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The Best Things to Do on Your Visit to Keswick

Keswick is one of the best-known locations in the Lake District, and for good reason.

There are activities for everyone in this idyllic market town, whether you are exploring solo, with a partner, friends or your family. Keswick is (unsurprisingly) famed for its market, which has operated continuously for over 700 years!

If you are staying at Armathwaite Hall, Keswick is just a short drive or bus journey away, so we recommend exploring it during your time here – after you have tried out our challenging activities and enjoyed a spa day , of course. We have put together the best things to do in Keswick so you get the most out of your visit.

Where is Keswick?

Keswick is the most northerly town in the Lake District, just north of the splendid Derwentwater and situated right in the heart of the Lake District National Park.

It is just a 15-minute drive or 20-minute bus ride away from Armathwaite Hall, so you can explore this gorgeous town and get back to Armathwaite Hall to put your feet up in your room or in our award-winning spa in no time!

What is Keswick famous for?

Keswick is renowned for many reasons. It has long been associated with some of the most famous poets from the 18th and 19th century, including:

• Robert Southey
• Samuel Taylor Coleridge
• John Ruskin
• John Dalton
• John Brown

The town is also known for its idyllic location. Its position as the most northerly Lake District town means there is a lot of gorgeous natural scenery in the surrounding area. It is close to the stunning Derwentwater and Mount Skiddaw – the latter can also be seen in all its breathtaking glory from Armathwaite Hall.

Keswick has a rich mining and industrial history. It pioneered the pencil, with the first-ever pencil factory opening in Keswick in 1832. To this day, you can explore Keswick’s history of creating the pencil at the Keswick Pencil Museum .

The town is also well-known for its mining heritage, with copper as a speciality . So rich in copper was Keswick that it attracted German miners, who named the most plentiful mine ‘gottesgab’ (god’s gift).

Of course, Keswick’s biggest claim to fame is its market, which draws in both locals and visitors from afar. The market has operated in the famous Keswick Market Square continuously for over 700 years!

 

What to see and do in Keswick

Keswick is the most northerly town in the Lake District, just north of the splendid Derwentwater and situated right in the heart of the Lake District National Park.

It is just a 15-minute drive or 20-minute bus ride away from Armathwaite Hall, so you can explore this gorgeous town and get back to Armathwaite Hall to put your feet up in your room or in our award-winning spa in no time!

Local attractions

Keswick has a lot of attractions that can keep you and your loved ones entertained all day – or for days on end!

Castlerigg stone circle

This historical site is owned by English Heritage and is one of the best-known stone monuments in the UK. These stones date back to around 3000–2000BC, potentially making Castlerigg the first stone circle in England. It is said that Neolithic communities gathered here; and now tourists from around the world gather at this famous site!

Derwentwater

Derwentwater is one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country and is just a short walk away from the centre of Keswick. It is no wonder the area is known as ‘Queen of the Lakes’!

You can see the famous Cat Bells fells to the west of Derwentwater while you will be treated to an unrivalled vantage point of Friar’s Crag. For the outdoor adventurers, take in these spectacular views with an eight-mile walk around the lake.

Prefer to sit back and relax as you take in the scenery around you? Hop on a Keswick Launches lake cruise ! If you want to combine the physical activity with incredible vistas from the lake, you can hire a rowing boat to explore the lake at your own pace.

You can also feed the ducks at Derwentwater – a great activity for the whole family!

Derwent Island and House

Derwent Island is the most fascinating of the islands on Derwentwater – and is also the only inhabited island. Its tiny dimensions (only 250m by 150m) do not take away from the loveliness of it, and you can see it from every angle on a Derwentwater cruise.

There is only one house on Derwent Island, which is lived in year-round – but it is open to the public five times a year. You can find out when Derwent House is available to visit on the National Trust site .

Keswick Museum

Keswick Museum is home to both ongoing and special exhibitions throughout the year. From exhibitions celebrating some of the Lakes’ most famous poets, including Robert Southey, to how the Lake District has been shaped throughout history, there is plenty to discover at Keswick Museum.

Find out more

The Lakes Distillery

The multi-award-winning Lakes Distillery is a must-visit in Keswick. It is renowned for its range of whiskeys and gins, created with water from the Lake District National Park.

It is committed to the flavour and careful craftsmanship of its whiskeys and gins, preparing to sacrifice efficiency in its processes for that perfect taste and texture, which is truly noticeable in its range of spirits.

You can book a range of tours, including a distillery tour and tasting, single malt experience or a whiskey and chocolate pairing experience.

Plus, when you stay at Armathwaite Hall, you will get two-for-one tour tickets!

Keswick Brewing Co.

Keswick Brewing Co. offers a range of ales and beers, and proudly uses local and trusted ingredients, including live yeasts, local fell water and Maris Otter malt.

Its in-house taproom offers its own range of beers, as well as wines and spirits – so if you are a local ale aficionado but your loved ones are not, rest assured that there is something for everyone!

The brewery also offers tours if you are interested in seeing how your favourite local ale is made.

Find out more

Pubs

The Lake District as a whole is renowned for its wonderful range of independent pubs, and Keswick is no different.

The Crafty Baa , crowned AA Best Pub of the Year, showcases over 100 different beers – including the world’s two strongest beers, which you should try at your own risk! The venue also offers a range of live music, from acoustic to jazz, and is both dog and child-friendly.

For the cocktail lovers, Derwent Walker unites taste and elegance. Its handcrafted cocktails have been concocted by in-house mixologist Jack Fox, and the venue also offers evening food.

Theatre by the Lake

Few theatres worldwide feature surroundings as beautiful as the Theatre by the Lake . As well as its idyllic location, the theatre is the creative hub for Keswick and beyond. The theatre offers outstanding theatrical productions, talks, poetry readings and much more.

We are a proud ambassador for the Theatre by the Lake – so if you are staying with us, we can offer a discount on tickets! Speak to our reception if you are interested in taking in a show.

Family fun

Keswick is a family-friendly town, and there are lots of specific family activities that will entertain parents and kids alike!

The Lake District Wildlife Park

Situated in the heart of our 400-acre estate, the Lake District Wildlife Park is known as one of the best wildlife parks in the UK – and for good reason!

Home to over 100 carefully conserved species of wild and domestic animals, the Lake District Wildlife Park is a must-visit for animal-loving families.

As well as seeing our wonderful wildlife, you can also listen to our themed talks – and find out more about yours or your kids’ favourite animals!

Discover the Lake District Wildlife Park

Keswick Mouse Trail

There is no better way to get your children excited about exploring Keswick than via the Keswick Mouse Trail! You have to find the 22 mischievous mice that have escaped from the famous Keswick Cheese Deli – collect a map from the deli (or download ahead of time) and set out on your mouse-catching adventure!

Find out more

The Puzzling Place

Families with curious kids (and curious parents!) will love The Puzzling Place – also known as the world of illusion!

Experience a range of optical illusions, including the anti-gravity room, hologram gallery and eyelusions exhibition and marvel at the tricks our eyes and brains can play on us!

Find out more

Kong Adventure

This is one for the adventurous kids! Kong Adventure has plenty to challenge energetic kids (and tire them out…), from indoor and outdoor climbing ranges to hard play and escape rooms.

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Whinlatter Forest

Whinlatter Forest is known as the only true mountain forest in England. As well as gorgeous scenery in and amongst the trees, you will be treated to stunning vistas of Bassenthwaite Lake (a different vantage point to what you would see from Armathwaite Hall), Derwentwater and the town of Keswick.

The Lake District’s longest purpose-built mountain bike trails can be found here, as well as plenty adventurous walking trails and orienteering activities.

You will also find a Go Ape Treetop Adventure here, where thrill-seeking kids can experience incredible views of the forest and put themselves to the test on high ropes courses with zip lines.

Hope Park crazy golf

Situated between Keswick and Derwentwater, you will find Hope Park – which features a crazy golf course and a nine-hole pitch and putt course.

The park also features a “mini Derwentwater”, with a small body of water your kids can race remote-controlled boats around!

Find out more

Fitz Park Playground

Fitz Park contains entertainment and activities for kids of all ages. Younger children can enjoy the play area, while older kids can enjoy the full-sized BMX track – which came about as a result of local campaigning!

Find out more

Shopping

As with many towns in the Lake District, Keswick offers a unique local shopping experience. As well as picking up some lovingly hand-crafted clothes, trinkets, food and drink at the world-famous Keswick Market, you can also browse other speciality shops.

Peter Rabbit and Friends

With such strong ties to the Lake District, it is only right that Beatrix Potter’s beloved Peter Rabbit has a dedicated store in Keswick. As well as memorabilia of your favourite characters, you can also shop Jellycats, games and activities, Best Years Dinosaurs and a range of clothing.

Find out more

Keswick Cheese Deli

the iconic Keswick Cheese Deli features a range of over 90 Cumbrian cheeses, cheese gift hampers and cheese wedding cakes, if you would prefer your centrepiece to be savoury instead of sweet!

The store is dedicated to showcasing cheeses from local cheesemakers, including The Lake District Cheese Company, Thornby Moor Farm and Appleby Creamery.

Find out more

Lakeland Leather

For connoisseurs of leather goods, Lakeland is a must-visit! It is well-known for its soft-to-touch leather products that include jackets, bags and a range of accessories.

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Bookends

One of the Lake District’s many fiercely independent bookshops, Bookends is a must-visit in Keswick. Do not let its small exterior fool you – it is jam-packed with all the books you could imagine, and even utilises its courtyard area to fit more books in.

It offers new, second hand and antique books.

Find out more

Ye Olde Friars

Ye Olde Friars is well-known amongst chocolate aficionados. It offers some of the best chocolate in the world, sources from the very finest chocolatiers in the UK and designs all its gifts in-house – so you can be sure they will make a unique gift for a loved one (or yourself…).

Find out more

Outdoor clothing galore

With such a wealth of gorgeous nature to discover, it is no surprise that one of Keswick’s shopping specialities is outdoor clothes. George Fisher is well-known to both Lake District natives and outside adventurers, while you can also explore Winfields , Alpkit , Paramo , Needle Sports , The Sick and the Wrong.

Afternoon Tea

Where to eat in Keswick

Like many towns in the Lake District, Keswick has an outstanding reputation for independent cafés and restaurants. Here are just a few of our favourites:

• The Round.
• The Pocket Café Bar.
• The Square Orange Café.
• Thyme Bistro.
• Fellpack.
• Casa Bella.
• Merienda.
• Chalet Tearooms and Restaurant.
• Lake Road Brunch.
• Old Keswickian Fish & Chips Restaurant.
• Afternoon tea at Armathwaite Hall.

 

What day is Keswick Market on?

Every Thursday and Saturday from 9am to 4.30pm.

 

Local walking routes

As you would expect, Keswick has some wonderfully scenic walking routes – and you can take on different routes depending on your level of fitness!

• Catbells.
• Friars Crag.
• Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell.
• Maiden Moor & High Spy.
• Brandlehow Park.
• Ashness Bridge & Surprise View.
• Castle Head.
• Latrigg and Skiddaw.

What to do in Keswick in the rain

The weather can be a little unpredictable in the Lake District, and if you do not want to face the elements, there are plenty of the above activities you can do in Keswick to keep you warm and dry:

• Visit the museums
• Go shopping
• Visit The Puzzling Place
• Make your way around the breweries, pubs and cafés.

Getting to Keswick

When travelling from Armathwaite Hall, you will take a scenic route via Lake Bassenthwaite.

It is really easy to get to – just take B5291 onto the A66 until you reach A5271/A591 in Keswick.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/T4KDyxhf1r2aV6739

If you have not booked your stay, we have a range of unmissable Lake District hotel offers available.

If you are travelling to Keswick by car, there are lots of available car parks, including council-owned car parks at:

  • Otley Road
  • Bell Close
  • Central
  • Lakeside car and coach parking

The following venues also offer car parking to the public:

  • Keswick Rugby Club
  • Fitz Park Trust (Croswaithe Road car park)
  • Keswick Football Club
  • Keswick Leisure Centre
  • Rawnsley Centre car park
  • Keswick Pencil Museum car park
  • Skiddaw Street car park.

You can get an up-to-date parking charges list from Visit Keswick .

 

How far is Keswick from Windermere and Threlkeld Walk?

Keswick is around a 45-minute drive, or an hour bus journey, away from Windermere. You can easily visit both in a day, but we recommend exploring on separate days so you can enjoy each location as much as possible!

It is just an eight-minute drive, or 13-minute bus ride, away from Threlkeld Walk!

Interested in exploring more of the Lake District? Check out our best things to do in the Lake District.

 

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