Another half term is nearly upon us and, if you’re a family with children, teacher or school worker, you might be taking advantage of the school holiday with a trip to Keswick in the Lake District. You’ll no doubt want to know what you can get up to while you’re in this fantastic town, so read on for our guide to 9 exciting things to do in Keswick this half term.
Nothing beats the thrill of shooting down a river canyon, jumping into deep pools, and zip-wiring over waterfalls. That’s why ghyll scrambling and canyoning are two of our most popular outdoor adventure activities in the Lake District! Ghyll scrambling is ideal if you’re looking for a wild and wet time that doesn’t push your boundaries too far, while canyoning takes it all to the extreme and is excellent if you really want to test your mettle!
As it’s half term, there’s bound to be a bit of rain, so it’s good to know that there are some great indoor activities in Keswick, too! The Puzzling Place is a world of wacky optical illusions where balls roll uphill, people grow to giant proportions, and moving pictures pop out of the walls. It’s not just for kids either: adults of all ages will have a great time at this attraction.
Kayaking is a lot of fun for all ages: it’s easy to pick up, gets you out in the fresh air, and makes the hours just fly by! Fortunately, Keswick sits on the shores of beautiful Derwentwater, a lake that’s surrounded by spectacular scenery and easy to reach by foot, car, or public transport. There are also a number of rivers nearby if you fancy something more fast-flowing!
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If you want to see the Lake District from the water without getting wet, then a ride on the Keswick Launch could be right up your street. The Keswick Launch Co. has a fleet of vessels that sail between several jetties. You can make yourself comfortable for a full circular tour or hop off en-route to discover the footpaths, villages and waterways that surround the lake.
You’ve got to do a bit of walking while you’re in the Lake District, and you’re spoiled for choice in Keswick. Catbells is a small fell (less than 1,500ft high) on the opposite side of Derwentwater that can be walked in as little as an evening. Although it’s not the easiest mountain walk near Keswick (try Latrigg if that’s what you’re after), it’s not difficult either. The walk up is fairly straightforward, with clear paths and a fun section of light scrambling. At the top you’re rewarded with panoramic views of Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite Lake, and the Newlands Valley.
Keswick has two quirky yet interesting museums to help you learn more about the local history. Keswick Museum sits between Upper and Lower Fitz Park and includes an art gallery as well as an ever-changing programme of events and exhibitions. Its collections include lots of objects linked to the rich social, natural and industrial past and present of Keswick and this area of the Lakes.
The Pencil Factory is also well worth a visit. Celebrating the history of graphite mining in the region, you’ll be amazed at how fascinating the humble pencil can be! From playing an important part in the war to holding world records, this little museum is jam-packed full of interesting tit-bits.
Imposing and mysterious, Castlerigg Stone Circle holds a secret history dating back thousands of years. The most beautiful of all the stone circles in England, it’s also possibly the oldest and thought to have been built around 3,000BC! You can walk up there from the town or hop in the car for a few minutes (though there is limited parking). There’s often an ice cream van at the top, too, so you can cool down while you admire the view.
There are three parks in Keswick, all offering their own attractions and things to do. Fitz Park sits alongside the river and includes a cricket pitch, tennis courts, and even a BMX track. Then there’s a play area, bowling club and arboretum… So plenty to do! On the other side of town is Hope Park, which has crazy golf, pitch-and-putt, remote control boats and a lovely flower garden with ponds. Finally, Crow Park is a wide open grassy space that looks out onto Derwentwater.
Head south from Keswick and you’ll end up in Borrowdale, which has some of the most dramatic scenery in the Lake District. Towards the top of one of the craggy mountains is Honister Slate Mine, where you can learn about the industrial history of the area by heading deep into the tunnels and caverns inside Fleetwith Pike. Alternatively, you can climb the original miner’s path along the sheer outside drop of the mountain. Try not to look down as you scale a vertical cargo net, precariously balance on a wire bridge, or grip tightly to the cliff face!
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