A monthly round up of the highlights for visitors and locals who are looking for new year events in the area, and those who like art and culture, Lakeland scenery, walking, good food and wine.
1. Wrap up warm and get out for a walk. If you don’t want to head into the high hills while the days are short, there’s a wonderful opportunity to explore the quiet shore of Windermere.
Walk down to the ferry landing south of Bowness and take the ferry across to the Claife shore. Call in to see the recently restored Claife viewing station, then head north along the lake to Wray Castle.
The woods along here are home to many species of wild birds, some rarely seen in more populated areas. Deer, both red and fallow, roam freely over the hills around Claife, the estate you are walking past. Wray Castle is open to the public and has a café. You can then take a footpath back to Ambleside, and come back home by bus. The perfect day out.
2. Windermere Lake Cruises operate all year round, and the bigger vessels, while having fascinating histories, have all modern conveniences, so you can stay warm and dry while taking to England’s largest lake. Stay with 1 Park Road and you can have 10% off your cruise You can sail from Bowness to Ambleside, for example, in a centrally-heated saloon with licensed bar and café on board. https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/timetables
3. Over in Kendal at the Abbot Hall Gallery you will find Grayson Perry, the artist known for his ceramic vases, tapestries and cross-dressing, as well as his observations of the contemporary arts scene, and for dissecting British prejudices, fashions and foibles. Here he has an exhibition called Julie Cope’s Grand Tour: The Story of a Life by Grayson Perry. It highlights a fictional character, an Essex everywoman whose story Perry tells through the tapestries and extended ballad presented in this Crafts Council touring exhibition. The tapestries are shown alongside a graphic installation, and specially commissioned audio recording of The Ballad of Julie Cope, a 3000 word narrative written and read by Perry himself that illuminates Julie’s hopes and fears as she journeys through life. Runs through until mid Feb. https://www.abbothall.org.uk/graysonperry
4. There’s still time to catch the seasonal hit at the Theatre By The Lake, in Keswick, producing their own version of the timeless classic Beauty and The Beast, running all the way through December to the 12th January.
The show’s director, Chris Horner, presents Laurence Boswell’s thrilling and imaginative adaptation of the tale, which is a true feast for enjoyment this Christmas. The play follows Beauty’s father’s long, difficult journey to claim his long-lost ship and the fortune it holds, when he stumbles upon a world of riches, magic and a fearsome beast. When he picks up a rose as a memento for his daughter, Beauty, little does he release what he’s unleashed.
Theatre by the Lake, opened in 1999, has been described as “the most beautifully located and friendly theatre in Britain” by The Independent, and thrives off bringing the magic of theatre to one Britain’s loveliest and most scenic counties. It is a short walk away from Derwentwater, amid the beautiful fells surrounding Keswick. Their Christmas plays are firm favourites amongst families, locals and visitors.
The play runs until 12th January, with morning, matinee and evening performances available depending on the day. Tickets range from £10 to £34 each.