It's easy to see why so many families choose Keswick as a holiday destination. The spectacular backdrop of lakes, mountains and rivers means that this is a landscape that lends itself to adventure. Children will be thrilled by all that’s on offer and there really is something for everyone, from toddlers to teenagers and even parents and grandparents! There are so many places to explore outdoors but also a great range of indoor options too. This itinerary has been put together with some local knowledge and aims to introduce you to some of the top highlights for families.
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Friday Afternoon (Arrival): Pitch and Putt in Hope Park
After your car journey into Keswick and arrival at your holiday cottage, you will want to stretch your legs and familiarise yourself with your surroundings. A great place to start is to take a walk down to Hope Park, just a ten minute stroll from Keswick’s town centre. The park has beautifully kept gardens with footpaths meandering through the greenery, and the bird-hide is fascinating for children. You can take part in a range of traditional park games, from pitch and putt to crazy golf and petanque (a bit like Boules) and there are even some remote control boats! After having fun in the park, you can wander down to the shores of Derwentwater, where you will find the Theatre by The Lake (discounts available for guests of Sally's Cottages) and the jetties for the Keswick Launch. For young children there is the option of buying seed from the boathouse to feed the ducks, geese and even swans, who will feign hunger at all times! A further 10-minute walk along the pebbled lakeshore will take you to Friars Crag, a rock promontory that offers spectacular views across the lake to Borrowdale, Catbells, Castle Crag and Walla Crag. If you are in need of refreshment, there is a café in Hope Park, as well as within the theatre, or you can visit the Lakeside Café Restaurant if you want to dine out.
Saturday Morning: Keswick Launch and Nichol End Marina
After yesterday, you will be familiar with the route to the Keswick jetties and, if you’ve not already picked up a leaflet, the timetable can be found online. The launch makes a circuit of the lake in both a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction, so you can choose to get to Nichol End Marina (Number 8 Jetty) by the quick way or the scenic way! The launches have indoor seating for those who want to remain dry but children are likely to choose the thrill of sitting outside with the wind in their hair and waves splashing up over the sides of the boat. The Keswick Launch has been a quintessential part of Keswick since 1935, so this is a great way to start your day. When you arrive at Nichol End Marina, you will see a range of boats lined up on the shore, all ready for hire. You can take out a row boat, kayaks, paddle boards and much more. Wetsuits and buoyancy aids come with hire and there are changing rooms with showers, so you can head out onto the lake and get stuck in! After having fun with some water sports, you can enjoy a delicious lunch at the café on site before catching the launch back to Keswick.
Saturday Afternoon: The Puzzling Place and Keswick Market
You wouldn’t want to visit Keswick without enjoying a stroll through the town centre with its quaint old shopfronts and a great range of independent shops and cafés to enjoy. Keswick Market runs every Saturday from 9:00 until 4:30 and has lots of lovely stalls to look at. To keep the children entertained, you might want to pop into Java Coffee Shop where you can get skewers of fruit/marshmallows that are dipped into their chocolate fountain! For toddlers, Mrs F’s Café is a good place for refreshments, as they keep a range of toys upstairs (and have a stair gate). After a look around the town you can visit the Puzzling Place, a fascinating gallery of optical illusions, holograms and puzzles. The highlight is the ‘anti-gravity room’, which seems to defy logic and leaves you feeling a little seasick! Make sure to bring a camera with you as there are lots of illusions that can be captured.
Saturday Evening: Castlehead Walk
Castlehead is a wooded hill that offers a great birds-eye view over Keswick, as well as a fantastic outlook of the surrounding mountains. This is a good choice for an evening walk as it’s just 162 meters in height and only takes about 30 minutes from the Borrowdale Road yet is steep enough to give children a real sense of achievement when they get to the top. The woodland is a great place for hide-and-seek if you have younger ones that need some distraction on the way up. Some even say that there are fairies that hide treats on the summit! It is steep at the summit, though perfectly achievable, so keep a close eye on younger ones.
Sunday Morning: Kong Adventure
This morning’s activity is a visit to Kong Adventure, an exciting indoor facility offering a range of activities to entertain the whole family. For toddlers, there is a play area and café upstairs and the family rock climbing sessions cater for a range of ages. If parents wish to take part, you can book an instructor who will teach you the basic skills required to take your children climbing, both at this wall and other walls in the country. Alternatively, you can book your children onto a kids climbing session whilst you enjoy a well-earned break and coffee upstairs. There is also indoor caving, a clip and climb (Krazy Kong), bouldering and even an escape room! This is a fun space to burn off some energy, especially if it’s a little damp outside! After your activities, you can enjoy lunch at the café or can head into town to eat if you prefer somewhere a little quieter! If you have sunny weather and want to remain outside, Kong Adventure offers a range of outdoor pursuits, though these need to be booked in advance.
Sunday Afternoon: Latrigg Walk
If you look up towards Skiddaw from Keswick, you will see Latrigg nestled just beneath and you can usually pick out a line of walkers along its silhouette. All paths up to the summit are well established and wonderfully scenic and the views from the top stretch on for miles in all directions. From the summit, you can have fun looking down at Keswick, trying to pick out all of the spots you have visited so far! If you are aiming for an afternoons walk (2 – 2.5 hrs), you can set off from Spooney Green Lane, where a wooden signpost points the way. A well-established path takes a series of gentle bends, snaking up Latrigg’s western flank. Just prior to the summit, you will come to a bench where you can have a snack and take in the views. A few short steps from there and you are at the top. Most people return via the same route. For those with small children, you can choose a much shorter walk by driving part-way up around the back to the northern side of Latrigg, where there is a small car park at Gale Road, above Applethwaite (the road up is very steep). From here, an easy path can be followed all the way to the top: a round trip that takes about 45 minutes – 1hr.
Sunday Evening: Fitz Park
Fitz Park is just a 5-minute walk from the town centre and is a great place for kids to run around. There is a play park with three play zones designed for toddlers, primary children and even teenagers (bring a bucket and spade for the sandpit). The footpath that loops around the park is ideal for scooters and bikes and there is even a BMX track for those who are confidently riding and want an exciting challenge: hours of fun on those jumps and turns! The park is beautifully green with views of Skiddaw and Latrigg as well as the River Greta flowing along one side. It's the perfect place for a picnic dinner! In good weather, children can splash about in the river (bring water shoes).
Monday Morning: Castlerigg Stone Circle – Rookery Wood
If you have a little spare time before you leave, you can take a minor detour and visit Castlerigg Stone Circle, just a 10-minute drive out of Keswick and in the direction of the M6. This Neolithic site is believed to be one of the oldest stone circles in the country and it is certainly one of the most photographed, with a great expanse of mountain views surrounding the site, including Helvellyn and Blencathra. At the same location, you will find Keswick Climbing Wall, an indoor climbing wall with a little café. They also have a fantastic outdoor adventure play area called Rookery Woods, which is designed for those aged 8 and under and has a variety of different obstacles, games and challenges.
This weekend itinerary offers a fun-filled family weekend; you will want to return again and again and can find your perfect Keswick self-catering cottage each time!