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Although it rests at an entirely different end of the spectrum – and, geographically, the country – the Lake District is every bit as ingrained in British culture as the likes of London. You won’t find any sprawling concrete jungles and you won’t be involved in the tedium of a morning rush hour, but the area’s quintessential English charm is any Anglophile’s dream. Coupled with astonishing natural beauty to rival anywhere in the world, you really need no further excuse to pay a visit; but if your time there coincides with one of the district’s lauded annual events, it can only enhance your experience.
As you might expect, the events and festivals that take place in the Lake District aren’t quite the raucous affairs so easily associated with the term. Rather they focus on the characteristics that give the area its unique complexion, with culture, music and the great outdoors taking precedent.
The Lake District's top five annual events
Words by the Water
Lovers of English literature – or indeed literature from any corner of the globe – will be right at home at Keswick’s annual Words by the Water Festival. The ten-day event runs every March, incorporating a wide variety of book-based activities; highlights include writer-run workshops, readings and discussion groups. The programme usually sees its fair share of national celebrities make a modest, stripped-back appearance to discourse about their favourite works, as well as both budding and established authors delving into Q&A forums with fans.
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Keswick Mountain Festival
That halcyon period when the first shades of summer are beginning to shine through is arguably when the Lake District is at its finest visually – and the organisers of the Keswick Mountain Festival have capitalised wonderfully on this. The five-day May event originally revolved around a host of gruelling sporting activities on and around the fells and waters of Keswick, but has expanded to include live music, camping and a wealth of guest speakers. It may lack the scale of the Glastonburys and Doningtons of the world, but the surroundings are second to none.
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Mountain Film Festival
In truth, the Kendal Mountain Festival consolidates a selection of diverse and varied activities, but it’s the Film Festival for which it is primarily held in such high esteem. Sticking with the general theme of the November event, the films on display are predominantly geared towards outdoor adventures – Mother Nature in all her glory – often with stars dropping by to discuss their feats in person. Expect to be mesmerised by a master class in all things mountaineering.
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Lakes Alive is a relatively new addition to the region’s annual calendar, but has already established itself far and wide as one of the best. With events held throughout the summer – and sometimes even beyond – musicians, comedians and art troupes transform the landscape all around the Lake District with a variety of colourful and vibrant performances. The event also includes the quirky Mintfest (affectionately named for Kendal’s much beloved cake) during which the town hosts its very own centralised gathering of street performers and exhibits.
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Nothing quite screams “rural England” like a farmer, a collie and a throng of bewildered sheep traipsing around a field! In Cumbria, the practice is thankfully still going strong. Whatever time of year you visit, you are almost guaranteed to witness some event should you so desire, particularly throughout the summer months. Alston, Cockermouth, Winton and Stavely all stage their own variations between May and September, so keep your eyes peeled for one of the country’s oldest and most bizarrely endearing country sports!
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Image 1 © summonedbyfells
Image 2 © melissa gray
Image 3 © Ali-Ann Harrington
Image 4 © Lakes Alive
Lake District Accommodation
Rothay Cottage is a terraced cottage in a quiet lane close to the centre of Ambleside in the Lake District National Park. The cottage sleeps four people and has one double bedroom, one twin and a family bathroom. There is also a fitted kitchen and...
Top Lodge is a delightful log cabin on a wonderful holiday park in Cumbria. With two bedrooms, including one twin and one super king-size double, this cottage can sleep four people. The rest of the cottage includes a family bathroom and an open pl...
2 West View is a delightful terraced cottage situated on the outskirts of the pretty village of Allithwaite, near Cartmel, on the stunning Cartmel Peninsula and can sleep five people. The cottage is set over three floors and has a first floor king...
Mews Cottage is a cosy property in Pooley Bridge. The cottage has a double room and a single room, a bathroom, a kitchen with dining area and a sitting room with open fire. Outside is off road parking for two cars and a walled garden with furnitur...
10 Croft Courtyard is a semi-detached, single-storey cottage situated in the village of Clappersgate, one mile from Ambleside. The cottage sleeps two people and has open plan studio accommodation with a double bed, dining area and sitting area. Th...
High Moor Cottage is a semi-detached cottage in Bowness-on-Windermere. The cottage has a double room with adjoining room offering French windows and a Juliet balcony, and a twin room which can be offered as a super king-size double if required. Th...
Ghyll Bank Byre is a quality pet-friendly barn conversion with wonderful views, less than two miles from Staveley. There is a ground floor double room with en-suite, a family room with en-suite and a twin which can be a super king-size double with...
Town End Farmhouse is a detached 17th century cottage located in the Lake District National Park, 1.3 miles from Newby Bridge. Benefiting from four comfortable bedrooms and two bathrooms, this cottage can sleep up to eight people. The cottage also...
3 Boddencroft is a charming cottage in Grange-over-Sands, with lovely views. There is a king-size double room on the ground floor and a twin and single on the first floor. There is a ground floor bathroom, and an open plan living area with kitchen...
Lake Vista Lodge is a lovely detached lodge with uninterrupted views of the lake in South Lakeland Leisure Village and it can sleep four people. The all ground floor lodge has a double bedroom with a dressing room and an en-suite shower room, a tw...