We can’t get enough of Penrith’s Winter Droving festival, which raises a toast to the change in seasons and its 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.
Each year, Penrith is transformed for one magical day 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.
While the details of the 2021 installment of The Winter Droving are under wraps for now, here’s what we’ve enjoyed in previous years:
An impressive programme for the Saturday has included six stages across the town, followed by fun loving afterparties. A stonking live music line-up featured in 2020, with new “stage” the DISCOTRACTOR proving a big hit.
Large scale and intimate performance were everywhere you turned.
We also enjoyed the fire and light processions whereby masked torch bearers “drove” colossal animal lanterns through the streets at dusk, fine Cumbrian market of artisan local food, drink and stylish goods in partnership with Crafty Vintage, 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.