May is one of the best times to visit the Lake District. The weather is more favourable, the spring flowers, including the spectacular bluebells, are in full bloom, Herdwick lambs can be seen frolicking through the fields, and outside of the May half term time, it’s generally quieter than in June, July, and August. There are also two bank holiday Mondays!

This month we have an exciting programme of events taking place throughout the national park. There are festivals galore with sausages, whisky, jazz, print art, and vehicles all celebrated this month. Check out the full list below.

Monty Python’s Spamalot, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

Monty Python’s Spamalot, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

Eric Idle adapted the ever-popular film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail to create Spamalot, a musical that takes an irreverent look at the life of King Arthur. The original Broadway production won numerous awards and accolades, and the show is currently on tour in the UK. Coming to Keswick in early May at the Theatre by the Lake, the hilarious show features wonderfully funny cover versions of famous songs, as well as performances of some of Monty Python’s best loved melodies.

  • Date: Tuesday, 1st to Saturday, 5th May, 2018
  • Time: 7.30pm
  • Cost: £8-£17
  • Tickets / More Information: www.theatrebythelake.com

Art Workshop: Livestock in the Landscape, Eycott Hill Nature Reserve, Penrith

Art Workshop: Livestock in the Landscape, Eycott Hill Nature Reserve, Penrith

Eycott Hill nature reserve sits on the eastern fringes of the Lake District and affords some majestic upland views. The perfect place then to learn more about sketching livestock in their outdoor habitat. This workshop is led by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust along with artist, Alex Jakob-Whitworth, and will enable you to hone your skills in charcoal sketches of livestock in landscape drawings. All materials will be provided but you will need to bring your own packed lunch and weather appropriate clothing. Booking is essential.

Jason Manford: Muddle Class, The Sands Centre, Carlisle

Jason Manford: Muddle Class, The Sands Centre, Carlisle

Comedian, Jason Manford, best known for his appearances on panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats and as a presenter on The One Show is currently touring Britain for the first time in five years. In his latest tour that is coming to Carlisle this May, Manford explores what it’s like to grow up “working class” to later discover that part of him has now become “middle class” and the confusion this can cause.

  • Date: Friday, 4th May, 2018
  • Time: 7.30pm
  • Cost: £27.50 (Additional booking fees apply)
  • Tickets / More Information: www.thesandscentre.co.uk

The Cumberland Sausage Festival, Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass

Cumberland Sausage Festival, Muncaster Castle

Now in its fourth year, the Cumberland Sausage Festival at Muncaster Castle has become a firm favourite in the Cumbrian festival calendar. This three-day festival celebrates not just the Cumberland sausage, but also the fantastic food heritage that Cumbria has. Along with a range of gourmet and specialist suppliers from the region hosting market stalls for visitors to try and buy their products, there will be entertainment throughout the weekend.

Celebrity chefs will be attending and hosting masterclasses, and visitors can try their hand at archery, watch a chainsaw carving demonstration, go on a fairground ride, and much more. Plus, there will be a whopping number of artisan sausages!

The Lakeland Festival of Light, Cat Bells, Near Keswick

The Lakeland Festival of Light, Cat Bells, Near Keswick

The Lakeland Festival of Light is your chance to form part of an iconic image, whilst raising money for charity. Each year Lakeland Mountain Guides organise this special event to raise money for PHASE who work with communities in Nepal. Participants are invited to join hundreds of others in a mass walk to line the ridge of Cat Bells in the early evening.

Each participant will receive a piece of coloured acetate to hold over their head torch with the aim to create a line of colourful light along the Cat Bells ridge that can be seen for miles around. Although participation is technically free, walkers are asked to donate £20 in advance of the event. There will be a raffle on the night with some amazing prizes to be won, donated by local businesses. Walkers will meet in Keswick initially.

Force Crag Mine Open Day, Braithwaite, Near Keswick

Force Crag Mine Open Day, Braithwaite, Near Keswick

The last working mineral mine in the Lake District closed for good in 1990, after providing minerals for pencils, munition, pipes and more for nearly 200 years. Today, Force Crag Mine is a scheduled ancient monument in the care of the National Trust. Access is via a narrow track that leads from the village of Braithwaite up to the abandoned mine buildings.

The Trust opens the buildings up for a guided tour just five days per year, and the first one of 2018 takes place this May. There is no parking at mine, and it is 2½ miles from the road. The Trust offers a shuttle service on tour days up to the buildings from Noble Knott car park on Whinlatter Pass. Alternatively, you can walk or bike along the track. Not suitable for young children or babies.

  • Date: Saturday, 5th May 2018
  • Time: Tours run regularly throughout the day from 10.30am
  • Cost: £6, including National Trust members; Cash payment only
  • Tickets / More Information: www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Printfest 2018, Coronation Hall, Ulverston

PrintFest 2018

Printfest is an annual event that brings together some of the UK’s top printmakers in a large exhibition that celebrates their work. Visitors can meet the artists and purchase an original piece of artwork that has been created using printing blocks or plates. There will also be guest speakers, and a chance to win your very own print making starter kit.

  • Date: Saturday, 5th & Sunday, 6th May 2018
  • Time: 10am-5pm (4pm on Sunday)
  • Cost: £5
  • Tickets / More Information: www.printfest.uk

Penrith Lions May Day Carnival, Penrith

Penrith Lions May Day Carnival

What better way to celebrate the May bank holiday than with a carnival? Penrith Lions have been organising a May Day carnival for nearly 40 years and it’s a highly popular event. There will be street stalls, live music, dancing, vintage vehicle displays, a parade, and the crowning of the May Queen. The event is free but there will be plenty of donation buckets around on the day, with the money raised going to support local causes such as hospices and youth projects.

The Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival, Keswick

The Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival, Keswick

The 27th Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival takes place this May in various venues across the town. The packed programme will see each venue host three lots of two and a half hour sessions each day, with some well known and much-loved artists performing. Headline acts include Enrico Tomasso, Denise Gordon, Marla Dixon, and Keith Nichols.

Throughout the festival, there will also be free, open-air performances of music and dance amongst Keswick’s central streets. The Keswick Brewing Company has even created a new beer especially for the festival, Jazz Session, which will be available to buy at many of the festival’s venues.

Kendal Walking Festival 2018

Kendal Walking Festival 2018

After a successful first run last year, the Kendal Walking Festival returns this May. The festival gives visitors the chance to book onto one of a number of guided walks with something to suit most abilities. Choose a gentle short stroll exploring Kendal itself or opt for a strenuous 13-mile walk around the Kentmere Horseshoe, one of the most remote walks in the Lake District, taking in 8 Wainwright peaks.

There are also a number of talks on topics that include the town’s history and the work of the mountain rescue teams. Walks must be booked and paid for in advance, with the exception of the free events.

  • Date: Friday, 11th to Sunday, 13th May, 2018
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: Walks & talks range from Free to £10
  • Tickets / More Information: www.kendalwalkingfestival.co.uk

Windermere Boat Show, Ferry Nab, Windermere

Windermere Boat Show, Ferry Nab, Windermere

A brilliant opportunity to try out various water sports, the Windermere Boat Show returns to the shore of England’s largest lake this May. Throughout this event, a number of local activity companies will be offering taster sessions in kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, sailing, windsurfing, and wakeboarding. There will also be numerous boats on display, from large luxury yachts to small sailing boats, and a small market offering artisan food and gifts.

The Lakes Spring Whisky Festival, Lakes Distillery, Near Bassenthwaite

The Lakes Spring Whisky Festival, Lakes Distillery, Near Bassenthwaite

Celebrate World Whisky Day this May at the Lakes Distillery near Lake Bassenthwaite where they are holding a spring whisky festival. The festival coincides with the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle, and therefore, the distillery will be broadcasting the event and serving up cocktails. There will also be live music and entertainment, and visitors are invited to book onto a whisky tour to learn more about the work of the distillery. A limited number of people will also be able to book onto a whisky masterclass.

  • Date: Saturday, 19th to Sunday, 20th May, 2018
  • Time: 10am-5pm
  • Cost: Free Entry, Tours £12.50, Masterclasses £50
  • Tickets / More Information: www.lakesdistillery.com

Cumbria International Motor Show, Crooklands Showground, Kendal

Cumbria International Motor Show, Crooklands Showground, Kendal

The Cumbria International Motor Show has seen impressive growth since it started in 2012 with just 25 cars. This year’s festival will be attended by over 600 vehicles, including a great number of iconic models from makers, such as Porsche, Jaguar, Lotus, and Tesla.

As well as the cars on display, visitors will be able to browse trade stands stocking car accessories, gifts, and memorabilia, and there will be plenty of stalls selling hot and cold food and drinks. There will be live music, guest speakers, and children’s entertainment, making this event ideal for the entire family.

  • Date: Sunday, 20th May, 2018
  • Time: 10.30am-4.30pm
  • Cost: Online in advance – Adult £6, Child £3; On the gate – Adult £10, Child £5
  • Tickets / More Information: www.espcarclub.co.uk

Tree Tales for younger children at Grizedale Forest

Tree Tales at Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Forest are offering a lovely way of encouraging children to explore the forest this May half term with this special tour. Join a guided walk through the forest and learn about the fact and fiction of the woodland and the role that woodland has played in fairy-tales. This event is suitable for all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Dogs also welcome. 

  • Date: Thursday, 31st May, 2018
  • Time: 11am-12pm
  • Cost: £1
  • Tickets / More Information: www.forestry.gov.uk

Ireby Festival, North West Lake District

Ireby Festival, North West Lake District

The tiny village of Ireby at the edge of the north-western Lake District seems to be an unlikely place for a music festival, being largely off the beaten track. However, this charming village is home to an annual, intimate festival each year which celebrates folk music and attracts award winning artists from around the world. This year’s festival features over 20 acts, as well as unique workshops and story-telling performances.

  • Date: Friday, 25th & Saturday, 26th May, 2018
  • Time: Performances from 2pm on the 25th
  • Cost: From £20
  • Tickets / More Information: www.irebyfestival.co.uk

Muncaster Festival, Ravenglass

Muncaster Festival, Ravenglass

Each Spring Bank Holiday Muncaster Castle holds its annual festival that sees jesters battle it out to earn the title of “Fool of Muncaster”. This family friendly event will see the jesters perform various acts for your entertainment, including juggling, sword swallowing, and more. In addition, the festival hosts a circus top with circus performances and workshops, unique sound sculptures, live music, archery, children’s craft activities, and stalls selling a range of food, drink, and crafts.

  • Date: Sunday, 27th to Tuesday, 29th May, 2018
  • Time: 10am-4pm
  • Cost: Adult £12.50-£15.50, Children 5-15 years £6.30-£7.80, Children Under 5 Free (Discounts available when booked in advance online)
  • Tickets / More Information: www.muncaster.co.uk/muncaster-festival

Taste Cumbria Ulverston

Taste Cumbria Ulverston

This spring Bank Holiday the streets of Ulverston are once again filled with the smells and sights of food glorious food as the Taste Cumbria team return once more. There will be a producers’ market with plenty of local goods to buy, hot food stands, children’s activities, a vintage tea room where you can enjoy afternoon tea for just £8.50, whilst a local brewery will be taking over specialist beer shop, Beerwolf, to give you the opportunity to sample various ales. Plus, there will be plenty of demonstrations, masterclasses and pop up restaurants.

  • Date: Saturday, 26th & Sunday, 27th May, 2018
  • Time: 10am-4pm
  • Cost: Entrance is free, but charges apply for masterclasses and other activities
  • Tickets / More Information: www.tastecumbria.com