Happy New Year! This January not only marks the start of a new year, but also the start of a new decade. What will the 20s bring us? Well, certainly for this month, it’s a little quieter here in the Lake District, as it’s traditionally the time of year when we see the least amount of visitors.

Many of the national park’s attractions close during January for annual maintenance, and the weather is generally poor. However, it does mean that if you are willing to gear up and head out, you can probably enjoy an entire valley or mountain to yourself, and there are a handful of events to help pass the time.

Jump To: Live Theatre & Music | Outdoor Activities | Workshops & Classes | Other Events

Live Theatre, Music, & Comedy


The dark and windy evenings call for cosy nights in with live entertainment.


The Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

This month at Keswick’s lakeshore theatre, the Christmas festivities have been extended slightly with further performances of a stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, which is running until 11th January.

If you would prefer to forget all about Christmas and the excess that it brought, then check out saxophonist, Jonathan Radford, and pianist, Ashley Fripp, who will be giving a one off performance at the theatre on the 5th January. Radford has been featured as a ‘rising star’ in the BBC Music Magazine, whilst Fripp has performed in renowned concert halls around the world.

To book tickets, visit theatrebythelake.com.

The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

There are just a small number of performances this month at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, all towards the latter part of the month. On the 17th of January, million record selling acoustic rock group, Turin Brakes, are appearing on stage and will be performing tracks from their eighth studio album. On the 24th of January, one of the finest tribute acts to The Boss are making an appearance at the Brewery. The Springsteen Sessions travel the UK with their vibrant covers of the music of Bruce Springsteen right through his career.

For something a little quirkier, check out Robyn Hitchcock who will be performing on the 25th of January, combining traditional folk music with psychedelia. Finally, the Brewery’s musical offerings finish in January with Field Music who will be joined by Emma Pollack. The band’s newest album is an exploration of the after affects of the first world war and was inspired by a project the band worked on for the Imperial War Museum. The band will be performing tracks from this album on the 31st January.

There is just one theatre show at the Brewery this month. When Darkness Seeps is an adaptation of four tales by Edgar Allan Poe, perfect for the dark January evenings. The show starts its run on the 26th January. For full details of everything that is happening at the Brewery this month, visit breweryarts.co.uk.

The Carnegie Theatre, Workington

This month at Workington’s Carnegie theatre, fans of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing will be flocking to the theatre’s doors on the 24th January when former Strictly professional dancer, Kristina Rihanoff, brings her glamourous dance show Dance to the Music to the west Cumbrian stage. The show also features stars from the X Factor and Dancing On Ice and will demonstrate the evolution of dance with styles from across the ages.

Also appearing on stage this month is Nya King who will be performing as Whitney Houston on the 25th January, and this will be followed by an Elton John tribute act on the 31st January. For full details of all these performances and to book tickets, visit carnegietheatre.co.uk.

Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven

Whitehaven’s theatre has just two events taking place this month. Running from the 15th January until the 18th January, the Rosehill Players’ production of Le Grand Return is an inspiring play based on a true story that sees a D-Day veteran attempt to escape his nursing home to join his former comrades on the Normandy beaches for the 50th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

On Saturday the 25th of January, theatregoers can celebrate Burns Night with an evening of traditional Scottish song performed by Glen Cunningham, an award winning singer from the Highlands. During this cabaret style evening there will be a supper of haggis, neeps, and tatties, followed by a clootie dumpling. For full details of both of these events, visit rosehilltheatre.co.uk.

The Sands Centre, Carlisle

There are three nights of music and entertainment at the Sands Centre in Carlisle this month. On the 10th of January, step back in time and experience One Night of Elvis, with Europe’s most talented and successful Elvis tribute act, Lee Memphis King.

Alternatively, a second tribute artist evening on the 18th of January sees Gary Mullen & The Works taking to the stage as Queen. Finally, on the 31st of January, one of the longest running variety acts will be performing on the Carlisle stage. That’ll Be The Day features a troupe of musicians and comedians who will treat the audience to a night of rock, roll, and laughter.

For full details of all of these events, visit thesandscentre.co.uk.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes – Living Dangerously, Kendal Leisure Centre

Perhaps the UK’s most celebrated and extraordinary living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, is certainly someone who has many tales to tell. Thankfully, Sir Ranulph is taking his tales on tour and will be appearing at Kendal Leisure Centre where he will talk through many of the highlights of his life, from his earliest memories to his explorations into the Antarctic and the Artic. An inspirational way to start the new year. Please note that whilst this event is taking place at Kendal Leisure Centre, ticket sales are being managed by the Sands Centre in Carlisle.

  • Date: Friday, 10th January, 2020
  • Time: 7.30pm
  • Cost: £27.50 - £32.50
  • Tickets / More information: thesandscentre.co.uk

Outdoor & Active Events

Wintry snow covered Langdale Pikes

Langdale Pikes

Yes it might be cold outside, but wrap up warm, grab a torch, and start the new year by getting active with these events.


New Year’s Day Dip, Fellfoot Park, Newby Bridge

Feeling brave? Take the plunge in 2020 and begin with a New Year’s Day swim in Windermere. The National Trust at Fellfoot Park on the southern tip of Windermere are hosting this free event where swimmers are welcome to try outdoor swimming. Hot showers will be available after. Booking is not required.

  • Date: Wednesday, 1st January, 2020
  • Time: 10am to 12 noon
  • Cost: Free, but normal admission rates apply
  • Tickets / More information: nationaltrust.org.uk

Guided Walks & Courses with the Lake District Walker

The Lake District Walker is one of the largest activity companies in the Lake District, specialising in guided walks and training courses for those wishing to expand their knowledge of fell walking. January is typically the month when snow arrives in the Lake District and is therefore the perfect time to book onto a Winter Skills Training Course.

This is one of several events offered by the Lake District Walker this month, with a one-day and a two-day course available that will cover all the essential skills you will need for walking in wintry conditions. Other events available this month include guided walks to Scafell Pike, Helvellyn, and the Langdale Pikes. In addition, there are several family friendly walks available.

There are various dates available during the month and prices start at £25 per person. For full details of what is available, visit thelakedistrictwalker.co.uk.

Stargazing at Grizedale Forest

The dark evenings and crystal clear wintry nights are perfect for spotting the stars and other celestial objects, and at Grizedale Forest this month astronomer Robert Ince is leading stargazing sessions for visitors. There will be access to powerful telescopes and binoculars, with Ince available to answer any questions. Booking is essential and participants should bring a torch.

  • Date: Friday 3rd, Saturday 4th, Friday 24th, Saturday 25th January, 2020
  • Time: Start and end time varies
  • Cost: £15 Adults, £7.50 children aged 8-15
  • Tickets / More information: forestryengland.uk

The North Lakes Half Marathon, Lorton Valley, Near Cockermouth

Start the new year by achieving a something special by taking part in the North Lakes Half Marathon. This annual event sees just 400 runners taking to a course that journeys through the picturesque Lorton valley with its gentle hills and stunning scenery. The event is open to all abilities, so if this is your first half marathon or your 100th, you are more than welcome to join in. Every competitor will receive a finishers’ memento. Places are limited so don’t delay in booking!

Climbing Festival, Bendrigg Trust, Kendal

Bendrigg Trust are a registered charity that provide outdoor and adventure activities for people with disabilities. This month, they are holding a climbing festival that is aimed at anyone aged 13 and above with a learning disability or autism who have either never climbed before but want to have a go, or who already have experience of climbing and just want to do some more.

The package includes overnight accommodation, food, climbing workshops, and social events, and participants should preferably bring a carer or buddy. Booking is essential and the event is subsidised through additional funding, keeping the cost per person relatively low.

  • Date: Friday, 24th January – Sunday, 26th January, 2020
  • Time: TBC
  • Cost: £110
  • Tickets / More information: bendrigg.org.uk

YHA King of the Castle 2020, Borrowdale

Each year, the staff at the Borrowdale Youth Hostel set each other and those around them a challenge to see who can reach the summit of Castle Crag the fastest. It started as a light-hearted joke amongst staff but has become the unofficial start of the fell running season with a large number of fell runners attending.

The event takes the format of a time trial, starting from the youth hostel bar, with each competitor leaving one at a time. The one-mile route will take you to the summit of Castle Crag and then competitors can return to the youth hostel for cake. Booking is essential.

  • Date: Sunday, 5th January. 2020
  • Time: 1pm to 3pm
  • Cost: £5
  • Tickets / More information: Facebook Event

Wolf Moon Guided Full Moon Run - Helvellyn Edges, Glenridding

Not for the casual walker, this guided night run will take in both of the ridges leading up to Helvellyn – Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. Difficult enough during the day, running them at night in the depths of winter adds in a whole new element. Runners will be guided by professionals at all time but all participants will need winter mountaineering skills and the ability to run over arduous routes in difficult conditions.

You will initially meet at Glenridding for a gear and safety check before heading up Striding Edge to the summit of Helvellyn, with a descent via Swirral Edge. An alternative route will be available if the weather is particularly poor. Booking is essential.

  • Date: Tuesday, 21st January, 2020
  • Time: Meeting at 7.15, Estimated finish time is 11.30pm
  • Cost: £50
  • Tickets / More information: mountainrun.co.uk

Creative Workshops & Classes

Lake District Owl

Learn a new skill, or simply explore your creative side with these workshops and classes.


Star Wars Youth Arts Workshop, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

If you are looking for something for your child to do during the tail end of the school Christmas holidays, then check out the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. To commemorate the release of the final Star Wars movie, the centre is offering a fun day for children aged 7 to 14 years with a Star Wars theme. Children will spend the day improvising epic space battles, devise dance routines inspired by The Force, and create a giant space background. The event will conclude with a performance for friends and family.

Finishing the Prelude, the Jerwood Centre, Dove Cottage & the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere

Former president of the Wordsworth Trust, Pamela Woof, is offering a series of classes that examine one of Wordsworth’s most celebrated works, his autobiographical piece, The Prelude, an epic poem that consisted of 14 books.

During the classes, participants will explore how Wordsworth could find a resolution to this masterpiece, and examine the impact that the political turbulence and Wordsworth’s own frustrations regarding these events had on the poem. The classes will also look at the reactions Wordsworth’s contemporaries had to the poem. Although the January class is part of a monthly series, newcomers are welcome and copies of The Prelude will be provided. Booking is available.

Lamb & Sheep in Mix Media, Thuline Studio Gallery, Windermere

Thuline is a studio gallery in Windermere that occasionally offers workshops and courses to members of the public. During this one-day workshop, you will use photographs of sheep and lambs to create acrylic and pastel pictures.

Participants can bring their own close up pictures of animals on photographic paper if they wish to paint a different animal. Some drawing experience would be helpful to take part in this course, and all materials, plus refreshments will be provided.

Making Sausage & Salami, Keswick Cookery School

The brainchild of award winning Cumbrian chef, Peter Sidwell, the Keswick Cookery School offers a series of classes throughout the year. Spaces are still available on this month’s Sausage and Salami course. This five-hour workshop will teach you how to make your own Cumberland sausage, smoke your own chorizo, and make and cure your own salami. Booking is essential.

Wildlife Close-Up Photography Course with Going Digital, Lake District Wildlife Park

During this one-day workshop, budding wildlife photographers will have a unique opportunity to get up close to reptiles and small animals who are normally only visible in the Lake District Wildlife Park through cages and glass windows.

A park keeper will be providing exclusive access to some of the animals and the course will cover all of the basic skills needed to achieve professional looking shots of wildlife. There will also be the opportunity to photograph some of the park’s birds of prey whilst they fly around the park grounds.


Other Events

Wedding Fair

A round up of other general events that are taking place this month in the Lake District.


Wedding Fayre, North Lakes Hotel, Penrith

Got engaged over the Christmas holidays and think the Lake District is your dream venue for your wedding? The North Lakes Hotel in Penrith are hosting a free wedding fayre this month complete with a catwalk show featuring the latest wedding fashions and local suppliers who will add the finishing touches to your day to make it that little bit more special.

The Body on the Black Pearl, Lindeth Howe Hotel, Bowness-On-Windermere

Cheer up those January blues with an evening of fun, frolics… and murder! During this interactive murder mystery evening, guests will encounter a ship full of pirates, one of which has met a gruesome end. With scenes played out in front of your eyes as you dine on a three-course meal, the evening will reveal clues and useful pieces of information to help you solve the mystery of who committed the crime aboard the Black Pearl. Booking is essential and the fee includes the meal and entertainment.

Kendal Model Railway Exhibition, Kendal Leisure Centre

One for all the inner children out there, the Kendal Model Railway exhibition returns to Kendal Leisure Centre this month for this annual event. Attracting hobbyists from across the country there will be multiple model layouts with working trains, many with vintage sets and pieces. Along with the dioramas there will be a second hand stall selling various pieces, plus refreshments available.

  • Date: Saturday, 25th & Sunday, 26th January, 2020
  • Time: 10am to 5pm (4.30pm on Sunday)
  • Cost: Adults: £6, Children: (age 6-16) £3, Children Under 5: Free, Concessions: £5, Family (2 adults + 2 children): £16
  • Tickets / More information: kendalmrc.org