Keswick, a bustling market town at the northern end of the Lake District, can often be overlooked as a destination by visitors coming up from the south of England. However, it is an incredibly popular destination for tourists from all over the world and with good reason.
Home to Derwentwater, often referred to as the Queen of the Lakes, and with the peaks of Skiddaw and the famous edge of Blencathra surrounding it, this is a stunning spot that should be on everyone’s list of places to visit.
Keswick can be reached easily from junction 40 of the M6 at Penrith to the north. Or, for those who prefer the scenic route via the M6 as far as junction 36 and then a meandering route along the A591 through Windemere, Ambleside and then Grasmere. The nearest station is at Penrith and there is a local bus to Keswick.
Of course, the best way to discover Keswick properly is to stay here and there is no shortage of hotels like Inn on the Square that are located in the heart of the town, as well as holiday cottages and even campsites.
Local beauty spots
Derwentwater, the main lake in the area near Keswick is just a short stroll from the town centre. The lake itself is 3 miles long and home to 4 islands, all of which are owned by the National Trust, as is some of the shoreline. Keswick Launches offer trips around the lake for those people who like to sit back and admire the scenery. For those who prefer to explore on foot, the Derwentwater Walk is a 10-mile circular route around the lake on easy footpaths. Derwentwater not only inspired Romantic Poets like William Wordsworth but is also believed to have inspired Beatrix Potter as well.
Skiddaw, Catbells, Latrigg, Castle Crag and Helvellyn from Thirlmere, Keswick make a fantastic base for some of the best mountain and fell walking that the Lake District has to offer. It is also home to some truly stunning areas of woodland with plenty of gentler walks and spectacular scenery. There really is a walk to suit everyone in and around Keswick.
To the east of Keswick, just outside the town, is the Castlerigg Stone Circle. This is one of the most impressive British prehistoric monuments and one of the oldest stone circles to have been found. The 38 free-standing stones are situated on a plateau and surrounded by the fells.
Places to visit
Just outside the centre of Keswick, you will find the Derwent Pencil Museum on the former site of the Derwent Pencil Company. This may be a small museum, but it has plenty to offer – who knew there was so much to learn about the humble pencil!? The museum regularly runs art workshops for budding artists and the onsite shop offers a range of fantastic art supplies.
Keswick Museum in Fitz Park is another stunning small museum with plenty to see. Here, the exhibitions are all linked to the local landscape, history and culture. The park itself has a popular playground, making this a great activity location for the whole family.
The Puzzling Place is a very unique attraction with optical illusions, puzzles and a hologram gallery that will have everyone puzzling over what they have just seen.
If you are looking for something a little more cultural, Theatre on the Lake could be just the ticket. This small theatre boasts an incredible setting and offers a range of plays throughout the year. It also hosts a range of different festivals, with something for everyone.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for things to do and see in and around Keswick, making it the perfect spot for a short, or long break away.