A Weekend Escape to Keswick
Enjoy wild countryside and more leisurely pursuits in this compact Cumbrian town
Located within the Lake District National Park, Keswick may only have a population of just over 5,000 but it punches well above its weight in terms of awe-inspiring countryside and ways to enjoy that scenery. Dramatic fells surround the town, while Derwentwater sits to the south, with Bassenthwaite Lake further north.
It’s not just about the outdoors here though, with plenty to do and see, particularly relating to the town’s rich industrial and mining heritage which dates back as far as Elizabethan times. All our recommendations for things to do and where to eat and stay are rated by the AA and/or VisitEngland.
Things to do
The biggest draw for visitors to Keswick is its access to the outdoors. Walkers, climbers, cyclists and water lovers are treated to a wealth of possibilities, with plenty of cosy pubs offering a warm welcome and a hearty meal afterwards. Just a short distance to the south of the town, Derwentwater is often known as the Queen of the Lakes. The pleasant 9-mile circular lakeshore walk offers a chance to spot otter and birds, while the nearby scenic valley of Borrowdale joins Keswick to Seathwaite, with no fewer than eight National Trust car parks in that 7 miles, giving plenty of places to start your wander in the fells.
Worth a visit is the atmospheric Castlerigg Stone Circle, just two miles east of the town. Dating from around 2000 BC the ancient site is surrounded by dramatic fells, with the peak of Helvellyn to the southeast.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the Honister Slate Mine, which was England’s last operational slate mine offers guided climbs, hikes, mine tours and the exciting option of a Via Ferrata climb with a stunning view to finish.
Alternatively, why not take a well-earned breather and enjoy a rest day visit to the Derwent Pencil Museum (graphite was first discovered in a nearby Borrowdale mine) or the Keswick Museum with its mix of art and local history?
Places to stay
Whether you are looking for a stay under the stars, cosy self-catering or a stylish hotel, Keswick has plenty of options for the weary visitor.