The Winter Droving in Penrith

Gemma Gibb, Associate Editor
Winter Droving Penrith
Eden Arts

The Winter Droving at Penrith Old Fire Station, Cumbria 28 October 2023 Entrance is free — Visit now

We can’t get enough of Penrith’s Winter Droving festival, which raises a toast to the change in seasons and the town’s rural heritage. It’s a brilliant time of year to take an alternative Lake District trip for this completely out-of-the-ordinary total town takeover by the clever cultural captains at Eden Arts. The Winter Droving encourages visitors to dress up and ‘join the herd’, so put on a mask, dress up and enjoy the entertainment of the day… and night!

Each year, Penrith is transformed into a spectacular wonderland of outdoor arts, music, mayhem, fire and masquerade with an always-impressive line-up of performance on stages and streets across the town. Rocking musicians, fire breathing performance and larger-than-life illuminated lanterns, will once again brighten Penrith’s town centre, for the annual masquerade.

The festival, whose motto is “turn your clocks back 400 years”, is a staple of the autumnal calendar in the north of the North of England, and epitomises all things Cumbrian; animals, fire, good food and community spirit.

Visitors can expect spectacular music and street theatre performances from midday until dark, plus a medieval market with traditional mulled wine and hot chestnuts, alongside the finest local produce. This includes a wide range of world foods, vegan and vegetarian cuisine, giftware, local artists’ works, quirky clothing and charity stalls.

Mary The Faerie courtesy Graham Wynne

 

In past year’s a big draw has been the fire and light processions whereby masked torch bearers “drove” colossal animal lanterns through the streets at dusk and the bonkers Drovers Cup competition which included Pint Passing, Egg Throwing, Sausage Eating (Cumberland of course) and Hay Bale Racing. At this year’s festival, expect to see sights that will blow other outdoor arts experiences out of the water. Join in, dance and, above all, smile and laugh. A lot. Events are spread across the town so leave time for exploring.

We love that this weekend is steeped in tradition, timed near the centuries-old festival of Samhain, marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year.

The Winter Droving is hands down one of the area’s best events of the year.

The Winter Droving at Penrith Old Fire Station, Cumbria 28 October 2023 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near The Winter Droving in Penrith

Cumbria
Restaurant
Xavier’s Café & Wine Bar

Xavier’s is Penrith’s answer to Paris’ wine-infused café culture. An elegant spot to unwind in both the daytime and evening.

Penrith Castle
Cumbria
Tourist Attraction
Penrith Castle

Ruins of a 14th century castle, former home of Richard III. Situated in Penrith’s Castle Park, and managed by English Heritage. Free to visit.

Cumbria
Restaurant
J&J Graham

Right in the heart of the town centre, deli and bakery J&J Graham is a Penrith icon that dates back to 1793.

Cumbria
Restaurant
Simple Goodness

Rich soups, salads, hearty meals and homemade cakes are freshly made using seasonal and organic incgredients whereever possible from this vegetarian takeaway bistro.

Cumbria
Restaurant
Grants of CastleGate

This modern bistro and bar, open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday, serves up classic British pub fare reimagined to its most indulgent.

Victoria Clothing
Cumbria
Shop
Victoria Clothing

Victoria Clothing is an independent clothing boutique in the centre of Penrith, specialising in goods by small-scale British artisans and Fair-Trade apparel. 

Cumbria
Restaurant
La Casita

La Casita serves the most authentic tapas in Penrith – the only thing not-so-Spanish about La Casita is their high quality fresh Cumbrian ingredients.

Cumbria
Cinema
Alhambra Cinema

An independent cinema in the heart of town, the Lonsdale Alhambra is, for many locals, a treasure of Penrith.

Penrith Town Centre
Cumbria
Tourist Attraction
Penrith Town Centre

A blend of historic and contemporary gives Penrith its edge, ancient tradition sitting side-by-side with trendy wine bars, hipster cafes and fine dining.

Cumbria
Café or Coffee Shop
The Yard Kitchen

Boasting an array of hot and cold food including homemade cakes, The Yard Kitchen is a café with a distinctly quirky feel.

Cumbria
Gallery
EVAN Gallery & Studios

A gallery and studio space displaying works by local artists – including paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, jewellery and textiles, as well as gift items.

Brougham Hall
Cumbria
Tourist Attraction
Brougham Hall

A historic site and restoration project with an eclectic range of shops, studios and a gallery space, run by local artisans and craftspeople. 

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