Christmas Markets in the Lake District

Christmas Market

Christmas Markets originated in Germany during the medieval period, and are usually associated with the start of advent. Today, most of Germany’s towns hold a Christmas market, and along with stalls selling a range of gifts, there is usually music, dancing, and children performing scenes from the nativity.

In the UK, Christmas markets have seen a rise in popularity in recent years. Originally limited to some of the larger cities, they are now popping up across the country in many smaller towns. Many import traditions from Germany, with some of the larger markets hosting traders from the continent. Others have developed their own style.

Where to Find Christmas Markets in the Lake District

In Cumbria, there are a number of markets taking place across the county. Many coincide with other events, such as a town’s Christmas light switch on, or a visit from Santa. With most stocking locally produced goods, they provide a fantastic boost for the local economy, and you can usually pick up some unique and interesting gifts for your loved ones.

Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival

Charles Dickens’ tale, A Christmas Carol, is brought to life each year in Ulverston, though thankfully without the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. This ancient market town turns back the clocks to the Dickensian era with a Christmas market like no other. There is street entertainment, residents and workers dressed in Dickensian costume, horse drawn carriages, a Victorian Helter Skelter, and a selection of street food that wouldn’t have been amiss in a real Victorian market. The highlight is the grand parade, where those dressed in costume march through the town. There are usually a range of family-friendly activities to choose from, and of course, the market with its fabulous selection of gifts.

 

Windermere Christmas Market

  • Location: Victoria Street, Windermere
  • Date: Saturday, 8th & Sunday, 9th December, 2018
  • Times: Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 10am-4pm
  • More Informationwww.windermerechristmas.co.uk

Run entirely by a group of dedicated volunteers, the Windermere Christmas Market first took place in 2016, and work has since taken place following the success of this first market to ensure the growth and development of future events. Along with around 50 stalls selling a range of goods produced both locally and from Europe, you will find live music and other street performers. There is a shuttle bus in operation from car parks in the larger Bowness-On-Windermere, and plenty of stands selling hot food.

 

Ambleside Christmas Lights

Far more than just a Christmas Market, this annual event in Ambleside combines a traditional shopping experience with a Christmas light switch on, cruises on the lake, a lantern parade, and a visit from the guest of honour – Santa Claus himself – complete with his sleigh. The day ends in spectacular style with a large fireworks display. There are family-friendly activities throughout the day, as well as live music and other street performances, whilst the market sells a range of culinary delights and other gifts.

 

Hawkshead Christmas Fair

The small village of Hawkshead brims with festival cheer each year, usually during the first weekend of December when a Christmas Fair takes over the ancient streets. You will find both indoor and outdoor markets with over 50 stalls selling food, crafts, and other gifts. There is also a lantern parade, live music, and street performance from circus acts and other artists. Children can meet Santa in his grotto, whilst grown-ups can indulge in the mini beer festival that takes place in village’s pubs.

 

Keswick Victorian Fayre

  • Location: Market Place & Packhorse Court, Keswick
  • Date: Sunday, 2nd December, 2018
  • Times: 10.30am-4pm

This is a fantastic opportunity to combine some Christmas shopping with support for local charities. During this event, around 30 local and national charities have stalls where you can browse their goods that include a selection of homemade Christmas crafts and cakes. In addition, there is a nativity scene, and children will be delighted with the fun fair and the arrival of Father Christmas, complete with his live reindeer. There are also street performances throughout the day. Traders and other workers will be dressed in Victorian costume, and visitors are invited to do the same.

 

Taste Cumbria Christmas: Cockermouth

Taste Cumbria run a series of food festivals throughout the year at various locations across Cumbria, and the food markets are usually brimming with the very best that local producers have to offer. The Taste Cumbria Christmas festival takes the success of these food festivals and mixes it with some festive cheer, resulting in a popular event where you can pick up some delicious goods to accompany your traditional Christmas feast. Craft stalls offer a range of gifts, and there are fairground rides for children. A beer and fizz tent provides some winter warmth, and you will also find a number of hot food stands.

 

Carlisle Christmas Market

A Christmas market is held each year in Carlisle City Centre, taking over much of the pedestrianised area. Along with a range of international goods, the market showcases gifts and edibles created here in Cumbria. The market is usually a five-day long event, and coincides with the arrival of late night shopping on Thursday evenings, giving shoppers more chance to buy gifts for their loved ones.

 

Kendal Christmas Light Switch On & Market

  • Location: Kendal Town Centre
  • Date: 2018 Date TBC
  • Times: TBC

At the end of November, a huge celebration is held in the town of Kendal, when the festive lights are turned on for the first time in the season. The event is a daylong affair, with a Christmas market taking place throughout the day, selling a range of locally produced goods. In addition, there is live music and entertainment and the day finishes with the grand switch on.

 

Penrith Winter Festival

  • Location: Various Locations; Market at New Squares in Penrith
  • Date: 2018 Date TBC
  • Times: Varies

The Penrith Winter Festival is a month-long extravaganza that aims to bring festive sparkle to the town and its surroundings. It begins at the end of November with a day of celebration that includes the town’s Christmas light switch on, and marks the commencement of a weeklong Christmas market. Here you can find a wonderful selection of goods. In addition, following the opening day, the town sees a range of Christmas festivities, including the arrival of Santa’s grotto, carol concerts, and Christmas plays.

 

Askham Hall & Gardens Christmas Market

Askham Hall is a luxurious hotel and spa near Penrith. The hotel hosts a Christmas market each year with stalls located both in the gardens and the medieval hall, selling a range of goods, largely produced in Cumbria. On the day, Father Christmas makes a special appearance, and the cafe is open selling mince pies and mulled wine.