The clocks have been put back one hour, the trees are mostly bare having lost their golden leaves, and we have had the first frost of the season, which was surprisingly harsh for this early stage. We are pretty certain that winter has arrived here in the Lake District, and now we are just waiting for that first sprinkling of snow on Helvellyn. So, are we closed for business? Absolutely not! In fact, winter is a great time to visit this World Heritage Site, especially if you are seeking a short weekend break.

”Why would anyone want to visit the Lake District in winter?” You might ask. We can think of several reasons. Picture postcard scenes of snowy mountains, festive markets, cosy pubs with open fires serving warming grub, entire valleys devoid of any visitors, and dark, clear evenings in rural areas giving outstanding views out to far off galaxies.

Visiting us for October half term with the kids? You will find lots to keep young minds entertained here in the Lake District, and with Halloween just a few days after the half term holiday, many of the attractions are offering spooky themed events.

We have a had a couple of dreary weeks here in the Lake District, and as a result, it has been easy to miss the changing landscape, given that much of it has been shrouded in low cloud and rain. However, in between the showers, the sun does occasionally break through with streaks of light from the heavens illuminating the fells, trees, and lakes below.

October. The month when the clocks turn back, bringing darker evenings that are best spent huddled around a cosy fire. Summer has well and truly been vanquished, replaced with early morning mist and cool rain showers, whilst piles of golden brown leaves gather on the floor, slowly turning to mulch. Here in the Lake District, the tourist season has largely finished, with the exception being the October half term break in the latter half of the month.

It’s one of the Lake District’s newest attractions, and since it opened last summer it has enjoyed great success, despite being hidden away from most of the tourist hotspots. The Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden can be found in a hidden corner of Derwent Water, and has been quietly making a name for itself for providing good food amongst beautiful surroundings. We popped along to see what all the fuss was about.

In 2009, the small historic town of Cockermouth was decimated by flooding that swept through West Cumbria. Businesses were inundated, residents lost their homes, and a few miles down the road in Workington, hero and police officer, Bill Barker, tragically lost his life trying to rescue others on a collapsed bridge. In 2010, after months of building works in the independent shops that dominated the town’s Main Street, businesses and community groups in Cockermouth came together to try and declare the town open for business once more. They decided to hold a food festival to celebrate everything that Cumbrian producers had to offer, and Taste Cumbria was formed.

Earlier this year it was announced that the Lake District had been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This prestigious award was given in recognition of the unique heritage and outstanding natural beauty of the area. It was an amazing achievement and it’s likely to bring more tourists to the area. However, for those just outside of the national park boundary, there is perhaps a more subdued atmosphere, as once again, attention is drawn away from Cumbria’s main towns.

Whether you go by the meteorological start date, or the astronomical start date, there is little doubt that that here in the Lake District, autumn has arrived. Already it is noticeably darker in the evenings, the air is slightly cooler, and Skiddaw is ablaze with purple heather. July and August might be the most popular time for tourists to visit this World Heritage Site, but we think autumn is better for so many reasons.

September is the month that connects the end of the summer with the start of Autumn. Here in the Lake District the weather turns cooler. The brambles that adorn the pathways around White Moss are coated in bulging blackberries. The Ospreys that nest above Bassenthwaite begin their arduous journey back towards Africa, and the ancient woodlands around Wasdale start to turn hues of yellow and brown. Children return to school, and the big summer events draw to a close, but you will still find that there is plenty to see and do this month.