With a bustling market town set amongst the mountains and between two lakes, Keswick is the perfect place for a self catering holiday, whether you’re looking for gentle relaxation or action packed family fun.
This is a major centre for walkers and our cottages in the area are a great base, with all sorts of walks on offer, from the summits of Skiddaw, Cat Bells and Helvellyn to forest trails and lakeside paths.
One of our favourite days out near Keswick is a fantastically rewarding circular walk in St John's in the Vale with wonderful views of the big fells followed by a peaceful stroll down the banks of the river to the excellent tea room at Low Bridge End Farm.
One of my favourite mountains near Keswick is Blencathra (sometimes known as Saddleback). It has various routes to get up it, but the most challenging is over Sharp Edge. If you prefer a shorter walk, then try Souther Fell which starts off as for Blencathra but then veers out to the right. Watch out for the phantom army though.
There are many mountain biking cycle routes plus there are the specifically built trails on Whinlatter Pass, just above Keswick, where you can hire bikes.
Derwentwater, flanked by mountains is a popular place for walks. The Keswick Launch is a lovely way to see the lake itself, stopping at various points around the lake where you can hope on and off. You can also step back in time and hire Victorian rowing boats to see what the Lake District looks like at a slower pace. Alternatively there are also motor-boats available to hire.
There are also some great places to go swimming in the lake’s clear waters and get a completely different perspective on the Lake District fells.
For the less energetic, there is plenty to do. The Moot Hall, in the market square, has a well-stocked tourist information centre. Keswick is a bustling Lake District town with lots of shops, selling everything from antiques, books, paintings and pottery, jewellery, speciality foods and local produce as well as clothes, gifts, and traditional toys. There is a weekly market on Saturdays which sells some great local Lake District produce.
Castlerigg Stone Circle is well worth a visit. The stones have been standing there for 5000 years and the scenery is spectacular.
There are also many galleries and museums, including the Pencil Museum, featuring the biggest pencil in the world. In Hope Park there is a pitch and putt golf course and a mini-golf.
Keswick has a close association with many literary figures, particularly John Ruskin, the Victorian writer and philiosopher, to whom there is a memorial at Friar’s Crag, and the Lake District's Romantic poets, Southey, Coleridge and Wordsworth. The historic Mirehouse has a particular connection with Tennyson, who wrote his famous poem Morte d’Arthur whilst staying there. It is open to the public and holds portraits and manuscripts of 3 poet laureates.
By night, you can visit the famous Theatre by the Lake, which puts on plays, shows and concerts all year round. There is also the Alhambra Cinema. At different times of the year Keswick has a Jazz Festival, the 'Words by the Water' Book Festival, a Beer Festival and of course, the famous Keswick Christian Convention.
There are many places to eat and drink in Keswick, from tea-shops to cafes, cosy pubs, gracious lakeside hotels and restaurants. So if you want a special night out, a break from self catering in the cottage or just a cup of tea and slice of Lake District cake, Keswick has it covered.
There are also two Farmer's Shows in the area with both the Borrowdale and Keswick Shows running annually (field conditions dependent). Please see our review of Lake District Shows for more details.
- Our Top Ten of dog friendly pubs and cafes
- Have a look at our review of Boy's Stuff in the Lake District.
- Have a look at things to do Down on the Farm in Keswick and beyond.
- Visit our Review of the Lake District shows
- Cumbrian Wildlife.
- See our dog friendly lake district cottages and Dog Friendly pubs
- See our short breaks
- Churches in the Lake District.
- Keswick Mountain Festival.
- For walks in the Keswick area, see walks in the Lake District under Keswick Walks.
- Here is a slideshow of Keswick in the snow.
- Keswick leads to the Borrowdale valley with plenty of walks and activities.