Although the Lake District is an amazing place for long hikes, sometimes you just want a gentle stroll to stretch your legs, or a short walk to fill in an hour or two before dinner. Fortunately, Keswick offers plenty of opportunity for a quick potter in the mountains, along the lake shores, and by the rivers.
All of these walks start and end in the centre of Keswick and can be completed in approximately 2 hours or less. However, please do note that exact time will depend on your group’s walking pace.
Friar’s Crag and Strandshag Bay
Distance: 2 miles
Approximate time: 40 minutes
Follow signposts to the lake from the centre of town. On reaching the water (where there will be plenty of geese and ducks hoping for a tasty snack), turn left and follow the clear path into woodland.
Simply continue along the wide path, pausing to glimpse at the views in the gaps between the trees. You’ll eventually reach a bench on an outcrop of land - this is Friar’s Crag. If you visit during the day, you’ll know where you are because you’ll find plenty of others admiring the view and taking the opportunity to snap a few photos.
Once you’ve taken as many selfies as you need, double back on yourself slightly and follow the path round and to the right. You’ll go through a gate and onto the pebbled beach on Strandshag Bay. Right opposite you is a small island called Lord’s Island, which includes the remains of an old manor house. Nowadays, it’s a protected nesting ground for birds.
When you’re ready to head back, just retrace your footsteps. Though there are also some alternative paths through the woods that will get you back to the same place.
Distance: 1.75 miles
Approximate time: 40 minutes
Follow Derwentwater Place from the town centre until you reach Springs Road, where you turn right. Follow the road again until you come across a footpath on your right, which leads you straight into a small woodland. Once amongst the trees, head straight ahead (on the right-hand path) as the route climbs. Continue climbing upwards, with a little bit of a scramble, until you emerge above the canopy and are greeted with excellent views over Derwentwater. For a small effort, the outlook is amazing! There’s a small bench up here where you can sit and take it all in.
Once you’ve had your fill, head back down the small hill, keeping to the left and following the edge of a field until you reach a small stone wall and the road. Cross the road, and continue along the lane through the meadow and up to Cockshot Wood (yes, really!). You’ll pass through the trees until you reach the lake, from where the road turns right and leads back into town.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Distance: 4.5 miles
Approximate time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Though this route is mostly along roads (with and without pavements), it’s worth it for the spectacular views and fascinating history at Castlerigg Stone Circle. This ancient monument has sat on a Lake District hill for thousand of years, surrounded by panoramic views of the mountains.
Head out of town along Penrith Road. When you reach the flower display (which spells out Keswick), turn left. Soon after, take a right up Eleventrees. You’ll pass through a quiet residential area before the pavement eventually gives out and you’re walking on the road (so take extra care). You have plenty to admire, with open fields to your right, diminutive Latrigg to your left, and attractive tree canopies sheltering you from the heavens.
Eventually, the road flattens and Castlerigg Stone Circle sits in a large field on your right. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the frequent ice cream van there, so can grab some refreshments!
To return, take the narrow road to the west of Castlerigg and follow it to the main road. Cross over into the opposite field, walking towards Castlerigg Farm. It’s all downhill from here, through lovely woodlands and along a pretty stream, back into town.
Distance: 5 miles
Approximate time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Probably the easiest mountain walk near Keswick, Latrigg is a small fell boasting incredible views.
Pass along the road between Lower and Upper Fitz Park, around behind the (now closed) leisure centre, and onto Briar Rigg. Continue along until you reach a wide track on your right, with a signpost guiding you along. Turn right here and follow the clear path all the way to the peak of Latrigg. Look out for the deer that you can occasionally spot in the surrounding woodlands.
The way back down simply retraces the path up: a pleasant and easy downhill slope.
Keswick to Portinscale
Distance: 2.25 miles
Approximate time: 1 hour
Portinscale is a small village just a short distance from Keswick. With two marinas and a couple of nice cafés, its well worth a wander over from Keswick. It won’t take you long either!
Walk along Main Street in Keswick until you cross the river, after which you take a left, keeping The Bridge Café on your right. Just behind the café, a footpath (waymarked The Cumbria Way) leads away from the river and into open meadow, which is often dotted with the Lake District’s Herdwick sheep. Enjoy the pleasant amble here all the way to the next road where you’ll turn left and rejoin the footpath, crossing the river into Portinscale. Take a wander through the village’s narrow streets before heading back the way you came.
If you want to mix things up a bit, you can wander along to Nichol End Marina and catch a boat back to Keswick instead.
Threlkeld to Keswick Railway Path
Approximate time: Varies
The Threlkeld to Keswick Railway Path is a flat, fully paved walk that’s suitable for walkers, cyclists, buggies and wheelchairs alike. It starts at the old train station behind Keswick Leisure Centre and is easy to follow all the way to Threlkeld.
The path passes through old railway tunnels, over impressive bridges, and along the winding river. You can expect to take about an hour and half to walk the full length, and then you can catch a bus back to Keswick: there’s a stop very close to the Threlkeld end.
Alternatively, if you want to avoid the bus, just walk as far as you fancy and then double back. There are plenty of sights to admire there and back again!
These short walks around Keswick are perfect for filling a spare hour or two. We’ve also written about our favourite family-friendly walks in Keswick for even more options - some of which are slightly longer than you’ll find here.
If you’re interested in heading out on a longer walk but aren’t confident to do it on your own, our experienced team can offer guided walks around Keswick, Borrowdale and the Newlands Valley. Just get in touch to find out more.