Lake District Events & Festivals

Get more from your stay in England’s most beautiful terrain

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

lake districtAlthough 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 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 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 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 Lakes Alive

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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Sheepdog Trials Sheepdog Trials

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

Luxury 5 star Visit Britain Lake District cottage - pets welcome

'A really fabulous cottage in a beautiful location'. 'The best holiday cottage we've stayed in in the Lakes( Visitor comments) BEDLINEN, TOWELS, FULL SKY TV PACKAGE, PHONE & WIFI - NO CHARGE This beautifully furnished cottage provides spacious ...

Enchanting Lake District cottage in stunning location - pets welcome

'Fantastic location, beautiful views, superbly presented, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.' (Visitor comment.) Bedlinen, towels, full SKY TV package, phone, broadband - no charge. Available to rent from 28 March to 1st November. Set in one...

Beautiful Newly Refurbished Cottage, 5 Mins Walk To Windermere High St

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...

Barn in Bracon Ash Nr Norwich - MICN8

STUNNING SPACIOUS BARN CONVERSION DATING BACK TO THE 18TH CENTURY SLEEPS 8 2 Set in the small village of Bracon Ash this barn has been beautifully restored retaining many original features including exposed beams and is furnished to a high standar...

Barn in Mulbarton - COAN8

1 OF 2 PROPERTIES CONVERTED BARN IN VILLAGE LOCATION SLEEPS 4 2 The barn has been skilfully converted into two comfortable holiday homes. The property overlooks what is reputed to be the largest common in Norfolk with a duck pond and children s pl...

Cottage in Gamblesby - CLOGG

CHARMING YET SPACIOUS PROPERTY WITHIN SOUGHT AFTER VILLAGE LOCATION Located just off the village green in the picture postcard village of Gamblesby this detached character cottage has been stylishly finished throughout whilst retaining much of its...

Cottage in Appleby-in-Westmorland - THSTA

LOVELY BRICK/STONE COTTAGE WITH LARGE GARDEN An imaginative conversion of half of the former Long Marton railway station (the owners live in the other half) built in 1875 as part of the famous Settle-Carlisle Railway. This cottage is a perfect hid...

Peaceful Quiet Setting, Lots Of Bird And Wildlife For Country Enthusiasts. Private Woodland Walk

Situated in a magical setting within 25 acres of woodland, fields and gardens and lakes this large comfortable holiday home made of traditional Lakeland stone with all bedrooms fully ensuite is perfect for country lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. ...

Luxury Lodge in Troutbeck Valley, Windermere

Fellside lodge is a Luxury self-catering lodge on Limefitt Park in Troutbeck, the best of the English Lake District. Close to Windermere, the lodge offers the ultimate holiday accommodation in beautiful surroundings. Privately owned, Fellside Lo...

Lodge with lake view, Windermere

Privately owned lodge with lake view situated in a peaceful area of White Cross Bay Leisure Park and Marina, a premier holiday park on the shores of Windermere, approx 15min from J36 off the M6, and 2 miles from Windermere on the A591 Ambleside Ro...
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