WINDERMERE and Bowness celebrated the start of the festive season at the weekend.

The day began with the sold out Seeking Santa Cruise, aboard a Windermere Lake Cruises Steamer, which saw children entertained by Peter Rabbit and ‘Beatrix Potter’ reading ‘A Winters Tale’ On the boat’s return to Bowness, Santa and his elf rode off in style round Bowness courtesy of the Booths horse and carriage.

Outside Lakeland Ltd the recently-formed Windermere and Bowness Community Choir performed an arrangement of tunes created especially for the evening before the Kookaburra All Stars drumming heralded the arrival of Santa on his Sleigh. The Windermere Sparkle Parade was the biggest attraction of the day.

It drew over 4,500 people to turn out on a perfect November evening; many of whom carried sparkly stars made at local schools and children’s groups, to see the town light up.

The crowds then moved on to Windermere Recreation Ground where they enjoyed traditional mulled wine and mince pies, hot food and sweets which were just a little appetiser to the jaw-dropping fireworks finale.

Sharon Wright, chair of Windermere and Bowness Winter Lights committee, said: “The current economic climate brings home to us the importance of occasions like the Winter Lights Parade for the community to come together for one evening to celebrate the start of the festive season and to bring some much-needed trade to the area.

“We are extremely grateful to the residents and as always the same few businesses who along with grant-giving bodies continue to make our towns light up.

“We require help with support and financial backing, so we urge businesses to help where they can so not to let us lose yet another great community event.

“The organisation of the Santa Cruise, Sparkle Parade and lights themselves is hard work for the committee of eight volunteer residents and traders involved, but it is worth it when you see the towns transformed as the lights are turned on.”

For more information about the Windermere and Bowness Winter Lights go to