Keswick is the quintessential Lake District town with things to do for every visitor, whatever your taste. On the edge of the beautiful lake of Derwentwater, surrounded by well-known mountains such as Catbells, Skiddaw, and Blencathra, and filled with buildings clad in the local slate, it’s no surprise that this is one of the top places to visit in the national park.
There are so many sights to see, things to do, and places to discover that you might not know where to start. So here’s our guide of our top 9 things to do during a visit to Keswick.
If you’re in the Lake District, you can’t get away without at least a small scenic walk. From casual lakeside strolls around Derwentwater towards the viewpoint at Friars Crag, to mighty mountain hikes up Lake District legends such as Skiddaw and the Coledale Horseshoe, there really is something for everyone.
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There’s nothing quite like taking the Lake District in from the water with a cruise on Derwentwater. The Keswick Launch runs for most of the year between eight stops on the lake. You can sit back and enjoy a full lap of the lake, hop on and off as you please, or catch a ride back after a linear walk.
We couldn’t make this list without talking about what we think is the absolute BEST thing to do in Keswick: an outdoor adventure. Ghyll scrambling, paddle boarding, canyoning, hydrospeeding… there’s so much to choose from if you want to get your adrenaline pumping! Whether the sun’s shining or the rain is falling, it doesn’t matter: outdoor activities are perfect for all weather, all ages, and all personalities!
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This popular market town is just bursting with places to eat and drink. Award-winning pubs, classy bars, quirky cafés and international restaurants – you’ll find it all here. Though not your typical rowdy nightlife, Keswick has a buzzing evening atmosphere that’s ideal for a drink and some food with your mates or the family after a day of exploring. We’re big fans of The Round in particular: amazing burgers, a friendly atmosphere, and a good choice of drinks.
Keswick is full of interesting historical titbits. From the Moot Hall in the centre of town to the mysterious 5,000-year-old Castlerigg Stone Circle just up a small hill to the west, there’s plenty to be discovered. You can learn more about the local history at Keswick Museum & Art Gallery or spend an hour or two at the quirky Pencil Museum, which tells of the history of graphite mining in the area.
Derwentwater is the perfect place for taking a boat out on your own. Rowing boats and motor boats can be hired outside the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, where you’ll also get a full safety briefing and life jackets. You can also launch your own boats onto the water.
As the adventure capital of the Lake District, it’s no surprise that Keswick is full of good outdoor shops. From long-standing family businesses like George Fisher to budget stops like Mountain Warehouse, to excellent specialist shops such as Needle Sports and The Keswick Boot Co., this is the place to go for your outdoor kit.
As well as the outdoor bits, there are a range of other shops including popular national chains like Edinburgh Woolen Mill and White Stuff, to lovely local art galleries, gift shops and much, much more.
The Theatre by the Lake and the Art Deco Alhambra Cinema are two amazing cultural venues in Keswick. At the first, you can take in a range of quality productions from their varied year-long programme, and at the latter you can enjoy a cup of tea while you watch modern films in this historical, family run cinema.
Bars and pubs like The Square Orange host regular live music nights, and there are multiple festivals throughout the year including Words by the Water, Keswick Jazz Festival, and the Mountain Festival.
Sometimes all you need to do is sit back, relax, and soak in the scenery. Keswick is so popular partly because of its wonderful scenery. Mountains rise up on all sides, and the glittering lake draws your eye towards the spectacular Borrowdale valley. You could pick any spot in the town and just admire the sights. With a picnic on the lakeshore or a pint in a beer garden, you really can enjoy the simplest things in life!