"Among the changing months, May stands confest / The sweetest, and in fairest colours dressed." So wrote Scottish poet James Thomson, and here in the Lake District, we’re inclined to agree. With May just around the corner we thought we would share with you some of the best reasons to come and visit England’s largest national park during this most splendid month.

1. Sausages

Cumberland Sausage

Specifically, the superior Cumberland Sausage. May Day Bank Holiday sees the return of the Cumberland Sausage Festival to Muncaster Castle, near Ravenglass. Celebrating the best that Cumbria has to offer your taste buds, the festival features local producers, cookery demonstrations, and sausage competitions. If sausages are not your thing, then don’t worry, you will be well-catered for with all of the other delights that are available to try and buy at the festival.

2. Herdwick Lambs

Herdwick Lamb

Herdwick sheep are truly special animals. Over hundreds of years these graceful silver creatures have been bred to be territorial so that they instinctively know to stay within a patch of land on the fells. This natural knowledge is passed on from one generation to the next, and May is the time of year when you are able to see the new generation of Herdwicks in lowland pastures before they are taken up to the fells.

3. Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival

Jazz Festival

The 26th Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival takes place from Thursday 11th May until Sunday 14th May, in venues across Keswick. Bringing the essence of New Orleans to Cumbria, the festival features performances from over 25 different artists, including jazz veteran Keith Nichols, as well as international artists and rising stars. 

4. Beating the Crowds

Blea Tarn

Blea Tarn

The busiest time of year for tourists in the Lake District is between June and August. In May, it is slightly quieter, but the weather has improved considerably with the establishment of spring, so this month is perfect for grasping a quiet corner of a lake or fell to yourself for a picnic.

5. The Cumbria International Motor Show

Luxury Car

If you enjoy the finer things in life, then you will love the Cumbria International Motor Show, taking place at the Westmorland County Showground, near Kendal, on Sunday the 14th of May. The show brings together exhibitors, enthusiasts, owners and buyers of luxury automotive brands. Get up close to some of the world’s fastest road cars, and browse the memorabilia that is on offer.

6. Blooming Bluebells, Blossoms, and More

Lake District Blooms

The Lake District is teeming with flowers in May. Woodland floors are carpeted with bluebells, public parks are filled with tulips, whilst the cultivated gardens of castles, stately homes and National Trust properties are rich with rhododendrons and cherry blossom trees. Check out our guide to for the best places to see bluebells or find information on stately homes with landscaped gardens here.

7. MoonFest – Kendal


Missed out on tickets for Glastonbury this year? Consider coming along to Moonfest instead. This two-day music festival takes place at Kendal Rugby Club on the 12th and 13th May. Okay, it might not have the line-up of bigger festivals, but it does feature some of Cumbria’s most popular local bands, great food, and a family zone with a play area. Best of all, the proceeds from the festival go to charity. 

8. Osprey Hatchlings


In 2001, a breeding pair of Osprey made their home in the woodlands above Bassenthwaite and have returned each year since. These spectacular birds of prey spend winter in Africa and make the perilous journey north to the UK each spring to breed. This year, a female osprey named KL laid her first egg on the 11th April and two further eggs have since followed.

With an incubation period of approximately 37 days, the Lake District will hopefully be home to some osprey chicks towards the end of May. A camera is stationed above the nest and you can view the live stream at Whinlatter Forest Park, or check out the Osprey Watch project website here.

9. Taste Cumbria Ulverston

Food Fair

Here in the Lake District we love food as much as we love the fells, which is why the weekend of the Spring Bank Holiday sees our second May food festival. This time, it’s the return of the Taste Cumbria Ulverston festival, which is now in its fourth year. You can sample goods from over 60 Cumbrian producers, and there is entertainment for the whole family.

10. Two Bank Holidays Means Ample Time to Explore

With two bank holidays in May there is more time to get out and explore everything the Lake District has to offer. Conquer a fell, such as the famous Helvellyn & Striding Edge as pictured above, visit a museum or let a professional lead you on a great outdoor adventure . If you're unsure where to stay, but are looking for something in particular check out our guide to hotels in the Lake District, categorised by luxury spa hotels, dog friendly hotels, hotels with swimming pools, and hotels with Jacuzzis, including options with private hot tubs, overlooking the stunning fells.