Shortlist symbol Add to shortlist button.

Why Cumbria is #theplacetobe this Christmas

As the home of two World Heritage Sites, there’s no better place than the Lake District, Cumbria to experience Christmas in 2018. For unique festive experiences which will help you soak-up the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of this magical time of year, here are our top 11 suggestions. Why? Because a top ten just isn’t enough:

1: Blow your own bauble!

Shaping Glass with Cumbria CrystalEvery Christmas tree should have at least one bauble with a backstory – so why not blow your own? Ulverston’s Cumbria Crystal offers visitors the chance to create their very own decoration under the watchful eye of a glass-blowing instructor. Use your own lung-power to inflate the molten glass before adding the finishing touch of a glass hook so it can be hung proudly in your house. Just don’t drop it on the way home.

2: Merry Christmas Guvnor

Ulverston DickensianTake a unique trip back in time to the cobbled streets of Ulverston – birthplace of Stan Laurel, where things don’t get much more festive than the town’s annual Dickensian Festival. With townsfolk in the spirit of the Scrooge and A Christmas Carol era, you’d be forgiven for thinking 2018 had ceased to exist. With a parade through the streets, mulled wine overflowing and chestnuts roasting on open fires, events don’t get much more traditional than this (November 24 & 25).

3: Enjoy the high-life this winter

HelvellynExperience Christmas at 3,000 feet while getting educated in winter skills on the 950 metre-tall Helvellyn – all under the watchful eye of Lake District National Park mountain rangers. Participants will be joined by a Fell Top Assessor who will teach guests the art of staying in one piece while taking on winter walking – all in the vicinity of the Lake District’s infamous Striding Edge, throughout the season.

4: Extra-special eating in sticky toffee territory

Sticky Toffee PuddingBoasting two restaurants with a total of three Michelin stars between them, take your tastebuds to the village of Cartmel for its annual Christmas Food Market. Sure to satisfy the festive foodie in all of us, the home of Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding promises to offer a festive treats experience like no other (December 21).

5: Walk in the shadow of the Earl

Askham HallFormerly home to the Earl of Lonsdale, the grade 1 listed Askham Hall and Gardens will come alive with the sights and sounds of a traditional festive market this Christmas with more than 50 stalls taking residence in the grounds of this 13th hideaway on the border of the Lake District National Park (December 2).

6: Get festive in the City of the Lakes

Carlisle, city of the LakesSee in Christmas where the city and the countryside go hand in hand at Carlisle, the city of the Lakes. Away from the larger cities, an impressive five-day Christmas Market (from November 30) means you’ll have plenty of time to make your mind up about what gifts to pick up. Then, children and adults alike can have their photo taken inside a giant photo bauble, free of charge (December 17-22).

7: Create bespoke festive décor

Blackwell Arts & Crafts houseRelease your inner artist at Blackwell, the famous arts & crafts house at Bowness-on-Windermere, where you can create Christmas collages and cards inspired by the Grayson Perry’s ceramics on display. Taking place right throughout December until Christmas Eve, it’s a unique chance to add a real personal touch to this year’s Christmas decorations around your home using the materials provided.

8: Spend Christmas in Peter Rabbit’s homeland

HawksheadHow about spending Christmas among the landscape that inspired Beatrix Potter to write the tales of a certain rabbit who you may have heard of… The Hawkshead Christmas Fair offers a picture-perfect and traditional Christmas experience in this stunning Lake District village on the western side of Windermere. The fair and its accompanying Beer Festival is the perfect place to eat, drink, and of course, be merry (December 1 & 2).

9: Wonderful Windermere

Windermere Christmas MarketsJust five minutes from England’s longest lake, the Windermere Christmas Celebration is back for the third year in a row, offering shoppers the chance to pick up seasonal gifts and hot food before topping off the trip with a cruise on Windermere itself. Delicious offerings will be available across the weekend with live music and on-street entertainment adding to the merry atmosphere (December 8 & 9).

10: What the Dickens?

Peter Macqueen's show 'What the Dickens'The first performance of actor Peter Macqueen’s newly written one-man show, ‘A Dickens of a Christmas’ will get its first outing at the Lingholm Estate near Keswick this December. Fresh from performing 'The Scrooge Diaries' at Theatre by the Lake, Peter will read excerpts from the legendary novelist's festive sketches and stories (December 21). Book by calling 017687 71206 or by emailing

11: Christmas collides for three counties

Kirkby Lonsdale Chrsitmas MarketsPop-up wooden chalets set the scene at the Kirkby Lonsdale Christmas Fair Weekend, where every stall resembles a grotto! The annual festive gathering takes place just off the M6, uniquely placed on the Cumbria-Yorkshire-Lancashire border (November 30 - December 2).
For more ideas and inspiration about how to make the most of the winter in The Lake District, Cumbria, check out


Blog by Peter Storry

Like what you see? Follow us