Days Out England

Six of the Best Lake District Christmas Markets 2019

Lake District Christmas Markets 2019
Written by Kirstie Pelling

Six of the Best Lake District Christmas Markets and Fairs 2019

Who can resist the magic of a Christmas Market? Especially if it’s in the heart of a magical Lakeland location. Jack Frost’s icy hand in December cannot compete with an air warmed by mulled wine and mince pies and the warm welcome of local artists and food producers who want to chat and share their wares. From country houses to market squares , here’s our pick of the best festive Lake District Christmas Markets for 2019. You might even get a glimpse of Santa doing his xmas shopping or chilling in a tent…

Father Christmas Plays Piano at Leipzig Christmas Market Finnish Tent

Will Santa himself be shopping or chilling at your favourite Christmas market?

1 Windermere Christmas Celebration
Elfing lessons and skating sessions

There will be ice skating at this year’s Windermere Christmas Celebration, now in its fourth year. This popular Cumbria Christmas Market will have around sixty craft, food and drink stalls. Visitors can get on the ice on December 14th and 15th 2019. Event Director Kate Barton, hopes it will be the biggest and best yet. “I know people will especially love sipping mulled wine, listening to festive music, whilst watching people enjoy our real ice rink.” Santa will be in his grotto again, and after last year’s Elf School there’s sure to be an orderly queue and well trained small people. If you fancy having a go on skates, you can book a slot via the Windermere Christmas Celebration 2019 website. Prices start from £8.50 for kids and £12.95 for adults, and you can get a discounted Santa’s Grotto ticket with an ice rink ticket.

Windermere Christmas Market stalls

Twinkling lights at Windermere Christmas Market. Image by Mountain Goat

2 Ulverston Dickensian Festival
Shoe shining and mulled wining 

“On 23 and 24 November the streets of Ulverston will be filled with stalls, performers, and people in top hats, tail coats, mob caps and mufflers. Yes, it’s nearly time for Ulverston’s Dickensian Festival – a Lake District Christmas market with a difference,” says Caroline Gilfillan, one of the volunteers who sells mulled wine to raise funds for the festival. “I get an excellent view of the costumes and the stalls. The good folk of Ulverston love an excuse to dress up, and this is the perfect opportunity. Clothes are hired or bought from the charity shops around town. Some intrepid people even get out their needle and thread.” she adds.

“Couples stroll by arm in arm, the men sporting walking sticks and natty cravats, the women in long skirts and button boots. There are several mulled wine stalls, but I’m usually at work in the food court, where delicious food catering to all tastes is served. The delicious aroma of good coffee mingles with the spicy scent of the mulled wine. Close by a boy of 11 or 12 offers to shine your boots or shoes for a modest price. A stage (there are several around town) offers music from local performers including the irrepressible Blast Furness street band. In the afternoon we get a visit from Queen Victoria herself! Diminutive and impeccably dressed she presents the prizes for the best costumes in the different age  categories. When I’ve finished my duties on the mulled wine stall I head off to do a little shopping. There are stalls selling gifts for all pockets – jewellery, crafts, badges, clothes –and scrumptious food and drink for the festive season. If you have children, you can bob into the Laurel and Hardy Museum, where Santa will be distributing presents from his Christmas grotto. This is a family-friendly festival, suitable for all ages. Do come along and enjoy it with us.”

Woman selling mulled wine at Ulverston Dickensian Festival

Caroline Gilfillan selling mulled wine at Ulverston Dickensian Festival. Image by Caroline Gilfillan.

3 Ambleside Christmas Lights
Santa in the mist and a firework twist 

As one of the go to hubs for Lakeland tourist shopping, its unsurprising that Ambleside provides a twinkling shopping opportunity in the run up to Christmas. But you might not expect a Santa hunt that goes in search of the big man on the lake. Yes Father Christmas will appear in the sunshine or the mist twice on the day of the light switch on, Saturday 16th November. (Tickets must be reserved in advance and go on sale from October 1st.) Then from 12, the market will go into full swing. Santa will reappear later in his sleigh to turn the lights on with a sprinkle of his magic glitter. Then it’s all off to Rothay Park for the free fireworks. They know how to do Christmas here!


Every day is like Christmas at Ambleside, but just wait for the Christmas market!

4 Hawkshead Christmas Fair
Lantern lighting and Santa sighting 

The Hawkshead Christmas Fair is an annual institution in this most Christmassy of Lakeland villages. In 2019 it’s on 7th and 8th December from 10am-5pm, with a lantern procession from 4.30pm on the Saturday. One of the event’s organisers, Jane Farnworth, describes a Christmas fair filled with craft, local produce and festive gift stalls, with entertainment provided by local bands, choirs and street entertainers. And of course Santa joins in the fun.

Christmas Baubles on Christmas Tree

Santa will  be heading to Hawkshead in Cumbria this Christmas. Will you?

5 Leighton Hall Christmas Fair
Festive wreaths and mince pie treats

It’s a little bit south of The Lakes but this one day Christmas Fair and gift market is worth a trip out. Suzie Reynolds, one of the owners of the hall, is opening the doors of her home to help raise money for CancerCare, which provides therapy and support for local people affected by cancer. Leighton Hall, in Yealand, near Carnforth is the ancestral home of the Gillow furniture family and a beautiful house to wander and relax in. There’s already a full house of stalls lined up for the Christmas Fair on Wednesday 4th September from 10am-2pm, including Christmas decorations, arts and crafts, cakes, cheese, clothing, tombola, raffle, seasonal wreaths and more. There will also be refreshments with a festive flavour accompanied by carol singing by the pupils from Yealand school.

Leighton Hall Christmas Fayre

Leighton Hall Christmas Fair. Image by Leighton Hall

6 Kirkby Lonsdale Christmas Fair
Chalet stalls and Santa calls 

The pretty South Cumbrian market town of Kirkby Lonsdale holds an annual festive parade and three day fair where Santas have been known to turn out in their dozens. There will definitely be one in residence in his atmospheric wooden hut in the town square. This year’s Christmas Fair event will be held 6th-8th December, with the outdoor Chalet Village market running each day and an indoor market in nearby Lunesdale Hall on the Saturday and Sunday. Look out for specially decorated ginnels. The local bookshop will have a Harry Potter theme and a wizard standing by.

Kirkby Lonsdale at Christmas s a magical place

Kirkby Lonsdale at Christmas s a magical place. Image by Robin Ree

Further Reading

Fancy a winter Christmas market further afield? Check out the post where we went in search of the perfect Christmas bauble in German and Austrian Christmas markets.

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.

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