Lake District Events Calendar 2018

Lakes Ignite 2018 Some Fern by Kerry Morrison (1997) - Grizedale Forest Sculpture Time Mirror by Di Mainstone will be at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House for Lakes Ignite 2018 Dove Cottage in Grasmere Charlie Whinney's Mountains We Made sculpture is now at Grizedale Forest The Man Bends Tree exhibition is at Grizedale Forest until 13 May

Diaries at the ready for another exciting year of outstanding culture in the beautiful Lake District! With its vibrant literary legacy and the UK’s first forest for sculpture, this celebrated cultural landscape provides an abundance of inspiration and exploration throughout the year.

2018 also sees the return of Lakes Ignite, from January to July Lakes Ignite 2018, with six specially commissioned contemporary artworks inspired by the Lake District’s UNESCO World Heritage designation.

Spark your imagination with Lakes Ignite 2018 – a celebration of contemporary art in a World Heritage cultural landscape!

For further Cumbrian cultural delights, 2018 has an impressive line-up of art, music, theatre and festivals. From celebrations of classic literature and classical music to unmissable comedy and international comic art creativity – there’s some Lakes Culture for everyone!

So check out these great things to do in the Lake District in 2018 and start planning your Lakes Culture adventure today…

// LAKES IGNITE 2018 – various venues in the Lake District

January to July 2018

Lakes Ignite 2018
Lakes Ignite 2018

Lakes Ignite 2018 presents six specially commissioned contemporary artworks to celebrate the Lake District’s designation as a World Heritage site. From January to July 2018, six artists will bring their creative vision to the Lakes with a unique collection of artworks that are free to visit and explore. Each installation provides a different perspective on our World Heritage story using very different media including metal, wood, mirrors, inflatables, performance and virtual reality.

Find out more here

// LAKELAND SINFONIA CONCERTS – Kendal, South Lakes

Until April 2018

Jonathon Heyward (photo by Jeremy Ayres Fischer)
Jonathon Heyward (photo by Jeremy Ayres Fischer)

The Lakeland Sinfonia Concert Society is an Arts Council sponsored charity which promotes orchestral concerts in Kendal. From October to April it brings internationally renowned orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, the Halle, the Manchester Camerata and Royal Northern Sinfonia to the South Lakes with internationally esteemed musicians. It also promotes the local Lakeland Sinfonia, giving local musicians the opportunity to work with great conductors and soloists.

For more information about the concerts and booking details, please visit the Lakeland Sinfonia website

// MASTERPIECE – CLAUDE MONET, HAYSTACKS: SNOW EFFECT, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal

12 January – 28 April 2018

Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal (photo by Tony West)
Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal (photo by Tony West)

A rare opportunity to discover the magic of a Monet masterpiece in an intimate gallery space at Abbot Hall. Be transported to the landscape of one of the world’s most famous artists and founder of French Impressionist painting. The haystacks in the painting stood in a field to the west of Monet’s house in Giverney, France, where his famous water lily gardens were situated. In autumn and the relatively mild winter of 1890 Monet persuaded the local farmer to leave the stacks in his field so he could make a series of paintings. Monet went on to produce over thirty haystacks paintings at different times of the day and season, capturing the effect that the changing light had on their form.

Find out more here

// MAN BENDS TREE, Grizedale Forest Visitor Centre

Until 13 May

Charlie Whinney's Man Bends Tree exhibition is at Grizedale Forest until 13 May
Charlie Whinney’s Man Bends Tree exhibition is at Grizedale Forest until 13 May

Known as ‘the forest of firsts’, Grizedale Forest has a rich history and legacy of being the first forest in the UK to develop publicly accessible sculpture trails. The Lakes Ignite artwork Mountains We Made, together with Wood for the Trees, are two new pieces by Charlie Whinney, providing inspiring new editions to the permanent collection made up of over 40 sculptures by some of the leading names in contemporary art.

Alongside these forest sculptures you can also see Charlie Whinney’s exhibition – Man Bends Tree – showcasing unique artworks shaped from a selection of species and textures of timber. The exhibition is at the Grizedale Visitor Centre until 13 May.

Find out more here

// WHERE POPPIES BLOW, Wordsworth House & Gardens, Cockermouth

Saturday 10 March to Sunday 28 October 2018

Join former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion at a Thursday evening talk at Wordsworth House in Cockermouth
Join former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion at a Thursday evening talk at Wordsworth House in Cockermouth

A special exhibition commemorating the end of the Great War and celebrating the role of nature in helping sustain Britain’s troops through the horrors of battle. Where Poppies Blow also includes a season of evening talks, on Thursday 7 June, former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion will share his love of First World War poet Edward Thomas, author of Adelstrop, and read from his own forthcoming verse memoir, Essex Clay.

This fascinating series of Thursday evening talks take place in the atmospheric dining room of Wordsworth House, on 19 April, 10 May, 7 June and 20 September – for further details and tickets please visit the National Trust website

Where Poppies Blow will be open from 11am to 4pm every day except Friday, from Saturday 10 March to Sunday 28 October 2018. Entry is free with admission to the house and garden.

Find out more here

// PETER RABBIT MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM, Rheged, Penrith

Until 3 June

Peter Rabbit Mischief and Mayhem at the Rheged Centre
Peter Rabbit Mischief and Mayhem at the Rheged Centre

Cumbria’s most famous literary character, Peter Rabbit, jumps right off the page in this interactive exhibition about Beatrix Potter’s first creation. The exhibition includes original artworks and manuscripts which are rarely exhibited. It also reveals a fresh insight into the innovative way Beatrix Potter developed Peter Rabbit toys and games.

£3.50 for ages 3+ and joint tickets are available for the new Peter Rabbit film screening and exhibition. Book online or call the box office 01768 868000

And while you are in the Rheged Centre make sure you check out Michael Shaw’s incredible inflatable artwork ‘Slung’ in the Mountain Hall, part of Lakes Ignite 2018!

// A WORLD OF WORK, Brantwood, Coniston

12 April – 2 September

Hunt Emerson’s tribute to Ford Madox Brown’s Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece Work at Brantwood
Hunt Emerson’s tribute to Ford Madox Brown’s Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece ‘Work’ at Brantwood

This spring and summer Brantwood’s Blue Gallery plays host to an exhibition exploring the theme of Work. The exhibition will include Hunt Emerson’s tribute to Ford Madox Brown’s Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece ‘Work’, together with pieces from other artists across three centuries exploring the same theme.

Visitors will also be able to preview Hunt Emerson & Kevin Jackson’s masterful Ruskin comic ‘How to Work’, the third and final instalment of their Ruskin comic trilogy, which will be launched in October at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, in Kendal. Entry to the exhibition is included in the admission to Brantwood.

Find out more here

// PRINTFEST, Coronation Hall, Ulverston

5 – 6 May 2018

Printfest 2018 will be at Coronation Hall in Ulverston from 5 - 6 May
Printfest 2018 will be at Coronation Hall in Ulverston from 5 – 6 May

Founded in 2001, Printfest is the UK’s foremost artist-led printmaking festival, offering a fantastic opportunity to view and purchase artworks, meet the artists and find out more about printmaking through various workshops and demonstrations.

Find out more here

// IN SEARCH OF MARY SHELLEY: THE GIRL WHO WROTE FRANKENSTEIN, Dove Cottage, Grasmere

5 May – 27 August

Illustration from Frankenstein (1831 edition) written by Mary Shelley
Illustration from Frankenstein (1831 edition) written by Mary Shelley

2018 marks the bicentenary of the publication of Frankenstein, the literary masterpiece that today is world famous as source of two of our most enduring archetypes, the obsessive scientist and the almost-human he creates. Lesser known, perhaps, is the story of the teenager who wrote it. Daughter of philosopher William Godwin and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, and wife of Romantic Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley grew up in a world of political passion and scientific curiosity and within a household at the very centre of the era’s radical new thought. This exhibition, curated by award winning poet and writer Fiona Sampson to coincide with her new biography In Search of Mary Shelley, will explore the circumstances that shaped Shelley as a child and a young woman – the making of the girl who wrote Frankenstein.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition Fiona Sampson will be giving a talk on 5 May, from 4 – 5pm in the Jerwood Centre adjacent to the Wordsworth Museum.

Find out more here

// KESWICK JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL, Various, Keswick

Thursday 10 – Sunday 13 May 2018

Keswick Jazz Festival from 10 May to 13 May 2018
Keswick Jazz Festival from 10 May to 13 May 2018

This year will be the 27th Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival… A fantastic four day celebration of New Orleans, swing, hot club, classic, traditional and mainstream jazz and blues. The festival promises unmissable musical razzamatazz, showcasing a roster of fabulous international guests and UK talent at various venues throughout Keswick in the Lake District National Park.

Find out more here

// FREERANGE COMEDY FESTIVAL, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

18 – 20 May 2018

John Robertson presents surreal show Dark Room at the Freerange Comedy Fesitval 2018
John Robertson presents surreal show Dark Room at the Freerange Comedy Fesitval 2018

The annual feast of fun and laughter at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal this year sees a new Fringe-style revamp, from 18-20 May, with a new direction focusing on more bespoke comedy events including workshops, late-night cabaret and comedy clubs as well as more traditional stand up performances.

Top comedian Arthur Smith will be in the town performing a brand new show entitled In the Footsteps of Coleridge and other comedic treats include Barney Farmer, the creator of the darkly hilarious Drunken Bakers cartoon and comedy performer John Robertson presenting the surreal show Dark Room. Additional festival highlights include Tony Allen, often referred to as the Godfather of Alternative Comedy, plus more traditional stand up acts from the likes of Mark Steel, Nick Revell premiering a new piece written for BBC Radio 4 and a risque cabaret show from JoJo Bellini.

Find out more and book tickets on the Brewery Arts Centre website

// 2018 SUMMER SEASON, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

24 May – November 2018

Summer Season 2018 at Theatre by the Lake
Summer Season 2018 at Theatre by the Lake

The Summer Season 2018 at Theatre by the Lake is once again set to stage a spectacular selection of home-grown productions, including vintage comedy, an adaptation of a much-loved novel and an acclaimed double bill from one of Britain’s finest playwrights. The three Main House productions are:

// Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense – a play from the works of P.G. Wodehouse by The Goodale Brothers in which three actors play a multitude of characters in an inventive and totally bonkers send-up of Wodehouse’s iconic double act.
// Single Spies by Alan Bennett – one of Britain’s best loved playwrights turns his attention to the Cambridge spy scandal of the 50s, with two beautifully written comic vignettes (An Englishman Abroad and A Question of Attribution) which shed light on the fascinating characters of Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt.
// Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility adapted by Jessica Swale – a sparkling tale of the Dashwood sisters and affairs of the heart in a gorgeous adaptation by the Olivier award-winning playwright who adapted Theatre by the Lake’s Christmas show The Secret Garden.

The Studio productions are a world premiere of Rails by Simon Longman, telling the story of two bored and lonely teens whose lives collide over the course of a long hot summer and Bold Girls by Rona Munro, set in Belfast in the early 90s, Bold Girls explores female friendship against the backdrop of a city in upheaval.

Find out more here

// LAKE DISTRICT SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL, various venues in south Lake District

Saturday, 28 July – Friday, 10 August 2018

Lake District Summer Music by Tony West
Lake District Summer Music by Tony West

A long-standing international music festival of classical, jazz and opera, hosting over 40 events in splendid intimate venues throughout the southern Lake District. Each year this highly acclaimed festival features world-famous artists, world premieres and new collaborations. Details of the 2018 programme will be released during the week commencing 7 May on the Lake District Summer Music Festival website

// KENDAL CALLING, Lowther Deer Park, Penrith

26 – 29 July 2018

Kendal Calling
Kendal Calling

See you in the fields for Kendal Calling 2018… the multi award-winning independent festival of music, arts, food & drink now returning for its 13th year. With previous headliners including Elbow, Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers, Happy Mondays and 18 stages filled with everything from disco to folk it’s set to be another amazing weekend in the stunning surroundings of the Lake District National Park.

Find out more here

// LAKES ALIVE, Kendal

7 – 9 September 2018

The Lake District National Park is delighted to present the return of Lakes Alive – a major family-friendly arts festival taking over Kendal for a weekend in September 2018. Join in spectacular happenings and explore brand new cultural experiences and performances at locations in Kendal and the wider Lake District National Park.

Find out more here

// THE LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL, various venues in Kendal

12 – 14 October 2018

Artwork for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2018 by Petteri Tikkanen
Artwork for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2018 by Petteri Tikkanen

For creative KERPOW – make a date in your diary for LICAF 2018! The only event of its kind in the UK celebrating the best comic art from around the world. The festival takes over the beautiful town of Kendal on the edge of the Lakes for a full weekend of exhibitions, live draws, masterclasses, trails, films, workshops and more!

Find out more here

// WINTER DROVING, Penrith

27 October 2018

Eden Arts - Winter Droving extravaganza in Penrith (photo John Burrows)
Eden Arts – Winter Droving extravaganza in Penrith (photo John Burrows)

The Winter Droving is a magical festival in Penrith that celebrates all things rural, traditional and fun. The festival features street performances, local markets, dog fancy dress and the event highlight… a torch lit procession through the town featuring fire, lanterns, masquerade, music and mayhem.

Find out more here

// KENDAL MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL – Various venues in Kendal

15 – 18 November 2018

Kendal Mountain Festival (photo Stuart Holmes Photography)
Kendal Mountain Festival (photo Stuart Holmes Photography)

The award-winning Kendal Mountain Festival is the UK’s premier mountain film festival and is the most diverse event for outdoor enthusiasts in the world.

Find out more here

// MORE LAKES CULTURE

For the year-round cultural offer in the Lake District check out our Top 20 Things to do in the Lake District