View over Ullswater in the Lake District

The Best Times to Visit the Lake District

Want to know the best times to visit the Lake District? Our top picks of things to do each month will help you decide. Whether you want to try adventure activities like ghyll scrambling, take a walk beside the daffodil-covered shores that inspired William Wordsworth or find out what Winter Droving is, certain months are best. For any events and venues mentioned, please check dates and opening times before travelling.

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Happy Child Skiing

Visiting the Lake District in January

If you have ski experience and fancy skiing in England, head to the Lake District Ski Club. There isn’t any ski tuition here, nor ski shops or chair lifts, but what you will find is vast, unspoilt ski terrain.

Founded in 1936, the Lake District Ski Club has long been a part of Cumbrian life and operates a 360-metre button tow on Raise, a fell on the Helvellyn range. Raise is located to take advantage of the best snow in the Lakes and up to nine pistes are available, with the longest being around 1 mile.

If you are well prepared for a winter mountain environment and fit enough to climb with your gear, you can purchase a guest day pass. Check the Lake District Ski Club website for availability and prices.

Cinema Theatre

Visiting the Lake District in February

The Keswick Film Festival highlights an eclectic array of films and is the perfect event for film buffs to tie in with a winter trip to the Lake District.

Expect the best of British, World and independent cinema from established directors and emerging talent represented through high quality and thought-provoking films. The festival also has its very own short film competition.

Screenings take place in Keswick at the old school Alhambra Cinema and The Theatre by the Lake, and in Penrith on the giant screen at The Rheged Centre. The full programme can be viewed on the Keswick Film Festival website.

A Field Of Daffodils In The Spring

Visiting the Lake District in March

Spring is in the air and it’s a lovely time of year to take a walk through the Lake District countryside to see the daffodils. After all, William Wordsworth’s best-known poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’, more commonly known as Daffodils, was inspired by the area.

The story goes that William, and his sister Dorothy, took this route back from Ullswater to their home in Grasmere and were astounded by the beauty of the ‘host of golden daffodils’.

You could combine your walk with an Ullswater boat trip between Glenridding and Pooley Bridge. Or head into Grasmere and visit Dove Cottage, the home of William Wordsworth.

Peach Marmalade

Visiting the Lake District in April

Calling all marmalade fans. You will be pleased to learn that there’s an annual Marmalade Festival at Dalemain Mansion and Historic Gardens, close to the northern end of Ullswater. Whether you want to enter your own marmalade into the Homemade Awards competition, indulge in the tastings of artisan blends on offer or enjoy the stalls, talks and children’s activities, it’s a great day out.

The location of the event is fitting as Dalemain Mansion, a beautiful Georgian stately home, has an interesting archive of marmalade recipes. On festival day, thousands of marmalades will be on display in the state rooms, whilst the gardens and historic parkland are perfect for relaxing.

two people mountain biking down a hill in the Lake district

Visiting the Lake District in May

Keswick Mountain Festival is for fun-loving, adventurous people who love being outside in stunning natural surroundings. The annual event is very popular, particularly with those looking for a way to get active or for a challenge.

If you like your sports, you can participate in activities including trail runs, triathlon, swimming, cycling and hiking. However, the aim is to offer something for almost every age, ability and fitness level.

A true celebration of the great outdoors in the Lake District, this family-friendly festival offers a full programme including talks from world-class speakers, guided taster sessions and live music in the evenings.


Visiting the Lake District in June

When the weather is warm but not too hot, it’s a fantastic time for ghyll scrambling, otherwise known as gorge walking. There is no better place for an introduction into this fun adventure sport than Stonycroft Ghyll, about a 10-minute drive from Keswick. There are reputable adventure companies ready to guide you and you can expect an adrenaline-inducing descent into a mountain stream, to slide down rocks and jump through waterfalls.

If that’s a little too energetic, there’s Potfest that celebrates all things clay from established and new creators. The event offers the opportunity to meet the makers, purchase unique pottery and have a go at throwing pots yourself.

Or for beer-lovers there’s the Boot Beer Festival in the Esk Valley where you can sample ales, most from northern breweries, across several pubs in the area.

Classical Music Outdoors

Visiting the Lake District in July

July is the month for Kendal Calling, a large, family-friendly music event set in Lowther Deer Park on the outskirts of the Lake District (not actually in Kendal, despite the name).

The event is held over four days, includes big name headline acts and has several stages where a variety of artists including DJs perform. Meanwhile, the action-packed activity schedule also includes the likes of yoga sessions, cinema screenings and entertainment for little ones.

For those that like their music events a bit more intimate, The Lake District Summer Music Festival runs over July and August and highlights classical musicians. Events take place in various locations including Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere. From string quartets to jazz specialists to world music, there is lots to choose from.

A group of dairy cows in a green field

Visiting the Lake District in August

If you love a classic car show set in the grounds of a beautiful stately home on a summer’s day, head to Cumbria Classic Car Show. Held at Dalemain Mansion and Historic Gardens the show is one of the biggest in the region and the line-up includes arena displays, auto tests and autojumble stalls.

If a glimpse into rural life interests you, the Cartmel Show is a traditional agricultural show. With an array of livestock vying for prizes, sports like wrestling to watch, displays such as birds of prey and bouncy castles, it’s a good family day out if you’re looking for things to do on a family cottage holiday in the Lake District.

When the weather is hot, a spot of wild swimming or a paddle in the shallow pools at Galleny Force waterfall in Borrowdale will help you cool down. It’s a local Lake District beauty spot and has a magical atmosphere, hence why it is also known as the Fairy Glen.

Image Of Beautiful Couple Dating And Walking Together In Country

Visiting the Lake District in September

Now the children have returned to school, the region is quieter than the summer months, yet the weather is still fair. This makes September one of the best months for walking in the Lake District. The seasonal changes of the leaves turning from green to rich gold and red, along with intense autumnal sunsets, makes it extra beautiful.

If you want to join others on hikes, explore with a guide at the Ullswater Walking Festival. There is everything from gentle wellbeing walks to challenging mountain hikes. From the fells to the forests, look out for local wildlife too, including Red Deer and Red Squirrels.

Couple Buying Roasted Chestnuts At A Christmas Market

Visiting the Lake District in October

To witness one of the best quirky events whilst on your Lake District cottage holiday, visit Penrith for Winter Droving. A feast for the senses, this celebration of rural Cumbrian life, food and fire is held when the clocks go back and traditionally marks the end of the year’s harvest and the final droving of animals to market.

Wrap up warm and gear up for a magical evening of carnival-style entertainment like you’ve never seen before. Masked street performers carrying fire-lit torches, people holding illuminated paper lanterns shaped like all kinds of creatures and instrument-playing musicians parade through the streets.

If you’d like to join in with winter droving, a mask is pretty much obligatory. Meanwhile, there are delights like mulled wine and roasted chestnuts to help spectators warm up too.

Starry Sky Over The Lake District

Visiting the Lake District in November

A cosy Lake District cottage with a log burner is blissful in winter and this time of year also brings with it some of the clearest night skies, perfect for stargazing. The Cumbria Dark Skies Festival is held each year and offers inspiration for anyone wishing to observe and appreciate the night sky without light pollution.

From self-led daytime activities that centre round discovering more about the stars and planets, to stargazing with experts and night-time star searching walks in the forest there are plenty of fascinating and educational activities on offer.

Meanwhile, more unusual ways to get involved include dark skies photography lessons for beginners, stargazing canoe trips and wild swimming beneath the stars.

Christmas Market

Visiting the Lake District in December

December is a fantastic month for a winter break in the Lake District. If you’re lucky there might be a smattering of snow on the mountaintops to make the scenery more magical, while towns and villages are great for seeking out gifts of local ales, gingerbread and handmade ceramics.

Windermere Christmas takes place over one weekend and offers a host of stalls selling Christmas goods and goodies, along with entertainment in the form of fun fair attractions and an appearance from Father Christmas himself.

Meanwhile, at Rydal Mount, the historic family home of William Wordsworth, there’s an annual Christmas Fair. Here, there’s a focus on handcrafted gifts from local artists, makers and producers with stalls set up in the house and gardens.

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