Why Cumbria is the perfect place to get Creative

Why Cumbria is the perfect place to get Creative


There is a whole host of art festivals that happen right here in Cumbria and celebrate everything from outdoor filmmaking to comic books! It’s also home to one of the UK’s most popular music festivals: Kendal Calling, which has seen the likes of Snoop Dogg, Elbow, Kaiser Chiefs, Run DMC, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Madness, Basement Jaxx, Rudimental and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds as its headliners. Here are just some of the festivals you can enjoy whilst studying here at Cumbria:

Keswick Film Festival (February)

Organised by the local Keswick Film Club, this festival also includes the Osprey Short Film Awards.


Words by the Water (March)

This literary festival takes place over 10 days and allows readers and writers to get together for a series of lectures, discussions, workshops and special exhibitions. 

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (October)

This celebration of comic art takes place in the centre of Kendal and celebrates comic writers and artists from around the world. There are exhibitions, workshops, masterclasses and films, not to mention the opportunity to meet some of the most famous comic artists.


Kendal Mountain Festival (November)

Dubbed the ‘Oscars of outdoor filmmaking’, the Kendal Mountain Festival aims to get the public exploring the great outdoors and all its films also celebrate the many facets of outdoor living including extreme sports, wildlife and environmental documentaries.


Art Scene

As well as the incredible festivals (we didn’t even get around to mentioning the food ones), there is a magnificent art scene in Cumbria with beautiful art galleries peppered all around the county.

One of the highlights has to be Carlisle’s Tullie House. This wonderful Grade One listed building was the winner of the Cumbria Life 'Best Museum' Culture Award 2017 and houses considerable collections of fine and decorative art, human history and natural sciences. There are three permanent galleries and two temporary spaces, hosting a frequently changing variety of art.

If you’re looking to get more hands-on, then the Carlisle Arts Learning Centre on West Pomfret Street has a marvellous social compass and offers some wonderful workshops and classes for adults, including art, ceramics, photography and jewellery making. It's a wonderful way to meet kindred spirits whilst brushing up on your skills.


There are a multitude of theatres in Cumbria, where you can head to watch an amateur or professional show.

The Theatre by the Lake’s past productions include The Picture of Dorian Gray, starring Emmerdale actor Jonathan Wrather, and Educating Rita, acted exceptionally by Stephen Tomkinson and Jessica Johnson.


The Old Fire Station is another popular venue, with a full programme celebrating live music, comedy, theatre and art exhibitions. Don't be fooled by the intimacy of this venue; performers include Matt Richardson, Pete Doherty and Mark Watson and tickets are excellent value.

If you’re looking to get involved with amateur theatre, the West Walls Theatre is spectacular. The company hosts 7 internal productions a year, giving you plenty of opportunities to tread the boards.

The university also owns its own highly-regarded Stanwix Theatre: a premier performance space that is right at the heart of the uni’s community. The Main House Theatre seats around 200 people and is state of the art. Around 80 different performances are staged here each year and it's regularly the home for visiting guests, who have included in the past, Eddie Izzard, Al Murray and Ardale O'Hanlan. It’s an incredible resource to our Musical Theatre students.

Stanwix stage, Stanwix stage

When you combine a passion for the arts with one of the nation’s most beautiful counties, it’s no wonder that Cumbria has been the birth place to some of the UK’s most celebrated creatives. William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, Postman Pat author John Cunliffe and the great architect Giles Gilbert Scott. With breathtakingly beautiful, inspirational, landscapes making up the heart of Cumbria; a bustling art scene and some of the UK’s best creative courses, it’s a great place to start your creative career.

If you’re passionate about joining the creative industry in a place that allows you to exercise your creativity, enrolling into one of the University of Cumbria’s Institute of Arts courses can help you get there. Our courses, industry connections and team of expert academics will ignite your creative fire and give you the confidence and skillset you need to achieve your ambitions as a creative professional. 

Refine your talent, hone your skills, turn your passion into your career here at the University of Cumbria.


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