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Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: Abbot Hall Art Gallery Kirkland, Kendal LA9 5AL, England
Phone Number:
+44 1539 722464
See all hours
Mon - Sat 10:30 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

Abbot Hall was designed as a opulent house by architect John Carr of York...

Abbot Hall was designed as a opulent house by architect John Carr of York in 1759 for Colonel George Wilson of Dallam Tower. Recognised as Kendal's finest building, it was lived in by a succession of different families over the next century. It was purchased by the Kendal Corporation in 1896 for £3,750.

Together with the Castle and the Parish Church, Abbot Hall was the only Grade I listed building in Kendal. By the 1950s it was almost derelict and threatened with demolition until a group of local people formed a charitable trust and raised money to save it. It opened as a public art gallery in 1962.

Today Kendal’s finest historic house is an award winning art gallery. Our exhibitions showcase a variety of works by a wealth of international artists. The Georgian period rooms allow you to glimpse what life was like in another time and provide views of the River Kent and Kendal Castle.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 114 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 51
  • 35
    Very good
  • 20
  • 5
  • 1
Well worth a visit

Visited on a rainy day, it was warm and welcoming. The special exhibition was really good and the permanent display was very informative. The staff were friendly and helpful, they... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 February 2017
Macclesfield, United Kingdom
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114 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 112: English reviews
Macclesfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
145 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 February 2017

Visited on a rainy day, it was warm and welcoming. The special exhibition was really good and the permanent display was very informative. The staff were friendly and helpful, they had been affected by floods so the toilets and cafe were in temporary accommodation. The cafe had a limited range but it was very good.

Thank walkerhb
James D, General Manager at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, responded to this review

Hi, Thanks for your review. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the visit and got to see the National Gallery works we have on display at the moment! We are working hard to get the new facilities open as soon as possible so please do visit us again soon to see our next exhibition and try out the... More 

Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 January 2017

The gallery has an excellent permanent collection which includes some marvellous works by local George Romney (1734 - 1802); a huge 17th century triptych known as The Big Picture; and a good selection of modern works by the likes of Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach, Kurt Schwitters, Paula Rego & David Hockney. In addition the gallery stages 4 temporary exhibitions per... More 

Thank Roger W
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
83 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 December 2016

Thoughtful temporary exhibitions complement the permanent displays including a small, excellent collection of Kurt Schwitters' work from his time in Cumbria which is worth the visit in itself; I always make a point of looking at them again to understand his overlooked contribution to art. Great little gift and bookshop shop and staff and volunteers. Sanctuary away from the bustle... More 

Thank PDeZylva
Southport, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 November 2016

Having visited Kendal quite a few times I was really surprised to discover this excellent venue. The building itself is a delight,,elegant and quite grand. The art collection however is just a joy. It is varied and well presented , a good mix of traditional and modern work. Many of the artists I had not had the privilege to see... More 

Thank Gerri H
Matlock, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
106 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 November 2016

We bought a joint ticket to visit the Art gallery when we visited the adjacent Museum of Lakeland Life. Unfortunately, we arrived just before a new exhibition was being curated, so some of the rooms were closed – for which we received a reduction on the admission price. Because of that, I’ve decided to rate the gallery as “average”, although... More 

Thank PJandSJ
Naples, Florida
Level Contributor
690 reviews
395 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 254 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 October 2016

That's what I felt. Some very nice Romney's but not too much else. The exhibit on the 1st floor left us flat. Price is too high for what was there.

Thank cordyroy
Level Contributor
89 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 October 2016

This has to be one the best small galleries in the U.K Currently there is an extensive exhibition of Winifred Nicholson's art which is well worth a visit but there is also a permanent collection of first class art : Piper, Kaufman , Romney and a small but informative room of Kurt Schwitters .

Thank worbillyuk
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
71 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 October 2016

We visited this Art Gallery as an-add-on to the Museum of Lakeland Life, and it proved to be well worth the time and money. The portraits painted by George Romney are magnificent and the old photographs by Joseph Hardman are fascinating. We only got to visit Abbot's Hall because it was raining, but felt that it would have been a... More 

Thank Graham J
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
210 reviews
195 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 August 2016

Lovely looking building , visited on the late august bank holiday , it was quiet but maybe this was because it really nice outdoors . Would be a great place to spend an hour or two at if the weather is bad. Does not seem too welcoming to kids so best visited on your own . The quality of some... More 

Thank Peter e
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1,118 reviews
522 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,192 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 August 2016 via mobile

Abbot Hall has an art collection to rival any in the country, including some wonderful pieces by the celebrated 18th Century portrait painter, George Romney, who lived in Kendal at the end of his life. Adjacent, is the charming "Museum of Lakeland Life", with an eclectic mix of Cumbrian history and artefacts. The buildings were badly affected by the Kendal... More 

Thank Howi58

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