Our Words by the Water festival brings more than one hundred writers, and thousands of festival-goers, to the heart of the Lake District in Cumbria.

We host this celebration of literature at Theatre by the Lake. Walk out of the theatre’s front door and you will find yourself on the shoreline of Derwentwater, with the dramatic fells of Cat Bells rising to the west and Friars Crag to the east.

William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey, John Ruskin, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome and Alfred Wainwright are just some of the writers who were inspired by the beauty of the Lake District. We hope you find it inspiring too. Words by the Water is a literary pilgrimage that all book lovers should make.

Theatre by the Lake

We love working with the TBTL team. Keswick is the proud home of this leading regional theatre. It’s a fantastic venue offering a large main auditorium and a spacious studio theatre. TBTL produces a creative, community-centred programme throughout the year.

Words by the Water: Replay

Friday 23rd – Sunday 25th April

Sadly, owing to the pandemic, we were unable to offer live events at Theatre by the Lake this year. But we still celebrated the festival with WBTW: Replay – a free, online festival from Friday 23rd April to Sunday 25th April. We curated a selection of audio recordings from festivals past. Thank you to everyone who listened in and donated. Your support is hugely appreciated.