Explore a Lake District wonderland this winter

Ullswater in the Lake District - photo by Dave Willis Wastwater in winter - photo by Stewart Smith

With snow-capped mountains, clear glistening waters and a host of cultural highlights – winter in the Lake District is a truly unmissable time of year. It’s the perfect time to combine the magical winter landscape with some of the most outstanding theatre, music and exhibitions the UK has to offer. Get out and about and explore what’s on this winter and try a few, or all, of our favourite cultural events!

Explore a magical winter wonderland and a host of cultural delights in the Lake District this season

// The Emperor and the Nightingale, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, until 14 January

If you’re looking for a theatrical treat for the whole family this January – head over to the outstanding family-friendly performance of The Emperor and the Nightingale at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake, nestled on the shores of Derwentwater. This sensational production is set in ancient China, with the young emperor Wu kept a virtual prisoner in his palace by his scheming guardian, Li Si. For Wu the world outside the Forbidden City is a dangerous place, but when he hears Xiao, a young peasant girl, talk of the most beautiful sound on earth – the song of the nightingale – it’s too much to resist.

Featuring exquisite puppetry from Puppetry Director Jimmy Grimes (The Shepherd’s Life, War Horse), glorious music in an original score, and all the colour, movement and spectacle of Chinese theatre, this joyful adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale is a feast for the senses that will delight the whole family!

Book tickets on the Theatre by the Lake website

// THE POWER OF THE HILLS: JOHN RUSKIN & MOUNTAINS – Brantwood, Coniston

Until 24 April 2017

The Power of the Hills: John Ruskin and Mountains at Brantwood, Coniston
The Power of the Hills: John Ruskin and Mountains at Brantwood, Coniston

No single feature of the earth excited more feeling in Ruskin than the hills. No single aspect of nature inspired his brush more consistently or more beautifully. Mountains inspired and obsessed Ruskin his entire life, to him they were evidence of the living nature of the earth. He drew mountains throughout his life and possibly no artist or writer before or since has understood them so fully in all their aspects.

Find out more here 

// World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, Bowness-on-Windermere

Inside The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, Bowness-on-Windermere (photo Dave Willis, Cumbria Tourism)
Inside The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, Bowness-on-Windermere (photo Dave Willis, Cumbria Tourism)

No cultural trip to the Lake District would be complete without saying hello to Peter Rabbit and his friends at the fabulous World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere.

// Winter Stargazing at Grizedale Forest,  from 9 January – 31 March 2017

Star Gazing at Grizedale Forest with astronomer Robert Ince
Star Gazing at Grizedale Forest with astronomer Robert Ince

Grizedale Forest is an all year-round destination for lovers of both the great outdoors and awe inspiring sculptures. During the winter months, wrap up warm and follow Grizedale Forest’s free self-led trail. You can read fact-filled panels about stars – discover what they are, why they are important to us and the wildlife around us and enjoy some fun activities to try yourself.

// The Great Print Exhibition, Rheged Centre, Penrith, until 26 February 2017

The Great Print Exhibition at Rheged Centre, Penrith
The Great Print Exhibition at Rheged Centre, Penrith

The Great Print Exhibition returns to Rheged where it was originally created. This major exhibition celebrating printmaking in all its forms, is the largest of its kind in the North of England featuring over 350 artworks by more than 60 British artists. As part of the exhibition, Cumbria printmakers will run workshops and demonstrations – find out more here

// George Shaw: My Back to Nature, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, 13 January – 11 March 2017

George Shaw: My Back to Nature, at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal
George Shaw: My Back to Nature, at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal

For a fine art treat in the New Year, head over to Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal for George Shaw: My Back to Nature. This exhibition by Turner Prize nominee George Shaw comes to us from the National Gallery, London, where he spent two years as Associate Artist (2014-2016). Inspired by woodland scenes in the National Gallery’s collection, Shaw ‘takes on’ the Masters, creating beautiful intimate scenes of woodland near suburban areas.

// Places to Eat

For welcome opportunities to refuel when you’re out and about and great places for evening meals, check out these delectable Lake District eateries:

Café by the Lake, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, CA12 5DJ
Dine in comfort all year round with pre-theatre meals including a choice of starters, main courses and sweets. Add wine and beer and enjoy the view followed by a play. The pre-theatre dinner menu is served from 5.30pm – 7.30pm.  Reservations advised.

Vats Bar, The Brewery Arts Centre Kendal, LA9 4HE
The Vats Bar offers the Brewery’s superb pizzas and full tapas menu every day in informal and family friendly surroundings. There are regular events including a Monday night quiz and ‘Live in the Vats’ gigs.

The Arts Bar & Grill, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3AE
Formally Annie Garnett’s famous Spinnery, the Arts Bar and Grill is now a fresh and modern bar and grill with their specialty ‘Annie’s list’ gin menu.

Grizedale Café, Grizedale Forest, LA22 0QJ 
The café offers a variety of hot meals and salads, children’s meals, sandwiches, soups and cakes with a wide range of teas and coffees. There is also a range of takeaway snacks available from the ‘hatch’ if you don’t have time to sit down to eat and drink.

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To enjoy this Lakes cultural event and much more, book your break in the Lake District here