Kirkby Lonsdale Main Street by Robin Ree
December is a magical time of year here in the Lakes, with Christmas markets, twinkly lights, good cheer, and lots of chances to eat, drink and be merry.
Christmas markets started in medieval Germany, and are usually around the start of advent. We enjoy the Cumbrian version here in the Lakes, with local food, music and entertainment, stalls selling a variety of unique and often hand-crafted gifts creating the perfect festive atmosphere all in the beautiful setting of the Lakeland villages and towns.
Our favourite Christmas Markets in the Lake District
In the Lake District, there are many Christmas markets to choose from, often linked to a Christmas light switch on, or a visit from Santa. They all showcase local produce, and you’ll probably find Cumberland sausage rather than bratwurst!
Here’s a guide to a few of our favourite festive celebrations – all free to enjoy but you may find plenty of excuses to buy food, drink or perhaps some Christmas gifts? And don’t forget you can use the Lake District Pound at many independent shops and support the area.
Hawkshead Christmas Market
The small Lake District village of Hawkshead brims with festival cheer each year, when their picturesque Christmas Fair takes over the ancient streets. Enjoy over 80 stalls selling seasonal food, crafts, and other gifts, as well as the village shops and pubs offering festive treats and shopping. There’s also a lantern parade and competition followed by Christmas carols, live music, and street performances. Santa is waiting in his grotto, whilst the village pubs, of which there are four, host a mini beer festival.
Kirkby Lonsdale Christmas Market
6th, 7th, 8th December
An outdoor chalet village market, plus indoor market in Lunesdale Hall. A Guided lantern parade through the village and light show in the market square, Father Christmas Grotto. Free park and ride Find Out More
Taste Cumbria Christmas
Main Street, Cockermouth on Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th December 2019
Taste Cumbria run a series of food festivals throughout the year across Cumbria. The food markets showcase the very best that local producers have to offer. The Taste Cumbria Christmas Festival is the pinnacle of these food festivals. It mixes with some festive cheer, resulting in a popular event where you can pick up some delicious goods to go with your traditional Christmas feast. Craft stalls offer a range of gifts, and there are fairground rides for children. A beer and fizz tent provides some winter warmth, and you will also find some hot food stands.
YEW TREE BARN CHRISTMAS MARKET
6th, 7th, 8th December
Over 40 quality artisan stalls throughout Yew Tree Barn, Marquees and countyard selling gifts, art, crafts, food & drink, antiques, homewares and live music. Christmas trees and decorations. Warming mulled wine & mince pies in this quirky setting. Find Out More
KESWICK VICTORIAN FAYRE
Free live entertainment on stage in the Market Place and Packhorse Court, with bands, choirs, dancers and more. Children’s Funfair and of course, great food and drink. Find Out More
Windermere Christmas Market
Victoria Street, Windermere, on Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th December 2019
Get your skates on and enjoy a festive ice skating rink popping-up especially for this fast-growing Lake District Christmas event. Windermere Christmas Celebration is now in its fourth year and is going to be bigger than ever this year. As well as the ice skating rink there’s going to be snow cannons and look out for the cheeky elves causing mischief!
Over 50 stalls, selling a range of unique gifts from a wonderful mix of local and European producers, will take over Windermere town centre over the weekend.
Live music and other street performers add to the festive ambience and, of course, don’t miss the fab Santa’s Grotto. There is a shuttle bus in operation from car parks in Bowness-On-Windermere and plenty of stands selling hot food.
We have several lodge parks around Lake Windermere and the lakeside town of Bowness. Browse our Windermere lodges to find your cracking Christmas break.
Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival
Ulverston Town Centre on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th November 2019
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, is brought to life each year in Ulverston, on the fringe of the Lake District. For the Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival, the clocks are turned back to the Dickensian era with a Christmas market like no other. You’ll find street entertainment, impressive Dickensian costume for everyone to join in, horse-drawn carriages, and a selection of street food with the highlight being the grand parade finale. All alongside a market with a fabulous selection of gifts.
Stay close by at Woodlands Pine Lodge, Grange-over-Sands.
Ambleside Christmas Lights
Market Cross & Market Place in Ambleside on Saturday 16th November 2019
Far more than just a Christmas Market, Ambleside Christmas Lights is an all-day event in the heart of the Lake District that combines a traditional shopping experience with other activities. These include a Christmas light switch on, cruises on the lake, a lantern parade, and a visit from Santa Claus himself – complete with his sleigh. The day ends in spectacular style with a large fireworks display. There are family-friendly activities throughout the day, as well as live music and other street performances. Whilst the market sells a range of culinary delights and other gifts.
Keswick Victorian Fair
Market Place & Packhorse Court, Keswick on Sunday 1st December 2019
Keswick Victorian Fayre, in the north Lakes, is a fantastic opportunity to combine some Christmas shopping with support for local charities. During this event, around 30 local and national charities have wonderful stalls. You can browse their festive goods that include a selection of homemade Christmas crafts and cakes. Also, there is a nativity scene, and children will be delighted with the fun fair. Plus there’s the eagerly-anticipated arrival of Father Christmas, complete with his live reindeer. Keswick’s Market Place is a buzz of street performers and many traders will be dressed in Victorian costume, and visitors are invited to enjoy the festive spirit in doing the same.
Browse our Keswick Bridge Lodges to find your Christmas break in the North Lakes.
Carlisle Christmas Market
English Street, Carlisle from 30th November – 8th December 2019
England’s Border city of Carlisle lies just on the edge of the Lake District and a 40-minute drive from Keswick. Over the festive period, the pedestrianised city centre is filled with 25 stalls where you’ll find artisan producers along with live music and entertainment.
Over the five day market, there’s lots going on in Carlisle. The famed Made in Cumbria farmers market is on on Friday 2nd December and the city centre shops are open for Christmas late night shopping on Thursdays. Carlisle Christmas Market is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit as well as the opportunity to discover this great Border city.
Kendal Christmas Light Switch on & Market
National Trust Christmas Offerings:
The National Trust places in the Lakes have lots of different things going on:
Get a traditional Christmas fix at Sizergh Castle, Kendal, from the 27th November to 22nd December – with twinkling lights, the smell of pine needles and mulled wine, and Christmas food and pudding and of course, the chance to meet Father Christmas!
Allan Bank in Grasmere is all about a handmade Christmas, where the art and craft rooms are set up for festive Christmas card and decoration making. There’s a dressing-up box and traditional toys in the playroom and the open fire in the study is the place to enjoy soaking up the seasonal atmosphere with the paper or a good book. Then wrap up warm and head outdoors to enjoy a lovely low-level winter walk to take in the stunning Lake District landscape.
Whatever you choose, you’ll have a Christmas experience to remember, and the added glow that your entry or membership, or spending in the shop or tearoom goes straight back into conserving this very special place.