Lake District Festivals, Traditions & Annual Summer Events

Aside from the beautiful scenery and seclusion of the area, one of the best reasons to visit Grasmere in the summer holidays is the busy calendar of local festivals, shows and events. In the Lake District, you will find both centuries old traditions but also far more recent events to celebrate the food, arts and culture of the region. Here are some key gatherings each year:

Cumbria Steam Gathering (Every July)
(Cark Airfield, Flookburgh LA11 7LS)

For anyone who loves vintage transport, this grand gathering of Lake District steam engines is a fabulous chance to enter another era. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the golden age of steam power at this gathering of enthusiasts, where you can meet the experts and enjoy an entertaining day our in more ways than one, with treats such as a Lawn Mower Race, Hound Trail, Laurel and Hardy lookalikes and some belting Cumbrian food and booze on offer. For opening times, tickets and directions, see the Cumbria Steam Gathering site HERE*** Dates for 2017 are 28th & 29th July

Ambleside Sports Day
(Rydal Park LA22 0PL)

Anyone for a wrestle? The Cumbrian and Westmorland version of the sport has made great viewing for over 150 years.

For a grand slice of local fun, complete with hard-fought regional contests and a cracking selection of local food, drink and entertainment, it doesn’t get much more authentic than the Ambleside Sports gathering. From cycling and fell running to the brilliant and bruising spectacle of Cumberland and Wetmorland Wrestling, there are plenty of competitions to witness and competitors to cheer on, along with stacks of Cumbrian crafts and a cracking beer tent. For current dates and further details click HERE.

Rushbearing Festivals in Grasmere and Ambleside
(July/AugustEvery Year)

This quirky local tradition has been going for many, many years. The days when the floor of the local church were covered in rushes are long gone ; but the ceremonial procession whereby the materials and an assortment of flowers are taken to church continues for this day. 

There are two such rushbrearing ceremonies in our local area, in Grasmere (Saturday 6th August) from St Oswald’s Church and one from St Mary’s Church in Ambleside (Saturday July 2nd). Find out more about this intriguing old custom on the Visit Cumbria site HERE.

The Lake Artists Society Annual Summer Exhibitions (July-Sept)

For Lake District art lovers, this annual celebration is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the local creative scene. From evocative contemporary landscapes to a range of ceramics, crafts and sculptures, this is just the place to find that unique picture or keepsake to finish a living space! With a proud tradition and many famous names over the years, this famous art event has been running for over 100 years in the area, drawing many visitors each summer. The extended opening period also makes it a refreshingly unhurried experience, with week days ideal for enjoying at your own pace. Click HERE for more information.

Lake District Summer Music Festival
(Various venues & dates in July & August each year)

Encompassing a range of styles and atmospheric settings, this annual festival is a feast of classical and choral music, along with jazz and theatre in the mix. Most locally to Grasmere, classical performances tend to take place in Ambleside Parish Centre and Ambleside Church in July and August. The official website has a full roundup of performances, venues and ticket details for the next festival. Click here to read more.

Further Lake District Events

For further festivals and gatherings, celebrating everything from Cumbrian food to art and the great outdoors, see our Calendar of Events section. Meanwhile, our Facebook Page and Offers Section have further reasons to visit, with news and special deals on luxury breaks in the Lake District.

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