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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
This new luxury first floor apartment is south facing and is located in a quiet conservation area in the historic market town of Kendal close to all local amenities, and is well situated for exploring the Lakes. Allocated private parking is provid...
Nell Gwyn Cottage is located in a wing of Orton Hall, a Jacobean Mansion in Orton, Cumbria. It is approached via an automatic gate along a tree lined drive in seven acres of private grounds. It is a couple of minutes from the village and is conven...
Our self catering cottages have featured in Country Living Magazine's 'Great Escapes'. They are comfortable, well furnished and are maintained to the highest standards by the resident owners.
Each cottage was created from a range of ancient stone...
Rose Cottage has been lovingly renovated, it is a traditional Lake District property with a modern, quirky interior. It is situated on a private lane backing onto a woodland making it a very peaceful spot. It is only a short walk from Windermere t...
Set in a peaceful and idyllic location Cobblestone Cottage and Wallers barn are within easy reach of Windermere, Kendal and the dales. Offering 3* accommodation the Barn Conversions are spacious properties for family and friends. Suitable for all ...
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...
Welcome to our fantastically located Lakeland holiday home
Set at the head of the Langdale Valley in some of England's most beautiful scenery this modern terrace sleeps up to 6 people in comfort. Ample parking. Quaint little village of Chapel Stil...
Visit Badger's Way if you want a holiday to remember! Our lodge provides guests with the opportunity to enjoy watching badgers at close proximity - a few inches away on the other side of the French windows!! Magical evenings - great for families!'...
Situated on the edge of Caldbeck, with views across open countryside yet within easy strolling distance of all village amenities, this 3 bedroom 5 star (+ VisitBritain Gold Award 2012-13) 18C luxury cottage with charming period features and fittin...
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...