A monthly round up of the highlights for visitors and locals who are looking for Christmas events in Windermere and the surrounding area, especially those who like art and culture, Lakeland scenery, walking, good food and wine.
1: Saturday 1st December, in Windermere and Bowness, sees the annual Christmas Lights switch on, with a parade through the two beautiful villages, commencing at 4:30pm.
The Winter Lights Parade begins at Windermere Train Station, with Father Christmas leading the way in his sleigh, along with his helpers. It heads through the two villages, ending in Queen’s Park Recreation Ground, with the Christmas lights being switched on along the way. The parade is followed by a free fireworks display at around 6pm, and the Windermere and Bowness Community Choir will be performing festive songs for entertainment throughout the event.
It is a fantastic opportunity to do some Christmas shopping, and relax in the restaurants and cafes in two of the Lake District’s scenic and beautiful villages before the event starts. The event starts at 4:30pm and entry is free . Parking is available around the villages, but get there early to avoid disappointment!
The event is organised by a local group of volunteers, who fund raise and ask for sponsorship from local businesses to help with the costs. Windermere town council also provide a grant towards the funding of the event.
2: On Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th of December, Windermere will be hosting their second Christmas event of the year – the Windermere Christmas Celebration, formerly known as the Windermere Christmas Markets.
This event is a vibrant and family-friendly event, which takes place along the streets of Windermere.. Primarily on Victoria Street, there will be over 50 stalls, with a variety of festive goodies, selling food, drink, crafts, and gifts from local, and national, sellers.
Since the first event in 2016, they have been aiming for bigger and better every year, and have promised that this will be the best yet. There will snow cannons, musical performances, other street performers and Santa Claus will be coming along too. It is fun for all the family.
There is a shuttle bus in operation from car parks in the larger Bowness-on-Windermere area, so there’s no need to worry about parking. The shuttle bus service will run from Windermere Lake Cruises Pier 1 in Bowness. The event starts at 10am on both days, and closes at 6pm on Saturday, and 4pm on Sunday.
3: Our very own Old Laundry Theatre is performing an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on the 21st and 22nd of December. The theatre promises to have you gazing in wonder at their production, as they bring their own spin on the much-loved classic.
Mr Johnson and Mr Hebditch used to be very active debt collectors, working for Scrooge and Marley. Now they are unemployed, cold, and hungry during Christmas. Marley is dead, and Scrooge is a changed man. They will tell the story of how three ghosts brought about their fall into poverty.
The Old Laundry Theatre can seat 250 people in-the-round, situated in Bowness-on-Windermere, and is seen as a cultural hub for visitors and locals, of the Lakes, alike. It hosts lively events all year round, with professional music, theatre productions, and comedy, amongst others in the offing.
The show is being performed on the 21st December at 7:30pm, and twice on Sunday 22nd December; once at 2:30pm and once at 7:30pm. Tickets are available online and it is £15 for an adult and £7 for a child.
4: The Theatre By The Lake, in Keswick, are producing their own version of the timeless classic Beauty and The Beast, starting from the 23rd November, 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, and only half an hour from Windermere. Their Christmas plays are firm favourites amongst families, locals and visitors.
The play is running from the 23rd November to the 12th January, with morning, matinee and evening performances available depending on the day. Tickets range from £10 to £34 each, depending on where you are sat in the theatre.
5: Brockhole on Windermere are running ‘Creative Christmas Workshops’ for adults from the 1st to the 19th December.
The centre is running 2-hour classes, 3 part short courses and full day workshops over the festive period. This includes a Christmas decorations class, a festive drawing and printmaking short course, and a real Christmas wreath full day workshop. All of the varied programmes are artist-led, and are ideal for beginners, those at intermediate level, or those looking to try something new this Christmas period.
Brockhole on Windermere is a 19th century arts and crafts movement house, set amongst the breath-taking landscape of the Lake District. The activity centre offers more outdoor pursuits, such as Treetop Trek and kayaking, depending on the season. You can sample Cumbrian cooking at its finest in the various cafes and restaurants around the centre’s grounds, whilst taking in the beautiful views looking out over Lake Windermere.
Whilst there, you could visit the exhibition called “Creative Contrasts”, which features work by seven different local female artists. It includes examples of photography, print work, and paintings.
Classes cost £18 per person, and short courses, and full day workshops, cost £60 per person. All programmes are available on various date throughout December and can be booked on the Brockhole website.
6: Local cinemas, Zefferellis in Ambleside and The Royalty in Bowness are showing a selection of festive films throughout the season.
The Royalty are showing seasonal family favourites including It’s A Wonderful Life, Polar Express and Elf. They are having screenings of these Christmas films in December, on specific dates, which are available for booking on their website (http://windermere.nm-cinemas.co.uk/windermere/now/).
Zefferellis is known for its superb live satellite shows of theatre, music and dance, from around the world. This December it is screening live performances of The Nutcracker – Live from ROH, and The Nutcracker – Live from the Bolshoi. They are also showing Simon Callow’s one-man performance of A Christmas Carol on the 11th December. Tickets are available from their website (https://www.zeffirellis.com).