November is a month of festivals and celebrations, marking the end of autumn and welcoming winter. Pub menus are filled with harvest produce, like spiced pumpkin soups and apple crumbles. Walks are shorter and at a slower pace; collecting conkers; taking in the blaze of colour from the bracken; spotting red squirrels and even herds of rare red deer. The Lakes are still and encourage us to take a seat on a bench, perhaps at Friars Crag overlooking Derwentwater or Orrest Head, Windermere.
Amongst this delightful calm, there’s a flurry of events that are exclusive to the Lake District at this time of year. November is star-gazing season over at Coniston and the UK’s top annual mountain film festival makes Kendal its basecamp. If you’re looking to step back in time to enjoy a Christmas farye how they should be done, all twinkly charm and stylish gifts, then there’s a generous sprinkling of sublimely special winter markets this November to start the festive season. Here we take a look at the highlights of what’s on in the Lake District this November.
This is a large and well-planned Christmas market, with over 90 stalls selling a range of gift items that you won’t find on the high street. Embrace the winter weather with a mug of warming mulled wine and enjoy the live festive music as you wander in and around flavoured gin and vodka stalls, handmade stationery sellers and kids electronic toys – lots of great stocking fillers ideas.
This sociable Christmas fair is quite the merry gathering of outdoor Christmas stalls and festive entertainment with Christmas shopping in Hawkhead’s unique collection of independent shops and a warm by an open fire on one of the village’s four pubs. Hawkshead is a chocolate-box village. When the car-free, narrow and winding streets, lined with wonky ancient architecture, are filled with Christmas lights and festive merriment there’s nowhere we’d want to be to start the festive season.
Many of the mighty woodlands that populate the Lake District are hundreds of years old and in turn have witnessed some of the very best of the regions stories too. Beatrix Potter, one of the Lake District’s best-known storytellers, loved her Bramley apple tree in her orchard at Hill Top, located just down the road from Wray Castle, and trees feature in many of her illustrations. Inspired by Beatrix Potter’s love for tree, plant and wildlife, for one day this November, the Gothic mansion on Lake Windermere hosts a collection of photographs celebrating woodlands and wildlife across the Lake District.
Brantwood House is one of the best Arts and Crafts properties in England and so it makes sense that it hosts the best craft fair. This 2-day event is set in the stunning rooms of this mansion, once owned by famed Victorian art critic John Ruskin. If you’re a lover of all things handcrafted, from homeware, clothing and jewellery to artwork and sculptures, or are looking for some extra-special Christmas gifts, then this is one not to be missed. Plus, the experience of Brantwood House itself is a Lake District gem and the cafe garden offers one of the best views over Coniston Water.
This annual mountain film festival is hosted in and around ‘Basecamp’, which for this weekend is the name given to one of the UK’s top art centres – the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, the South Lakes. This festival is a social mecca for adrenalin-sport junkies or anyone in awe of some of the best films of snow-filed landscapes and human endeavour to conquer the unknown.
Entry to take in the buzzing atmosphere is free, but tickets are needed for individual talks and screenings. The Lake District is the birthplace of rock climbing and it is fitting that the Lakes hosts this event that attracts top names in the world in outdoor sports.
Grizedale Visitor Centre’s exhibition space, The Yan, sits in the heart of this remote mountain forest making it one of the best places in the UK for stargazing and it’s easily accessible too. There’s no light pollution from nearby towns and villages and over these dates in November, moonlight is also low due to the lunar cycle, creating vast dark skies where, on a clear night, you can see over 2,000 stars at any one time. The event includes a presentation by scientist Robert Ince and use of professional telescopes. Wrap up warm and bring any big universe questions along with you.
All items are £150 or under and this annual event hosted by the renowned Green Door arts collective promises a mix of large pieces as well as smaller items such as jewellery, cards and gift items. From the bold work of Robert Finch’s paintings to the sculptured silk of Gilly Slater, there’s something for all artistic tastes. This is the ideal place for finding something unique, whether you’re looking for Christmas pressies or a gift for yourself. Staveley village is a great place to visit also.
This is the perfect Christmas event for all the family and has its own unique Lake District twist. Whilst there are wonderful Christmas market stalls and a lovely lantern procession, Father Christmas makes a special appearance on the popular Lake Windermere cruises during this day. After disembarking from the afternoon cruise, Santa makes his way to Ambleside town centre to sprinkle some magic and turn the Christmas lights on.
For foodies the south Lake District village of Cartmel is an idyllic place to experience a magical Christmas market is fayre. This relatively new Christmas event is in its third year for 2019 and promises more stallholders as the event grows in popularity. At 5pm there is the Christmas lights switch-on and Cartmel Priory Festival, which is one of the most unique festive events in the region. Throughout the village, there’s a lantern parade to take part in, carol singers and a Father Christmas is driven in by the impressive Black Horses carriage.
Take a look at our last-minute holiday cottages and book your November stay today!