If you don’t mind a bit of rain and want to visit the Lake District during one of the quieter periods, then October is the time to come. Most of the trees are now adorned with golden leaves, waiting for the next big storm to blow them all away. The nights are much colder, and so we see the return of cool crisp mornings leading to spectacular sunrises as mists engulfs the lakes.

Half term falls towards the end of October, along with Halloween, and this month we have a fabulous range of spooky events that the whole family will enjoy. October also sees the return of Carlisle’s fabulous book festival, as well as Kendal’s International Comic Art festival.

Borderlines: Carlisle Book Festival

Borderlines Carlisle Book Festival Oct 2018

Now in it’s fifth year, Borderlines is a not for profit book festival that aims to promote the spoken and written word in Cumbria in order to develop a love of reading across the county. This year, there are a plethora of well known faces and literary experts delivering a series of talks in a number of venues located around Carlisle. Guest speakers include Mike Berners Lee, professor at Lancaster University’s Institute for Social Futures, who will be delivering the festival’s inaugural One World Talk, focusing on how humans can continue to thrive with the threats posed by climate change and other changes to the earth’s ecological systems.

Other speakers include comedian Robin Ince, presenter of Radio 4’s show, The Infinite Monkey Cage, social media star and parent, Matt Coyne, owner of the Facebook blog, Man vs Baby, and Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and leading women’s rights campaigner. In addition, this year, the festival is offering a number of extra activities to encourage greater participation from members of the public, including a quiz night and a graphic novel workshop.

  • Date: Thursday, 27th September to Sunday, 7th October, 2018
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: Varies
  • Tickets / More Information: www.borderlinescarlisle.co.uk

Monty Python’s Spamalot, Carnegie Theatre, Workington

Spamalot Production in Workington October 2018

Presented by the Workington Amateur Operatic Society, Spamalot is a musical inspired by the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s a re-telling of the legendary story King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, with the addition of a trojan rabbit, show girls, and the quest to put on a West End musical thrown in.

Written by Eric Idle, the show’s score features favourite hits including Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, as well as a number of musical parodies. It’s the perfect evening out for those who revel in silliness.

Love Gin Night, Castle Green Hotel, Kendal

Love Gin Night, Castle Green Hotel, Kendal October 2018

The Castle Green Hotel in Kendal are once again hosting a special celebration of gin this October. They will be joined by Mike Pennington from Pennington’s Spirits & Liqueurs and Andrew Trueman from Grape Expert Tastings, both of whom will be leading participants on a gin tasting adventure.

There will be nibbles available in between tastings, and once the tastings have concluded there will be entertainment from local singer / songwriter, Hayden Sorrenson. Tickets must be booked in advance and the price includes five gins and snacks.

The Snail and the Whale, the Forum, Barrow-In-Furness

The Snail and the Whale, the Forum, Barrow-In-Furness October 2018

Writer Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler are best known for their classic children’s story, The Gruffalo, but this October at the Forum in Barrow, children and their families can experience one of their lesser known tales brought to life on stage. The Snail and the Whale tells the tale of a tiny snail who longed to sail, and so did so, on the tail of a large humpback whale.

Together they explored the vast ocean before disaster struck and the whale became washed up on the shore. In this production, the snail’s journey is re-told through the eyes of a young girl and her father, a sailor. It is suitable for children aged 4 and up.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal October 2018

Each October the small town of Kendal plays host to a unique celebration of comic art, with artists, writers, and fans coming together from all over the world to celebrate the world of comics. This year’s packed line up includes over 70 comic artists, writers, and creators in attendance, five comic exhibitions, and a number of comic film screenings.

The festival will kick off on the Friday evening with an epic debate over which superhero universe is the best: Marvel, or DC? As well as the various talks and workshops, there will be a family fun day on the Saturday in the Westmorland Shopping Centre, and a huge array of exhibitors selling their art. Tickets should be purchased in advance and you can opt for day passes, weekend passes, or individual tickets for some events.

  • Date: Friday, 12th October to Sunday, 14th October, 2018
  • Time: 9am to 10 pm
  • Cost: £8 to £35 per person
  • Tickets / More Information: www.comicartfestival.com

Lakeland Trails – Helvellyn 5k, 10k, & 15K Races, Glenridding

Lakeland Trails October 2018 Races

Lakeland Trails continue their 2018 programme of trail runs around the Lake District with this gruelling challenge that sees competitors take on the fells around the mighty Helvellyn fell. With something to suit most abilities, the event’s organisers boast of a festival atmosphere with live music and food and drink available at the start in Glenridding.

There is a 5K trail open to anyone aged 12 years and up, a 10K trail run for those aged 16 and up, a 15K trail challenge for adults who are either less competitive runners or fitness walkers, and a 15K trail race for the competitive runners. You must enter in advance online. On the day, a children’s fun trail will be open to any child with no advanced booking required, taking place in the starting area. Race competitors will receive a t-shirt, photos, e-chip timing, and refreshments.

The 56th Model Railway & Transport Exhibition, Barrow-In-Furness

The 56th Model Railway & Transport Exhibition, Barrow-In-Furness October 2018

Hosted by Barrow Sixth Form College, the annual gathering by the Furness Model Railway Club will feature around 12 working model railway displays inspired by the country’s industrial history. Explore replicas of a yard with over 70 trains, a narrow gauge line, an ironworks, and much more, including model aircraft and ship displays.

Refreshments will be available to purchase and there will be a tombola and raffle on the day. There is free parking at the site, and a free bus service will be in operation between the venue and Barrow railway station.

Forests of Folklore, Wray Castle, Nr Ambleside

Forests of Folklore, Wray Castle, Nr Ambleside October 2018

Beatrix Potter’s long love affair with the Lake District began during her childhood holidays to the area with her family, one of which was to Wray Castle in 1882. It was here that Potter met National Trust founder, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, who encouraged her to publish her first book. Many of her whimsical stories have somewhat darker undertones with characters that were inspired by the German folk stories she read as a child.

This October, Wray Castle is hosting a special celebration of the links between Potter’s work and traditional fairy tales with the creation of an indoor forest filled with the shadows of some of these iconic folk tale characters. This exhibition will run from 20th October until 4th November, and on Halloween itself visitors can enjoy a story-telling session with shadow puppetry from touring theatre company the Clockwork Moth. The exhibition is included with the admission rate, but there is a charge of £2 per ticket for the story-telling sessions, and it is recommended that you book your tickets in advance.

  • Date: Saturday, 20th October to Sunday, 4th November, 2018
  • Time: 10am to 4.30pm
  • Cost: Exhibition is included in general admission price – Adults £10.80, Children £5.40; National Trust members go free; Tickets for the shadow puppet story-telling sessions cost £2
  • Tickets / More Information: www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children, Coronation Hall, Ulverston

Coro Ulverston October 2018

Completely selling out at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, musical comedian Jay Foreman is now taking his family friendly show on tour, stopping off at Ulverston this October.

The show sees Foreman perform an hour of songs, poetry, and comedy packed with cheeky references to all things gruesome and gross, but thankfully, for parents, never inappropriate. One for fans of the creations of Roald Dahl, this is sure to leave you crying with laughter.

Half Term & Halloween at Lowther Castle

Lowther Castle 2018 Halloween Event

What lies beneath the ruins of Lowther Castle? Do you dare to try and find out? The castle’s spooky spectacular Halloween event returns this year with an evening of ghoulish family fun.

The full details are yet to be announced, but you can expect to find thrilling street performances from ghostly characters, atmospheric scenes to explore amongst the ruins, and trade stands selling hot food and drinks. The Halloween event takes place on Sunday, 28th October from 5pm. During half term week (22nd through 28th October), the castle will host a series of activities for children with indoor and outdoor crafts.

Halloween Masquerade Ball at Beech Hill Hotel, Bowness-On-Windermere

Halloween Masquerade October 2018 at Beech Hill Hotel

If you prefer to celebrate Halloween in style then this is the event for you. The Beech Hill Hotel in Bowness-On-Windermere are hosting a special masquerade ball in celebration of this spooky festival.

On arrival, guests will receive canapes and Champagne on the terrace, before heading to the hotel’s restaurant for a four-course gourmet meal, during which you will be entertained by a magician and a four string quartet. After you can dance the night away to music provided by the resident DJ. Black tie is preferred but not essential.

The Winter Droving, Penrith

Winter Droving Penrith 2018

The Winter Droving is now in its seventh year and is one of the most spectacular events of the season. Celebrating Cumbria’s rural heritage, the festival harks back to the old tradition of herding farm animals over long distances to sell at market at the end of the farming year.

During this event, the centre of Penrith will be taken over by five live music stages, a vintage funfair, and a food and craft market selling local produce. The annual Drover’s Cup competition occurs during the day, with events that include pint carrying, sausage eating, and egg throwing. There’s a fancy dress dog competition and the day concludes with an evening torch procession where everyone is invited to wear a mask and join in the fun.

  • Date: Saturday, 27th October, 2018
  • Time: 10am til late
  • Cost: Free, but donations can be made to support the event by purchasing a wrist band online
  • Tickets / More Information: www.winterdroving.uk

Free Entry for Children at the World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness-On-Windermere

World of Beatrix Potter October 2018

In celebration of Halloween, children visiting the World of Beatrix Potter attraction on Sunday, 28th October, 2018 will receive free entry if they are dressed in a Halloween costume.

They must be accompanied by a paying adult to take advantage of this offer. Once inside, the attraction has some free spooky crafts, and for a small additional charge face painting will be available.

  • Date: Sunday, 28th October, 2018
  • Time: 10am to 4pm
  • Cost: Adults £7.95, Children Free When In Fancy Dress
  • Tickets / More Information: www.hop-skip-jump.com

October Performances at the Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-On-Windermere

Old Laundry Theatre October 2018

This Autumn why not treat yourself to a night at the theatre? The Old Laundry in Bowness-On-Windermere has a packed calendar of events, starting at the beginning of the month with a couple of evenings of piano music from renowned pianist Martin Rosoe. The film, Grease, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and the theatre is commemorating the occasion with a series of special screenings of the film complete with a three course meal, cocktails, and party bag to take away.

In the second half of the month, the theatre is hosting several productions, including Three Days in the Country by Patrick Marber, The Treatment by Martin Crimp, Design For Living by Noel Coward, and classic American comedy, The Owl and the Pussycat by Bill Manhoff. Finally, the month ends with the performance of two Alan Ayckbourn plays, Joking Apart and Better Off Dead.

Revolting Women by Mikron Theatre, Threlkeld Village Hall, Nr Keswick

Revolting Women Play at Threlkeld, October 2018

As celebrations of the centenary of the right to vote for women continues, this October top touring theatre company Mikron Theatre are bringing their production of Revolting Women to Threlkeld Village Hall.

The show takes a satirical look at the suffrage movement, focusing on the role of Sylvia Pankhurst, who worked with working women in London’s East End to pile the pressure on parliament. There will be a bar operating on the night, opening 30 minutes before the show starts.

Wasdale Head Show & Shepherd’s Meet, Wasdale Head, West Cumbria

Wasdale Head Show October 2018

The year’s run of agricultural shows and fairs concludes with the Wasdale Head Show & Shepherd’s Meet. The show first took place over 100 years ago, bringing together shepherds from the valleys surrounding Wasdale who came to trade their rams ahead of the start of the breeding season in November.

Over the years, the original Shepherd’s Meet developed to include hound trailing, fell racing, Cumberland & Westmorland wrestling, children’s sports, trade stands, and much more, creating the popular show that it is today. Entries into the fell races can be made on the day, and there will be plenty of traders selling hot and cold food and drink.

  • Date: Saturday, 13th October, 2018
  • Time: 10am to 5pm
  • Cost: Adults £4, Children Free
  • Tickets / More Information: www.wasdaleheadshow.co.uk

Peppa Pig & Halloween at the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, West Cumbria

Peppa Pig at Ravenglass October 2018

There are two special events taking place aboard La’al Ratty, AKA the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway this month. On the 6th and 7th of October, Peppa Pig will be making a special appearance. Your ticket will include a ride on the train from Ravenglass to Dalegarth with an allocated timeslot, a chance to meet Peppa and friends at Dalegarth, and a magic show at Dalegarth with Stu-Di-Doo, followed by a return journey to Ravenglass on a first come, first served basis. Dogs are not permitted during this event. Advanced booking is not essential but recommended.

On the 26th & 27th of October, normal service is replaced by a more spooktacular affair with the arrival of the Ghost Train on the railway line. If you are feeling brave you can hop aboard the train in the early evening when darkness has fallen over the Eskdale valley. There will be family friendly activities at Dalegarth with sweets provided. On the way back to Ravenglass, you will face numerous scary encounters as you travel back through the valley. Again, dogs are not permitted during this event and pre-booking is essential.

  • Date: Peppa Pig – Saturday, 6th & Sunday, 7th October, 2018; Ghost Train – Friday, 26th & Saturday, 27th October, 2018
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: Peppa Pig – Adults £16.50, Children £9.90; Ghost Train – Adults £16, Children £8
  • Tickets / More Information: www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk

Witches & Wizards Week at the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, South Lakes

Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway Witches & Wizards Week October 2018

During October half term week at the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, passengers can try and spot the haunted carriage that has been trapped in the Haverthwaite tunnel. On board the train, there will be various Halloween themed crafts to complete.

Children who are dressed in fancy dress and accompanied by a full paying adult will receive not only a free ride on the train, but they will also receive free entry into the Lakes Aquarium at Lakeside.

  • Date: Monday, 22nd October to Friday, 26th October, 2018
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: Standard fares apply
  • Tickets / More Information: www.lakesiderailway.co.uk

Halloween at Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass

Muncaster Castle October 2018

Muncaster Castle is thought to be one of Britain’s most haunted venues, and with that in mind, the castle is putting on a plethora of events in celebration of Halloween during half term week. General entry to the castle will include entertainment from various street performers, including acrobatics, comedy, and magic. There will also be a ghostly grotto where you can listen to spooky stories or do various Halloween themed crafts, along with an enchanted trail and a scary maze and food supplied by various outdoor caterers.

In addition, there are two ticketed activities. The first is an opportunity to see the castle’s owls flying in the twilight. The second is a Halloween tour of the castle that combines a spooky theatrical event performed by local university performing arts students, which is not suitable for young children. Advanced booking for these two events is required.

  • Date: Tuesday, 23rd October to Sunday, 28th October, 2018
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: General Entry + Castle Entry Adults £12.50 / £15.50, Children £6.30 / £7.80; Twilight Owls Display £3.50 Per Person (Does Not Include Entry); Castle Halloween Tour (Includes General Entry) £24, Children £12
  • Tickets / More Information: www.muncaster.co.uk/halloween-week

Halloween Fun at Holker Hall, Nr Grange-Over-Sands

Holker Hall Halloween 2018

During half term Holker Hall will be putting on some special Halloween themed events. Witches and Wizardry School is an interactive theatre event featuring some of Hogwart’s best known characters, with children being given the opportunity to create magical potions. Pre-booking is required. In addition, there will be a spooky trail in the gardens, and Halloween craft sessions available on a drop in basis.

  • Date: Friday, 26th & Saturday, 27th October, 2018 (Theatre performances); Thursday, 25th & Sunday, 28th October (Halloween craft drop in)
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: Theatre performance - £12 per child with one adult free. £5 per additional adult. Halloween crafts - £4 per child, plus general admission
  • Tickets / More Information: www.holker.co.uk/event/holker-halloween-fun