December is a magical time here in the Lake District, as businesses and attractions bring out the decorations and light up for Christmas. Many of this month’s events are, of course, focused around the festive season, with the man in red making so many appearances inquisitive young minds might start to question his legitimacy!

There are Christmas shows and concerts, craft workshops, and even a good old fashioned ceilidh. In addition, there are Christmas markets galore with added festive spirit making for a more pleasant Christmas shopping experience. However, if you prefer to avoid all mentions of the big “C” word until the absolute last minute, you will still find plenty of non-festive events taking place this month, including a rally and a poetry workshop.

Pantomime: Cinderella, The Green Room Theatre, Carlisle


Re-telling a classic tale with the added humour and bizarre twists that are required for pantomime, the Green Room Club in Carlisle are once again delighting audiences this festive season. Every year, this Carlisle theatre group puts on an extravagant production filled with giggles and hijinks all to help you get into the festive season. Be advised, audience participation is a requirement!

  • Dates: Thursday, 30th November to Saturday, 9th December, 2017
  • Time: 7pm (Weekends matinee at 2pm only)
  • Price: Adults £8, Concessions £7
  • Tickets / More information: Contact Carlisle Tourist Information Office on 01228 598 596

Carlisle Christmas Market, Carlisle City Centre

Young boy at candy stand in market

Carlisle is Cumbria’s only city and a popular shopping destination. The city’s retail credentials are enhanced in late November and early December with the inclusion of the annual Christmas market. Taking over the pedestrianised area of the city centre for 11 days, the market features around 30 stalls, largely hosted by local suppliers and producers. On Saturday, 2nd December, the market becomes even larger, as the Made In Cumbria collective join in with a number of farmers selling their produce, with street entertainment provided by Icicle Queens.

  • Dates: Thursday, 23rd November to Sunday, 3rd December, 2017
  • Time: 9am to 5pm (Sunday 11am to 4pm)
  • Price: Free entry
  • Tickets / More information:

Affordable Art, Staveley Roundhouse, Staveley Nr Kendal

Paint Brushes

Green Door are a collective of artists from Cumbria and Lancashire who work together to make art more accessible, holding various events throughout the year. This December, the group are taking over the Staveley Roundhouse Theatre near Kendal to provide affordable art for members of the public to browse and buy. All items will be priced at £150 or less with a plethora of mediums including paintings, prints, photographs, ceramics, glass, wood, jewellery, textiles and sculptures. A lovely opportunity to buy a unique Christmas gift whilst supporting local artists.

  • Dates: Friday, 1st to Sunday, 3rd December, 2017
  • Time: 10am to 4.30pm (4pm on Sunday)
  • Price: Free entry
  • Tickets / More information:

Christmas Advent Events at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-On-Windermere

Blackwell Christmas

Blackwell (Tony and Maureen Kemp /

Blackwell was originally built as a holiday home in the Arts & Crafts movement style. Today, it is a museum devoted to that movement, operated by the Lakeland Arts Trust. This December, the museum is celebrating advent with a different activity taking place each day in the 24 days before Christmas. Activities include a Christmas craft fayre, festive craft workshops, choir performances, and more. Most activities are included in the admission price, and some activities are ideal for children.

  • Dates: Friday, 1st to Sunday, 24th December, 2017
  • Time: 10.30am to 4pm (Sunday 11am to 4pm)
  • Price: Adults £8, Children Free
  • Tickets / More information:

Holker Celebrates Christmas, Holker Hall, Near Grange-Over-Sands

Holker Hall Christmas

Inside Holker Hall at Christmas

In December, the family home of Lord and Lady Cavendish will be open Friday to Sunday for three weeks to enable guests to explore this beautiful country hall that will be enhanced with spectacular Christmas decorations. A number of events will take place during these times, including wreath-making workshops, festive flower arranging demonstrations, children’s festive circus workshops with Santa visit, breakfast buffets with Santa, and a Santa grotto. Tickets for most of these events included admission to the hall.

  • Dates: General Entry 1st to 3rd, 8th to 10th and 15th to 17th, December, 2017; Wreath-Making 1st & 8th December; Flower Arranging 15th December; Children’s Circus 3rd & 16th December. Breakfast Buffet & Santa Grotto 9th & 10th December
  • Time: 10.45 for children, 11.45 for adults
  • Price: General Admission Adults £8.50, Children Free; Charges for various events range between £3.50 and £25 with most included in general admission
  • Tickets / More information:

Not Quite Christmas with VOCE, Coronation Hall, Ulverston

VOCE Christmas

Image thanks to

VOCE are a male vocal group with four members who have supported a number of well-known artists across the UK. The group performs popular music from the likes of Elton John, Take That, Snow Patrol, and more, all with a classical twist. This December, the group are celebrating the “Not Quite Christmas” period with a special concert at Ulverston’s Coronation Hall.

Keswick Live Advent

Now in its 4th year, the Keswick Live Advent returns this December as the town celebrates the countdown to Christmas. Each day between the 1st and 24th December one of the town’s businesses will be lit up in a festive style. In addition, there are various events taking place on almost all of the days, including a Santa boat race, a Victorian fayre, and festive storytelling sessions.

The Woolpack Vodka Party, Eskdale

Vodka with Lemon

Over in Eskdale, in the western Lake District, they certainly know how to warm up these dark December evenings. This December, the Woolpack Inn, perhaps better known for their popular beer festival, is hosting a three-day long vodka party. There will be over 80 different vodkas to try, as well as special infused vodka tasting sessions, special offers on vodka cocktails, and the option to match vodka with food accompaniments.

  • Dates: Friday, 1st to Sunday, 3rd December, 2017
  • Time: Noon until late
  • Price: Free
  • Tickets / More information:

Christmas at Lowther Castle, Near Penrith

Christmas at Lowther Castle

Lowther Castle is a great place to visit in December with lots happening to celebrate the festive period. There are wreath-making workshops, a special festive themed trail for children with a delicious gingerbread man to be won, late night Christmas shopping, Christmas markets and special gin tasting sessions. In addition, the castle’s courtyard will be transformed with a spectacular Christmas themed installation.

  • Dates: Late night shopping & wreath making Friday, 1st December; Christmas markets Sunday, 3rd, 10th & 17th December; Gingerbread trail Every day throughout December
  • Time: Varies
  • Price: Normal entrance price applies (Adults £9, Children £7)
  • Tickets / More information:

Christmas Owls by Moonlight at Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass

Owls by Moonlight

Owls by Moonlight at Muncaster Castle

The Hawk and Owl Centre is continuing to offer visitors a special chance to see their owls in their natural, nocturnal habitat during December. Start the evening with a two-course meal and a talk from one of the falconers in the Hawk and Owl Centre. After, you will witness two special flight displays by the birds who will glide silently through the darkness. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

  • Date(s): Saturdays in December, including the 2nd, 9th, 16th & 23rd
  • Time: 6pm
  • Price: Adults £29, Children 3-15 years £15; Not suitable for children under 3 years
  • Tickets / More information:

Grizedale Stages Rally 2017, Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Stages Rally

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Grizedale Stages Rally, which is an event that sees around 80 rally cars taking on the twists and turns of the tracks of Grizedale Forest in the fells above Windermere and Coniston Water. To mark the special anniversary, this year the rally will hold a ceremonial start at the Lakeland Motor Museum from 9am before the cars head off into the forest. Spectators are welcome, but they must park in designated car parks where a parking fee applies. All spectators must head to designated viewing points from their chosen car parks in order to main a safe event for all involved.

  • Dates: Saturday, 2nd December, 2017
  • Time: From 9am
  • Price: A parking fee of £10 per car applies; Spectators must not park outside of the designated car parks
  • Tickets / More information:

Westmorland Orchestra Winter Concert, Kendal Leisure Centre

The 60 strong Westmorland Orchestra gives just three public concerts a year, and this winter’s concert features guest violist, Steven Burnard, who currently holds the position of Principal Viola of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra will perform some well known pieces, including the Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas.

  • Dates: Saturday, 2nd December, 2017
  • Time: 7.30pm
  • Price: Adults £12, Under 18s Free
  • Tickets / More information: Tickets can be purchased from the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal or on the door

Workington Christmas Festival

One of the last towns to switch its Christmas lights on, Workington is hosting a whole day event to celebrate the town’s festive illuminations. Along with a Christmas market selling a range of gifts and festive treats there will be entertainment throughout the day with street performances, live music, and activities especially for children. All the events will take place on Murray Road and Finkle Street, with the lights switched on in the evening.

Christmas at Allan Bank, Grasmere

Events taking plae at Allan Bank this Christmas

Events taking place at Allan Bank this Christmas

Wordsworth’s former home is now owned by the National Trust and although it’s open to visitors, it is devoid of its original contents. Instead, the property’s rooms are set up with various crafts and books, allowing visitors to spend some time in creative and reflective thought. This December, the crafts take on a festive theme with the option for visitors to create a Christmas card or painting. If it snows, the house has plenty of scarfs, carrots, and coal for accessorising your snowman, and on the 9th December there is a wreath-making workshop and a Christmas carols concert.

  • Dates: Allan Bank is open Fridays to Sundays between 1st & 17th December, 2017; The wreath making workshop and carol concert takes place on Saturday, 9th December
  • Time: Carols 1.30 to 3.30pm; Wreath-making 11am to 3.30pm
  • Price: Normal admission applies; Wreath making costs an additional £3 and places can be booked in advance
  • Tickets / More information:

Proms, Plays, & Behind the Scenes Tours at the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

Theatre by the Lake

Book your tickets for the Theatre of the Lake

The Theatre by the Lake in Keswick has a delightful programme of events taking place this December. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic and much loved children’s novel, The Secret Garden, is brought to life in a family friendly stage adaptation. Local favourite, Keswick’s Own Christmas Proms returns again for one night, and features performances from a range of acts, including a local primary school choir. This year’s Christmas show is the Snow Play, which sees the characters of Winter and Spring attempt to see one another off, with some audience interaction. Furthermore, on the 9th December, the theatre is offering visitors the chance to take a special behind the scenes tour of the theatre.

Music, Comedy, and More at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

Christmas at the Brewery Arts Centre

Explore what's on this Christmas at the Brewery Arts Centre

Kendal’s premier venue for the arts, the Brewery Arts Centre has plenty to keep you entertained this December. There is live music from Duke Special, the Lancashire Hotpots, Moulettes, Sound of the Sirens, and the Mouse Outfit. Comedians Mark Thomas, Stephen K Amos, and Justin Moorhouse will offer some comedic relief from the winter weather. World wide theatrical hit, the Snow Dragon will be on stage for just two days at the beginning of the month, whilst the centre’s main Christmas show, Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf will enthral adults and children alike.

Hawkshead Christmas Fair & Beer Festival

The pretty cobbled streets of Hawkshead provide a picture perfect setting for a Christmas fair. This two-day event includes a market with over 50 stalls selling a range of crafts and gifts, carol singing, live music, and street performers, including jugglers, stilt walkers and magicians. At the Beatrix Potter Gallery, a special guest will set up a grotto, and on the Saturday at 4pm, there is a lantern procession.

To coincide with the event, pubs in the town will be hosting a mini beer festival, with specially selected beers for the occasion. Visitors are advised to park in Ambleside and catch the bus from there to Hawkshead to avoid traffic queues. Furthermore, Hawkshead only has two cash machines, so visitors are advised to bring cash with them to spend at the market.

  • Dates: Saturday, 2nd & Sunday, 3rd December, 2017
  • Time: 10am to 5pm (4pm on Sunday)
  • Price: Free
  • Tickets / More information:

Christmas Aboard the La’al Ratty, Ravenglass

La'al Ratty Christmas

Be sure to hop aboard the La'al Ratty this Christmas!

The La’al Ratty, AKA the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, is a popular attraction at this time of year, as Santa can be spotted handing out gifts to children in his Dalegarth Grotto. Passengers boarding at Ravenglass will be able to spot Santa’s sleigh on the way up to Dalegarth. Children will then be able to enter the grotto and receive a gift. Santa will also visit passengers as they travel on the train, and refreshments are provided. In addition, a festive two-course Christmas lunch is available at the Turntable Café in Ravenglass, charged separately. You must book your tickets in advance.

  • Dates: Saturdays and Sundays in December before Christmas, plus every day between Monday, 18th and Saturday, 23rd December, 2017
  • Time: Varies
  • Price: Adults and children £19.95
  • Tickets / More information:

Santa Specials on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Santa Specials on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Ho Ho Hop on Board the Santa Express

At the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway at the southern end of Lake Windermere, the festive spirit is in full flow this December. A special Santa Express will run for three weekends where children will not only meet Santa, but a number of his elves, as well! Santa and his elves will spend the 90-minute journey visiting each carriage, and will deliver a gift to each child. You must book your ticket in advance.

  • Dates: 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, & 17th December, 2017
  • Time: Varies
  • Price: Adults and children £13
  • Tickets / More information:

Kendal Santa Dash & Stroll for Rosemere Cancer Foundation

Rosemere Santa Dash

A fun way to support the Rosemere Cancer Foundation!

Help raise money for a good cause and have a lot of fun getting into the festive spirit this December by taking part in the Kendal Santa Dash & Stroll for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation. The charity works in south Cumbria and Lancashire supporting cancer patients to ensure that they receive the best possible care. They are aiming to raise money by holding a Santa Dash, where participants dress up in Santa hats and other items and run (or walk) a mile. Participants are asked to collect sponsorship, as well as pay a small fee to enter. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult, and participants are welcomed to display the names of anyone they wish to walk in remembrance of.

Smoky Jo’s Smoking Course at the Wild Boar Hotel, Windermere

Smoky Jo's Smoking Course

Interested in learning to smoke delicious meat? Check out Smoky Jo's Smoking Course!

The Wild Boar is one of the Lake District’s oldest hotels, and a member of the Great Inns of Britain, a group of just 21 leading historic inns. It is also the only restaurant in the Lake District with its own smokehouse. A perfect venue then to explore the ancient art of food preservation through smoking. This one day course is led by Smoky Jo’s, an entrepreneurial pair who previously supplied smoked goods to Fortnum and Mason, and who have appeared on national TV demonstrating their techniques. On the course you will learn how to use every day household equipment to smoke your own food. You must book your place in advance.

Discover Poetry at Dove Cottage & the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere

Discover Poetry at Dove Cottage

Discover Poetry in the Land of the Great Poets

Poetry is often a misunderstood art form that many people find inaccessible. Grasmere poet, Polly Atkin, aims to change that with her regular informal poetry sessions at Wordsworth’s former home in Grasmere. The sessions are an opportunity to discuss and learn more about poetry in a relaxed atmosphere, and there is no requirement for any prior knowledge of poetry. Although you can just turn up on the day if there is space, it’s best to book in advance so you can receive copies of the poems that will be discussed. December’s session will take on a festive theme and hot drinks are provided.

  • Dates: Thursday, 7th December 2017
  • Time: 7.30pm to 9pm
  • Price: Free
  • Tickets / More information: Discover Poetry

Christmas Ceilidh, Threlkeld Village Hall

Christmas Ceilidh, Threlkeld Village Hall

Enjoy a Christmas Ceildh by Marzuka

If you have never experienced a ceilidh, then this December in the Lake District is the perfect time to discover this unique form of entertainment. A ceilidh, also known as a barn dance or a highland fling, involves dancing to folk music. The dances moves are simple to follow with someone calling out each move as you go. Threlkeld Village Hall’s annual ceilidh will feature local folk band Marzuka, who play both British and international folk music. Mulled wine and refreshments will be available during the evening.

  • Date: Friday, 8th December, 2017
  • Time: 8pm to 10.30pm
  • Price: Adults £10, Under 18s £5
  • Tickets / More information:

Ulverston Christmas Market, Coronation Hall and Ulverston Town Centre

Kids at traditional Christmas market

Ulverston’s premier events venue has held an indoor Christmas market for a number of years, but this year the market has expanded, taking up both the space in the hall and in the surrounding streets. The indoor and outdoor stalls will be brimming with gifts for Christmas, as well as hot and cold food and drinks, including many festive treats. In addition, there will be street performers, craft activities, story-telling sessions, and a Santa’s grotto.

Breakfast With Santa at Whinlatter Forest, Near Keswick

Santa holding gift

With the days being much shorter in December it’s best to make the most of the daylight hours and start early. On the 10th December, at Whinlatter Forest, you can start the day with a hearty breakfast and a visit from Santa. Santa will attend Siskins Café in the morning to drop off presents for all the children who attend. After, burn off all those calories by walking one of the many delightful woodland trails in the forest. Whinlatter is one place where snow is often found in December, making this an even more magical experience. Booking is essential.

  • Date: Sunday, 10th December, 2017
  • Time: 10am to 11am
  • Price: Adults £7.50, Children £12.50
  • Tickets / More information: Call Siskins Café on 01768778410 to book your place

Taste Cumbria Christmas, Cockermouth

Christmas Market Food

Taste Cumbria organise large food festivals throughout the year across Cumbria, with the Cockermouth Food Festival in September being its flagship event. The Taste Cumbria team return to Cockermouth each December for a special Christmas themed food market. Cockermouth’s Main Street will once more be closed off to vehicles as the market stalls take over, selling a range of delicious foods. Purchase items for a hamper, find that special gift for one you love, or simply treat yourself to something scrumptious. There will also be free cookery demonstrations and activities for children.

For a complete list of Christmas markets taking place in the Lake District, be sure to have a gander at our Christmas Markets page.

White Christmas Weekend at Tullie House Museum, Carlisle

Tullie House Museum

Tullie House Museum (Ashley Dace /

Tullie House Museum is one of Carlisle’s biggest attractions, featuring artwork, historic artefacts, hands on and interactive displays, and much more. This December, for one weekend the museum is taking on a festive flavour, with two days of Christmas themed activities for the whole family. There will be a real life animal display that includes a snowy owl and an Alaskan malamute, face painting, a festive themed trail, and Christmas crafts. Furthermore, Santa himself will be guest of honour, brining with him gifts for children entering his grotto.

  • Dates: Saturday, 9th & Sunday, 10th December, 2017
  • Time: 11am to 4pm
  • Price: Adults £6.50, Children £5; Santa’s Grotto £3
  • Tickets / More information:

Windermere Christmas Celebration

Happy woman at a Christmas market

Last year Windermere held its first Christmas market. The event was so successful that it will be returning this year with the aim of being bigger and better. There will be a delightful range of stalls selling gifts and food, live entertainment, children’s activities, and a Santa’s grotto. Due to parking restrictions, visitors are advised to park at the Glebe Park and hop onto the free shuttle bus from there to the town centre.

  • Date: Saturday, 9th & Sunday, 10th December, 2017
  • Time: Sat 11am to 8pm Sun 10am to 4pm
  • Price: Free
  • Tickets / More information:

Fine Dining & the Works of William Wordsworth, the Wordsworth Hotel, Grasmere

If you love poetry, and love fine dining, then why not treat yourself this December to a special evening combining the two. At the Wordsworth Hotel on the 9th December you are invited to spend the evening listening to professional actors reciting the works of William Wordsworth whilst enjoying a delicious meal. Guests will receive a canape and prosecco reception before sitting down to a four-course meal with a bottle of wine per couple, with Evermore Productions providing the entertainment. Advance booking is required.

Yuletide at Grizedale

Man carrying lantern outside

Explore Grizedale Forest at night guided by lantern light this December at this special event celebrating the festive season. During the day, visitors to the forest will be able to create beautiful lanterns in a free craft session. At 4pm, a lantern procession along one of the trails will begin, and participants can either use a lantern created earlier in the day, bring one they made at home, or borrow a simple lantern from the Grizedale rangers. After the walk, warm yourself up with hot chocolate and biscuits. This is a free event but booking is advisable in case there is a need to limit numbers for safety purposes.

  • Date: Sunday, 10th December, 2017
  • Time: Lantern workshop 10am to 4pm; Lantern procession 4pm to 5pm
  • Price: Free
  • Tickets / More information: Grizedale Forest Events

Christmas Carols at the Swinside Inn, Newlands Valley Near Keswick

Swinside Inn Christmas Events

Cold winter nights are best spent in an ancient cosy inn with an open log fire and a pint of real ale, which is what you will find at the Swinside Inn in Newlands Valley. This December, the pub is hosting a Christmas carols concert with local choir, the Fallen Angels. If you want to eat at the inn on the night you will probably need to book your table in advance as the event is likely to be very popular. Entrance is free, but donations to the Cumbria Blood Bikes charity will be requested.

  • Date: Sunday, 17th December, 2017
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm
  • Price: Free (Donations to charity requested)
  • Tickets / More information:

Santa Cruise with Magic Show, Ullswater Steamers

Ullswater Steamers Christmas

Check out the Christmas events on the Ullswater Steams

Santa is very busy during December, popping up all over the place. On the 17th December, he will spend the day cruising around Ullswater aboard one of the Ullswater Steamers. Passengers travelling with Santa will be treated to a special Christmas themed magic show, and children will receive a gift and a balloon. Grown-ups will be treated to complimentary mince pies and hot drinks, and they will receive a voucher for a future cruise. You must book your place in advance.

  • Date(s): Sunday, 17th December, 2017
  • Time: Two sailings from Glenridding at 10.30am to 12noon & 1.30pm to 3pm
  • Price: £15 per person
  • Tickets / More information:

Christmas Tea Parties at the World of Beatrix Potter

Father Christmas Tea Party

Have tea with Father Christmas at the World of Beatrix Potter!

At the World of Beatrix Potter attraction, visitors can enjoy a very special tea party this December with guest of honour – Father Christmas! Along with a delicious lunch with sandwiches and sweet treats, there will be a screening of the Tailor of Gloucester (a 25-minute long animation of one of Potter’s classic tales), gifts for all the children and a special chance to sit on Santa’s sleigh and chat to the man himself. In addition, those with tickets for the tea parties can also access the attraction for no additional charge. Advanced booking is essential.

Keswick Lions Santa Dash, Keswick

Santa Dash

The Keswick Lions are a community group who support local charities through fundraising events and volunteering. On the 17th December the group are holding their annual Santa Dash to raise money to continue this work. There are two-courses, a 2.5km race for children and a 5km race for adults, and participants will need to pay a fee and help raise sponsorship. All participants should dress in festive gear.

  • Dates: Sunday, 17th December, 2017
  • Time: 10.45 for children, 11.45 for adults
  • Price: £5
  • Tickets / More information: For more details, contact Diane on 01768 774 303 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.