By Victoria Brenan
Penrith has been praised as having the best high street by Great British Bake-Off host Mel Giedroyc.
She said she had been visiting the town “since the year dot” after her mum grew up in the northern Lake District.
As part of a campaign launched by the Daily Telegraph – Reinventing the High Street – Mel sung the praises of Penrith and said it had her favourite high street.
“My attachment to Penrith’s high street is part nostalgia,” she said. “My mum grew up in the northern Lakes and so I’ve been going to Penrith every summer since the year dot.
“Now, when I go back with my own children, I love the fact that Arnisons, the department store with more than a hint of Grace Brothers, is still there on Middlegate, and Grahams, the deli in Market Square, continues to serve you everything over the counter. But my reasons are not all sepia-tinted.”
She said Penrith had a tourist trade because of its proximity to the Lake District but was no “chocolate-boxey high street.”
“The red stone suggests something more practical and it retains a strong sense of its own identity that enables it to mix the old with the new and still stay real,” she added.
“There are chains and a Morrisons. Plus, it is a community place, with a real sense of local people getting on with things as the minutes slip by on the clock tower. It is resolutely normal, but it manages to make normal shopping feel as if it isn’t a chore.”