”Why would anyone want to visit the Lake District in winter?” You might ask. We can think of several reasons. Picture postcard scenes of snowy mountains, festive markets, cosy pubs with open fires serving warming grub, entire valleys devoid of any visitors, and dark, clear evenings in rural areas giving outstanding views out to far off galaxies.

November in the Lake District starts with a bang, literally, as bonfire night celebrations take place across Cumbria. The month then ends with a heralding of the festive season, marked by the switching on of Christmas lights. This month, you will also find the fantastic Kendal Mountain Festival, a wine festival, and much more.

Coniston Power Boat Records Week

Boat racing

Ever since Sir Malcolm Campbell set the water speed record in his Blue Bird boat in 1939, Coniston Water has drawn power boating enthusiasts. It’s therefore the natural home for the Power Boat Records Week, where entrants from around the country compete against each other in every class of power boat. You will see everything from tiny hydroplanes to large off shore power boats here, and spectators can enjoy the action from the lake shore for free.


Dawn Photography Cruise

Steamboat docked on Ullswater

Steamboat docked on Ullswater

Award-winning local photographer Mark Littlejohn and Ullswater Steamers have teamed up to present this wonderful opportunity. On Thursday, 2nd November hop aboard an Ullswater Cruise departing Glenridding at 6.30am. As dawn breaks over the lake, your early start will be rewarded with some amazing and awe-inspiring photography opportunities, with expert guidance from Mark. The price includes on-board tea or coffee and a croissant. Advanced booking is required.


The Carlisle Fireshow and Bonfire Night Celebrations

Fireworks show

Remember, remember the 5th of November this year at Cumbria’s biggest firework display. The Carlisle Fireshow attracts around 35,000 visitors each year and has even been listed in The Times’s Top Ten Bonfire Night display list. This year’s event is even more special, marking the 30th anniversary of the show. There will be a fairground, bonfire, and stands selling hot food and glowsticks. Entry is free!

There are also plenty of other bonfire night celebrations taking place across Cumbria. For a full list, have a read of our full guide to Bonfire Night celebrations in the Lake District

  • Date: Saturday, 4th November, 2017
  • Time: Fairground from 5.30pm, Bonfire lit at 7pm
  • Website: www.discovercarlisle.co.uk
  • Cost: Free

Lowther Castle: Night at the Castle – Fire & Feasting

Lowther Castle Bonfire

Bonfire at Lowther Castle

Lowther Castle is hosting a series of special evening events, including this one that will mark Bonfire Night. Much more than a traditional bonfire display, here you will find live music, a huge marquee where you can enjoy real ale, gin, Prosecco and more, as well as a delicious selection of hot street food, and street performances at various locations within the castle grounds. You will also find film screenings and a unique fire garden. Advanced booking is recommended.

  • Date: Saturday, 4th November, 2017
  • Time: 5pm
  • Website: www.lowthercastle.org
  • Cost: Adult £9.50, Child (3-15 years) £7.50

Holker Hall Winter Market

Holker Hall

Holker Hall (Grahamec / Wikipedia.org)

The countdown to Christmas has started, with only eight weekends between the beginning of November and Christmas Day! Start your Christmas shopping off with a trip to Holker Hall near Grange-Over-Sands, where on the 4th and 5th of November you can find a winter market featuring over 80 stalls brimming with locally produced gifts and other items. Market goers can treat themselves to some mulled wine and enjoy live music and street performances.

  • Date: Saturday, 4th and Sunday, 5th November, 2017
  • Time: 10.30am to 4pm
  • Website: www.holker.co.uk
  • Cost: Adult £3, Child (under 16 years) Free

The Teddy Bears Picnic

Teddy Bear Picnic

If you go down to Workington this November you’re sure to find a big surprise. The Carnegie Theatre is hosting this delightful event that is ideal for pre-school aged children. The show features sing-along songs, a magical adventure story, and the opportunity for some audience dancing. Children can bring their own teddy bears to join in the fun.


Secret Solway Heritage Tours

Sunset at Allonby Bay

Sunset along Allonby Bay

Cumbria’s Solway Coast is rich with wildlife, and you can explore this lesser visited area as part of a guided tour with Solway Connections. Departing from Carlisle, you will visit various villages and hamlets on the coast and learn about the history of the area, and see some of the rare birds and marine mammals that inhabit this wonderful coastline. Half or full day tours are available.

  • Date: Half day on 7th & 14th November, 2017; Full day on 9th & 16th November, 2017
  • Time: Half day tours depart at 1pm; Full day tours depart at 10am
  • Website: www.solwayconnections.co.uk
  • Cost: Half day £30, Full day £53

A Brief History of Women

History of Women

A Brief History of Women, The Old Laundry Theatre

Alan Ayckbourn’s 81st play premiered this earlier this year and is now brought to the stage at the Old Laundry Theatre in Bowness. The two-hour comedy tells the story of Anthony Spates and the women he loved over 60 years. The action takes place in the same manor house with the audience given the opportunity to see how both the central character and the house evolve over time. It’s a bittersweet tale packed with both humour and sadness.

  • Date: Wednesday, 8th November to Saturday, 11th November, 2017
  • Time: 7.30pm
  • Website: www.oldlaundrytheatre.co.uk
  • Cost: Adults £25, Children 10+ & Students £12.50

Brantwood Winter Craft Fair

Brantwood House

View from Brantwood House

Every year, Brantwood, the former home of writer and philanthropist, John Ruskin, is host to a craft fair. The historic rooms are filled with local artists and crafters with various items, such as artwork, pottery, jewellery, and more – all available to buy. As well as selling their items, several of the crafters will be doing live demonstrations. As this is a popular event a park and ride will be available from one of the larger Coniston lake shore car parks.

  • Date: Saturday, 11th & Sunday, 12th November, 2017
  • Time: Saturday 10.30am to 5pm; Sunday 10.30am to 4pm
  • Website: www.brantwood.org.uk
  • Cost: Adults £2, Children Free (includes entry to Brantwood)

Lakeland Model Farm & Construction Show

Toy Tractors

Fans of model tractors and other farm equipment will love this event. Taking place in Rheged’s exhibition hall the show features 20 traders selling a huge range of toy tractors, diggers, farm animals and more. There will be various displays with an astonishing level of detail, including farm landscapes, building sites, etc. If you need to find a gift for a fan of toy tractors, then this is the show for you, and there will be a charity auction for some more unique items.

  • Date: Sunday, 12th November, 2017
  • Time: 10am to 4pm
  • Website: www.rheged.com
  • Cost: Adults £6, Children Free

Quirky Workshops – Herdwick Doorstops – Greystoke Cycle Café

Herdwick Doorstops

Come along & make your own Herwick Doorstop!

Greystoke Cycle Café near Penrith hosts Quirky Workshop Days throughout the year. The days take place in a delightful converted barn and feature local artists and other professionals who lead step-by-step workshops where attendees will produce something unique to take home. This November, take a piece of Cumbria home with you in the form of a Herdwick sheep doorstop made from Herdwick wool felt. All the materials you need will be supplied on the day, and you will also receive a two-course lunch. Advanced booking is required.

  • Date: Wednesday, 15th November, 2017
  • Time: 9.30am to 4.15pm
  • Website: www.quirkyworkshops.co.uk
  • Cost: £68, plus £15 material fee

Woolpack Wine Festival

People cheers with wine

Join the Woolpack Inn, deep in the valley of Eskdale, for a weekend of wine exploration this November. The festival starts on Thursday, 16th November with a special tutored wine tasting evening. On the Friday night, there will be live music and a fish and chips supper. On the Saturday night, there will be a special 7-course dinner accompanied by 7 wines. The festival finishes on Sunday with a Champagne Sunday roast dinner or afternoon tea. There will be over 50 wines to try throughout the weekend with tasting tokens available to buy.

  • Date: Thursday, 16th to Sunday, 19th November, 2017
  • Time: Varies
  • Website: www.woolpack.co.uk
  • Cost: Free entry (Charges apply for wine & food)

Kendal Mountain Festival

Kendal Mountain Festival 2017

Some of the events happening at the Kendal Mountain Festival

The Kendal Mountain Festival is, according to its organisers, the main social event for outdoor enthusiasts in the UK. The festival is host to an international film competition for films that concern the outdoors, with film multiple film screenings taking place each day at various venues across the town. In addition, there are a number of lectures, exhibitions, and sporting activities. Weekend and day passes are available, as well as tickets for single events.

  • Date: Thursday, 16th to Sunday, 19th November, 2017
  • Time: Varies
  • Website: www.mountainfest.co.uk
  • Cost: From £5

Cumbria Life Christmas at Rheged

Cumbria Life Christmas at the Rheged Centre

Cumbria Life magazine is bringing its passion for Cumbrian produce and goods to Rheged for this special shopping weekend. There will be over 50 traders in attendance, showcasing the very best that Cumbria has to offer for all your Christmas shopping needs. The show will also feature demonstrations and masterclasses on a range of topics.

  • Date: Saturday, 18th & Sunday, 19th November, 2017
  • Time: Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm
  • Website: www.rheged.com
  • Cost: TBC

Threlkeld Craft Fair

Threlkeld Public Room

Threlkeld Public Room (Ian Capper / Geograph.org.uk)

Hosted by Threlkeld Activities Association, this will be the second craft fair held in the Threlked Village Hall. Crafters and artists from around the county will be in attendance, selling a range of items that include clothing, jewellery, artwork, ceramics, candles and more. Entrance is free and the village hall also has its own coffee shop where you can enjoy a snack or hot drink.


Thanksgiving in the Lake District

Thanksgiving 2017

For our lovely American guests visiting the Lake District this Thanksgiving in 2017, we've compiled a list of great restaurants and pubs where you can enjoy a meal or a roast dinner with your loved ones. Whilst they may not offer all of the traditional Thanksgiving Day fixings you're accustomed to from home, we hope your Thanksgiving in the Lake District will indeed be a memorable one!

  • Date: Thursday, 23 November, 2017
  • Cost: Varies by venue

Christmas Owls by Moonlight at Muncaster Castle


Starting on the last Saturday in November and taking place each Saturday in December, Muncaster Castle is hosting special evening suppers. During your meal, you will hear a talk from bird experts, followed by an evening tour of the Hawk and Owl Centre where you will be able to see the owls flying in their natural environment. There will also be a guided moonlit walk through the castle gardens. Advanced booking is recommended.

  • Date: Saturday, 25th November, 2017
  • Time: 6pm
  • Website: www.muncaster.co.uk
  • Cost: Adults £29, Children £15 (Includes two-course dinner)

Ulverston’s Dickensian Christmas Festival

Travel back in time this November to an era filled with Christmas charm. The Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival is a very popular annual event that includes a Christmas market, street performances, live music, a Victorian helter skelter, and a costumed parade. There are free festive events for children such as crafts and story telling, as well as a Santa grotto. Everyone is encouraged to attend in Dickensian outfits, with prizes awarded for the best costumes.

  • Date: Saturday, 25th & Sunday, 26th November, 2017
  • Time: 10am to the early evening
  • Website: www.dickensianfestival.co.uk
  • Cost: Free entry (Charges may apply for some activities)

Christmas Lights Switch On

Blurry town Christmas Tree

The end of the November sees many towns and cities across the UK switch on their Christmas lights. Here in Cumbria we have a number of special events taking place across the county to celebrate the return of Christmas lights above our towns’ streets. Many of the events are accompanied by mini markets, fairgrounds, and other festivities.


Carlisle Christmas Lights Switch-On

Christmas Tree

Live music on a temporary stage in the city centre accompanies the annual light switch on in Carlisle, with free entry.

  • WHEN: Sunday, 19th November, 2017 from 2pm to 5.30pm

Kendal Christmas Lights Switch-On

Santa Claus with his list checking it twice

Live music, market stalls, and a Father Christmas procession from the Abbot Hall gallery to the town centre form part of the Kendal lights switch-on. Free entry.

  • WHEN: Sunday, 19th November, 2017 from 1.30pm to 5pm

Keswick Christmas Lights Switch-On

Mince Pies

Join local celeb pups, Max and Paddy, who are guests of honour at the Keswick lights switch-on. There will be food market, music, and a lantern parade. Free entry.

  • WHEN: Friday, 24th November, 2017 at 6pm

Ambleside Christmas Lights Switch-On

Santa Claus with boy

This is a whole day event in Ambleside that includes special cruises on Lake Windermere with Father Christmas, a lantern parade, market, music, children’s activities, and fireworks. Free entry but charges apply for the cruises.

  • WHEN: Saturday, 18th November, 2017 from 10am to 6pm

Windermere & Bowness Christmas Lights Switch-On

Giant Tree

Run entirely by volunteers and funded through donations, this event in Windermere features a Santa’s parade followed by the light switch on.

  • WHEN: Saturday, 25th November, 2017 - Times TBC

Cockermouth Christmas Lights Switch-On


A charity market and fairground rides accompany the Cockermouth Christmas lights switch-on. Children can visit Santa in his grotto, with a donation to local causes requested in return. Free entry.

  • WHEN: Sunday, 19th November, 2017 from 2pm to 6pm

Penrith Christmas Lights Switch-On

Christmas baubles

Part of the Penrith Winter Festival, the light switch-on features music from carol singers, and a market during the day. Full details to be confirmed.

  • WHEN: Saturday, 25th November, 2017 - Times TBC