Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas is approaching fast and here in the Lake District we’re getting in the festive spirit with an abundance of Christmas markets, craft workshops, shows, and other festive themed events. Santa can be seen throughout the month at various locations across the national park, thanks to his ability to travel at great speeds. All we need now is a sprinkling of snow on the fells to complete the magical atmosphere this month.

Jump To: Santa's Grottos & Train RidesChristmas Markets | Theatre & Pantomimes | Festive Workshops & Crafts | Outdoor Activities | New Year's Eve | Other Activities

Santa Grottos & Train Rides

Santa Grottos & Train Rides

Santa is everywhere this month. We should point out that one of the most popular Santa’s grottos in the Lake District, at Hayes Garden World, has now completely sold out, along with all the slots for the Santa cruises with Windermere Lakes Cruises, but if you missed out there are plenty of other opportunities available to meet the man in red.


Walby Farm Park Santa Experience, Near Carlisle

Every weekend in December and on the 23rd & 24th Walby Farm Park will be hosting a special Santa experience. Costing £25.95 per child and £15.45 per adult the ticket covers entry into the farm park for the day, a visit to Santa in his grotto complete with real reindeer, a live interactive Elf Academy show, and a chance to play inside a giant snow globe. Children can also write a letter to Santa in the special Elves’ post room, make their own teddy bear and try and win on the snowball shy.

For more information visit walbyfarmpark.co.uk/santaexperience.

Father Christmas Tea Party, The Old Laundry Theatre / World of Beatrix Potter

The Old Laundry Theatre and the World of Beatrix Potter share a building and the two attractions have teamed up to host Santa this year. Families will be able to enjoy a delicious tea party and meet Santa with children receiving a gift, as well as watch a screening of the classic Christmas film, The Snowman. In addition, the cost (£22 adults, £16.50 children) includes entrance to the World of Beatrix Potter attraction throughout the day.

For more information, visit oldlaundrytheatre.co.uk.

Father Christmas Cruises, Keswick Launch, Derwent Water

During weekends between 30th November and the 15th December, passengers taking a cruise around Derwent Water with the Keswick Launch company will be accompanied by Father Christmas. There will be presents for the children plus sherry and mince pies for the adults. The cost is £11 for adults and £5.70 for children.

For details on departure times, visit keswick-launch.co.uk/cruises/father-christmas-cruises.

A Visit to Father Christmas, Lowther Castle, Penrith

This December, visit a fairy-tale castle and see Santa on a magical carriage at the Lowther Castle. The cost includes a meeting with Santa, a gift, and Christmas themed activities for your child. Slots available every weekend in December, plus Monday 23rd & Tuesday 24th December. Advanced booking is essential. £8.50 per child.

More information is available at lowthercastle.org.

Santa’s Magical Forest, the Rheged Centre, Penrith

Rheged will be transformed into a wintry forest this month and children are invited to hang their wishes on a tree before visiting Santa. Costing £10 per child the experience includes a gift and a 6x4 photo of your child with Santa. Various dates and times are available throughout December. Advanced booking is essential.

For more information visit rheged.com.

Traditional Turkey & Tinsel; A Magical Safari with Santa, South Lakes Safari Zoo

Combining a visit to Santa with a trip to the zoo, this special package from the South Lakes Safari Zoo includes zoo entry, a reindeer meet and greet, a visit to Santa and a gift, festive food with hot chocolate, giraffe feeding, lemur feeding, and entertainment from carol singers.

This event is taking place in the three weekends before Christmas, as well as on the 23rd December. The cost is £22 per person (accompanying adults also need a ticket and will receive food etc), but if you book in advance online you can get a 25% discount which is an impressive saving.

For more information, visit southlakessafarizoo.com.

Santa’s Grotto at Dobbies Garden Centre, Carlisle

Dobbies Garden Centre hosts a lovely Santa’s Grotto each year and the centre is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Your children will be able chat with Santa and will receive an age appropriate gift from a selection of high quality brands (Lego, Galt, Bigjigs etc) that you can select when you book. The cost is £11.99 per child. This is usually a popular event so advanced booking is recommended, and various dates are available throughout the month.

To book your slot, visit events.dobbies.com.

The Actual Factual Santa Trail, The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven

Santa will be making an appearance at the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven, but before children can see him they will need to first conquer the Actual Factual Christmas Trail and collect 10 answers. Once they have found the 10 answers they will be allowed access to Santa and the Elves’ workshop where they will be invited to join in with a Christmas craft activity before visiting Santa for a chat. The price for the trail, workshop and visit to Santa is £5 per child but museum entry will also be required (charged separately).

For more information, visit thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk.

Santa Express – Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

Hop on board the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway during weekends in December for a chance to spot Santa’s sleigh deep in the Eskdale Valley. At some point in the journey Santa himself will make an appearance on the train and on arrival at Dalegarth station children are invited to see Santa in his grotto to receive a gift.

Passengers can also book a Christmas lunch at Ravenglass. The Santa Express is running during weekends in December and on the 22nd & 23rd of December. Advanced booking is essential and tickets cost £21.95 per person. Your ticket includes return train journey on the day, gift for the children, 50% voucher for the 2020 season for adults, plus a complimentary drink and a mince pie for the adults.

For more information visit ravenglass-railway.co.uk.

Santa Specials – Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

At weekends between 30th November and 15th December, passengers on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway have an opportunity to meet Father Christmas. Passengers will be invited to take their seats in the carriages and Santa will make an appearance on the platform before the train departs.

During the journey, Santa will make his way through the carriages, delivering presents to all the good boys and girls, and mince pies to all the adults. The cost is £13.50 per person and advanced booking is essential.

Full details can be found at lakesiderailway.co.uk.

Breakfast with Santa at Grizedale Forest

Santa needs a good breakfast to keep him going in the build up to December and on the 1st December he will be stopping in at the café at Grizedale Forest for a filling cooked breakfast. Families are invited to join him and Santa has arranged for a local children’s author to tell a story and give a signed copy of her book to every child who attends as a gift. The cost is £12 for children and £10 for adults (includes breakfast) and booking is essential.

Visit forestryengland.uk for more information.

Santa’s Grotto at Baha, Bowness-On-Windermere

Baha is Bowness-On-Windermere’s sophisticated live music and restaurant venue, which is why the coolest man of the month will be spending time there. Every day in December up to and including Christmas Eve, children can visit Santa in his grotto and receive a small gift for just £4.

Alternatively, if you want to combine a visit to Santa with a meal, children can receive a main course, pudding, and gift from Santa for £8. Booking is only required if you are planning to eat, otherwise children are welcome to pop along and say hello.

Check out their Facebook event for more information.

Sunday Lunch with Santa, Lodore Falls Hotel

Even Santa needs to stop and eat every now and again, and thankfully the kind staff are the Lodore Falls Hotel have arranged for him to join them for Sunday lunch on the 8th and 15th December. Families are invited to join him for a three-course meal and children will be able to meet Santa and receive a gift. Booking is essential and the meal costs £24.95 for adults and £12.95 for children.

More information is available on the Lodore Falls Hotel official site.

Breakfast With Santa, Whinlatter Forest

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and Santa agrees, which is why he can be found at Siskins Café on the 15th December tucking into a breakfast bap. Visitors can join him for breakfast with children receiving a gift. The cost is £7.50 for adults which includes tea or coffee, breakfast bap with sausage or bacon, with scrambled egg on toast available as an alternative. The charge for children is £12.50, which includes beans on toast served with either a sausage or an egg, juice, and a gift.

Booking is essential, visit forestryengland.uk for more information.


Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets 2019

With so many creative people calling Cumbria their home, our markets are the perfect place to pick up a unique Christmas gift for your loved ones this year.


Carlisle Christmas Market

The traditional German inspired Christmas market continues in Carlisle this month. The pedestrianised zone of the city centre will be home to a collection of chalets selling local and international gifts, as well as delicious food and drink.

Keswick Victorian Fayre

To coincide with the start of Keswick’s Live Advent trail, the Keswick Victorian Fayre takes place at the beginning of this month. Market Place and Packhorse Court will host live performances from local bands and choirs, and the streets will be packed with around 30 charity stalls selling goods to raise money for their causes. There will be a funfair and festive food, and everyone is encouraged to dress up in Victorian costume to join in the fun.

Coniston Christmas Fayre, Coniston Institute

This small Christmas fayre will see a selection of local crafts people coming together to sell their wares. Expect to find a lovely selection of locally made gifts and baked goods, including knitwear, toys, restored furniture, and more.

Yew Tree Barn Christmas Market, Near Cartmel

Yew Tree Barn are hosting their annual Christmas market this month near Cartmel. The event brings together a collection of artisan producers from Cumbria and the wider north west who produce specialised gifts. You will find traditional Furness baskets created from local coppiced wood, garden planters made in a Penrith pottery, cold press Jersey milk soap from near Ulverston, bespoke furniture made from Cumbrian wood, plus much more, including textiles, art, baked goods, and jewellery. The three-day event will have live music throughout and hot food will be available. A park and ride service will be in operation.

Sticklebarn Winter Market, Great Langdale

If you prefer to do your Christmas shopping against a stunning backdrop of the Langdale fells, then visit Sticklebarn Tavern this month where for one weekend they will be hosting a winter market. There will be over 20 stalls selling goods from local producers, with custom made gifts, original artwork, locally made baked goods, plus much more. Hot food will be available in the pub and of course, once you have finished shopping you can reward your hard work with a stomp up the fells.

Hawkshead Christmas Fair

The annual Hawkshead Christmas fair returns to the village’s cobbled streets this month, with over 80 festive crafts, gifts, and local produce stalls, plus plenty of delicious food and drink to consume on the day. There will be live music and vibrant street entertainers throughout the weekend and on the Saturday afternoon at 4.30pm the popular lantern parade will take place through the village, followed by Christmas Carols in the Main Square. Visitors are invited to take part with their own lanterns, with a prize awarded for the best one. Father Christmas will make an appearance and there will be fairground rides available.

Taste Cumbria Christmas, Cockermouth

One of the biggest Christmas markets in Cumbria takes place on the 7th and 8th December in Cockermouth where Taste Cumbria hosts its annual Christmas market. This year’s event sees around 50 stall holders offering a host of gifts, mostly edible, such as chocolates, craft gins, and baked goods, though there will be a small selection of non edible gifts available. In addition, there will be a festive bar, and children’s activities, plus a free sing-along concert on the Saturday evening.

Askham Hall Christmas Market, Near Penrith

Visit the delightful Askham Hall this December and browse around 50 stalls that will be selling a range of gifts, such as food, drink, and jewellery. There will be entertainment throughout the day thanks to the wonderful talents of the Penrith Town Band, plus you will be able to enjoy mulled wine and beer, as well as some delicious hot food.

Children are invited to wear their Christmas jumpers for a chance to win a prize, and what’s more, Santa himself will be making a special appearance. The entry fee also includes entry into a prize raffle with some fantastic seasonal prizes up for grabs, and all proceeds will be going to local charities.

Windermere Christmas Celebration

Now in its fourth year, the Windermere Christmas Celebration is bigger and better than ever with addition of an ice rink for this year’s festivities. The temporary ice rink will be located at the bottom of High Street and as spaces are limited visitors are advised to book a time slot online in advance.

During the weekend, there will a large market packed with edible goods, gifts, and crafts to buy, either as a treat for yourself or as a gift for your loved ones. Children can visit Santa in his grotto and there will be live music and other entertainment throughout.

  • Date: Saturday, 14th & Sunday, 15th December, 2019
  • Time: 10am to 6pm (4pm on Sunday)
  • Cost: Free entry; Ice rink prices start from £8.50; Santa’s Grotto £5 per child
  • Tickets / More information: windermerechristmas.co.uk

Live Theatre, Comedy Shows, Concerts, & Pantomimes

Theatre & Pantomimes 2019

This month, most of the live shows, concerts, and theatre performances focus on the festive season, but there are a few alternatives if you prefer to forget all about Christmas for a few hours!


December at the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

There’s plenty of festive magic at Keswick’s waterside theatre this month. One of the most loved classic Christmas tales comes to the stage with a wonderful adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Running from the 22nd November until 11th January, Dicken’s heart-warming tale of the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge is full of colourful characters that will bring you great cheer and is suitable for everyone aged six and up. For families with younger children, The Legend of the Jazz Penguin is a musical puppet show that tells the tale of the Penguin’s adventure around the world, meeting various musical animals along the way.

There are three one-off shows this month. Cumbrian band Water’s Edge will be performing live on the 1st December. On the 8th December Gitarrissima, a group of five female guitarists from Europe will be performing original arrangements of classical works. Finally, on the 15th December Keswick’s Christmas Proms returns once more to the theatre, where local singers, including a local school choir, will be invoking the Christmas spirit with plenty of festive music and carols.

For more information on all these productions and to book tickets, visit theatrebythelake.com/whats-on.

December at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

There are three Christmas shows on stage at the Brewery this December. The Knotted Igloo Project: Outside The Igloo is an interactive performance aimed at children aged four and up, and features three penguins, Pixel, Crash, and Click, who spend their whole lives indoors playing on screens. Find out what happens when the power goes out and they are forced onto a magical adventure exploring the icy world outside. Shoo Shoo Baby’s Christmas Cabaret is a flamboyant performance of classic Christmas songs from the last 100 years and is suitable for those aged 9 and above. Christmas Tales with Grandad is a sweet puppet show packed with wonderful stories and suitable for children aged 3 and up.

During the month, there will be the usual cinema screenings, plus various live music performances, including from 1970s hit group, Showaddywaddy on the 7th December. Mock the Week comedian, Andy Parsons, will be bringing his live show to the Brewery on 13th December, and the month ends on New Year’s Eve with a party in the venue’s bar that will see in the New Year.

For more information, visit breweryarts.co.uk/whats-on/december.

Pantomime and Puppetry at the Rheged Centre, Penrith

The Rheged Centre has two family friendly shows this December. The Big Snowy Christmas is a puppet show from Little Blue Monster Productions, telling the tale of Daddy Bear and Baby Bear who find themselves having to step in for Santa at the last minute. This heart-warming and interactive tale is suitable for children aged 3 and up and runs on the 7th and 8th December. Tickets cost £8 for adults, £6.50 for children, and £24 for families of two adults and two children. Booking is available at rheged.com/event/the-big-snowy-christmas-from-little-blue-monster-productions.

After Christmas, at the end of the month, Gary Starr Pantomimes is returning to Rheged with their new production of Aladdin. This classic tale of a loveable street urchin who wins the heart of a princess is given the pantomime treatment in this hilarious production that is suitable for children aged 3 and up. The show runs on the 28th and the 29th December. Tickets cost £10 for adults, £8 for children, and £32 for a family. Booking is available at rheged.com/event/aladdin-live-pantomime.

December at the Carnegie Theatre, Workington

Christmas is coming to the Carnegie in Workington this month with a selection of festive themed performances to choose from. From the 4th to the 7th of December, theatre goers will be in hysterics over the antics of the pupils at St Bernadette’s School in Nativity! The Musical. Based on the popular film, this production from the Maryport Amateur Operatics and Dramatics Society is full of charm and cheer.

On the 12th of December, Ballet Theatre UK will be bringing their production of The Wizard of Oz and this is a fantastic opportunity to introduce children to ballet. Finally, at the end of the month, the Workington and District Amateur Musical Society will be performing their version of the pantomime Aladdin.

For more information, visit carnegietheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows.

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs – Christmas Pantomime, the Sands Centre, Carlisle

Poor Snow White has to live with her wicked Step-Mother who plots to bring about her downfall when a magic mirror reveals that Snow White is the fairest in the land. Thankfully, Snow White escapes and makes friends with seven dwarfs before meeting her one true love. Packed with classic songs, witty one liners, and plenty of “He’s behind you!” this production at the Sands Centre will have you roaring with laughter. Some performances suitable for those who would benefit from a more relaxed performance are available, along with signed performances.

  • Date: Wednesday, 11 to Tuesday, 31 December, 2019
  • Time: Morning, afternoon, and evening performances available
  • Cost: From £17 to £23.50, plus booking fee
  • Tickets / More information: thesandscentre.co.uk

Charles Dickens Film & Dine Evenings, The Old Laundry Theatre

This month at the Old Laundry Theatre, there will be three opportunities to watch a much loved film inspired by the works of Charles Dickens after you have dined on a delicious Dickensian three course meal. Great Expectations will be screened on the 5th December, Oliver Twist on the 6th, and Brian Desmond’s Scrooge A Christmas Carol will be shown on the 7th. Tickets cost £25 (including food) and more information can be found at oldlaundrytheatre.co.uk.

Cathedral Choirs Christmas Concert, Carlisle Cathedral

Come help celebrate the birth of Christ with this annual Christmas concert that brings together the cathedral’s choirs who will be performing a variety of carols, hymns, and festive songs.


Workshops & Craft Activities

Feeling creative this month? Check out these craft workshops, many of which are taking on a festive theme.


Festive Workshops at the Makers Mill, Keswick

Crafts December 2019

The Makers Mill is a new creative studio in Keswick and this month they are offering a series of festive themed workshops with various dates available in December. Workshops include Christmas card making, Christmas wreath creation with either felt or natural materials, fused glass decorations, and Christmas table centre arrangements. Advanced booking is essential and costs vary according to the workshop chosen. For full details visit themakersmill.co.uk/workshops.

Christmas at Hill Top, Sawrey

Hill Top House is normally closed in December to the public, but for one special day this month the National Trust are opening the property in December for the first time. During this exclusive event, visitors will be able to see festive objects that are not normally on display and join in with a craft session to create a Christmas decoration. The event will finish with carols and festive nibbles. Booking is essential and places are limited.

  • Date: Sunday, 1st December, 2019
  • Time: 1.45pm to 4.30pm
  • Cost: £25 (booking fee also applies)
  • Tickets / More information: nationaltrust.org.uk

Christmas Cracker Crafts Party, Ravenglass Village Hall

Christmas dinner in the UK is not complete without a Christmas Cracker, and this month the creative team at Make the Lakes are offering a limited number of people the chance to create their own unique crackers that will form a fabulous part of the Christmas table.

Not only will you construct four crackers, but you will also make the gifts that are to be found inside them, banishing plastic tat and replacing it with something very special. During the afternoon, there will be plenty of festive treats to fuel you through the session.

Wreath-Making Workshop, Lowther Castle, Penrith

Join Green House Floristry this December at Lowther Castle for this special Christmas wreath making workshop. You will use seasonal foliage to create a 16 inch wreath that will be yours to take home once finished, making the perfect adornment to your front door this Christmas. The price includes all the materials, instruction, festive refreshments, and entry into the castle and gardens.

  • Date: Saturday, 7th December, 2019
  • Time: 1.30pm to 4pm
  • Cost: £45
  • Tickets / More information: lowthercastle.org

Christmas Crafts at The Rheged Centre, Penrith

On Saturday 14th December the Rheged Centre near Penrith is offering children the chance to create something magical with three craft workshops to choose from. At 10am, you can create your very own sparkly Christmas unicorn, a cuddly toy that comes with its own birth certificate and magical unicorn dust. The cost is £20 per child. At 11.30am, children can create a festive elf door and a magic Santa key - essential for houses that don’t have chimneys - which costs £12 per child.

Finally, at 1.30pm, children are invited to create their very own cuddly Christmas reindeer, which also comes with a birth certificate and reindeer food for £20 per child. Advanced booking is highly recommended as spaces are limited and all workshops are suitable for children aged 4 and above, with parental supervision required.

To book, visit rheged.com.

Santa’s Boat Building Workshops, Windermere Jetty Museum

Santa’s elves need to build a lot of toy boats during the build up to Christmas and they need your help! Children are invited to join in a festive workshop at the Windermere Jetty Museum where they will learn about traditional boat building skills before being guided on how to create a toy boat of their own to take away. Some activities will take place outside so warm clothing is advised.

  • Date: Weekends in December 2019
  • Time: Three sessions will run each day: 11am-12noon, 12:30pm-1:30pm, 2-3pm
  • Cost: £4.50 per child
  • Tickets / More information: windermerejetty.org/items/christmas

Yuletide Traditions, Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere

Local herbalist, Lesley Hoyle, will be hosting this workshop, during which you will learn more about the festive traditions that derive from the availability of seasonal plants that can be found at Dove Cottage and the surrounding woodlands.

This workshop will have a practical element as participants will create decorative items from plants to take away, and everyone will receive a booklet with instructions for herbal creations that can be made at home. The cost also includes a vegetarian buffet supper.

Gingerbread Christmas Decorations, Sizergh Castle, Kendal

This month at Sizergh Castle, the National Trust are getting into the festive spirit by hosting some special workshops. Participants will be able to decorate a delicious gingerbread biscuit to take away and hang on a tree (if it doesn’t get eaten first!). Booking is not necessary but there is an additional charge for this activity alongside normal admission fees.

  • Date: 14th, 15th, 21st, & 22nd December, 2019
  • Time: Drop in between 10am and 4pm
  • Cost: £3.50 per person (plus normal admission fee)
  • Tickets / More information: nationaltrust.org.uk

Outdoor Activities

Outdoor Activities December 2019

There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing, so this December, wrap up warm and get outside with these outdoor events.


December at Whinlatter Forest, Near Keswick

This month at Whinlatter Forest, drop into the visitor centre on the 7th, 8th, 14th, and 15th December between 11am and 3pm for some free, festive craft activities for families. Booking is not necessary.

On the 14th and 15th December, visitors to the forest can join in with a welly walk. Don your wellies and warm clothing and take a stroll through the forest with Christmas songs and other activities along the way. Booking required, £2 per person.

For full details, visit forestryengland.uk/whinlatter-forest/venue/events-whinlatter.

Christmas at Watchtree Nature Reserve, Near Carlisle

Come join the team at the picturesque Watchtree Nature Reserve this month for a special day of festive themed activities. Local choirs and orchestras will be providing entertainment and visitors will be able to follow a nativity themed trail around the reserve.

There will be festive crafts and tasty food available in the café. It’s hoped that the man in red will be able to make an appearance on the day and the event will finish with a carol service.

Kendal Santa Stroll for Rosemere Cancer Foundation

Everyone is invited to join the Rosemere Cancer Foundation this month in Kendal where they will be encouraging to don a Santa suit or other festive clothing and walk one mile through the town. The aim is to raise funds for the charity with the entry fee proceeds going to support their work. Registration is available online and children under 12 need to be accompanied by an adult.

  • Date: Saturday, 7th December, 2019
  • Time: Registration from 10.30am, walk begins 11am
  • Cost: Adults £5, Children £2
  • Tickets / More information: rosemere.org.uk

Carlisle Santa Dash for Jigsaw

This month, combine your love of running with your love of Christmas and raise money by taking part in Carlisle’s Santa Dash. There are two events available to enter, and all the entry fee money will go towards Jigsaw, a children’s hospice in Carlisle. The first event is a 5K run. As this event is for charity all of the organisation is being carried out by volunteers and as such there will be no prizes and the event will be manually timed. All runners must wear a Santa suit to take part and thanks to the sponsorship from local businesses these suits will be provided.

For those who prefer to walk, and families with children aged five and up, there is a 2K walk / run. Again, Santa suits will be provided, including those for children. For both events you must register in advance and sponsorship forms are available for anyone who wishes to raise further funds for the hospice.

  • Date: Sunday, 8th December, 2019
  • Time: Registration 8.30am to 10am; 5K run starts 10.30am; 2K starts 11.30am
  • Cost: 2K / 5K Adults £14 / £17, Children £9 / £11, Family £36 / £45
  • Tickets / More information: sportinaction.co.uk/carlisle-santa-walk-dash

Community Coppicing Day at Great Wood, Near Keswick

Woodland management is an essential part of maintaining the landscape of the Lake District and this month the National Trust are looking for volunteers to take part in a coppicing day at Great Wood. This woodland lies to the east of Derwent Water and during this session you will learn more about the traditional skill of coppicing.

You will need to bring your own hand saws that are capable of cutting through hazel branches and stems, along with gloves and protective clothing. If you need sticks for the garden, etc. then you will be able to take some away with you. This is a free event and booking is not required.

  • Date: Sunday, 8th December, 2019
  • Time: Meet at Great Wood car park at 10am; Expected finish time is 2pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Tickets / More information: nationaltrust.org.uk

Introduction to White Water Canoeing with Path to Adventure, Coniston Water

Thanks to winter thickness wetsuits you can still get out on the open water in the colder weather and outdoor activity company Path to Adventure are hosting a white water canoeing weekend this month at Coniston Water.

Day one will be spent on Coniston water learning a variety of canoeing skills, with enough time to explore some of the lake’s islands during the tuition. Day two will be spent on a grade 1-2 white water river where you will be able to put some of your newly learnt skills into action and negotiate your way through rapids, weirs, and waves. All equipment will be provided and advanced booking is essential.

Santa Dash & Festive Family Fun Day for Team Evie, Workington Cricket Club

Team Evie is a charity that supports ill children in West Cumbria. This December, they are inviting everyone to complete a Santa Dash and raise funds for the work they do in the area. The dash will cover a one-mile route and every child who enters will receive a Santa hat and a medal.

There is a shorter route around the cricket club that is suitable for toddlers. Once the dash is complete everyone is welcome to join in with some festive fun at the cricket club, where there will be a Santa’s grotto, family games, Christmas crafts, a tombola, and a magician.

  • Date: Sunday, 15th December, 2019
  • Time: 10.30am to 3pm
  • Cost: Entry into Santa Dash costs £5 per child and accompanying adults go free; Entry into the fun day is free but charges apply for some activities
  • Tickets / More information: teamevie.org/event/santa-dash-festive-family-fun-day

Deck the Howls – Christmas Dog Walk, Keswick

A special dog friendly day that is hosted by the Inn on the Square in Keswick. Dog owners are invited to join in with this free event where you and your four legged friend can join in with a gentle walk from the Inn to Friars Crag at Derwent Water and Castlehead, a small hill above the lake.

The group will be joined by Santa and Professor Paws, and dog treats will be provided. At the end of the event, there will be mulled wine served outside the Inn and thanks to local pet supplies shop Podgy Paws there will be a prize for the best dressed festive dog.

Winter Solstice Guided Walk to Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick

The Lake District Hotels group operate a number of hotels in the area and this month they are hosting a special guided walk that anyone can book onto. Walkers will meet in Keswick’s Market Square before heading out of the town to the ancient Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Here, druid Daru McAleece will carry out a winter solstice ritual and give a short talk about the circle. After, there will be mince pies, mulled wine, and apple cider available for everyone before everyone returns to Keswick via a lantern lit walk. Booking essential.


New Year’s Eve

New Year's Eve 2019

New Year’s Eve isn’t a huge event here in Cumbria, especially when compared with other parts of the country. Most celebrations tend to be private, but you will find some party nights that anyone can book tickets for.

If you’re in Keswick on New Year’s Eve then it’s traditional for everyone in the area to gather at Moot Hall, the large clock tower at one end of Main Street, just before midnight for a countdown to New Year.


NYE at Appleby Castle

The luxury hotel at Appleby Castle is hosting an exclusive New Year’s party that will start with entertainment from a bag piper with drinks and canapes. An exquisite buffet supper will be served from 7pm in the 15th century great hall, with music from a pianist. After supper, there will be entertainment from a jazz band, and after midnight, guests can dance into the early hours with a disco. Booking essential.

  • Date: Tuesday, 31st December, 2019
  • Time: 6pm til late
  • Cost: Adults £65, Children £35
  • Tickets / More information: applebycastle.co.uk/NY

NYE at Lodore Falls Hotel, Borrowdale

Enjoy a seven-course meal at the Lodore Falls’s fantastic Mizu Pan Asian restaurant on New Year’s Eve, followed by an evening of entertainment from a live band and a DJ. A glass of fizz will be served at midnight. Booking essential.

NYE at Lyth Valley Restaurant With Rooms, Kendal

Enjoy a ten-course (yes ten!) tasting menu on New Year’s Eve at the Lyth Valley Restaurant With Rooms near Kendal, put together by an award winning chef. Booking is essential.

  • Date: Tuesday, 31st December, 2019
  • Time: 7pm til late
  • Cost: £100 per person; Wine pairing is an additional £45 per person
  • Tickets / More information: lythvalley.com/new-years-menu

NYE at the Halston Aparthotel, Carlisle

One of the biggest parties on New Year’s Eve in Carlisle takes place at the Halston, a luxury Aparthotel in the city centre. On arrival, guests will receive a welcome drink and canapes, followed by a four-course banquet. The remainder of the evening will be spent dancing to the sounds of Carlisle band Highly Strung, and if you’re still peckish at the end of the evening, there will be late night bacon rolls available. Booking essential.

NYE at the Brewery, Kendal

Looking for a cheaper way to spend New Year’s Eve? The Brewery Arts centre in Kendal will be opening the Vats bar on New Year Eve and entry is just £5. There will be music provided by a local DJ and nibbles will be available, plus the bar will be open throughout where you can purchase drinks. Booking is essential.

NYE at Sticklebarn Tavern, Great Langdale

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in a cosy pub with a good old fashioned knees up at Sticklebarn Tavern. There will be live music throughout the evening and tickets include a meal and a drink. Camping is available a short distance away if you can brave the cold! Booking essential.

NYE at Baha, Bowness-On-Windermere

Bowness-On-Windermere’s premier music venue will be opening its doors on New Year’s Eve for a party packed with great tunes over two floors. Singer, Becki Fishwick, will be performing on the ground floor whilst upstairs a DJ will be playing all the dancefloor classics. Tickets include a welcome drink but if you want to add dinner you can experience an 8 course tasting menu for an additional charge.


Other Events

Other Events December 2019

Keswick Live Advent

Each year the businesses of Keswick come together to organise a giant advent calendar across the town. On every day in December before Christmas, a different business window is lit up with a festive display. There are special events that accompany most of the illuminations, including a Santa Splash boat race, craft demonstrations, carol singing, storytelling, and much more.

The events and window illuminations take place once a day at various times and places. You can find details of each day on the Keswick Live Advent Facebook page here.

Riddle at Casino Royale, Castle Green Hotel, Kendal

After Dark Entertainment are once again putting on a brilliant murder mystery evening at the Castle Green Hotel. This time, diners will be joining secret agents from MI4 on a mission to uncover the double agent and locate an important piece of tech from the Russians. The cost includes a three-course meal and arrival drink.

Grizedale Stages Rally

Grizedale Stages Rally is an annual motor racing event that takes place amongst the trees of Grizedale Forest. Expect thrilling displays as vehicles race along the forest tracks. Spectators are invited to make use of four car parks in the forest and viewing is available from dedicated spectator areas. Drones are not permitted. On the day, live updates and information will be available through Twitter, and therefore anyone wishing to spectate is advised to get the Twitter app for their phone.

Christmas Family Fun Weekend, Tullie House Museum, Carlisle

Get set for a whole weekend of Christmas fun at the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle this month where they will be getting into the festive spirit with various activities including Christmas messy play, face painting, Christmas crafts, a special festive themed trail around the museum, and an interactive performance of Jack Frost and the Spiders Web from Pyjama Drama. There will also be a Santa’s grotto during the weekend where children can meet Santa and receive a small gift.

  • Date: Saturday, 7th & Sunday, 8th December, 2019
  • Time: 10am to 4pm
  • Cost: £3 per child for all activities, except Santa Grotto, which is an additional £5 per child. For adults normal admission rates apply
  • Tickets / More information: tulliehouse.co.uk/events/christmas-family-fun-weekend-1

Colin Caygill Antiques Fair, The Rheged Centre, Penrith

Keep out of the winter weather and browse a plethora of stalls stocking home furnishings, collectors’ items, vintage jewellery, clothes, antique tools, militaria, and much more. A great opportunity to find a unique item for your home.

Owls By Moonlight, Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass

December’s dark evenings are the perfect time to view owls in their preferred setting. At Muncaster Castle this month visitors can watch an awe-inspiring display of these magnificent birds under the moonlight. The evening will begin with a supper in the castle and a talk by one of the castle’s own bird experts. There will then be a walk through the illuminated castle gardens for a wonderful flight display by the owls. Booking is essential.

  • Date: 14th, 21st, & 22nd December, 2019
  • Time: 8pm
  • Cost: £29.90 for adults and £15.50 for children aged 3-15yrs
  • Tickets / More information: muncaster.co.uk/events

Mystery on 34th Street, Lindeth Howe Hotel, Bowness-On-Windermere

Uh oh…Christmas has taken a sinister turn at the Lindeth Howe Hotel, which has been transformed into the most famous department store on New York’s 34th street. A murder has taken place and the killer must be stopped before Christmas is ruined! Can you follow the clues during this interactive murder mystery dinner and find the killer before he or she strikes again? A three-course meal is included with the price and advanced booking is essential.

Star Wars Weekend at the Rheged Centre, Penrith

Whilst many of us will be focused on Christmas this month, for a not insignificant proportion of the country December brings something much more epic than the arrival of Santa, with the release of the final instalment of the Star Wars saga. Yes, Episode 9, AKA The Rise of Skywalker is coming to screens across the country, including at the Rheged Centre, where they will be hosting a special Star Wars party weekend on the 20th – 22nd December.

Along with screenings of the film there will be characters from the films in attendance, a photobooth, Star Wars crafts, and more. Plus, on the Saturday and Sunday at 4pm, there will be a free disco, hosted by Darth Vader himself.

Visit rheged.com for more information.

Christmas Party Night, Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa

Let your hair down this December and let someone else take care of the cooking at this festive party night. Perfect for those looking for special night out with friends or family, this event at Armathwaite Hall includes a three-course meal, a glass of fizz on arrival, and an evening of dancing led by the hotel’s resident DJ.