Keswick is a real playground for watersports: there’s a reason it’s known as the adventure capital of the Lake District! The town sits on Derwentwater, one of the most popular lakes in the national park, and the River Derwent and River Greta both run through the town.
As if that isn’t enough, just beyond Keswick you’ll find Bassenthwaite Lake and even more rivers, ghylls and canyons in the Newlands Valley!
So with all of that wonderful water surrounding you, you’ll no doubt want to get in and on it. Read on for our favourite watersports in Keswick and nearby.
1. Ghyll Scrambling
The ultimate watersport in Keswick has to be ghyll scrambling! Suitable for young kids, teenagers, and adventurous adults alike, this adrenaline-pumping sport is great as a group activity or just for couples. After a short walk to the top of the ghyll, you’ll get into the water with a splash, then head downstream, taking in some stunning scenery as you go!
This is a truly excellent outdoor activity and one of our favourites!
2. Stand Up Paddleboarding
Also known as SUP, stand up paddleboarding has grown massively popular over the last few years. You might be a beginner who’s never had to balance on a paddle board before, or maybe you’ve done it a few times and can’t wait to get onto the water again.
It can take a bit of concentration at first while you get a feel for it, but once you’ve had a bit of practice, you’ll be gliding along the water in no time at all! Reach the distant islands of Derwentwater, explore round the hidden bends of rivers, or just calmly admire the mountain scenery that surrounds the town.
There’s no better way to explore the water than by kayaking on a river or lake. While Derwentwater is fantastic when viewed from the shores, you just don’t get the full effect until you’re really out there. Picture the scene: the sun’s out, there’s a gentle breeze, and you’re taking a break from paddling. Bob about and look around to get a real feel for why so many people are in love with Keswick and the Lake District.
There’s something truly idyllic about sails billowing in the wind that carries your boat along.
You can get a taste for this when you go sailing on Derwentwater. The lake has two marinas where you can hire a sailboat. If you know what you’re doing, get right out on the water by yourself, or else book some tuition and learn all the ins and outs!
5. River Canyoning
River canyoning is extreme ghyll scrambling! You’re still following a river downhill, you’re still splashing and sliding, but everything is bigger and even more exciting!
Slip over waterfalls, glide down zip wires and abseil over sheer drops. Not only will you get thoroughly wet, you’ll get to see secret spots of the Lake District that are hidden from anyone who doesn’t experience this particular watersport!
6. Rafting and Raft Building
The rivers around Keswick lend themselves well to white water rafting thanks to the twists, turns, and falls. It can be a hair-raising experience that will leave you wanting more!
Alternatively, you might prefer a rafting adventure without the rapids, and raft building is the perfect activity for families and groups of friends. Work together or split into teams and compete to make the best raft. Then you’ll launch it onto Derwentwater and see just how far you can get before you sink!
How about a gentle and romantic time rowing across Derwentwater? If you don't fancy getting wet then rowing is an excellent option for getting onto the water without getting into the water.
You can hire a boat from the Keswick Launch Co. Why not pack a picnic and enjoy it on one of the islands or on a secluded beach?
8. Wild Swimming
Derwentwater has all you need for a tranquil wild swim. It can get busy during the day with boat traffic, so the best time to go is first thing in the morning or later on in the afternoon. Take your time to enjoy the sights and (lack of) sounds before towelling off and popping to the pub for a warming meal or drink.
Whether you canoe on a lake or a river, nothing beats the smooth action as you dip your paddle in the clear waters and glide as if on air.
With two people to a boat (usually), it’s perfect for some family bonding time or if you have little ones who need a bit of extra help making their way along the water. The higher sides of a canoe will help with your balance, too, and are an ideal alternative to kayaking if you’re a little bit nervous of falling in!
Keswick and watersports go together hand-in-hand and we firmly believe that this is one of the best areas to get out on the water. Not only are these activities fun and exciting, they can help build confidence and allow you to see the Lake District from a completely new perspective!