5 Magical Christmas events in Cumbria

Here are our top 5 festive days out for families in Cumbria

Visit Carlisle

Organised by Carlisle City Council,  Carlisle will yet again hosting their annual Christmas market from 28th November to the 2nd of December.  We really enjoyed this this last year. It’s an open air market made up of local producers and businesses.

Last year, there were various outdoor performances and Reece  loved watching the jugglers.

The Lanes shopping center was so beautifully decorated for Christmas and the lights in particular had us all captivated.

Carlisle is always a lovely city to visit but even at Christmas it is super friendly and relaxed. You simply don’t get that rushed, pressured chaos that you feel in some other towns and cities as the big day approaches.

We enjoyed a lovely little festive pit stop at the Costa in the city center. The boys had gingerbread hot chocolates and Mince pies and I had a black forest hot chocolate with a truffle.

Christmas Costa

The dates are yet to be confirmed as to where or when Santa Claus may be visiting I will let you know once it’s confirmed. In 21 years of visiting various Santa’s grotto’s, this was without a shadow of a doubt the most magical and visit yet. We were entertained by elves and played a game along the route into the grotto and when we went into visit the big guy himself, we were all a little speechless. I highly recommend it.


I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Cumbria at any time of year to visit Rheged. It is is in my opinion the best visitor attraction in the county. 

There is a large 3D Cinema, Shops, and restaurants. It’s a great place for families as there is an indoor play and an outdoor castle themed play area.

The best thing about Rheged are the wide range of activities they provide for young and old alike. We have enjoyed all kinds of activities over the years  from Archery, meeting owls, a very special Minecraft exhibition, cinema screenings and cookery. 

They are kicking off the Christmas activities with a family rave by award winning Big Fish Little Fish on the 25th November.

On our list of must do’s this year at Rheged is going to see the Festive show Santa’s Marvellous Magic Toy Shop at various times on the 15th and 16th of December. If other years are anything to go by I’m sure there will be a wonderful visit from the man in red himself. Last year there was a wonderful winter wonderland.  

The world of Beatrix Potter 

The world of Beatrix Potter at Bowness on Windermere is a must for my family this year as it is such an enchanted place for children to visit at any time of year. This Christmas they are offering Father Christmas Tea Parties which will be of fantastic quality and magic alike.

Santa Express

The Santa Express will be back at the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam railway.

On the journey the children need to keep their eyes open because they can meet Santa Claus in his grotto at Dalegarth, where they will receive a gift and each  a complimentary drink and mince pie. Meals are also available to make it extra special so I might book the meal this year.

Hayes Garden Center

Some of my eldest two boys fondest memories experienced over Christmas times are the meetings with Santa Claus at Hayes Garden Center Ambleside. 

This year from Saturday 3rd November to Sunday 23rd December the theme of their experience is The Santa Express, where you wander the track in the garden center looking for Santa. There isn’t a moving train but there will be a stationary carriage for family photos. Of course there will be Santa Claus for a visit and gift.

Hayes is a fantastic Garden center and it will be decorated wonderfully for Christmas. If you’re a Christmas decoration lover like me it’s the ideal place to buy more dec’s or a tree if you can squeeze it in for the car journey home.

These are attractions my family and I have previously enjoyed experiencing around Cumbria. There are many many other fantastic events in and around the county but I wanted to share places we have visited ourselves.


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