Birkdale House

Lake District Summer Shows

Birkdale House

10th June 2024

The Lake District is renowned for its breathtaking landscape, but during the summer months it comes alive with an array of shows and fairs which offer a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage. These events are great fun for whole family and give you a taste of Cumbrian culture and rural pastimes.

What started out as small agricultural shows which enabled farmers to showcase their livestock have developed to become big events, such as the Cartmel Show, which will take place on Wednesday 7 August. Shows today still focus on livestock, but visitors can now enjoy entertainment, sports and competitions.  

We’re lucky enough to have around twenty summer shows in the Lake District. Below we take a look at a few of our favourites, and all are relatively close to Birkdale House. If you happen to be staying with us when these are taking place, why not pop along?

Cartmel Show

Apart from sticky toffee pudding, Cartmel is best-known for horse racing, so it will come as no surprise that horses are one of the main features at the Cartmel Show. There’s showjumping, carriage driving and show classes for visitors to enjoy, as well as a host of other activities. There’s wrestling, live food demonstrations and plenty of entertainment for children. In short, the Cartmel Show is a fabulous family day out.

Click here to visit the website

Ambleside Sports, Rydal Park

This is the Lake District’s oldest and most traditional sporting event and will take place at Rydal Park in Ambleside on Thursday 25 July.

The first event will be the Rydal Round, a tough nine mile fell race around one of Lakeland’s best-known walks, the Fairfield Horseshoe. This is hard enough as a walk, let alone a run.

Among the other events are track cycling, running, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, hound trails and children’s sports. There will also be lots of craft stalls, fairground rides, side-shows, and refreshments across the site.

Tickets are available from the Ambleside Sports website.

Grasmere Sports

Dating from 1868, Grasmere Sports was originally the annual Grasmere Sheep Fair. Nowadays, it’s a notable community event welcoming visitors and locals alike.

This event is one of the most popular events in the Lake District, a true celebration of Cumbrian tradition, with gruelling fell racing, sheepdog displays, terrier shows and traditional Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling. In fact, Grasmere Sports is widely recognised as the main event in the Cumbrian and Westmorland Wrestling calendar.

Grasmere Sports will take place from 10.00am on Sunday 25 August on the Showfield in Grasmere. All events and races are entered on the day.

For more details, visit the Grasmere Sports website.

Coniston Country Fair

Coniston Country Fair is a must-visit event not least for its stunning setting on the shores of Coniston Water. It also offers visitors an enthralling insight in traditional Cumbrian life.

Fell foxhounds, dry stone walling, terrier racing and Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling are just a few of the competitions taking place throughout the day. And there’s the famous fell race – a six mile route to the top of Coniston Old Man and back. This route would take the average walker a day to complete – some of these athletes are there and back in under an hour.

There’s also a superb craft marquee offering the best of Lakeland crafts and food, as well as trade stands, refreshments and amusements.

The show will start at 11.30am on Sunday 21 July at Coniston Hall.

For more information, visit the Coniston Country Fair website.

Lakeland Country Fair

Staying near to Coniston, the Lakeland Country Fair takes place on Sunday 18 August in Torver, just a few miles west of Coniston village.

As well as being a typical Cumbrian show, the Lakeland Country Fair also acts as a showcase for traditional Cumbrian skills and activities, such as sheep clipping, chair-caning and swill basket making.

The main event of the show will be the Fell Pony Display which will take place in the main ring, a chance for people to learn more about this ancient native Cumbrian breed.

The Lakeland Country Fair offers something for all the family, including various dog shows, numerous trade stands, a children’s area with bouncy castle and trampoline, home-made refreshments and a barbecue.

For more information about the demonstrations taking place, visit the Lakeland Country Fair website.

Rydal Sheepdog Trials and Hound Show

We’ll complete our round up of Lake District Summer Shows with the Rydal Sheepdog Trials and Hound Show. Taking place on Thursday 15 August, this is a show which takes a more traditional approach. The show started in 1901 when a local landowner created a sheepdog trial competition, and these trials remain the main focus today, accompanied by a judging competition for hounds.

There is also the annual Shepherds Crooks and Sticks competition, as well as a number of trade stalls and refreshments.

Click here for more details.

With their winning combination of athleticism, colourful traditions, and country fair fun, these classic Lake District summer shows and fairs make for an entertaining and authentic day out for visitors of all ages.

If you would like more information about any shows taking place during your stay, please do get in touch.