At the head of the Upper Eden Valley, a population of around 1,800 inhabitants enjoy life in the market town of Kirkby Stephen, home to the Kirkby Stephen Parish Church, known as the Cathedral of the Dales.
Visitors come to Kirkby Stephen to see the church and its spectacular cloisters, and to explore the Eden Valley. The site of the church is thought to have been used for the same purpose since Saxon times, with three churches having stood there in total. The current building, completed in 1240 and since renovated a number of times, includes monuments to the Musgrave and Wharton families, as well as a relief of the Norse god Loki.
Kirkby Stephen was granted its market charter in 1530 and the market, which takes place every Monday, remains an integral part of life in the town. The area in which Kirkby Stephen sits is sheep rearing country, and the `Tup Sales' that take place in the market square are celebrated each year by the people of the town.
Accommodation in Kirkby Stephen is available all year round in the form of traditional countryside cottages and is well utilised throughout the year by walkers who are keen to explore the Eden Valley. It is also a popular stopping point for walkers taking part in the Coast-to-Coast walk that was devised by Alfred Wainwright.