Have Yourself a Merry

Lake District Christmas!

Christmas gets us all giddy here at Lakeland Retreats HQ – and it’s not just from drinking lots of mulled wine. Promise. No, it’s the crisp, dark, starlit nights; the satisfying crunch of snow (hopefully) underfoot…

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The magic and majesty of the frost-dusted fells

The decorated and twinkly light-festooned houses and shops (that seems to start earlier every year); the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas markets; and, of course, looking forward to the big day itself – buying and wrapping the presents, and preparing the all-important Christmas dinner. Sprouts optional.

If you’ve never thought about spending Christmas away from home before, or even just taking a pre-Christmas winter break, maybe this year’s the year. We’d love to see you in the Lakes – there’s always loads going on, and we’ve got the perfect Christmas retreat waiting for the whole family – and that includes a choice of dog-friendly cottages if you have four-legged family members too. After all, why should they miss out on a Christmas break away from home?

Here’s just some of what you can expect in the Lakes in the run-up to Christmas Day.

Lake District Christmas Events

Let there be lights… Christmas lights

Switching on the Christmas lights to kick off the festive season is a tradition all over the UK, and Cumbria is no exception – here are a few dates for your diary from around the county this year.

Upcoming Christmas Events
Sorry, there are currently no upcoming events

Lake District Christmas markets

We don’t think you’re doing the festive season properly without a visit to a traditional Christmas market or festival.

Mince pies and mulled wine; local crafts and good food; live music and street performers – it wouldn’t be in the spirit of Christmas not to indulge – so check out our choice of the best ones below.

Ulverston Dickensian Festival

Every November (25th and 26th this year) the clocks are turned back to Victorian times in this historic and charming market town as it hosts its Dickensian Festival.

Locals (and visitors) dress up in period costume; a Victorian helter-skelter and fair entertains young and old; several performance stages keep the music flowing; strolling performers – fire eaters, magicians, jugglers and more – keep the laughs and gasps coming; food stalls fill empty stomachs; and a good time is had by all – finishing off with a grand costume parade through the town.

Hawkshead Christmas Fair

The cobbled streets of Hawkshead will come alive on the 2nd and 3rd of December for its annual Christmas Fair, with indoor and outdoor stalls, selling food, gifts and crafts.

You can also look forward to live music and other entertainment, including brass bands and roving street entertainers, a magical lantern parade, and a visit from the big man in red himself.

Carlisle Christmas Market

If you’re looking for a more traditional, German-style Christmas market (there will be bratwurst), then take a day trip out of the Lake District to Cumbria’s only city, Carlisle.

From December 1st to the 17th the city will be home to over 40 alpine-style festive chalets crammed to the rafters with food, drink, crafts, decorations, gifts, and a great big helping of Christmas cheer.

Holker Hall Winter Market

Close to the charming village of Cartmel, Holker Hall (home of the Cavendish family) is hosting a 3-day winter market from the 3rd to the 5th of November.

You can enjoy a wide range of stalls selling artisan gifts, food and drink, handmade crafts and more.

And, there’ll also be live music from local musicians to get toes tapping at this family-friendly event.

Christmas in Cartmel

If you’ve never been to Cartmel before, you’re in for a treat. This pretty-as-a-picture village is a must-visit at any time of year, but on Friday 24th November, its Christmas market kicks off the festive season with a bang.

Expect local craftspeople selling their creations, pop-up food stalls, live music, and a horse procession from Cartmel Black Horses – Mr. Claus will be making an appearance too.

Even better, it’s free to park at the racecourse on the edge of the village.

Santa’s Magic Kingdom,
Hayes Garden World, Ambleside

Make your way through the castle to enter Santa’s Magic Kingdom. His naughty reindeer are hiding & he needs some help to find them.

Play snowball games with the polar bears. Fish with the penguins. Then in to see Santa with all your Christmas wishes.

Beetham Nurseries Christmas Market

This year, Beetham Nurseries, near Milnthorpe, is holding a brace of Christmas Market Weekends –

  • Thursday 30th November to Sunday 3rd December
  • Thursday 7th December & Sunday 10th December

The nursery will be all dressed up with festive chalets and twinkly lights, and you can treat yourself to delicious food and festive tipples, enjoy live music, shop for gifts, and maybe even pick up a plant or two to take home.

Dog-friendly Lake District Christmas breaks

There’s no need for your precious pooch to be lonely this Christmas if you want to take a break in Cumbria this year.

As you’d expect, the great outdoors of the Lake District is one big playground for your furry friends, but the great indoors is pretty welcoming too, with the majority of pubs allowing dogs in. We’ve written a blog on dog-friendly pubs, but if you want to get tails wagging in anticipation, we’ve picked three of the best to try below.

Find your perfect dog-friendly retreat >

The Dog and Gun,

As you’d expect from a pub called the Dog and Gun, your four-legged friend is very welcome – it’s a pooch-perfect pit-stop after a nearby walk, and they sell doggy treats too and donate the proceeds to charity.

If you visit on Christmas Eve this year, dress your dog up in its Christmas best to be in with a chance of winning a bumper bag of doggy treats – and a £20 gift card for you.

The Queens Head,

Both humans and hounds will enjoy refuelling at the Queens Head after a hard day’s hiking – it even has its own special doggy menu.

Raise a paw if you fancy trying the Bark Bangers or Wham Bam Lamb – washed down with a Paw Star Dog ‘Martini’. Woof!

The Sun Inn,
Kirkby Lonsdale

Take your four-legged friend to the 17th-century Sun Inn and head pooch, Charlie, will be on-paw to provide a woof-worthy welcome.

With a cosy bar and dog-friendly dining room too, there’s even a dog shower outside if your pet’s got a bit muddy. And they make their own dog biscuits too.

And so to bed…

Your pooch is going to need somewhere to relax after all that fresh air and exercise on the fells – so check out our range of dog-friendly cottages that will be just the ticket for your Christmas stay in the Lake District.

Tell me more

Christmas in the Lakes really is a magical time, and as well as all we’ve mentioned above, there’s so much more to see and do. Everything from historic houses and museums to visit, loads of outdoor activities to take part in – on and off the water, and steam train rides and festive shows to keep you entertained.

Keep a close eye on our What’s On page – that way, you won’t miss a thing this festive season.

From all of us at Lakeland Retreats, have a fabulous Christmas and we hope to see you soon.

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