Things to do in Keswick

Keswick Tourist Attractions

Nestled in the heart of the Lake District National Park, Keswick stands as a gateway to some of England’s most breathtaking landscapes and outdoor adventures. From serene lakes and towering mountains to a charming market town and cultural attractions, Keswick offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or adrenaline junkie, Keswick has something to captivate every visitor. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the must-see attractions, exciting activities, and practical tips for planning your unforgettable journey to Keswick.

Getting to Know Keswick:

Keswick’s Rich History:

Keswick boasts a fascinating history dating back centuries. Originally a market town, Keswick grew prosperous due to its mining industry, particularly in graphite and slate. Visitors can delve into this heritage at the Keswick Museum, which showcases the town’s industrial past, geological wonders, and cultural heritage. Additionally, a visit to the 4,000-year-old Castlerigg Stone Circle offers a glimpse into Keswick’s ancient past, surrounded by stunning panoramic views of the surrounding fells.

Keswick Museums

Explore Keswick’s rich cultural heritage by visiting its museums, which offer fascinating insights into the town’s history and heritage. Here are some worth visiting:

Keswick Museum: Immerse yourself in Keswick’s industrial past and geological wonders at Keswick Museum. Discover the town’s mining heritage, explore exhibits on local wildlife, and learn about Keswick’s cultural heritage through interactive displays and artifacts.

The Puzzling Place: Delve into the world of optical illusions and mind-bending puzzles at The Puzzling Place. This quirky museum offers a fun and interactive experience for visitors of all ages, with exhibits that challenge perception and stimulate the mind.

The Cumberland Pencil Museum: Unleash your creativity at The Cumberland Pencil Museum, home to the world’s longest pencil and a fascinating collection of pencil-related artifacts. Learn about the history of pencil making, discover famous pencil enthusiasts, and try your hand at drawing and coloring activities.

Theatre by the Lake Gallery: Experience the vibrant arts scene in Keswick at the Theatre by the Lake Gallery. This contemporary art space showcases works by local and international artists, with rotating exhibitions that span a wide range of mediums and styles.

Castlerigg Gallery: Step into Castlerigg Gallery to admire works by local artists inspired by the beauty of the Lake District landscape. From paintings and sculptures to ceramics and textiles, this charming gallery offers a glimpse into the creative spirit of Keswick and its surrounding areas.

These museums offer a glimpse into Keswick’s rich history, cultural heritage, and artistic expression, providing visitors with a deeper understanding and appreciation of this charming market town nestled in the heart of the Lake District.

Art Galleries Keswick

Art enthusiasts visiting Keswick will find themselves immersed in a vibrant cultural scene, with several noteworthy art galleries showcasing a diverse range of works by local and international artists. Here are some recommended art galleries in Keswick that are worth a visit:

Castlerigg Gallery: Situated in the heart of Keswick, Castlerigg Gallery is a must-visit destination for art lovers seeking inspiration from the stunning landscapes of the Lake District. Featuring an eclectic collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and textiles, this charming gallery showcases works by local artists inspired by the beauty of the region. From traditional landscapes to contemporary abstracts, Castlerigg Gallery offers something for every artistic taste.

Arteria with Gallery 23: Located on the bustling main street of Keswick, Arteria with Gallery 23 is a unique art and design emporium that celebrates creativity in all its forms. Browse through an eclectic selection of contemporary art, handmade crafts, and designer homeware, curated by a team of passionate artisans. The adjoining Gallery 23 showcases rotating exhibitions by local and national artists, providing a platform for emerging talents to showcase their work to a wider audience.

Cookhouse Gallery: Tucked away in the picturesque village of Braithwaite, just a short drive from Keswick, Cookhouse Gallery is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by art enthusiasts. Housed within a converted barn, this intimate gallery showcases a curated selection of paintings, prints, and ceramics by local artists, as well as a charming cafe serving homemade treats and locally sourced delights. With its tranquil setting and warm hospitality, Cookhouse Gallery offers a unique art experience amidst the natural beauty of the Lake District.

Keswick Art Society Gallery: Founded over a century ago, the Keswick Art Society Gallery is a longstanding institution dedicated to promoting the visual arts in the region. Located in the heart of Keswick, this volunteer-run gallery hosts regular exhibitions featuring works by local artists, as well as visiting artists from across the country. From traditional landscapes to contemporary abstracts, the Keswick Art Society Gallery showcases the diverse talents of the region’s artistic community, providing a platform for creativity and expression to flourish.

Viridian Gallery: Nestled in the charming village of Keswick, Viridian Gallery is a contemporary art space dedicated to showcasing innovative works by emerging and established artists. With a focus on contemporary painting, sculpture, and mixed media, this dynamic gallery presents a curated selection of thought-provoking artworks that push the boundaries of artistic expression. Whether you’re a seasoned art collector or a curious visitor, Viridian Gallery offers a captivating journey through the world of contemporary art in the heart of the Lake District.

These art galleries offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of Keswick, showcasing the talents of local artists and providing inspiration for art lovers of all ages. Whether you’re drawn to traditional landscapes, contemporary abstracts, or experimental mixed media, Keswick’s art galleries have something to captivate and inspire every visitor.

Natural Splendor:

things to see keswick

Keswick and its surrounding areas are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Here are some top natural beauty tourist destinations in and around Keswick:

Derwentwater: Known as the “Jewel of the Lake District,” Derwentwater is a stunning lake surrounded by rolling hills, woodlands, and picturesque villages. Take a leisurely stroll along the shores of the lake, rent a rowboat or kayak to explore its tranquil waters, or simply relax and soak in the breathtaking scenery.

Borrowdale Valley: Nestled between the towering peaks of Skiddaw and Scafell Pike, Borrowdale Valley is renowned for its dramatic landscapes and scenic beauty. Follow the winding roads that meander through the valley, passing by cascading waterfalls, ancient woodlands, and charming stone-built villages.

Skiddaw: As one of the highest peaks in the Lake District, Skiddaw offers unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. While the summit may be challenging to reach, there are plenty of walking trails that cater to all skill levels, allowing you to experience the majesty of this iconic mountain.

Catbells: With its distinctive shape and accessible trails, Catbells is a favorite among hikers and photographers alike. The ascent may be steep in places, but the reward is well worth it, with sweeping views of Derwentwater, Keswick, and the surrounding fells.

Whinlatter Forest Park: Located just a short drive from Keswick, Whinlatter Forest Park is England’s only true mountain forest, offering a tranquil escape amidst towering trees, scenic viewpoints, and a network of walking and mountain biking trails. Keep an eye out for red squirrels, ospreys, and other wildlife that call the forest home.

Castle Crag: Standing proudly at the jaws of Borrowdale and the Newlands Valley, Castle Crag offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty. This striking hill may be modest in height compared to its towering neighbors, but its rugged slopes and panoramic views make it a must-visit destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. A relatively easy ascent rewards visitors with breathtaking vistas of Derwentwater, Borrowdale, and the surrounding fells. As you make your way to the summit, keep an eye out for the remnants of an ancient hill fort and the fascinating geological formations that dot the landscape. Castle Crag’s allure lies not only in its stunning scenery but also in its rich history and sense of tranquility, making it a hidden gem waiting to be explored in the heart of the Lake District.

Buttermere: Tucked away in a remote corner of the Lake District, Buttermere is a hidden gem that’s well worth the journey. Surrounded by rugged mountains and mirrored waters, Buttermere offers a sense of tranquility and solitude that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Aira Force: For a dose of natural beauty and serenity, visit Aira Force, a stunning waterfall nestled in the heart of the Lake District. Follow the meandering paths that lead through ancient woodlands, crossing over stone bridges and moss-covered rocks before reaching the impressive cascade of water.

Fleetwith Pike: Standing proudly above the Honister Pass, Fleetwith Pike is a majestic fell that offers awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscape. Its distinctive shape and rugged terrain make it a favorite among hikers and photographers seeking adventure and stunning vistas. The ascent to the summit can be challenging, with steep paths and rocky terrain, but the reward is well worth the effort. From the summit, visitors are treated to panoramic views of Buttermere, Crummock Water, and the surrounding mountains, making it an ideal spot for capturing the beauty of the Lake District from above. Whether you’re an experienced hiker looking for a challenging climb or simply seeking a peaceful escape into nature, Fleetwith Pike promises an unforgettable experience amidst the natural splendor of the Lake District. Via Ferrata also brings you to the top of Fleetwith Pike

Keswick Walks

Walking in Keswick

Keswick offers a range of walking opportunities for visitors of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll, a guided tour, or a challenging mountain hike, Keswick has something to suit everyone. Here’s a detailed look at the various types of walks you can enjoy in this stunning region:

Easy Walks:

  • Keswick Railway Path: One of the most popular easy walks is the Keswick Railway Path, a scenic route that follows the former Keswick to Penrith railway line. This flat, easy trail is perfect for families and leisurely strolls, offering picturesque views of the surrounding countryside and glimpses of local wildlife along the way.
  • Keswick Short Walks: For those with limited time or seeking shorter distances, Keswick offers several short walks that still provide beautiful scenery and a taste of the local landscape.

Guided Walks:

Various guided walks are available in Keswick, offering insights into the area’s rich history and natural beauty. These guided tours are perfect for those who want to learn more about the region while enjoying a leisurely walk.

Mountain & Fell Walks:

Latrigg from Keswick: The ascent of Latrigg Fell provides panoramic views of Keswick, Derwentwater, and the surrounding fells. This walk is challenging but rewarding, with stunning vistas from the summit.

Route Up Skiddaw from Keswick: For a more strenuous hike, the route up Skiddaw from Keswick is a must-try. This mountain walk offers breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment upon reaching one of the highest peaks in the Lake District.

Long Distance Walks:

Keswick is a hub for long-distance walking routes, ideal for seasoned hikers looking to explore the area over several days. These walks offer a deep dive into the diverse landscapes of the region.

Forest and Woodlands Walks:

Whinlatter Forest Park: This park boasts a network of walking trails that wind through ancient woodlands, offering opportunities to explore hidden valleys, tranquil lakes, and towering peaks. It’s perfect for nature lovers seeking the serenity of forest walks.

Low-Level Walks:

Keswick Derwentwater Walk: This low-level walk around Derwentwater is perfect for those who prefer a flatter terrain. The route offers stunning lakeside views and the chance to enjoy the beauty of the water up close.

Family Walks:

Catbells Walk Route from Keswick: The Catbells walk is a family favorite, offering a manageable ascent with rewarding views. This walk is great for children and provides a sense of adventure without being too strenuous.

Keswick truly has something for everyone, whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike. Explore the stunning natural scenery, from easy paths and guided walks to mountain ascents and forest trails, and make the most of your visit to this beautiful part of the Lake District.

Boat Trips Keswick:

Experience the beauty of Derwentwater from a different perspective with a boat trip. Several operators offer guided tours and boat hire services, allowing you to explore the tranquil waters and scenic islands at your leisure. Cruise along the lake, soaking in views of the surrounding fells and woodlands, or hop off at one of the jetties to explore hidden coves and lakeside paths. Boat trips provide a relaxing and picturesque way to experience the natural splendor of Keswick and its stunning surroundings.

These are just a few of the many natural wonders waiting to be discovered in and around Keswick. Whether you’re exploring rugged peaks, tranquil lakes, or lush forests, the beauty of the Lake District is sure to leave you spellbound. So lace up your hiking boots, pack your camera, and prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey through some of England’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Outdoor Adventures in Keswick

Keswick is synonymous with outdoor adventure, attracting thrill-seekers from far and wide. Whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or a novice hiker, there’s no shortage of exhilarating activities to enjoy. Here are some top tourist destinations in and around Keswick that offer adventure tourism opportunities:

Honister Slate Mine: Dive into the heart of the Lake District’s industrial past with a visit to Honister Slate Mine. This working mine offers a range of adventure activities, including underground mine tours, Via Ferrata, and the Infinity Bridge. Daredevils can test their nerve on the Via Ferrata Extreme, which traverses the exposed cliff edge of Fleetwith Pike, providing unmatched views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Whinlatter Forest Park: Located just a short drive from Keswick, Whinlatter Forest Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. With a network of walking and mountain biking trails, as well as a Go Ape treetop adventure course, there’s plenty to keep adrenaline junkies entertained. Scale the heights of the treetops, zip through the forest canopy, and conquer challenging obstacles, all while enjoying panoramic views of the Lake District landscape.

Derwentwater: The shimmering waters of Derwentwater offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Rent a kayak, paddleboard, or rowboat and explore the lake at your own pace, taking in views of wooded islands, tranquil bays, and majestic mountains. For the ultimate adventure, embark on a guided kayak tour or join a sailing lesson to learn the ropes from experienced instructors.

Catbells: With its distinctive shape and accessible trails, Catbells is a favorite among hikers seeking adventure. The ascent may be steep in places, but the reward is well worth it, with sweeping views of Derwentwater, Keswick, and the surrounding fells. Challenge yourself to reach the summit and soak in the breathtaking scenery, or explore the network of paths that crisscross the mountain, offering opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Helvellyn: As one of the Lake District’s highest peaks, Helvellyn offers a true test of endurance for adventurous souls. The ascent via Striding Edge is not for the faint of heart, requiring nerves of steel and a head for heights. Once atop this iconic mountain, hikers are rewarded with unparalleled views stretching as far as the eye can see. For those seeking a less daunting challenge, alternative routes are available, allowing you to experience the majesty of Helvellyn without the adrenaline rush of Striding Edge.

Ghyll Scrambling: For a truly exhilarating adventure, try your hand at ghyll scrambling, an adrenaline-fueled activity that involves navigating rocky streams and waterfalls. With experienced guides leading the way, you’ll plunge into crystal-clear pools, scramble over slippery rocks, and leap from towering waterfalls, all amidst the stunning backdrop of the Lake District’s rugged landscape. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or simply looking to push your limits, ghyll scrambling promises an unforgettable experience in the great outdoors.

Canyoning: Keswick is synonymous with outdoor adventure, offering a wide range of thrilling activities for adrenaline junkies. One such exhilarating experience is canyoning, where adventurers navigate through rugged gorges and cascading waterfalls, surrounded by the stunning beauty of the Lake District. Canyoning combines elements of hiking, climbing, swimming, and abseiling, providing a truly immersive and unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors. With experienced guides leading the way, participants can rappel down towering waterfalls, leap into crystal-clear pools, and slide down natural rock chutes, all while exploring hidden gems tucked away in the heart of the Lake District’s wilderness. Some top destinations for a wonderful canyoning experience near Keswick include the gorges of the River Esk and Stickle Ghyll in the nearby Langdale Valley, offering adrenaline-pumping thrills and breathtaking scenery. Additionally, for a truly epic canyoning adventure, be sure to check out Honister Slate Mine, where you can descend deep into the heart of the Lake District’s rugged landscape and navigate through a series of exhilarating challenges amidst the stunning surroundings of England’s highest mountain range.

These natural wonders not only offer breathtaking scenery but also provide opportunities for adrenaline-pumping adventure activities, making Keswick and its surrounding areas a playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. So pack your sense of adventure, lace up your hiking boots, and prepare to embark on the journey of a lifetime in the Lake District’s wild and wonderful wilderness.

Cultural Delights:

In addition to its natural wonders, Keswick boasts a vibrant cultural scene that’s sure to delight visitors of all interests. Art aficionados will appreciate the town’s numerous galleries and exhibitions, showcasing works by local and internationally renowned artists. The Keswick Theatre by the Lake offers a diverse program of plays, concerts, and performances set against the stunning backdrop of Derwentwater, providing entertainment for culture vultures year-round.

One of the highlights of Keswick’s cultural calendar is the Keswick Mountain Festival. Held annually, this multi-day event celebrates outdoor adventure, environmental conservation, and the spirit of exploration in the Lake District. The festival features a diverse lineup of activities, including guided hikes, trail runs, mountain biking adventures, and water sports on Derwentwater. Visitors can also attend inspiring talks and workshops led by outdoor experts, athletes, and environmentalists, covering topics ranging from mountaineering and wilderness survival to wildlife conservation and sustainable living. With live music, food stalls, and a lively atmosphere, the Keswick Mountain Festival is a must-visit event for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, offering a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and celebrate the beauty and diversity of the Lake District’s landscapes.

Practical Tips for Your Visit:

summer holiday packing

Accommodation Options:
When it comes to accommodation, Keswick offers a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference. From cozy bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels to self-catering cottages and luxury lodges, there’s something for everyone. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, camping and caravan sites abound in the area, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the natural beauty of the Lake District.

Dining and Refreshments:
Keswick’s culinary scene is as diverse as it is delicious, with an array of eateries serving up everything from traditional Cumbrian fare to international cuisine. Sample locally sourced ingredients at one of Keswick’s acclaimed restaurants or grab a pint of real ale at a traditional pub in the town center. And don’t forget to indulge in a slice of homemade cake or a creamy scoop of artisanal ice cream at one of Keswick’s charming cafes. For the ultimate pub experience, be sure to visit the Yew Tree Pub, renowned for offering the best pub food in Keswick, Cumbria, making it a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike

Weather Considerations:
While Keswick’s landscape is undeniably stunning in any weather, it’s essential to be prepared for the unpredictable British climate. Dress in layers, bring waterproof clothing, and check the weather forecast before embarking on outdoor adventures. And remember, even if the sun isn’t shining, there’s still plenty to see and do in Keswick, from exploring historic landmarks to cozying up by a roaring fire in a traditional pub.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How do I get to Keswick?
Keswick is accessible by car, bus, and train. The nearest train station is Penrith, which is served by regular services from major cities like London and Manchester. From Penrith, you can take a bus or taxi to Keswick, which is approximately a 30-minute drive away.

2. What are the best outdoor activities to do in Keswick?
Some of the top outdoor activities in Keswick include hiking, boating on Derwentwater, mountain biking in Whinlatter Forest Park, and adventurous experiences like Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine.

3. Are there any guided tours available in Keswick?
Yes, there are several companies offering guided tours of Keswick and the surrounding areas. These tours cover a range of interests, from historical walking tours of the town to guided hikes in the Lake District National Park.

4. Can I visit Keswick with children?
Absolutely! Keswick is a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities to keep children entertained. From boat trips on Derwentwater to interactive museums like The Puzzling Place, there’s something for kids of all ages to enjoy.

5. What are the best places to eat in Keswick?
Keswick boasts a diverse culinary scene with options ranging from traditional British pubs to international cuisine. Some popular dining spots include The George Hotel, The Filling Station Cafe, Yew Tree Pub, and The Old Keswickian Fish & Chip Shop.

6. Is Keswick a dog-friendly destination?
Yes, many accommodations, restaurants, and outdoor attractions in Keswick welcome dogs. Just be sure to check with individual establishments beforehand and follow local guidelines for responsible pet ownership.

7. Are there any festivals or events held in Keswick?
Yes, Keswick hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Keswick Mountain Festival, Keswick Beer Festival, and Keswick Film Festival. These events celebrate everything from outdoor adventure to arts and culture.

8. What is the weather like in Keswick?
The weather in Keswick can be variable, with rain showers possible at any time of year. It’s best to dress in layers and be prepared for changing conditions, especially if you plan to spend time outdoors.

9. Are there any accessible attractions in Keswick for people with mobility issues?
Yes, many attractions in Keswick offer accessibility features for visitors with mobility issues. These include wheelchair ramps, accessible parking, and adapted facilities. It’s always a good idea to check with individual attractions beforehand to ensure they can accommodate your specific needs.

10. Can I rent outdoor equipment in Keswick?
Yes, there are several shops in Keswick that offer equipment rental for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and water sports. Whether you need a kayak for exploring Derwentwater or a mountain bike for tackling the trails, you’ll find everything you need in Keswick.

11. Is Keswick a good base for exploring the Lake District?
Absolutely! Keswick’s central location makes it an ideal base for exploring the wider Lake District National Park. From here, you can easily reach popular attractions like Buttermere, Ullswater, and the historic market town of Ambleside.

12. Are there any spa or wellness facilities in Keswick?
Yes, several hotels and spas in Keswick offer a range of wellness facilities, including saunas, hot tubs, and massage treatments. It’s the perfect way to relax and unwind after a day of outdoor adventure.

13. Can I visit Keswick as a day trip from nearby cities?
Yes, Keswick is easily accessible from cities like Manchester, Liverpool, and Edinburgh, making it an ideal destination for a day trip or weekend getaway. Just be sure to plan your travel arrangements in advance to make the most of your time in the area.

14. Are there any historic landmarks to visit in Keswick?
Yes, Keswick is home to several historic landmarks, including the Castlerigg Stone Circle, Moot Hall, and the ancient ruins of Castlerigg Castle. These sites offer fascinating insights into Keswick’s rich history and cultural heritage.

15. What are the best souvenirs to buy in Keswick?
Popular souvenirs from Keswick include locally made crafts, artisanal foods, and traditional Cumbrian products like Herdwick wool items and Cumberland sausage. Be sure to browse the town’s many gift shops and boutiques for unique mementos of your visit.

In conclusion, Keswick truly is a gem of the Lake District, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and cultural charm. Whether you’re scaling towering peaks, cruising along serene lakes, or immersing yourself in the town’s rich history and culture, Keswick promises an unforgettable experience for travelers of all ages and interests. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and prepare to embark on the adventure of a lifetime in this enchanting corner of England. And be sure to make Honister Slate Mine a highlight of your trip, where you can delve deep into the region’s industrial heritage and uncover the secrets of its rugged landscapes. Happy exploring!