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Winter at Rydal Water

What a year it’s been! We’re all hoping for Christmas filled with peace and joy.  Some of you may be able to travel to the Lake District to get your Lakes fix over the festive period, so here’s a quick rundown of what you can do whilst you’re here.

Things will undoubtedly be different, but please rest assured all our attractions, cafes, pubs and hospitality are Covid-safe.

Please follow the guidelines about travel according to which Tier you live in.

The air in the Lake District in winter is pure and fresh, and if we’re lucky, we get clear blue skies and crisp snow on the tops.  Whatever the weather though, you’ll be guaranteed beauty and peace. Getting out and about on walks, rambles and wanders, finishing with a hot chocolate or local ale is sure to clear your mind, and remove some of the stresses of the year.

If you want something more organised, here’s what some of our friends around the county are up to this December:

Brockhole Visitor Centre, Windermere

This fantastic family-friendly location is offering free parking from 2-23 December and is right on the shores of Windermere with lots to keep you busy and active, and delicious food & drink options to choose from. Through December weekends and school holidays, you can try Archery and Laser Clay Shooting.  The new Krazi Karts are also ready for you to test your handling skills on our winter off-road track.  You’ll need to book online if you can, though if you are there on the day there may be availability.

The Gaddum at Brockhole

There’s a great choice of food – The Gaddum restaurant offers delicious Christmas lunches and Afternoon Teas in an elegant setting overlooking the Lake, or try the cafe for a light bite or hot drink.  The terrace and cafe are open for table service with limited spaces for distancing. You can also buy a Gift Voucher for the Gaddum by calling 015394 40250 or email

World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness-on-Windermere

Perhaps you’re after a tea-party with Father Christmas, or Mrs Claus’s Workshop? Head to the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere for some crafty, family fun. There’s also a new look cafe with lots of goodies to eat, and the shop for a reminder of your visit.

Ullswater Steamers

Ullswater Steamers

Take a Lake Cruise

Want to get out on the water? Windermere Lake Cruises and Ullswater Steamers have Cruises running throughout December. You’ll need to pre-book online and follow the usual social distancing.

Want to head indoors?

Rheged, the Visitor Centre in the Northern Lakes, near Penrith and Ullswater is open 8am-9pm daily. In their own words:  “Discover an artist. Share a pizza. Fill your stockings. Try on a jumper. Escape to the movies. Plug in your laptop. Hang out with your children. Read a book. Eat local food. Watch a ballet. Get ready for Christmas. Be together.”

Find Rudolph on a Winter Walk!

If you’re visiting but would rather do something a little quieter and with fewer people, how about deer-spotting in various locations in the county?

We might not have reindeer here in the Lake District, but we do have other species of deer roaming amongst the fells, such as Red Deer, Roe Deer and Fallow deer. Wrap up warm, pack a flask and some treats, and see if you can spot Rudolph’s cousins or one of Santa’s other deer helpers amongst the trees. Hotspots for viewing include the shores of Wastwater, Ennerdale Forest, Grizedale Forest, and Martindale Common between Ullswater and Haweswater.  Further south you’ll see deer in Levens Park, and around Beetham Tower Milnthorpe.  The quieter you are the more chance of seeing these lovely creatures, and possibly red squirrels too.

Red Deer in the Lake District

Red Deer in the Lake District

Pop up Christmas Markets with local craftspeople

The creative hub that is Yew Tree Barn is hosting pop up markets through the month, from 4th – 24th December, with a different selection of local craftspeople each week. A lovely place to come along and support YTB and the stallholders and shop local.

Go on an Elf Hunt at Holker Hall Gardens

Christmas Opening: 11th – 13th / 18th – 20th December, 10:30am – 4pm.  The house remains closed, but the Elliptical and Summer Gardens will be open to walk around and escape into, where a group of naughty elves are causing mischief! Grab your hunt sheets from the kiosk and see if you can track them down. The Café and Gift Shop will be open for you to warm up with a glass of mulled wine or to find that perfect gift for Christmas, and the courtyard and surrounding areas will be dressed for Christmas. Garden entry is free, but please book a timeslot here.  They are also hosting a Bess & Barrel evening on Friday 18th December, for festive food, fun, and a local jazz singer. Make sure to check their website for more details and to book your spot.

Buy gifts and foodie treats from your armchair, with the first Virtual Christmas Market brought to you from Visit Cumbria

For those of you who can’t make it, have a look at the Virtual Christmas market featuring some of the brilliant artisan businesses here in Cumbria, supplying the best quality local produce for you to enjoy.

Why not have a little piece of The Lakes delivered directly to your door? Visit Cumbria have put together a virtual Christmas market – so whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone special or a well-deserved treat for yourself, browse through local produce, wines, gins, chutneys and cheeses for a delicious gift or treat. We’ve also got some great local Cumbrian gifts available as vouchers, from dining out gifts, pamper spa days to action-packed adventure days. Pick up a voucher for the perfect gift or something to look forward to yourself.

There’s even a free prize draw you can enter with a fabulous ‘Ultimate Luxury Lake District Christmas Hamper’, packed full of delicious Cumbrian produce brought to you by our friends at A Day’s Walk. Enter the free prize draw here. You can also order food to be delivered to your accommodation from A Day’s Walk too.

Now more than ever, Cumbrian businesses need your support and by visiting them and buying your Christmas gifts and treats directly, you are helping independent businesses survive and flourish in these difficult times, bringing us the world-famous Lake District produce we all love so much.

cosy open fireVisit a local pub to enjoy log fires, comfort food, craft ales, and ‘substantial meals’.

There are so many great pubs in the Lake District, all of which are open again for business, and many are serving Christmas Dinner on the Big Day, and Christmas-themed meals right through December.  Many of them have roaring log fires, mulled wine, craft ales and are also dog friendly.  They are all keen to welcome you back and make your visit as pleasant as possible, within the guidelines.

Whatever you do this Christmas, let’s all look forward to a better 2021, and we look forward to welcoming you back to the beautiful Lake District when you can.


We wish you and yours a peaceful and healthy Christmas, from all the team at Lakelovers.