Come for the fells, stay for the festivals, theatrical performances, and arts events. The new decade kicks off with a packed programme of exciting events in the Lake District National Park and we’ve picked out the highlights. These are some of the most exciting events taking place around Cumbria this year, so if you are thinking about booking a Lake District holiday, take a peek to see if there is anything fabulous taking place during your visit!

Carlisle City of Lights

Carlisle City of Lights 2020

The first event of its kind for Carlisle, this exciting event will see buildings across the city centre illuminated with projections and lights creating visually stunning displays. The focal point for this event will be at Carlisle Cathedral which will host a light and sound exhibition from artistic collective Luxmuralis.

Here the exhibition will explore space and creation with a walk through galaxies and the universe created by light. Although most of the projections will be visible from public areas and therefore free of charge, the exhibition at the cathedral is a timed, ticketed event and advanced booking is recommended. The City of Lights project takes place between Wednesday, 12th and Saturday, 15th February 2020, with further details available at carlislecathedral.org.uk/city-of-lights.

The Cumbria Life Home & Garden Show

Cumbria Life Home & Garden Show 2020

We are not just lakes, we are a county of artists, designers, and entrepreneurs who create beautiful and bespoke pieces for your home. Once again, Rheged is hosting this annual celebration of home and garden designers in Cumbria, where over 100 exhibitors will be in attendance, providing you with Cumbrian inspiration for your home.

Your ticket will also include access to talks and demonstrations from professionals in a number of different areas of expertise. The show takes place on Friday, 13th March until Sunday, 15th March and more information is available at rheged.com/arts/clhomeandgarden-2020.

The Lakeland Festival of Light

Lakeland Festival of Lights 2020

Organised by Lakeland Mountain Guides, this is a fantastic event that sees hundreds of people line up along the ridge of Cat Bells after dusk, all equipped with torches and coloured acetate. The result is a line of colourful light along the ridge of the mountain that can be seen for miles. The aim of the event is to raise money for charity and last year around 2,000 people attended and raised over £16,000 for the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.

You don’t have to ascend to the top of the mountain, as volunteers are needed along the entire stretch of the ridge, from the bottom to the top. You do need to be prepared to walk for around 5-miles in darkness, and to spend a couple of hours standing in position whilst everyone is lined up. Professional photographers are placed around Derwent Water to capture the moment, with the images available to purchase after and the proceeds going to charity.

This event takes place on Saturday, 2nd May, 2020 and more information is available at facebook.com/events/keswick-cumbria/the-lakeland-festival-of-light-2020.

Keswick Mountain Festival

Keswick Mountain Festival 2020

The Keswick Mountain Festival is a vibrant celebration of the great outdoors. Taking place each year in May, it offers fans of outdoor and adventure activities to come together, listen to some music, share stories of their pursuits, and try new activities. The huge programme of events includes fell races, taster sessions in activities, such as canoeing, guided walks, talks by renowned adventurers and outdoor professionals, plus live music at Crow Park on the shores of Derwent Water.

The full line up is yet to be announced, but if you’re in the area in May then we definitely recommend that you check it out. The festival takes place from the 15th – 17th May, 2020 and more information can be found at keswickmountainfestival.co.uk.

Boot Beer Festival

Boot Beer Festival 2020

Image thanks to the Boot Beer Festival

3 pubs, 4 days, and 150 beers. What more can you possibly need? The Boot Beer Festival takes place each year in June and sees the Brook House Inn, the Boot Inn, and the Woolpack Inn at Eskdale Club together to host this fantastic event. Along with beers from Cumbrian breweries and beyond, the festival features live music and great food will be available throughout.

Families are welcome and the best way to visit the festival is by train on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, which takes you deep into the Eskdale Valley where you will find these remote inns. This year’s festival is the 20th event and takes place on the 4th of June until the 7th of June. Details will be available at facebook.com/bootbeerfestival.

The Cumberland Show

Cumberland Show 2020

Cumbria’s rich agricultural heritage was one of the main reasons why the Lake District was designated as a World Heritage Site a couple of years ago, and throughout the summer and autumn agricultural shows will be cropping up across the county. These shows give farmers and other producers a chance to show off their products, and for local communities to learn more about where their food comes from and celebrate their history through traditional sports and crafts.

One of the flagship events of the season is the Cumberland Show that attracts thousands of visitors each year. Along with livestock displays you will find dog shows, a ferret show, equestrian displays, wrestling competitions, a tug of war competition, children’s activities, craft displays, and much more. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the pivotal role agriculture plays in Cumbria and the Lake District. The Cumberland Show takes place on Saturday, 13th June, 2020 and more information can be found at cumberlandshow.co.uk.

Woolfest

Woolfest 2020

Yes, as the name implies, it’s a festival all about wool! We know this won’t appeal to everyone, but there’s more to Woolfest than meets the eye. It’s not just about buying and selling wool, the festival features an amazing range of designers and crafters who use this versatile natural fibre to create a stunning range of creations, from super soft scarfs to visually outstanding wall art.

What’s more, the festival offers visitors the chance to have a go at learning a new craft, such as felting or crochet, with workshops and talks available throughout the weekend. Woolfest 2020 will take place on the 26th and 27th June in Cockermouth and more information is available at woolfest.co.uk.

Kendal Calling

Kendal Calling 2020

Celebrating 15 years of music in the fields, Kendal Calling is Cumbria’s biggest music festival, attracting around 25,000 music fans. The festival features some of the biggest acts on the music scene, with previous performances from artists, such as the Manic Street Preachers and Tom Jones.

This year’s line up is still a top secret, but you can guarantee that there will be a diverse selection of performers that cover a number of music genres. The festival is set within the beautiful surroundings of the Lowther Estate and alongside the music you will find art installations, a cinema, a market, and a large children’s area that will be providing entertainment throughout the weekend. The second round of tickets are now on sale but don’t delay as they usually sell out fast.

Kendal Calling takes place from the 30th of July until the 2nd of August and more information is available at kendalcalling.co.uk.

Solfest

Solfest 2020

If you want an authentic festival experience, but also want to share that with your children, then Solfest is the festival for you. Set on the edge of the northern Lake District, this family friendly festival features live music across five stages and a large children’s area with crafts and other activities to keep them entertained throughout the weekend. Camping is available giving you the chance to get back to basics in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

The full line up has not been revealed but it has been confirmed that crowd favourite Basement Jaxx will be appearing on the main stage. Solfest returns to the North Lakes Country Park on the 23rd of August until the 25th of August, and more information can be found at solfest.org.uk.

Penrith & Ullswater Winter Droving

Penrith & Ullswater Winter Droving 2020

Led by Eden Arts, the Winter Droving is an annual cultural event that began eight years ago and has grown in popularity each year. The event harks back to a time when famers would bring their cattle down from the uplands down to Penrith and the lowlands beyond to sell and to breed.

Details for this year’s event are still to be confirmed but last year the festival consisted of a lantern parade at Ullswater on the Friday evening, followed by a day of events in Penrith on the Saturday, with a market, street performances, live music and dance, a larger lantern parade and a bonfire. The Winter Droving is scheduled to take place on the 24th of October, 2020 and you can find out more information as it is revealed at edenarts.co.uk/projects/winter-droving.