Words by the Water Festival

A Festival of Words and Ideas

Fri 9 - Sun 18 March

The team at Words by the Water can't wait to roll into town for the annual ten day celebration of words and ideas on the banks of beautiful Derwentwater at Theatre by the Lake.
As is the tradition at Words by the Water, the Main House delivers a powerful programme: Terry Waite delves into his past as he offers a selection of poems and memories, royal expert Penny Junor offers insight into the life of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Claire Tomalin turns her biographer's mind to her own life and discusses her colourful and eventful past. 

We dig into the historical past with Time Team's archaeologist Francis Pryor, historian Simon Heffer examines the Britain of 1880-1914 and Festival President Melvyn Bragg explores the history of Tyndale's bible.  Also on a religious theme, Sayeeda Warsi examines the challenges of growing up as a British Muslim. 

Given the turbulent nature of change at present, the festival also delves into contemporary politics. Journalists Polly Toynbee and David Walker discuss the state of the public sector, John Crace, satirist for the Guardian, talks about Theresa May's time as PM and David Owen explores the future post-Brexit. The effects of living in the post-truth era are examined by Martin Bell and Michael Buerk talks about the growing refugee crisis. 

The imagination needed for writing will be explored by award-winning authors including journalist and broadcaster Rosie Millard, playwright and novelist Michael Frayn, Professor of Creative Writing and Liverature Blake Morrison and John Banville winner of both the Man Booker and Franz Kafka prizes. 

As ever, the intimate Studio venue delivers its eclectic programme with panache, exploring stimulating, surprising subjects including women's swimming costumes, global tree climbing, the aesthetics of the Japanese garden and low wage Britain. 

This heady mix and much more will be taking place at the Words by the Water Festival; we hope to see you there.
A brochure with full details of all events is available HERE.

If you’d like to get the most out of your visit simply click on the links below to purchase everything from multi-day to single day passes. If you have a specific event in mind, click on 'Individual Speakers' to book for your chosen talk.
Please note: there is an overnight closure on the A66 which will be in force from 8pm – 6am from Mon 19 February until 18 March, affecting traffic routes on the A66 between Keswick and Penrith. Visit our location page to find out more.
Festival passes
Individual speakers