Image courtesy of Visit Britain

Things to Do in Cumbria

Creative Tourist

Think of Cumbria and what springs to mind? A rural retreat complete with hearty hikes and snug pubs? If these are the images scudding across your mind’s eye, you’d not be wrong. Yet there are more things to do in Cumbria than its outdoor image might suggest. Tourism actually began here back in the 1700s, when clergyman Thomas West published a Guide to the Lakes. It banished forever the idea that Cumbria was wild and inhospitable. It’s thanks to West that when we think of the Lake District, we think of a chocolate-box landscape. Yet the ideal of the ‘picturesque’ is both a blessing and a curse: good for tourism, yet occasionally overshadowing the contemporary art that is made, performed and shown here year-round.

Cumbria is full of artists, from those taking part in the C-Art fest to those exhibiting at Blackwell and Abbot Hall; for them, the landscape’s ability to turn in a moment from benign beauty to lowering skies continues to inspire. It is this that has piqued our interest – and will, we hope, keep yours.

Discover our top picks

Cinema 5–12 August 2017, from £15.00

Picnic Cinema, Cumbria

Picnics, dancing, shenanigans, capers, discos, tomfoolery and great, classic, cult and horror films in extraordinary locations. This year’s selection of films includes Pulp Fiction, The Wicker Man and Boogie Nights.

Cinema 11 August 2017, from £15.00

Picnic Cinema: Pulp Fiction (18) at Muncaster Castle

Picnic Cinema presents one of the defining films of the nineties. Grab your tasty beverage of choice and enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s effortlessly cool crime flick in the magnificent surroundings of Muncaster Castle.

Festivals 26–29 July 2018, from £20.00

Kendal Calling Festival 2018

So good that 2017’s edition sold out before the line-up was announced, snap up your tickets for 2018 fast.

Cinema 5 August 2017, from £15.00

Picnic Cinema: The Wicker Man (15) at Appleby Castle

Don your animal masks, dig out your best tweed, meet us at the glorious setting of Appleby Castle this summer for a screening of the cult classic The Wicker Man.

Cinema 12 August 2017, from £15.00

Picnic Cinema: Boogie Nights (18) at Muncaster Castle

Picnic Cinema revisit the golden age of disco and debauchery with a special outdoor screening of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights. Flares and roller skates are heavily encouraged.

Families 28 October 2017, FREE

The Winter Droving 2017 in Penrith

A wonderful winter adventure of outdoor arts, masquerade and pint carrying competitions in Penrith.

Cumbria District Guides

Allan Bank, Grasmere, image courtesy of Visit Cumbria

South Lakes, Cumbria

No trip to Cumbria is complete without a visit to its best-loved places, Coniston and…

Penrith, Cumbria

Located in the Lake District’s Eden Valley, the market town of Penrith is a jumping-off…

Kendal and Sedbergh, Cumbria

The South Lakes are where it’s at for most visitors, and usually has the tailbacks…

Eden Valley, Cumbria

Sustainability is a theme that resonates throughout the Eden Valley, which stretches from Sedbergh to…

Cockermouth and West Cumbria

Once known for its industry, West Cumbria has an independent, industrial streak that sets it…

Carlisle and Keswick, Cumbria

Carlisle is a city framed by its famous castle and still showing the battle scars…