Spring's finally here and that means just one thing - Easter is almost upon us! We've some fabulous things going on across Cumbria this Easter, so where better to spend the coming Bank Holiday than in the beautiful Lake District? Whether you're looking to entertain the children, indulge in some tasty local fare, or take in some of the area's cultural offerings, there's something for everyone - here are our top 10 things to see and do in the Lakes this Easter...
1. Follow your taste buds to the Taste Cumbria Food Festival in Keswick
Fancy visiting one of the first food festivals on the Lake District events calendar?! If so, Taste Cumbria Keswick's definitely for you! There are several Taste Cumbria events on throughout the year, but 2016 is the first year the festival is being held in the market town of Keswick, and you can catch it on Easter Sunday and Monday 27th and 28th March. There'll be over 50 food and drink stands with local produce, samples (yum!), demonstrations and hot food to choose from.
Keswick has a vibrant atmosphere at any time of year, so this promises to be an event not to miss. You can make a day of it by taking a wander round Keswick's many independent and speciality shops, and if you're not already full up from the festival, you can take your pick from the town's wonderful cafés and pubs for a more leisurely way to refresh and recharge.
2. Take in a performance at the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
If you're a big fan of books (especially Lake District books, as we are!) you'll no doubt have heard of 'The Shepherd's Life', which was written and released last year by Cumbrian hill farmer James Rebanks, and has just been released in paperback - James became a huge hit on Twitter whilst sharing his day-to-day work in the Lake District fells (you can find him using the Twitter handle @herdyshepherd1). James's book has now been adapted for theatre to include film, puppetry and music, and will apparently feature both professional actors and members of the local community. The Shepherd's Life starts on 26th March and runs until 23rd April, so don't miss out!
And as if one great local theatre production in Keswick isn't enough, there are two! The Theatre by the Lake has also produced a 'one man' show about the life of the famous 'Professor of Adventure' Millican Dalton. Millican left his city job at the age of 36 to live self-sufficiently in nature and the mountains for the next 50 years of his life, and even made his home in a Borrowdale cave! You can catch The Professor of Adventure between the 19th March and 5th April.
Take a look at our range of cottages in Keswick.
3. Visit 'A Celebration of Harris Tweed' at Rheged, Penrith
If you were in the Lake District this time last year, you may have been lucky enough to see the brilliant photographic exhibition on display at the Rheged Centre near Penrith, 'Herdwick: A Portrait of Lakeland' by Ian Lawson. The colours and scenery Ian used in his pictures of Cumbrian hill farming were absolutely outstanding, so it's fantastic that Rheged is now showing another exhibition of his work, 'A Celebration of Harris Tweed'.
This year Ian tells the story behind the production of Harris Tweed, which includes its people, the craft and the landscape of Scotland's Outer Hebrides. If this exhibition's even half as good as his last one, you won't want to miss it, and there's so much else to see and do while you're at Rheged. Why not treat yourself to lunch at one of the three excellent cafés and restaurants, take a wander around its gift shops and buy a taste of something Lakeland from the food shop, Taste?!
4. Easter Egg hunting in the Lake District
There's nothing like the excitement of an Easter egg hunt for children at this time of year, and there are plenty to choose from, wherever you are in the Lakes! Several of the National Trust's properties will be holding egg hunts over the Easter weekend, including Acorn Bank, Allan Bank, Fell Foot, Wordsworth House and Garden, Claife Viewing Station, Hill Top, Sizergh, and Wray Castle (as well as Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water) so check each property's website for details. The National Trust will also be holding lakeshore Beatrix Potter-themed egg hunts in the beautiful settings of Ennerdale and the Buttermere Valley, as well as by Derwentwater.
5. Teddies and their companions go free!
It's time to take your favourite teddy bear for a Lake District adventure - after all, our much loved teddy companions deserve a holiday too! Ullswater Steamers and the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway (La'al Ratty) are again running their #teddyfest offers for Easter 2016. Children (under 15) travel free if they take their teddy bear on either attraction between 25th March and 10th April, with an accompanying adult! Ullwater Steamers have got colouring sheets on board, and don't miss out on the Teddy Trail quiz at National Trust's Aira Force!
6. Celebrate 150 years of Beatrix Potter
2016 marks 150 years since the birth of Beatrix Potter, the perfect opportunity to learn more about this fascinating and inspiring woman. Her life story really is amazing! The National Trust is running a series of exhibitions including 'Beyond Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter's Inspiration' and 'Defenders of the Lakes: Potter and Rawnsley' at Allan Bank in Grasmere, both exploring how Beatrix's close friendship with Canon Rawnsley inspired her to preserve the Lake District in the way she did.
If you're elsewhere in the Lakes, you can also visit 'Two Bad Mice: Mischief in Beatrix Potter's Tales' at Wordsworth House and Garden, Cockermouth (except Fridays) and 'Realism and Romance: Beatrix Potter, A Life Inspired by Nature' at the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead. Read more about Beatrix's remarkable life.
7. Spot the Herdwicks!
From Good Friday, 25th March, the Lake District will become home to its very own flock of life sized, brightly decorated Herdwick sheep. These colourful characters will be popping up everywhere, from shop windows to parks and building tops to main streets, throughout Keswick, Grasmere, Rydal, Ambleside and Windermere. Businesses and attractions from across the area have taken part to sponsor a ewe or lamb, all to raise money for the Lake District Calvert Trust, which provides outdoor activity holidays for people with disabilities. Maps for the trail, which will continue until September, will be available very soon!
8. See the self portrait of a legendary artist!
If you're after an artistic experience as part of your visit to the Lake District, then a visit to Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal could be just what you're looking for. From 19th March - 15th May, Abbot Hall is hosting one of Rembrandt's last self portraits as part of The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour. At the same time, the gallery is showing pictures from its own collection of Lady Anne Clifford, who was alive at the same time as Rembrandt and owned Brougham Castle in Penrith, along with several other castles in Cumbria and the North of England. There are also fun creative workshops for families over the Easter holidays too, so that everyone is included!
9. Explore the changing face of the River Greta at Keswick Museum
Keswick Museum's a great place to spend some time, especially on a rainy day. Its 'The Greta: Changing Face of a River' exhibition is on until 15th May, and explores how the River Greta has co-existed with the people of Keswick throughout history and to this day, providing Keswick's industry, leisure and the inspiration behind local culture and the arts. Keswick Museum also has several collections on themes from fine art and literature to archaeology and natural history, all of which are housed in its recently renovated Arts and Crafts building. It has a great little café, so you can sit back and relax with tea and a slice of cake to round off your visit!
10. Take a picturesque Easter walk away from the crowds
Sometimes, of course, the simplest pleasures in life create the most memorable days out, so why not pack up a picnic, get away from the crowds, and take to one of the many amazing walks there are to choose from across the Lake District?! We';re not all into walking the big fells, and so we recently shared some other fabulous route ideas to get you started, in our 10 best walks in the Lake District post.
We really hope that you'll be inspired by some of our Easter ideas and choose to join us in the wonderful Lake District this spring. You can look for your perfect Easter Cottage by clicking here. And if the food festival sounds right up your street, but you're not able to make it on Easter weekend, we've shared lots of other things to see and do on a foodie theme in our food lover's guide to the Lake District. Enjoy!