(image of Loughrigg Tarn by Mike Hilton, Tranquillian Photography.)
Autumn is here, and what a fantastic summer it’s been! Bright and warm sunshine, blue skies and dry days. Where else would you rather be but the glorious Lake District?
Autumn brings its own pleasures – the temperatures drop a bit, we get some more rain, but the colours are always spectacular. Its a bit quieter everywhere as the kids have gone back to school. There is still so much to see and do: whether from a boat on a lake; a mountain top; the beer garden of a local pub, on a bike trail or two, browsing our villages. Half term week, with Halloween and Bonfire night really bring in the autumn flavour.
As ever, there’s lots to do, from outdoor swimming, to country fairs, walks and talks, festivals, events and activities. Here’s a few highlights for the months ahead:
Saturday 1 September: Chillswim Coniston Water
Sunday 2 September: The Loweswater Show at Lorton
6-9 & 13-16 September: Heritage Open Days Various locations
Friday 7 – 9 September: Lakes Alive Festival, Kendal
Friday 14-15 September: Kendal Torchlight Carnival
Saturday 8-9 September: Holker Chilli Fest – Holker Hall, Cark-in-Cartmel
Thursday 13 September: Westmorland County Show, Kendal
12-14 October: Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal. Each October one of our favourite market towns: Kendal hosts a unique celebration of comic art, with artists, writers, and fans from all over the world to celebrate the world of comics. This year’s packed line up includes over 70 comic artists, writers, and creators in attendance, five comic exhibitions, and a number of comic film screenings.
Saturday 13 October: Wasdale Head Shepherds’ Meet and Show
HALF TERM ADVENTURES:
The National Trust always have some spook-tacular offerings over half term: The views and colours are spectacular, which makes for perfect outdoor adventures with the kids and lots of things on offer inside too if the weather is wet.. Besom making and pumpkin carving are firm favourites!
Wray Castle, near Ambleside: From 20 October – 4 November, a special celebration of the links between Potter’s work, and traditional fairy tales, with the creation of an indoor forest and on Halloween itself, a story-telling session and shadow puppets from touring theatre company, the Clockwork Moth.
Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway at Newby Bridge: Witches & Wizards Week – spot the haunted carriage that has been trapped in the Haverthwaite tunnel. On board the train, there will be various Halloween themed craft activities. Children in fancy dress and accompanied by a full paying adult will receive a free ride on the train, and free entry into the Lakes Aquarium at Lakeside. 22-26 October 2018. www.lakesiderailway.co.uk
Lowther Castle, near Penrith : Lots of fabulous half-term fun: October Half Term workshops from 22-26 October, The Ghosts of Lowther on Sunday 28 October, and Bonfire Night on Sunday 4 November.
World of Beatrix Potter: Bowness: On Sunday 28 October, children dressed in Halloween costume will receive free entry! (if accompanied by a paying adult) Lots of spooky crafts and activities inside. World of Beatrix Potter
Winter Droving: Penrith: Now in its seventh year and one of the most spectacular events of the season, celebrating Cumbria’s rural heritage, the festival harks back to the old tradition of herding farm animals over long distances to sell at market at the end of the farming year. Five live music stages, a vintage funfair, and a food and craft market selling local produce. The annual Drover’s Cup competition occurs during the day, with events that include pint carrying, sausage eating, and egg throwing. There’s a fancy dress dog competition and the day concludes with an evening torch procession where everyone is invited to wear a mask and join in the fun. Saturday 27 October 10am till late. www.winterdroving.uk
Holker Hall, near Cartmel: Head over to Holker for a spooky trail in the gardens, Halloween craft sessions and the Witches and Wizardry School: an interactive theatre event featuring some of Hogwart’s best known characters, and create some magical potions!. Friday, 26th & Saturday, 27th October, 2018 (Theatre performances); Thursday, 25th & Sunday, 28th October (Halloween craft drop in). www.holker.co.uk/event/holker-halloween-fun
Friday 15-18 November: Kendal Mountain Film Festival
The Great Outdoors
1. Enjoy Aira Force
Aira Force, just above Ullswater is a natural playground, and has gorgeous walks, waterfalls of course, and you may spot a red squirrel. The views down the valley are breathtaking and its a place to escape for a while. There are gorgeous walks right across the tops along Gowbarrow, to Pooley Bridge, or head in the other direction towards Glencoyne Bay… the inspiration for Wordsworth’s Daffodils (but you’ll have to wait till spring to see those…) There’s a lovely tea-room and you can catch a steamer from the new jetty.
2. Take a boat ride
Whether you’re at Ullswater, Coniston or Windermere, our lovely boats continue ferrying you around the lakes, with gorgeous views of the autumn colour all around you.
3. Get out on a bike!
We’ve lots of options for bike hire in the lakes – road bikes, tourers or mountain bikes, or electric bikes, which are great for all the hills around here! You still have a great day out, a good work out and some fresh air – as you still need to pedal, but this beauties can help you cruise up hills when you need to. We’re working with a new business: Electreks – based at High Borrans farm, who rents out electric mountain bikes so you can make molehills out of those mountains!
Check out the award winning Bay Cycle Way from Barrow to Lancaster, with electric & other bike hire points along the route; or the Lakes & Dales Loop. Check out other locations for bike hire here.
4. Indulge your tastebuds
- The Lakes has a great reputation for scrumptious, locally sourced food and drink.
The Lakes Distillery on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake make their own whisky, gin and vodka in the most glorious setting. They’ve also an excellent bistro too.
- Over on the west coast, you can find out about what was one of the most important ports in England – Whitehaven, where Rum was one of its biggest imports. The Rum Story tells the tale.
- If you’ve a sweet tooth, then Kendal Mint Cake, Grasmere Gingerbread, and Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding should help to satisfy you, not to mention the hand-made chocolate shops, cake shops and bakeries you’ll find in every town.
- Cumberland sausage is a meaty tasty treat, and local delicacy. You’ll find it on the menu in most pubs in the county. Eat with mash and onion gravy.. Yum !
- Award Winning Kendal Crumbly & Kendal Creamy Cheese from Low Sizergh Barn and made with their own organic milk is cheesy heaven.
5. Fancy a beer?
We reckon we’ve probably got the biggest selection of locally brewed ales, and micro-breweries in any county in the land – always a good reason to quench your thirst. (I think this is one that deserves a separate blog all on its own). Just explore any of the towns and villages but here’s a few to whet your whistle:
Barngates Brewery based at the famous Drunken Duck inn near Ambleside – tie in a walk around Tarn Hows before or after.
The award winning Coniston Brewing Company is home to Bluebird Bitter and other popular ales, based at the Black Bull Inn & Hotel, Coniston.
Hawkshead Brewery only started in 2002 is now based in the village of Staveley near Kendal. They also serve a nice Cumbrian tapas – if you can imagine that!
Strands Inn and Brewery, Nether Wasdale
Way out west in glorious Wasdale tie this one in with some serious walking.
Ulverston Brewing company.
Home of the famous Laurel & Hardy themed beers and the Laughing Gravy Bar!
The Brown Horse Inn at Winster started making its own beer in 2010 and has been so successful it now supplies other pubs.
6. Off the beaten track
Just a short walk from Ambleside is the National Trust’s Stagshaw Garden, an informal woodland garden, with rambling paths and an almost enchanted feel; which changes again with the autumn season. It’s close to the A591 but gives peace and sanctuary with lovely views out to the lake and mountains.
So come and enjoy the mellow season that is autumn in the Lakes, there’s so much to do and enjoy here. It could become your favourite season…