Culture in South Lakes

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
Culture in South Lakes
Ben Nicholson's Cold Fell (1922) oil on canvas (part of Abbot Hall's collection). Image courtesy of Lakeland Arts.

Until 30 December 2023 Entrance is free

With a rich historic and cultural draw, it’s no secret that the South Lakes is one of the most inspiring places we’ve visited. With an arts scene as dramatic and exhilarating as the landscape it inhabits, the South Lakes has earned its stripes as a place where artistic pioneers, radical thinkers and world-renowned writers produce some of their most iconic works. There’s a fantastic amount going on in the region over the next few months too. We round up some of our favourite places to visit for culture in the South Lakes.

Beatrix Potter: Passions in Paint at the Armitt Museum is not to be missed. Bringing a fascinating blend of history, art and literature, this expanded exhibition offers a unique insight into Beatrix Potter’s life and work. With rarely-seen artwork alongside a number of archaeological works, the collection reveals Beatrix’s early interest in nature and the world around her. This perceptive exhibition portrays Beatrix, not only as a talented writer and illustrator, but also, as an influential figure and passionate conservationist.

Head from Ambleside to Brantwood, a historic house and centre for the arts on the shores of Coniston Water for a stunning exhibition of works by Déirdre Kelly. Tracery – Venice and the Lakes Interlaced is a collection of works connecting architecture, lacework and place, inspired by the hugely influential writer and artist John Ruskin, who famously resided at Brantwood. Over at Wordsworth Grasmere, we’re championing a playful and interesting new exhibition – To The Lakes! takes a look at tourism through the ages and is accompanied by an additional programme of events and activities.

Meanwhile, Emergence Dance are limbering up to perform their latest triple bill of dance at Brewery Arts; a highlight of the dance calendar – not to be missed. And lastly, we’re thrilled that Abbot Hall reopens on Saturday 20 May 2023 with a major solo exhibition by leading landscape artist Julie Brook.

Whether you’re travelling with friends or family, you’ll be spoilt for choice for cultural adventures in the South Lakes.

Our top picks

Beatrix Potter: Passions in Paint at the Armitt Museum

Beatrix Potter: Passions in Paint at The Armitt Museum, Cumbria, Until 2 December 2023, from £4.00 - Book now

Offering a brilliant blend of history, art and literature, this expanded exhibition presents a fascinating insight into the artist’s life and work.

Beatrix Potter: Passions in Paint at the Armitt Museum
Image courtesy of the Armitt Museum.

To The Lakes! at Wordsworth Grasmere

To The Lakes! at Wordsworth Grasmere, Cumbria, Until 30 December 2023, from £6.00 - Book now

Find out how the first tourists to the Lake District (a time before mobile phones, specialist clothing and TripAdvisor reviews) experienced the area, in this fascinating new exhibition.

To The Lakes! at Wordsworth Grasmere
Image courtesy of Wordsworth Grasmere.

Julie Brook: What is it That Will Last? at Abbot Hall

What is it That Will Last? at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Cumbria, Until 30 December 2023, £9.00 - Book now

Signalling a new direction for Abbott Hall, this major solo exhibition will include thirty years of work by renowned landscape artist Julie Brook.

Julie Brook Exhibition at Abbott Hall
Image courtesy of Lakeland Arts.

Where to go near Culture in South Lakes

White Cloth Hall

White Cloth Hall is a new food and drink project, based in a Grade II listed venue in Leeds city centre.

MUSU Restaurant & Bar

Musu is a modern Japanese restaurant and bar in Manchester City Centre, specialising in awe-inspiring food. We take an advance look at their festive menu. 

House of Fu Manchester

First Leeds, now Manchester. Expect picture perfect ramen, gyoza and cocktails at the upcoming restaurant and cocktail bar.

City Centre

Allpress at NOMA is a home to all things coffee, with a café and seasonal menu incorporating locally sourced ingredients.


Forty-Seven is a luxury boutique hotel on Peter Street in Manchester city centre, above the high-end Indian restaurant Asha’s.

Event venue
The Bookish Type

An independent bookshop specialising in literature across the LGBTIQA+ spectrum
From novels to children’s books, YA to memoirs, non-fiction to graphic novels… there’s a whole range of specialist queer literature to be found at The Bookish Type.

What's on: Exhibitions

Nothing About Us Without Us at PHM

‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ at PHM explores the history of disabled people’s activism and their ongoing fight for inclusion with a wonderful collection of exhibits brought together for the first time, 

free entry
(Un)Defining Queer at The Whitworth

Through a fantastic collection of classical and contemporary artists’ work, ‘(Un)Defining Queer’ examines the use of language, histories and narratives to explore what ‘queer’ really means today. free entry

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