With the picturesque Lake District to the west, and the sweeping ridge of the Pennines to the east, it’s easy to see why Penrith is the perfect base to explore what Cumbria has to offer – but it’s also a cultural destination in its own right.
Penrith owes much of its heritage to its location. Situated on a traditional north-south route, Penrith has been an important stopping-off point since the Neolithic period. Since then, it has been called home by Roman troops, William Wordsworth, and even Richard III. As a traditional market town, it has long served as a centre for surrounding villages. The town centre is distinctive for its narrow yards, a number of them still cobbled, which lead between the streets, and would once have been essential for stabling horses when farmers brought their produce into town for market.
Head outside of town, and it quickly becomes clear why this area is called the Eden Valley. With its lush green hills and fields, its wildlife, and its views of mountains to the east and west, there are plenty of reasons to compare this area to paradise.
But this area has a darker history, too. Penrith and its surroundings have historically belonged to both Scotland and England (the last battle on English soil was fought at Clifton Moor in 1745, just a few miles south of Penrith), and, like the beacon which broods on top of the hill overlooking the town, the castles and pele towers dotting the landscapes are stark reminders of the bloody history of the Anglo-Scottish border.
Like Penrith itself, the Eden Valley holds tightly to its stories, in its historic buildings, in its stone circles and monoliths, and in the traditional fairs and celebrations that continue some of those traditions today.
The Winter Droving festival raises a toast to the change in seasons and Penrith’s rural heritage. This completely out-of-the-ordinary town takeover is the perfect excuse to take an alternative trip to the Lake District.
Enjoy a whole evening of entertainment when the outdoor Picnic Cinema runs its annual series of screenings of Withnail & I at Sleddale Hall AKA Crow Crag – the cottage from the cult classic film.
Picnic Cinema is back this September with a series of screenings of Withnail & I at Sleddale Hall aka Crow Crag — the cottage from the cult classic film.
An incredible wonderland of outdoor arts, masquerade and pint carrying competitions in Penrith.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is back in the Cumbrian town of Kendal, bigger and better than ever, and with plenty of storytelling treats in both words and pictures.
Featuring over 200 artists and performers, immersive arts experiences and kids activities, Kendal Calling is a great, family-friendly festival set in the stunning Lake District.
A great event for families with children. A parade of hand-made torches circulates the whole of Kendal, with local schools, businesses, and organisations competing to put on the best show.
The four-day Kendal Mountain Festival is always packed with exciting activities for everyone from children to pensioners. Happening virtually in 2021, this year’s event is no less of an outdoors extravaganza.
Elaborate vases, intricate centrepieces, and ceramics – Potfest in the Park celebrates the creative possibilities of clay.
An annual gathering of Gypsies and Travellers in Appleby in the form of a traditional fair where horses are washed, trotted and sold.
Celebrate the brilliance of 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment at this award-winning festival set around Morecambe’s famous art deco Midland Hotel.