The Lake District may once have been regarded as a summer destination, but this certainly isn't the case anymore! With cosy pubs, a calendar of winter events, and plenty of attractions remaining open throughout the season, there's never been a better time to take a well-deserved break in the Lakes - here are just some of the reasons you should!
1. Wrapping up warm for a walk on a crisp and sunny winter morning
When we're on holiday in winter we think there's nothing nicer than to embrace the cold weather and get out on a brisk and refreshing walk in the company of family and friends. Whether you're a keen walker or a complete hiking novice, there's something in the Lake District for every taste and ability, and if you're not after anything too strenuous you needn't take on mountains to find some really great views! Take a look at 10 of our favourite walks in the Lake District for inspiration!
2. Picture-postcard views of snow on the hills
If you're a big fan of snow, one of the things we love in the Lake District is that even when it doesn't reach us at lower level, the hills can be covered in a blanket of white and they look beautiful. As winter turns to spring, it can seem quite strange to feel the first warmth of the sunshine, yet still be able to see snow on the tops!
3. Cosy fires in traditional pubs and tearooms... and in your property too!
After that invigorating walk, what better way to recharge than to sit by a roaring fire in a tearoom or traditional Lakeland pub - we've even put together a list of our favourite pubs with cosy firesides for those especially cold winter days! And if you're looking for a cottage where you can snuggle up in front of a traditional wood burner or fireplace, you can search for properties with this feature using our online search facility.
4. Magical sunrises and sunsets
The winter sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular in the Lakes - they're wonderful to see, and great for photographers too! And at this time of year, you don't have to get up all that early to see the sun making its appearance!
5. Switching on the Christmas lights!
Christmas light switch-ons are always great fun, especially for children, and even if you can't make the events themselves, the lights continue to make those dreary winter afternoons sparkle! In 2016, Lake District winter light switch-ons include:
Keswick, 18th November
Ambleside, 19th November
Cockermouth, 20th November
Kendal, 27th November
Grange-over-Sands, 3rd December
Windermere, 3rd December
6. 2016 winter events and Christmas markets
As well as the winter light switch-ons, there are a host of Christmas markets and festive events taking place around the Lakes this year. You can expect stalls packed with local produce and a warm welcome - Santa is going to be busy keeping up!
Ulverston's Dickensian Christmas Festival, 26th-27th November
Kirkby Lonsdale Christmas Fair, 2nd-4th December
Askham Hall & Gardens Christmas Market, 4th December
New for 2016! Windermere Ja German Christmas Market, 10th-11th December
Taste Cumbria Christmas Market, Cockermouth, 10th-11th December
New for 2016! Penrith Winter Festival Christmas Market, 11th-13th and 18th-20th December
7. Christmas shopping in the Lake District's villages
Christmas events aside, the Lake District's towns and villages are packed with independent shops and boutiques - perfect if you're looking for something that little bit different for friends and family this year. In the north of the county be sure to visit the market towns of Keswick and Cockermouth, and in the south, choose from Ambleside, Windermere, Bowness-on-Windermere, Grasmere, Hawkshead, Kendal and, a little further out, Kirkby Lonsdale!
8. Enjoying the indoors without the guilt!
Sometimes we feel just that little bit guilty spending time indoors in the summer when the weather's good outside, but on those dark winter afternoons you needn't worry! Take the opportunity to visit some fantastic indoor venues such as Kong Adventure Climbing Wall or the Theatre by the Lake (guests booking through Sally's Cottages receive a discount to most of the theatre's shows) in Keswick, the Lakeland Climbing Centre in Kendal, or Rheged near Penrith, which offers great fun for children on those grey drizzly days!
9. Lots of places ready to welcome you
Although winter is traditionally viewed as the time for local historic houses and attractions to close for winter maintenance, an ever-growing number now remain open over much, if not all, of the winter season. Don't take it for granted that your favourite attraction will be closed all winter - just some of the great places to visit include (check individual websites for dates and times):
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal
Blackwell, Bowness-on-Windermere, a beautiful Arts and Crafts house overlooking Windermere
Brantwood, Coniston, the former home of John Ruskin
Grizedale & Whinlatter forests
Keswick Museum and Gallery
The Lakeland Motor Museum, Newby Bridge, an historic car museum located on the site of the former Backbarrow Blue Mill
Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside, Newby Bridge
Lowther Castle and Gardens
Treetop Trek and Treetop Nets, Brockhole, Windermere
10. By boat is still best, whatever the time of year!
One of the best vantage points from which to see the Lake District scenery (except from the hills) is from the lakes themselves. It might be chilly over the winter, but you can still cosy up and enjoy the views from inside the cabins with Ullswater Steamers, Windermere Lake Cruises, Coniston Launch and Keswick Launch - check the website of each for sailing dates and times. Another great tip to bear in mind is that dogs are welcome on all of these services too (Ullswater Steamers make a small charge)!
What will you be adding to your holiday wish list this winter in the Lakes? If you haven't yet booked your own winter escape with us, there's still time to do so! You can find your perfect cottage by using the Sally's Cottages online search facility.
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