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Your Guide to Christmas in The Lake District

It’s hard to imagine a more magical place to be than The Lake District at Christmas time. With snow often to be seen on the higher peaks at this time of year, you can dream of a white Christmas while you’re here.

Book your luxury self-catering accommodation in the Lake District now and don’t miss a moment of the festive fun.

Luxury Self-Catering in Windermere

Windermere Marina Village offers luxury self-catering accommodation in the picturesque village of Bowness on Windermere in the heart of the Lake District. Whether you’re after a dog friendly property, large group accommodation or the perfect family holiday, our wide range of properties cater to a variety of preferences.

Built using traditional Lakeland materials, our luxury self-catered accommodation is nestled around our beautiful marina, offering spectacular views across the water. Designed with modern, luxurious interiors, our lakeland apartments are the perfect choice for your next getaway and are ideal for family holidays. The marina is situated close to the village of Bowness and located in one of the most breathtaking locations in the Lake District.

There’s so much to do in the run up to Christmas, from Christmas markets to craft workshops, and if you have little ones hoping for a chance to meet Santa, there are plenty of opportunities in the Lake District.

Winter Wonderland – Hayes Garden

If you want to soak up the festive atmosphere, you can’t beat the Winter Wonderland Hayes Garden World in Ambleside, which is open from early December up to the 23rd.

Explore the magical realm which is decorated with Christmas lights and artificial snow for a real festive feel. It leads to a grotto where younger visitors may be lucky enough to see Santa. Don’t forget to fit in some festive shopping at the German-style Christmas market, which has a range of delightful seasonal produce and gifts.

Christmas Markets

Rydal Christmas Fair – Saturday 2nd December – Sunday 3rd December 2023

Cartmel Christmas Food Market on Friday, 24th November 2023. Many local artisan food producers have stalls at the market, and Cartmel’s famous sticky toffee pudding is on sale at the local village shop.

Hawkshead Christmas Fair – 2nd & 3rd December 2023 – 10am – 4pm

Art Events

There are many arts events in the Lake District over the Christmas period. Here’s our pick of the ones that should not be missed:

Festive Outdoors

Wrap up warm and you can enjoy fell-walking even in December, but be sure to keep safe and check that the weather forecast is suitable before you set off. If you can’t face exploring the beautiful scenery of the Lakes on foot at this time of year, there are other ways of getting about and taking in the view.

A boat trip in the Lake District is a pleasure at any time of year, but at Christmas time it has an extra dimension, with sparkling Christmas lights on shore adding to the beauty of the scenery. Take a special festive trip on Derwentwater and you can enjoy a mince pie and sherry, while children receive a present.

Alternatively, get on board one of the Ullswater steamer trips for a festive afternoon tea during December, or on Sunday 16th December join one of the special Santa cruises. Departing from Glenridding, the Santa Cruise includes a magic show and a Christmas present for the children, with mince pies and refreshments for the grown-ups.

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway is operating a series of Santa Specials, running along one of the most scenic lines in the country. Carols, seasonal drinks and a visit from Santa and his elves make for a very special festive train journey.

Santa will also be making an appearance at the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway, and there will be festive stalls at Ravenglass Station on December weekends leading up to Christmas. Don’t miss the Mince Pie trains running in December – pick up your mince pie token with your ticket and exchange it for a mince pie in the café at Ravenglass Station.

World of Beatrix Potter

Young children will love a visit to the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere, and it’s even more magical in December with Father Christmas Tea Parties. The price includes admission to the World of Beatrix Potter attraction.

Muncaster Castle

For a very special festive afternoon tea, visit Muncaster Castle during the run up to Christmas. You will be greeted with a glass of mulled wine to warm you up when you arrive on a chilly December afternoon, and tea, sandwiches, scones and cakes are served in one of the specially decorated state rooms. The price also gives you admission to the gardens as well as the Hawk and Owl Centre.

Sizergh Castle

Visit the National Trust’s Sizergh Castle for a range of seasonal activities. Kids can create a gingerbread Christmas decoration, while activities for grown-ups include a wreath-making workshop. There’s also a chance to see Santa at Sizergh Castle.

Lowther Castle and Gardens

Lowther Castle and Gardens, near Penrith has Santa visiting on weekends in December. Children receive a gift and can join in the Christmas activities. Various workshops are being held throughout December, from creating a decorative wooden reindeer to making a Christmas bird-feeder wreath.

When it comes to luxury self-catering accommodation, Lake District visitors are spoilt for choice.

With many properties decorated for Christmas, you will start to feel the festive spirit as soon as you arrive. Whatever you choose to do in the Lake District over the festive season, we wish all of our guests a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Updated November 2023

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