Things to do this half term in the Lake District

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Spring is getting ready to turn to summer, the Lake District is looking fabulous, and the best bit is - half term has arrived! Here are just some of the exciting things you can be enjoying this Spring Bank Holiday and half term week in the Lakes!

Get out Herdwick hunting and check out the new Go Herdwick lamb trails

One of the Go Herdwick ewes in the Lake District
Everyone has enjoyed seeing the colourful life-size Go Herdwick ewes, which have been dotted around the Lake District since March and will stay in place until September - they're part of the Go Herdwick public art trail which aims to raise money for the Lake District Calvert Trust, a charitable organisation providing outdoor activities for people with disabilities. 

With the help of the trail guides (which cost £2 and can be picked up from businesses around the area), many have found Herdwick spotting rather addictive, and in time for half term, two new Hide and Seek Lamb Trails will be taking place in Keswick and Windermere (including Bowness-on-Windermere). These will be perfect if you're out and about with smaller children, and just as fun for adults too! Here at Sally's Cottages we have our own sponsored lamb, Bluebell, who has been named and designed on the theme of 'moments of happiness' - so do drop by our office in Keswick and say hello! The Hide and Seek trail activity booklets will be available from participating local businesses, and you can record every lamb you spot with a sticker! goherdwick.co.uk

Watch the International Jesters Tournament at Muncaster Festival

Muncaster Castle and bluebells
Running from 29th until 31st May, Muncaster Festival is great fun for all the family, and takes place on the front lawn of Muncaster Castle. Things to see and enjoy at the festival will include daily shows and circus workshops with Astral Stu and his Bit Top, Pyjama Drama children's workshops, Seed to Seat (turning trees into garden furniture!), chainsaw carving demos, a ukulele school, the ClipnClimb climbing wall, sound sculptures, archery, face painting, a food court and bar, and stalls with food, drink and gifts. The festival finishes with the International Jesters Tournament, which is held on the last day, with the winner being given the prestigious title of Fool of Muncaster 2016! 01229 717614, muncaster.co.uk

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Tempt your taste buds at Taste Cumbria Ulverston

There are now several Taste Cumbria events being held across the Lakes throughout the year, with the upcoming Ulverston festival taking place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May. You can expect lots of exhibitors, including local food and artisan producers, and demonstrations from local chefs. There'll also be an ale trail, children's entertainment, and on the 29th, a vintage and handmade fair! tastecumbria.com

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Indulge your passion for plants at the Holker Garden Festival

If you love spending time in the garden, you'll not want to miss Holker Hall's 2016 Garden Festival, which is being held from 3rd to 5th June and is set in glorious parkland belonging to the Holker Estate in Cark-in-Cartmel. The festival features show gardens and over 200 exhibitors, including horticultural specialists, craft makers and artisan producers, as well as entertainment and live demonstrations. Your ticket also provides free access to Holker's 25 acres of beautiful award-winning gardens! holkerfestival.co.uk 

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Enjoy a family day out at Country Fest

Pigs at Country Fest, Westmorland
We love the country show season, and Country Fest, created by the organisers of September's Westmorland County Show, is one of the first in the season on 4th and 5th June. There's always lots to see, and this year includes demonstrations from Jez Avery's Stunt Show, kite displays, a marquee with local food and drink producers, live music, a beer festival, a Vintage Revival Marquee, sheep shearing demos, and the chance to meet the farm animals up close! Dog lovers will love the Companion Dog Show on the Saturday, and there will also be a poultry show on the Saturday and a rabbit show on the Sunday! westmorlandshow.co.uk

Be inspired by the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at Rheged

Cinema at Rheged, Penrith, showing shot of Scafell Pike on screen
Prepare to be wowed by the quality of the images on display at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition from the Natural History Museum, London, which is showing at the Rheged Centre until 3rd July 2016. The exhibition features 100 photographs of the natural world, narrowed down from over 40,000 submissions, and has a new category this year to include time-lapse photography. Also at Rheged, meet the owls from Eagle Enterprises between 28th May and 5th June, and see one of the daily showings of Terry Abraham's latest stunning documentary 'Life of a Mountain: Blencathra' on Rheged's giant cinema screen. 01768 868000, rheged.com

Learn more about Beatrix Potter during her 150th anniversary celebrations

Wordsworth House, Cockermouth
2016 is the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter, and National Trust properties across the Lake District are celebrating with a series of special events exploring her fascinating life and work - you can read more about Beatrix in our 150th anniversary post. Current exhibitions include 'Realism and Romance: Beatrix Potter, a Life Inspired by Nature' at the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, 'Two Bad Mice: Mischief in Beatrix Potter's Tales' at Wordsworth House and Garden in Cockermouth, and 'Beyond Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter's Inspiration' and 'Defenders of the Lakes: Potter and Rawnsley' at Allan Bank in Grasmere. nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/celebrating-beatrix-potters-anniversary-in-the-lake-district

Enjoy Lakes Culture with the exhibition 'Laura Ford: Seen and Unseen'

Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House, near Bowness-on-Windermere
Part of the Lakes Culture programme of events, 'Laura Ford: Seen and Unseen' is currently on display across two venues, Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House, outside Bowness-on-Windermere, and the Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal. Laura Ford is known for exploring the human condition through her sculptures of animals, and her thought-provoking outdoor sculptures at Blackwell include a number of tall cats pacing anxiously on the lawn, two girls each in silent sorrow, and the 'down-and-out urban cousins' of some of Beatrix Potter's famous children's characters. lakelandarts.org.uk  

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Grab your walking boots and enjoy the views

Ullswater, Lake District
If you're looking to get away from the crowds, you'll be absolutely spoilt for walks in the Lakes! 2016 sees the introduction of even better access around Ullswater, with the launch of the Ullswater Way - this 20-mile route around Ullswater includes new joined-up paths, and can be taken in shorter sections with a trip on an Ullswater Steamer or open-top bus! (ullswater.com/the-ullswater-way) Julia Bradbury has also just launched a new way-marked route for the Keswick Mountain Festival, the Derwentwater Way - maps are available from Keswick Information Centre at the Moot Hall, and the National Trust shop at Derwentwater.

For other walking ideas you may like to visit our posts featuring some of our favourite Lake District walks, pub walks and walks with tea rooms - and for ideas on less well known areas to explore, visit our recent article on the Lake District's best kept walking secrets.

We hope we've given you some fun ideas for things to do this half term in the Lakes - we love to see your photos over on social media, so remember to send them to us on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #sallyscottages and if you haven't booked for half term but are hoping to visit the Lake District later in the year, you can search for your perfect cottage using our online search facility.