Best of Lake District Festivals and Folk Sports

With everything from rushbearing to Westmorland wrestling to traditional music, the Lake District hosts some of Britain's most unusual country festivals, as well as some excellent but more typical ones.

Major Events

Major festivals include the Keswick Film Festival (February), Words by the Water (a literary festival in Keswick, March), Keswick Jazz Festival (May), Cockermouth and Keswick carnivals (June), Ambleside and Grasmere rushbearing (August), and the Lake District Summer Music (regionwide, in August)—but there are many others. Horse racing comes to Cartmel over May and August holiday weekends.

Special Activities

Rushbearing dates back to medieval times, when rushes covered church floors. Today, processions of flower-bedecked children and adults bring rushes to churches in a number of villages. Folk sports, often the highlights at local festivals, include Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, in which the opponents must maintain a grip around each other's body. Fell running, a sort of cross-country run where the route goes roughly straight up and down a mountain, is also popular.

A calendar of events is available at tourist information centers or on the Cumbria Tourism website,

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