Buildings wobbled and the ground rumbled after an earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale shook Cumbria and neighbouring counties.
Residents were woken up and sent scurrying outside when the tremor struck just before 11pm in Coniston, lasting for up to a minute.
It was felt in places across the county and as far away as Lancashire, south-west Scotland, Northumberland and the Isle of Man. No damage or injuries have yet been reported.
Peter Kelly, owner of the Yewdale Hotel in Coniston, said: “We felt the earthquake. It probably lasted about 30 seconds. It was quite noticeable. “We were just closing up the bar with a few residents in and we just felt like a bang and then a rumbling but we couldn’t decide what it was.
Hotelier Alan Robertson, who was in his 30-bed hotel in Eskdale, near Whitehaven, described how the entire building shook.
“I was watching TV and there was this sort of really loud rumble. Then the entire building shook,” he said. “I ran out of the front door, only to be confronted by my guests running out of their part of the house. We couldn’t believe it.”
Data from the British Geological Survey (BGS) showed the location of the quake at Coniston, with a depth of 8.9 miles. The rumble was also flagged up by the US Geological Survey.
BGS Head of Seismology Dr Brian Baptie said: “We get an earthquake of this size somewhere in the UK roughly every 12-18 months. Damage is very unlikely.
“An earthquake of this size and depth might be felt up to 80-100 km away. The earthquake has probably made windows and doors rattle and small objects might have been displaced.”
Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said the force also had reports of people feeling a tremor in Dalbeattie.