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Farming village, Viking settlement, railway town and tourist centre, Kirkby Stephen has undergone a surprising number of tranformations during its short history. Thankfully the result is a charming and interesting market town with plenty of local attractions.
Known as the 'Cathedral of the Dales', Kirkby Stephen's attractive church is a carefully preserved Norman building dating from 1240. It's the second largest church in Cumbria (the largest is located in Kendal). One unique feature of the church is the Loki Stone, a representation of the Norse god of mischief and one of the best preserved Viking artefacts in the UK.
Stenkrith Park is a lovely, tranquil green park cooled by waterfalls and pools. The Poetry Path leads through Stenkrith and out towards the village of Nateby - it is so named as it leads past a number of artefacts incsribed with poems written by noted local poet Meg Peacock.
Set in a picturesque spot on a bend in the River, Frank's Bridge is a great place to sit and watch the water flow by. Several pretty paths lead along the River Eden from Frank's Bridge to the villages of Hartley and Nateby.
The track to the Nine Standards Rigg, a rugged 2000ft fell with great views across the valley, begins just outside the village of Hartley, a ten-minute walk from Frank's Bridge. Those ascending to the summit will be greeted by nine great cairns, thought to be very ancient (possibly Roman). The standards' intended purpose is not entirely clear, but the most popular theory is that they were erected to give the appearance of an army approaching over the fells.
Small but lively music festival mostly showcasing local talent with some big names thrown in.
Annually, end of August/beginning of September
A series of guided walks and events.
Annually, during May
20 real ales served with live music from a selection of local and national bands at the Kings Arms.
From Friday 30th July to Sunday 1st August 2010
Kirkby Stephen's station is on the Settle-Carlisle line, connecting to destinations including Carlisle, Appleby and Leeds. Note that the station is over a mile away from the town, so unless you're happy to walk make sure that a bus connects with your train.
The main A685 route connects Kirkby Stephen to the A66 at Brough and the M6 at Tebay. A winding network of country lanes lead to many traditional Cumbrian villages in the surrounding countryside.
Kirkby Stephen is small and compact enough to explored entirely on foot, and this is a pleasant and relaxing way of seeing the sights.
There are plenty of Bed and Breakfast options in the area, also:
Internet cafés can be found in many cities and towns. All UK public libraries provide access, often branded as "People's Network", usually at no or little charge, though there is usually a time limit. Some hotels/hostels also offer internet access, including wifi, but most times at a cost. Using the internet on your personal phone can become expensive very quickly, with carriers charging 100's of times the local rate for data. To avoid these expensive roaming charges, you can hunt for wifi at a local cafe or hotel, or rent a mobile hotspot via several providers including DATAPiXY, and XCOM Global.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to the United Kingdom is: 44. To make an international call from the United Kingdom, the code is: 00
In case of emergency, call 999 or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming.
Although the number is declining, you can still find payphones in many public areas, especially stations, airports etc. You can usually pay with cash and sometimes by creditcard or, for international calls, special phonecards are still available.
Mobile phones are heavily used. The main networks are T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. 3G data services are available, usually priced per megabyte and coverage is usually very good in the UK, however it may lack in rural areas. Roaming on your personal phone plan can be expensive. To manage costs, consider purchasing a local UK SIM card for your phone. Several companies offer local SIM cards including Telestial, and CellularAbroad.
The Royal Mail provides postal services in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mail's store fronts are called Post Office and offer services ranging from sending letters and packages to foreign currency exchange. Use the branch locator to find the nearest Post Office branch. There will be at least one post office in any town/city and there are quite often post offices in larger villages. It's common for a post office to be incorporated into a grocery store, where there will be a small counter located at the back of the store for dealing with post related matters. All post offices are marked with signs that say 'post office' in red lettering. Post boxes can be found at any post office and standalone large red post boxes on the streets or red boxes in the sides of public buildings.
For sending packages overseas, it might be a good idea to check prices and services with international companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.
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