Lake District Christmas Light Switch-Ons 2018


What could possibly make the Lake District even prettier than it already is? Actually, we think that the Lake District all lit up for Christmas is pretty special! All around the Lakes and Cumbria, towns and villages are getting ready to sparkle in time for the festive period with their Christmas light switch-ons. From small affairs to full-day extravaganzas featuring Victorian markets and live entertainment, here’s our guide to where and when to see the lights.


Keswick Christmas lightsWhere: Keswick Town Centre and Packhorse Court

Date: Friday 23rd November 2018 

Time: All day from 10am, with the lights switched on at 7pm

The Christmas lights switch-on is always a big occasion in Keswick, with previous years seeing the big button being pressed by well-known figures such as HRH Prince Charles and celebrity spaniels, Max and Paddy. This year, the switch-on will be performed by nurses from Keswick cottage hospital to celebrate 70 years of the NHS.

The day will begin with a festive food and gifts fayre starting at 10am in Packhorse Court, followed by a switch-on of the Rotary Club Tree of Light at 5.15pm by none other than the beloved Beatrix Potter character, Peter Rabbit! Entertainment will be provided throughout the day from local rock band Waters Edge and St Herbert’s School choir.

Keswick loves getting into the Christmas spirit: look out for the Live Advent that takes place between the 1st and 24th of December, featuring a combination of pop-up events from local businesses, as well as the annual Victorian Fayre on 2nd December.

Fancy a stay in Keswick for Christmas? See our cottages here.


Where: Ambleside Town Centre and Rothay Park

Date: Saturday 17th, November

Time: 10am-6pm

Ambleside’s Christmas lights switch-on is a day full of family-friendly events with a proper community feel. Cruise along Lake Windermere on one of the two special festive cruises, making sure to keep an eye out for Santa along the way; we’ve even heard a little rumour that the Big Man and his elves may hop onboard! Later, watch as Santa leads the lantern procession through the town before he lights up Ambleside into a winter wonderland with the grand switch-on. After waving him off, the day finishes with a spectacular firework display in Rothay Park.

Of course, no Christmas lights switch-on would be complete without festive food and drink, with stalls offering mulled mine and mince pies, all available from lunchtime onwards.

Browse all of all cottages in Ambleside here.


Christmas lights in CockermouthWhere: Cockermouth Main Street

Date: Sunday, 18th November 2018

Time: 2pm-6pm

Cockermouth’s Christmas lights switch-on is an all-singing, all-dancing affair! Kicking off at 2pm with a performance from the Cockermouth Music Centre Band, enjoy an afternoon of entertainment from local talent such as the Stagecoach Theatre Group. The event also features a funfair, craft stalls and refreshments. If mulled wine isn’t your thing, try a glass or two of fizz from popular mobile Prosecco bar, The Tipsy Filly.

Be sure to have your Christmas list ready, as Santa himself will be visiting in his grotto!

See our cottages in Cockermouth.


Where: Carlisle City Centre

Date: November 18th, 2018

Times: 3.30pm-5.30pm.

When it comes to putting on a show, Carlisle just gets bigger and better! With the recent Cumbria Pride event and spectacular annual firework display, it really is worth a trip to the border city. This year, the Christmas lights switch-on will be headlined by JLS singer and television personality Aston Merrygold, who will be joined onstage by local dance groups and school choirs including Belle Vue Primary School, Razzamataz and Carlisle Dance Academy.

The event will be hosted by Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Jonny Awsum – a musical comedian from the 2017 series, with the lights being switched on at 5pm by the town’s mayor, which will see a brand-new display of lights for the city. Why not combine your trip to the lights with a visit to Carlisle Castle or Tullie House?

Explore all of our cottages near Carlisle in Caldbeck and Hesket Newmarket.

Ulverston Dickensian Festival and Christmas Lights Switch-On

Ulverston Dickensian FestivalWhere: Ulverston Town Centre

Date: Saturday 24th – 25th November 2018

Times: Events start from 10am, Christmas lights switch-on TBA

Please, Sir, can I have some more?

Show up to Ulverston’s Dickensian Festival and you’ll feel like you’ve walked into Victorian England thanks to the fabulous era-appropriate costumes and horse-drawn carriages lining the cobbled streets. This south Cumbrian town is known for its entertainment and the Dickensian festival is no exception. Lasting over two days (with the lights being switched on during the Saturday), it’s always a jam-packed weekend with lots to take in such as food stalls and live entertainment from folk musicians and brass bands. Kids (and many adults) will enjoy the traditional fairground and the chance to slide down the Helter Skelter. You might even wish to get dressed up yourself and take part in the grand parade; there’s even a costume competition - best get that Scrooge costume out!

See our range of cottages in South Cumbria.


Where: Kendal Town Centre

Date: TBA

Times: TBA

Kendal’s festive lights switch-on is always a big event, with live music, refreshments and a visit from Santa and his reindeers! Living up to its reputation as a traditional market town, the day plays hosts to a large Christmas market with locally sourced produce, so you can pick up that perfect Christmas present or warm up with a mulled wine and a mince pie.

We’re still waiting for the official date and times, but if previous years are to go by, it’ll be another atmospheric festive event!

Check out our cottages in the Kendal area.


To find your perfect Christmas cottage, use our cottage search.


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