It's not all mountains and walking! Throughout the year, the Lake District and Cumbria host a wealth of exciting and interesting events to suit all tastes. So, if you're planning your Lake District stay and want to know what's on during your visit, read on for details of the biggest Lake District events of 2023.
Ready to book your perfect self-catering cottage? Find it with our cottage search.
Lake District cottages
Keswick Film Festival, Keswick | February
Now in its 22nd year, the Keswick Film Festival showcases an eclectic mix of films ranging from independent flicks to Hollywood blockbusters, from new releases to classic favourites, and from local productions to world cinema. They also present the Osprey Short Film Awards.
The Dalemain Marmalade Festival | May
Hosted by Dalemain Mansion near Penrith, the Marmalade Festival is quite a sight to behold! There will be thousands of marmalades on display as well as cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, talks, lectures and lots of marmalade related fun!
Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival, dates TBC
Keswick is one of the most popular and active towns in the whole of the Lake District and there is a huge choice of events throughout the year. The Jazz & Blues Festival welcomes musical guests from across the world with a fabulous repertoire of New Orleans, Swing and Classic Jazz and Blues. Dates for 2023 are yet to be announced, but we’re waiting with bated breath!
Keswick Mountain Festival, Keswick | May
One of Keswick’s biggest and most popular annual events, the mountain festival is packed full of outdoor activities, live music, food stalls, speakers, and sports events. Whether you want to take part in one of the races and challenges, try out a new adventure activity, or just enjoy the atmosphere, the Keswick Mountain Festival is a fantastic event that the whole family can enjoy!
Boot Beer Festival, Eskdale | June
During the difficult period when foot and mouth swept the county, visitors to the Lake District couldn't explore the countryside, but they could certainly enjoy the fabulous pubs! In Eskdale, the three pubs of the valley – the Brook House Inn, Boot Inn and Woolpack Inn – joined forces to put on the Boot Beer Festival and provide a ray of light in difficult times. Nowadays, the weekend of the festival is the busiest of the year and visitors come from miles around to jump from pub to pub and sample all the wonderful – mostly local – beers on offer (over 150 from nearly as many breweries!).
Get a party together and hire a bus, visit via the Ravenglass & Eskdale miniature steam railway, or simply walk from one of our many cottages in Eskdale.
Great North Swim, Windermere | June
Whether you’re a seasoned open-water swimmer or have always wanted to give it a try, seeing the stunning surroundings of the Lake District from the water is a truly fabulous experience. The Great North Swim takes place at Brockhole on Windermere and there are races ranging from a beginner and family-friendly 250 metres to a challenging 2 miles for the most experienced swimmers. Brockhole also offers plenty of activities for those who want to stay dry!
The Cumberland Show, nr. Carlisle | June
A true celebration of farming, food and countryside – both traditional and modern – The Cumberland Show is a fabulous event that will delight all ages. There are livestock classes judging the best in cattle, sheep, horses and poultry; vintage vehicle competitions; a craft marquee; a food hall; trade stands and plenty of entertainment throughout the day.
Lakes Classic Vehicle Show, Grasmere, June
A fantastic family-friendly day out in the Lake District packed with hundreds of classic cars, attractions, entertainment, games, food and things to see and do for all ages - a great day out for Father's Day! This year, the event will be located at the new venue of Staveley Recreation Ground between Windermere and Kendal.
Light the Lakes, various locations | June
A truly awe-inspiring and thought-inducing event is Light the Lakes, which was set up in 2012 to raise money for the orphaned children of murdered Detective Constable Heather Cooper. People connected to the police force climbed a number of Wainwright fells and covered the peaks with light lamps to honour fallen colleagues. After raising over £30,000 in the first year, the event is now an annual one - open to everyone - that raises money for the charity Care of Police Survivors. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2023, it’s truly incredible to see the peaks of the Lake District lit up during a summer evening.
Lake District cottages
Holker Chilli Fest, Cark-in-Cartmel | September
Specialist chilli companies and chilli lovers from all over the country gather for the Holker Chilli Fest, which boasts entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and the popular chilli eating competition! If you’re not a huge chilli fan, don’t worry, there are also plenty of stalls selling real ale, gin, flapjack, and much more! All this takes place within the wonderful environs of Holker Hall and Gardens.
If you're a keen foodie, you might also like to take a look at our guide to some of the best food of the Lake District and Cumbria.
Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Bowness-on-Windermere | October
As the only event of its kind in the UK, and bringing together some of the best comic artists from across the world, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in this particular art form. The event takes place in beautiful Bowness-on-Windermere and includes signings, talks, short films, exhibitions, workshops, and lots more. All styles of comics and topics are covered, including sci-fi, superheroes, satire, politics, zombies and manga.
Kendal Mountain Festival, Kendal | November
Sister to the Keswick festival, Kendal Mountain Festival brings more outdoor fun, this time to the south of Cumbria. Travel across the world through film, lectures, music and art, hearing stories of intrepid adventures and trying out some activities for yourself. It’s a must-visit for budding explorers and outdoor adventurers alike.
The World’s Biggest Liar, Santon Bridge, November (date TBC)
Held annually in November at the Santon Bridge Inn, the World’s Biggest Liar is a famous competition where entrants must tell the biggest and most convincing lie possible! The event is held in memory of Will Ritson, the 19th-century landlord of a nearby pub who was famed for keeping customers entertained with his tall tales!
Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival, Ulverston, November
Touted as the UK’s most popular Dickensian festival, the Dickensian Christmas Festival in Ulverston brings a bit of traditional Christmas magic to the thousands of visitors that attend each year. With plenty of free entertainment, festive food, costume competitions, horse-drawn carriages, craft stalls, dancing and music, it’s a wonderful community-run event that will really get you in the mood for the season!
We hope that the above events give you some inspiration for planning your Lake District trip!
Find your perfect cottage for your perfect event using our cottage search.
Lake District cottages
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.