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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
Sunny Bank Farm is a spacious and beautifully furnished 17th century farmhouse set in large grounds, with lovely lawned garden and private frontage to Coniston Water. An open fire, central-heating and double-glazing throughout make it an excellent...
This 200 year-old traditional stone watermill has been cleverly converted into three individual and attractive cottage-style apartments. In an idyllic riverside setting beside tumbling torver beck, the apartments are full of character and retain m...
Sunny Bank Mill's stunning location beside Torver beck is hard to beat, and every single room enjoys wonderful views of the beck, or across the field to Coniston Water.
The large wooded field leading down to the lake provides a great area for dogs...
This newly renovated Boat House named Walkers has a large open plan lounge which has 2 very large settees, large TV with free view and a DVD player and WiFi. The dining area can seat up to 6 people. The kitchen is fully fitted with Dishwasher, Was...
This newly renovated Boat House has a large open plan lounge which has 2 very large settees, large TV with free view and a DVD player and WiFi. The dining area can seat up to 6 people. The kitchen is fully fitted with Dishwasher, Washer/Dryer, Mi...
Situated on the edge of Caldbeck, with views across open countryside yet within easy strolling distance of all village amenities, this 3 bedroom 18C luxury cottage with charming period features and fittings has been fully renovated to an exceptio...
Ellers cottage was fully rebuilt in 2002 in a local Lakeland style using local slate stone and natural oak. Today the cottage boasts; to the ground floor a large lounge with inglenook fireplace, a spacious modern kitchen, dining area, double bedro...
This lovely holiday home offers spacious, luxury accommodation comprised of three reception rooms and three bedrooms. Bedroom room 1 is a king size master bedroom with en-suite shower room, bedroom 2 is also a king size room and bedroom 3 is a del...
Moss Cottage is a newly refurbished traditional built Lake District cottage tucked away on a private lane. It is ideally situated 5 mins walk to Windermere village and it's many restaurants and shops. The property's garden backs onto a woodland ma...
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Only 6 miles from the M6 Kirkby Lonsdale is easily reac...