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One of the most popular towns in the Lake District, you wont be short on things to do in Keswick. Brimming with sights, attractions and amenities, Keswick has everything you could possibly need.

Keswick is the hub of the North Lakes; a bustling centre for climbers, walkers, and day-trippers. Settled on the banks of Derwentwater, Keswick is a must-see during any visit to the Lake District.

There is a collection of family-friendly sights and attractions in the area, promising a memorable staycation for all ages. Read through our hand-picked list below to find out more! 


Things to Do in Keswick

Theatre By The Lake

A member of the audience in a theatre

The Theatre by the Lake is Keswick’s premier cultural venue. Offering a wide variety of performances, from plays and musicals to lectures and films, this is a must!

The theatre is idyllically positioned near the shores of Derwentwater lake, and offers an on-site café and bar facilities. Why not treat yourself to a glass of wine and an evening of entertainment?

Check what’s on here!


King Kong Climbing Centre

A little girl climbing an indoor climbing wall

Visitors can try their hand at something new at this indoor climbing facility. King Kong Adventure Centre aims to provide services for climbers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a high-level climber wishing to hone your skills, this ones for you!

If you’re not ready for the fun to end, you can even take on the Escape Room or the challenging Ice Wall!


The Pencil Museum

The Derwent Pencil Museum happens to be the home of the world’s very first pencil!
The worlds longest pencil at the Dewent Pencil Museum
 
Here you can learn the history of pencil-making and see how Derwent Fine Art Pencils are made today. Visit the world’s longest pencil and a replica of the Seathwaite Mine, where graphite was first discovered.
 
Regular artists workshops take place here, and there are many activities for children!

Hope Park and Fitz Park

On a beautiful summer day in Keswick, the town’s two parks are the best places to spend your time.

Hope Park is famed as one of Keswick’s most popular places to visit. Its manicured grounds can be found nestled alongside the glistening shores of Derwentwater lake. The park boasts a 18-hole crazy golf course along with a birdwatching area and a café.

A child playing mini golf

Offering a change of scenery, Fitz Park is situated on the banks of the River Greta. The park comprises of an upper and lower tier, split by a road. Food stalls, children’s play areas and large lawns are spread out across the two levels.


Art Galleries

Gold frames hanging on a wall in an art gallery

There’s a range of galleries local to Keswick, including The Northern Lights Gallery, The Cookhouse Gallery and Gallery 26. You’ll find exhibitions of contemporary art alongside oil paintings of the Cumbrian countryside. 

The Keswick Museum and Art Gallery is a must, showcasing the stories of local people, places, and artefacts. There’s also a calendar of exhibitions and activities, so be sure to check out what’s on ahead of your visit! 


Shopping

People Shopping at Keswick Saturday Market

The pedestrianised town centre offers a relaxed browsing and shopping experience. The streets are lined with a charming assortment of convenience, craft and gift shops. There’s even a weekly market held in the square!

Shops stocking outdoor essentials and locally sourced ingredients can be found in abundance. The high-end supermarket, Booths, sits in the centre of the town, selling quality produce. Further afield, Cranstons Food Hall offers an enticing range of regional foodstuffs.

Whether you’re looking for a keepsake or a tasty treat, you’re sure to find what you need here!


Eating & Drinking

Keswick is home to a fabulous collection of bars and restaurants, sure to suit all tastes and budgets.

A group of young adults sat around a dining table laughing

Local favourites include the Derwent Walker Cafe Bar,The Round and The Fellpack. Those looking for a touch of luxury may wish to dine at Michelin-starred restaurant, The Cottage in the Wood.

If you time it right, you might even catch Keswick Beer Festival in the late summer. If you’re a fan of real ale or cider, this is one for you!

Further afield, dining options in Buttermere are popular with locals and day-trippers. And if you’re spending long days exploring the fells, local delis serve up the perfect pre-prepared lunch!

For takeaways, The Old Keswickian Fish and Chip Shop is situated in the Market Square. There’s also a choice of Thai, Chinese and Indian for something a little different.


Exploring the Lake District from Keswick

If you can tear yourself away from all the things to do in Keswick, it’s easy to explore the delights of the Lake District.

A short journey along the A66 towards Penrith brings you to the shores of Ullswater. One of the finest lakes in the area, Ullswater served as the inspiration behind Wordsworth’s poem Daffodils.

Majestic lake cruises and scenic walks through the fells offer an alternative way to explore. Visit the Keswick Launch and enjoy a leisurely boat trip across Derwentwater!

Boats sitting on Coniston Water
 

Borrowdale Valley, the Honister Pass and Buttermore sit to the West of Keswick. To the north lie the Northern Fells, including Skiddaw and Blencathra.

If you’re feeling adventurous, drive south toward Helvellyn, or carry on to Grasmere and Ambleside. Be sure to stop to sample some traditional Grasmere Gingerbread along the way.


Keswick Walks

The Northern Lakes is renowned for some of the finest scenery in the Lake District National Park. How better to explore the natural splendour for yourself than with a two-foot adventure?
A family of three hiking along the shore of a lake in Cumbria

Walking comes with its own set of safety precautions. The Tourist Information Centre is a great place to visit for advice ahead of any walk. We recommend that you obtain an Ordinance Survey Map or similar, especially for longer routes.

There are many outdoor stores stocking walking essentials in town, so there is no need to hit the hills under-prepared.

We’ve listed a few of our favourite walks below!


Cat Bells

A birdseye view of the trail to the top of Cat Bells

One of the most popular fell walks in the area due to its superb views and relatively short duration. Cat Bells is suitable for walker of all abilities and showcases the best of the Lake District.

Starting point: Hawes End Landing Stage
Distance: Approximately 3.5 miles/5.7 km
Time to complete: 2-3 hours


Ashness Bridge and Surprise View

Amongst the best things to do in Keswick is to take a stroll to the iconic Ashness Bridge. Board the Keswick Launch to Ashness Pier where your walk will begin.

A view of Ashness Bridge and the surrounding countryside

Follow the trail to Ashness Bridge, where you’ll be rewarded by spectacular views of the valley. These are surpassed only by the view from Surprise View further along the trail. Perched on a cliff above Derwentwater, views stretch as far as Bassenthwaite Lake.

Starting point: Ashness Pier
Distance: Approximately 2 miles/3.2kms
Time to complete: 1 hour


Blencathra

A group of people hiking up Blencathra

Blencathra is one of the finest of the Lake District fell walks. Also known as Saddleback, Blencathra is one of the best known fells in the region.

There are several routes to approach Blencathra summit depending on experience and ability. Those up for the challenge can undertake the exhilarating scramble of Sharp Edge. A grade 1 scramble, this route isn’t for the faint of heart!

Starting point: The car park next to The White Horse
Distance: Approximately 7 miles/11.3kms
Time to complete: 4 hours

The Bowder Stone

The Bowder Stone

The Bowder Stone walk is a short, pleasant woodland walk beginning at the National Trust car park. The trail leads to the iconic Bowder Stone, a large rock deposited by glacial action. A ladder leads to the top of the stone, where the landscape can be viewed from a different perspective.

Starting point: Bowder Stone National Trust Car Park
Distance: Approximately 1 mile/1.6km
Time to complete: 30 minutes

Haystacks

The view of the countryside from Haystacks mountain in Cumbira

This fabulous fell walk begins from Gatesgarth Farm on the edge of Buttermere lake. With its fascinating ascent, unique rock formations at its peak, and breathtaking panoramas, this mountain is a fantastic choice for a hike.

The famous writer, Alfred Wainwright, chose to have his ashes scattered on Haystacks. Though not the highest in the region, it was one of his very favourite fells to adventure.

Starting point: Gatesgarth Farm
Distance: Approximately 5 miles/8kms
Time to complete: 3-4 hours

Things to do near Keswick

Whinlatter Forest and Visitor Centre

England’s only true mountain forest, Whinlatter lies a few miles west of Keswick. Popular with families, this is a must-see for a fun day out.

A view of the walking trail through the trees at Whinlatter Forest

You can enjoy the stunning scenery on the Altura mountain bike trail or the Quercus trail. Cyclewise Whinlatter offer on-site bike hire, so there’s no need to pack your wheels! There’s even training courses available for thrill-seekers.

For those two-foot adventures, there are a great range of walking routes, too. And to keep little ones busy, The Whinlatter Wild Play Trail incorporates 9 different play areas for children of all ages.

There are also two children’s discovery rambles to help your family explore the forest. If you’re looking for an adrenalin rush, you can engage your inner-Tarzan on the Go-Ape treetop course.


Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

This ancient stone circle sitting in a field near Keswick is well worth a visit. You can park in the country lane nearby, and a short stroll takes you to the circle and information boards. With a backdrop of the Lake District fells, is a wonderful way to appreciate the landscape.


Honister Slate Mine

Explore England’s oldest working slate mine with a guided tour through the passages and caverns deep in the heart of Fleetwith Pike. The mine can be found at the top of the Honister Pass in Borrowdale.

There are great climbing opportunities here, with two via ferrata’s. These add rungs, ladders and cables to the traditional climbing experience.


Derwentwater Marina

A view across the water at Derwentwater Marina at sunset

At the northern end of Derwentwater, this marina is perfect for watersports. Taster and refresher courses in windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking and sailing are available. You can even hire paddle boards, kayaks and canoes and explore the lake for yourself.


Mobile Adventure

A woman outdoor rock climbing

Ghyll scrambling, rock climbing and canoeing are among the activities offered by this local company. Whether you’re part of a group or looking for an individual adventure, an action-packed day out awaits!


Keswick Canoe and Bushcraft

A couple canoeing on a lake

There’s so much to see and do with Keswick Canoe and Bushcraft. Learn to canoe and visit the hidden bays and islands around Derwentwater. Observe the local wildlife and engage in various bushcraft activities. Specialist tutoring and equipment is provided, so just bring yourself and your eagerness to learn!


With so many things to do in Keswick, secure your stay in a Keswick cottage today and experience these delights for yourself!

If you’re tempted to get lost in the beauty of the lakes and its rugged mountains, browse our range of lake district cottages. Read out guide on what’s on in the Lake District to plan your itinerary ahead of time! 


Images courtesy of: Diliff(CC BY-SA 3.0); Stinglehammer(CC BY-SA 3.0)