October. The month when the clocks turn back, bringing darker evenings that are best spent huddled around a cosy fire. Summer has well and truly been vanquished, replaced with early morning mist and cool rain showers, whilst piles of golden brown leaves gather on the floor, slowly turning to mulch. Here in the Lake District, the tourist season has largely finished, with the exception being the October half term break in the latter half of the month.

Many of October’s events therefore occur in half term, but for visitors to the Lake District at other times of this month, there are still a number of great activities and events taking place. This month, you will find guided bike rides, a book festival, an opportunity to help re-plant a castle garden, and Peppa Pig! Plus, at the end of this guide, you will find a list of spooky events that celebrate Halloween.

The Time Machine – Bowder Stone

Bowder Stone

Bowder Stone

The Lake District was recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status, partly in recognition of how the landscape of the lakes has been managed by farming and is continually evolving. This evolution becomes strikingly apparent when comparing photos and paintings / drawings of the Bowder Stone in Borrowdale from the last 200 years with the landscape that is there today. Next to the stone, in the climber’s hut, a temporary exhibition has been created that enables visitors to do just that. Entry is free, and it makes an intriguing addition to a popular family friendly walk.

  • Date: Every day throughout October, 2017 until Sunday 29th
  • Time: 10.30am to 3.30pm (times may vary on occasion)
  • Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
  • Cost: Free

A Tatie Pot O’ Dialect – Theatre by the Lake

Theatre by the Lake

Phil Davies / Geograph.org.uk

Ye may brag o' yer German, French, Latin an' Greek, An' aw udder langwidges mortals can speak, Yit theer's nut yan o' t' fower Ah've menshin'd can bang, Oor bonny oald, canny oald, Cummerlan' twang.

So claim the Lakeland Dialect Society, who were formed to preserve the traditional dialect of Lakelanders from previous generations. The Society are bringing the best of Cumbrian dialect to the stage with “A Tatie Pot O’ Dialect” at The Theatre by the Lake. The show, referencing a traditional Cumbrian stew that that can be made with almost anything, features songs, poems, and stories from Lakeland writers both past and present.


HSBC / British Cycling Guided Ride – Langdale Tour

Langdale Pikes

Langdale Pikes and Elterwater

To celebrate the Lake District’s newly awarded status as UNESCO World Heritage Site – a special guided cycle ride has been organised for the start of October. Just under 16-miles long, the route will take you from Ambleside and into the Langdale valley, via Skelwith Force, the River Brathway, and Elterwater. The route does involve some steep ascents / descents, and a member of the Lake District National Park Authority will be attending throughout. You must book your place in advance.

  • Date: Sunday, 1st October, 2017
  • Time: 11am
  • Website: www.letsride.co.uk
  • Cost: Free (places must be booked in advance)

Brockhole Garden Tour & Afternoon Tea

Autumnal Tea

Brockhole, on the shore of Lake Windermere, is the Lake District National Park Authority’s visitor centre, and is packed with things to do. There are 30-acres of gardens that were designed by Thomas Mawson, with various delightful features including a kitchen garden, terraces, meadows, and rose gardens. Enjoy a guided tour of the gardens and learn about the estate’s fascinating history, before indulging in a scrumptious afternoon tea in the café. You must book in advance.

  • Date: Wednesday, 4th October, 2017
  • Time: 2pm
  • Website: www.brockhole.co.uk
  • Cost: £9.95 (including afternoon tea)

Borderlines Carlisle Book Festival

Stack of books

Borderlines is an annual book festival that takes place in various venues around the city of Carlisle. It is a not for profit event run by a consortia that includes a local bookseller, the council, museums and other organisations. This year’s festival features over 30 talks and performances from various local and national figures, including broadcaster, Peter Snow, journalist and comedy writer, John O’Farrell, political strategist, Alistair Campbell, and Sir Chris Bonnington. There are also workshops available to attend.

  • Date: Saturday, 30th September to Sunday, 8th October, 2017
  • Time: Varies
  • Website: www.borderlinescarlisle.co.uk
  • Cost: Individual events £4 to £25; Multi-event passes £10 to £37

Castle Green Beer Festival

Beer samples

Cumbria has numerous beer festivals throughout the year with this festival at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal being particularly popular. Featuring local ales from Bowness Bay Brewing and other brewers, the festival includes a Q&A session with a brewer, live music, and child friendly activities during the day. There are also discounted rates available in the hotel’s restaurant.

  • Date: Friday, 6th October to Sunday, 8th October, 2017
  • Time: Varies
  • Website: www.castlegreen.co.uk
  • Cost: Free

Peppa Pig at the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

Peppa Pig at Ravenglass

Snort! Snort! Peppa Pig is making a special appearance at Dalegarth Station on the Ravenglass & Eskdale railway. Board the train at Ravenglass and take a 40-minute ride on the narrow gauge railway through the Eskdale valley. Alight at Dalegarth where you will be greeted by Peppa, and enjoy a story time session at the station. Due to the nature of the event, dogs will not be permitted on these dates, and passengers will be invited to leave pushchairs at Ravenglass. Book your tickets online in advance to be guaranteed a place.

  • Date: Saturday, 7th & Sunday, 8th October, 2017
  • Time: Trains depart 1 to 2 times per hour from 9.25am
  • Tickets: Pre-order tickets here
  • Cost: Adults £15 advance (£16 on the day), Children 3-15 £7 (£8 on the day)

Technical Caving Day – Dave’s Adventure Makers

Potholing, AdventureMakers

Photo thanks to AdventureMakers.co.uk

The great thing about caving is that it can be done almost all year-round. This adventure is led by specialist activity company, Dave’s Adventure Makers, and will take you deep underground in some of the Lake District’s most spectacular caving areas. The day involves descending and ascending some vertical sections, and you need to be reasonably fit to attend. You must book your place in advance in order to ensure that the right sized kit can be provided for you.


Dark Skies at Eycott Hill

Milky Way

Located on the very edge of the Lake District, Eycott Hill between Keswick and Penrith, is one of the area’s newest nature reserves. Situated at the foot of Blencathra, this peaceful upland reserve is brimming with wildlife, and its remote location makes it ideal for star gazing. Cumbria Wildlife Trust, who manage the reserve, and the Border Astronomical Society have teamed up for this special star gazing event. Meet at the Sportsman Inn near Berrier for an introductory talk, before heading to the reserve to spend time gazing at the stars. Sturdy boots are required.


A Grand Day Out in Cumbria

Lamb in Langdale

A Lamb in Great Langdale

The first Grand Day Out was held in January 2016 in response to the floods that followed Storm Desmond at the end of 2015, in order to raise money to support the local community. A second event followed in October of that year, and as a result of its popularity it is now hoped that this will be an annual fundraising event. This is a family friendly weekend, with most of the activities taking place around the Langdale Valley. There are guided walks (including photography walks), guided cycle rides, trail runs, family orienteering sessions, and much more with proceeds from the ticket sales going to charity.


Plant Up at Lowther Castle

Lowther Castle

Lowther Castle

In 2012, over 600 volunteers at Lowther Castle set a new world record, planting 106,652 daffodil bulbs in under three hours. This year, the castle is hoping to repeat that success with another mass bulb planting session, and invites volunteers and their families to attend. Alongside the plant up there will be a food and plant fair in the castle’s grounds with fun activities, such as apple bobbing and pumpkin rolling. Entry to the castle is free to volunteer planters, but you must book your space in advance.

  • Date: Sunday, 22nd October, 2017
  • Time: 10am to 5pm
  • Website: www.lowthercastle.org
  • Cost: Free for volunteers who book their place in advance; For all other visitors, general entry fees apply

Penrith Winter Droving

Winter droving

The Penrith Winter Droving is a festival that heralds the start of winter and celebrates traditional rural customs, such as the droving of cattle for market. During the day there will be a market packed with artisan food and craft suppliers, as well as the Kyloes Drovers Cup. This is a unique sporting event that any team can enter to compete in includes events such as sausage eating and pint carrying. In the evening, there is a spectacular lantern and mask parade.


Appleby Festival of Fire & Light


Promising to be “amazing and different”, this event starts with a lantern procession from the centre of Appleby into the grounds of Appleby Castle, where there will be family friendly activities, a fire show, and circus performances.


Halloween in the Lake District

Spooky Jack'o Lantern

The Lake District is a great place to visit for Halloween with haunted castles and spooky woods galore. This year, Halloween occurs during the week after October half term, so many attractions are holding spooky events during the week before, as well as on Halloween itself.


Ghosts and Ghouls Halloween Trail at Brockhole


A spooky scavenger hunt that is suitable for the whole family in the grounds of Brockhole.

  • Date: 14th to 31st October, 2017
  • Time: 11am
  • Website: www.brockhole.co.uk
  • Cost: £3 (includes prize)

Night at the Castle - Thriller

Thriller Halloween at Munster Castle

Lowther Castle is hosting an evening of spooky entertainment with a ghoulish woodland trail, live music, a beer and food tent, street performances, cinema screenings, and more. Suitable for the whole family.

  • Date: Friday, 27th October, 2017
  • Time: 5pm
  • Website: www.lowthercastle.org
  • Cost: Adults £9.50, Children 3-15 years £7.50

Halloween Ghost Trains – Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

Ghost Train

Dare you travel aboard the ghost train? Travel to Dalegarth from Ravenglass during the daylight and join in with some fun Halloween themed craft activities. Then at 6pm, after sunset, take the ghost train back from Dalegarth and lookout for spooky friends along the way! Booking essential.

  • Date: 27th, 28th, 30th & 31st October, 2017
  • Time: One-way ghost train departs Dalegarth at 6pm; Trains from Ravenglass to Dalegarth are hourly during the day
  • Website: www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk
  • Cost: Adults £16, Children 3-15 years £8

Halloween Masquerade Ball – Beech Hill Hotel

Masquerade Mask

A Halloween party for the grown-ups is taking place at the Beech Hill Hotel in Windermere. This mask and black tie event includes a champagne reception, four-course meal, followed by entertainment from a magician, local string quartet, and DJ. You must book your place in advance.


Half Term Halloween Fun at Rheged

Halloween costumes

The Rheged Centre is packed with Halloween activities during half term week. There are screenings of Julia Donaldson’s tale, Room on the Broom, a Halloween themed science show with local celebrity Professor Pumpernickel, and workshops for wand making, unicorn soft toy making, pumpkin carving. There’s also a Halloween disco and face-painting sessions, plus much more throughout the entire week.

  • Date: Saturday, 21st to Sunday, 29th October, 2017
  • Time: Varies
  • Website: www.rheged.com
  • Cost: Entry to Rheged is free (charges apply for various activities)

Halloween at Muncaster Castle

Halloween at Munster Castle

It’s said to be one of the most haunted castles in Britain, so Muncaster Castle is a great place to explore at Halloween. With activities taking place throughout half term and on Halloween itself, there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained. There’s a monster cabaret performing throughout, a scary maze, a ghostly grotto with story-telling and crafts, spell workshops, and much more throughout the day. Special ghost tours are available in the evenings.

  • Date: Saturday, 21st to Tuesday, 31st October, 2017
  • Time: Varies
  • Website: www.muncaster.co.uk
  • Cost: General entry fees apply; Additional fees applicable for evening ghost tours