cumbria visit britain
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

Charlie Adlard
Literature 14 October 2016–16 October 2016, from £4.00

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2016

Aimed at both fans and creators of comic art, young and old, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival is the only one of its kind in the UK and, for a fourth year, takes over the Cumbrian town of Kendal for a weekend.

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…

Keswick visit britain WIDE

Carlisle and Keswick, Cumbria

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

West Cumbria visit britain WIDE

Cockermouth and West Cumbria

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

Cumbria visit britain WIDE

Eden Valley, Cumbria

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

Kendal Cumbria Walk the Plank WIDE

Kendal and Sedbergh, Cumbria

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

Rheged Penrith Cumbria WIDE

Penrith, Cumbria

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

Things to do right now

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The Manchester School of Art MA show 2015
Exhibitions 30 September 2016–8 October 2016, FREE

Manchester School of Art MA Show 2016

photo-by-simon-annand
Theatre 28 September 2016–8 October 2016, from £10.00

The Emperor

Artist Film Weekender 2016
Cinema 30 September 2016–2 October 2016, from £3.00

Artist Film Weekender 2016

oxjam-ola
Music 30 September 2016–2 October 2016, from £5.00

Oxjam Manchester Takeover 2016

Tracey Emin and William Blake in Focus
Exhibitions 16 September 2016–3 September 2017, FREE

Tracey Emin and William Blake in Focus