A walk at that starts at the village of Burneside will take you past the River Kent as well as the Elba Monument. If you manage to get to Brigsteer, a walk that begins here allows you to see some of the the most famous landmarks of the Lake District and surrounding area and on a clear day you can view the Lakeland Fells, the Langdale Pikes, the Kent Estuary and Morecambe Bay.

There a plethora of amazing walks you can take in and around Kendal so do do your research.