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An illuminated Christmas tree and lights at a Christmas market

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and where better to enjoy the festive season this year than at one of these Christmas markets in the Lake District?

With mulled wine, twinkly lights, and countless unique and special stalls to peruse, you’re in for a treat this Christmas!

From German markets to fun fair festivities and traditional Victorian fayres, there’s Christmas cheer to be had right across the Lake District. Where will you find yours?

Continue reading to discover more about our favourite Lake District Christmas markets, and add one of these to your festive itinerary this year…

The history of Christmas Markets

Christmas markets originated in Germany, when the first December Market, known locally as a “Krippenmarkt,” was held in Vienna in 1298.

In 1434, the first ‘official’ Christmas market, or “Christkindlmarkt,” was held in Dresden in East Germany.

A father with his daughter sat on his shoulders at a christmas market

Since then, Christmas markets have grown drastically in popularity across the world, with open-air street markets held annually throughout December in many different countries.

The Lake District Christmas markets pay homage to their German roots, serving Glühwein, Bratwurst and Christstollen.

Christmas in Cartmel, Cartmel

24th November 2023
11am – 7:30pm

The south Lake District village of Cartmel is an idyllic spot to experience a magical Christmas market and fayre. And staying in one of our Cartmel Cottages is a Christmas treat in itself!

Alpine Style Christmas Market stalls

Whilst this village grew around its Medieval Priory, today the streets are filled with artisan shops from local producers. If you’re shopping for a foodie this Christmas, look no further than Cartmel!

‘Christmas in Cartmel’ is an annual community event held throughout the streets of Cartmel village.  Previous years have seen live reindeer, a latern parade, carol singers and Santa Claus himself!

The stalls at this Lake District Christmas market are sure to get you into the festive spirit. Sample some delicious Cumbrian food, pick up a unique gift, or browse a vast selection of homemade crafts.

Feeling the chill? Warm up from the inside out with a mug of steamy mulled wine or an indulgent hot chocolate from one of the drink stalls.

Dickensian Christmas Festival, Ulverston

25th – 26th November 2023

The last weekend in November sees the Dickensian Christmas Festival take place in Ulverston. Arguably one of the best Dickensian Christmas markets in the country, a visit to this Lake District Christmas festival is a must!

Festival Singers performing at the Dickensian Christmas Festival

This historic market town doesn’t hold back when it comes to entertaining. In fact, Ulverston is known locally as a ‘festival town’ owing to its bustling annual events schedule.

Take a trip back in time to a Victorian Christmas during the town’s weekend-long Dickensian Christmas Festival. This years festivities are packed with entertainment for both adults and children alike, including a Santa’s Grotto, live music and a traditional fairground.

The period dress costume competitions are the main event, and there’s costumes available to hire locally to help get you into the festive spirit!

A grand parade makes it way through the town, and there’s a wealth of stalls lining the cobbled streets. Pick up some gifts or keepsakes along the way before settling down to enjoy the Christmas light countdown in the early evening.

Ambleside Christmas Lights, Ambleside

18th November 2023

A schedule of festive events are set to take place in the town of Ambleside this November!

The fun begins at 11am, where a morning cruise departs from Waterhead and sets sail on Lake Windermere in search of Father Christmas.

Little girl whispering in Santa's ear

There will be live entertainment aboard the cruise before Santa Claus climbs aboard for a meet and greet with the little ones.

On return to Waterhead following the afternoon cruise, Santa will switch on the Christmas lights before boarding his sleigh to Ambleside.

Festive markets stalls and entertainment will take place throughout the day in the centre of the town, and a latern procession will make its way through the streets at 4:30pm.

The fun concludes with a firework display at Rothay Park. Hats and gloves at the ready, as it’s bound to be a chilly evening in Ambleside!

Hawkshead Christmas Fair, Hawkshead

2nd – 3rd December 2023
10am – 4pm

The Hawkshead Christmas Fair is a traditional family event with something for everybody. Held annually, holiday makers flock from across the UK to visit this Christmas market in the Lake District!

a gloved hand holding a mug of mulled wine at a christmas market

There’s entertainment to suit guests of all ages, with live street music and carol singers. With over 50 stalls to choose from, you’re sure to find some gifts too!

The stalls at this Lake District Christmas market include lots of homemade crafts, local produce and food and drink, along with Christmas decorations to support the wonderful festive atmosphere.

And following an afternoon of outdoor adventure, head to the Queens Head in Hawkshead to cosy up with an evening tipple amongst the roaring flame of the open fire.

Taste Cumbria Christmas Market, Cockermouth

9th – 10th December 2023

Along with it’s mouth-watering food and drink vendors, the Taste Cumbria Christmas Market will welcome an array of gift, homeware and craft stalls this year.

Gingerbread Christmas Ornaments at a Christmas Market

Admission to this Lake District Christmas market is free of charge, and you can expect lots of fun-filled festive activities throughout the course of the weekend.

Stock up on fresh, local produce, sample delectable Cumbrian delicacies or head to the fairground for a spin on the rides.

Live music and entertainment will provide an atmospheric soundtrack to the countrys favourite food festival!

Carlisle Christmas Market, Carlisle

1st – 17th December 2023

Illuminated Christmas market wooden stalls at night time

Held annually in the heart of Carlisle, this Lake District Christmas market sees the streets of this Cumbrian city transform into a Winter wonderland!

Over fourty Alpine-style chalets will find themselves scattered throughout the streets. Stalls will include gifts, homeware, food, drink and homemade crafts. Expect intricate Christmas decorations to stocking fillers for all ages.

The foodies amongst you will be spoilt for choice with the array of food on offer. Indulge in bratwurst cooked on a traditional German Schwenkegrill, quirky crocodile burgers and local cheese and chutneys.

You can even wash it all down with a steamy cup of mulled wine. ‘Tis the season after all!

Rydal Mount Christmas Fayre, Ambleside

2nd – 3rd December 2023
10am – 4pm

The Rydal Mount Christmas Fayre takes place in the former home of famed English poet, William Wordsworth.

Stand with heart gingerbread sweets at Christmas Market

Held across two days, you can expect crafts, gifts, food and drink at this Lake District Christmas market. Festive entertainment includes live music performed by local musicians as well as carol singers.

This is a ticketed event, with entry on the door priced at £6 per person. We would recommend purchasing advance tickets which are available online at a discounted rate of £5.00, and includes free parking.

Entry includes access to the house and five-acre gardens of Rydal Mount, both of which tell the fascinating story of the poet who once lived there.

Beetham Nurseries Christmas Market Weekend, Beetham

30th November – 3rd December 2023
7th December – 10th December 2023
12:30pm – 7pm Thursday, 9am – 5pm Friday & Saturday, 10am – 4pm Sunday

This popular family-run garden centre is opening its doors this Winter to host two weekend Chirstmas markets! After the success of their very first Christmas marktet in 2022, Beetham Nurseries are back again to host eight days of festive family fun.

Access to this highly-anticpated Lake District Christmas market is free of charge and promises lots of holiday cheer across each weekend.

A child and woman stood next to a christmas tree in winter

The grounds of Beetham Nurseries will be decorated with a charming assortment of festive cabins. You can expect to see stalls from many much-loved local businesses, including Miles-Moore Ceramics, White Fox Distillery and Fellside Candle Co. to name a few.

The flavours of Christmas will fill the air, with many mouth-watering food and drink kiosks to choose from. You can even escape the chill with a festive drink or dish at the on-site cafe.

Be sure to visit Lovingly Artisan and try their freshly baked goods right straight their state-of-the-art Bread Truck!

Live music performed by a wonderful range of local bands and choirs will form the soundtrack of the weekend, whilst festive crafting and colouring competitions are sure to keep you entertained!

If you’ve not yet decorated your home for the festive period, you can take your pick from hundreds of freshly cut and potted Christmas trees whilst visiting Beetham Nurseries. You might even find a keep-sake bauble or two amongst the holiday decoration kiosks!

Tempted by a visit to one of these Lake District Christmas Markets this year? Browse our wonderful collection of Lake District holiday cottages and put yourself right in the heart of the festivities! 

And for more inspiration on how to spend your time during your visit, give our guide on the best walks in the Lake District a read! 

Images courtesy of: Michigan Municipal League(CC BY-ND 2.0) 

This blog has been adapted from original content written by Lakelovers