Most visitors come to Keswick to experience the breathtaking natural landscape, and it’s not hard to see why! In every direction, there are mountains, rivers, lakes and a never-ending range of walks and outdoor activities to take part in. However, the mountains can attract the odd rain cloud, so we have listed some of our favourite indoor activities for you to enjoy, just in case!
You can always dry off and warm up at one of our lovely Keswick holiday cottages.
1. The Pencil Museum
The Pencil Museum is a fun and interactive way to learn about the history of Keswick’s graphite mining industry, which is fascinating. Graphite was once an extremely valuable commodity, originally taken by the military for cannonballs and rifle shots, as well as being used on a large scale as an industrial lubricant, and later on for making pencils. Keswick had the first pencil mill in the world, and the Borrowdale graphite is thought to be the purest form of this mineral worldwide. The history of this material is extensive, and the pencil museum is an integral part of the town's identity. The museum contains one of the largest pencils in the world, at nearly 8 metres long, as well as miniature pencil sculptures and much more to pique your interest. This is a must-visit for history lovers.
2. Keswick Museum
This museum has an extensive collection of exhibits, all offering a historical insight into the fascinating history of Keswick and the surrounding areas. The collections include geological pieces, historical artefacts, pictures of the area's mountaineering history, information on the industrial history of the area, literary manuscripts and much more. They have a fluid programme of exhibitions, events and family activities, so check out the website to see what’s on!
3. Kong Adventure
Kong Adventure is a great indoor adventure facility boasting a climbing wall, clip-and-climb, an indoor caving system and a soft play area for young children. For those who have never climbed before, you can book an instructor, who will teach you how to tie in and how to belay your climbing partner - techniques that you can use at other climbing walls around the country. Children can be booked onto group climbing sessions, allowing the parents some time to relax or spectate. There is also an escape room, for those who would like to test their mental stamina! This is a really fun space that offers something for everyone in one location.
4. The Puzzling Place
The Puzzling Place exhibits a wide range of weird and wonderful optical illusions, holograms, funny mirrors and fun puzzles. The ticket prices are very affordable and it generally takes about 30 minutes to make your way around the circuit of illusions. Make sure you bring your camera with you, as many of the optical illusions transfer really well to a photograph and it’s a fun memory to reflect back on when you get home. The ‘anti-gravity room’ seems to defy logic and you’ll step out feeling a little out of kilter! There is a great souvenir shop with a fantastic range of toys and puzzles. (For those with children, there is a good toy shop next door, too).
5. The Makers Mill
The Makers Mill is an exciting new venture; an art gallery and open studio space located in the old industrial heart of Keswick. Visitors can pop by and observe the artists at work, who specialise in skills such as furniture making, ceramics, mosaics, textiles and silver jewellery. There is a gallery space and shop selling a beautiful range of original pieces, handcrafted by artisans residing throughout Cumbria. You can purchase anything from wooden furniture to knitted hats, handbags, cushions, jewellery and much more. For those that like to get creative, there are a wide range of courses running every weekend throughout the year, so why not come along and get involved?
6. Keswick Swimming Pool
Though there are adult sessions, this pool is mostly geared towards families, with its 40-metre twisting water slide, toddler slide and wave machine. There is a large shallow shore area at the pool edge, which is perfect for those with younger children who are still learning to swim. There are also tactile puzzles on the pool walls, to keep toddlers entertained, and a small waterfall area. You will need to check the website for timetables, as there are age restrictions on some of the sessions and the slide and wave machines are only on at ‘splash’ time. Remember to bring a £1 coin for the lockers and change for parking (which is reimbursed when you pay your entrance fee). For adults who are keen swimmers, Penrith and Cockermouth have 25-metre pools with lane sessions.
7. Keswick Shops
Image credit: Dave Willis. Copyright: Dave Willis
Keswick has a picturesque town centre with a broad range of shops and art galleries. You can easily enjoy a relaxing few hours simply strolling through these pretty streets, and there are plenty of pubs and cafés when you are in need of refreshment. Some local recommendations are: Ye Old Friars chocolate shop, The Cheese Deli, Magpie Jewellery Shop at Masons, the Northern Lights Gallery, Treeby and Bolton, Sea Salt, The Orchid House, Needle Sports and George Fishers outdoor shops… and there are many more! Most of the shops are small independent businesses, so it’s a real pleasure to look through what the area has to offer.
8. Keswick Launch
Image credit: Tony West
Though not technically an indoor activity, taking the launch is a good option on a rainy day as the boats have an indoor cabin to keep you sheltered while you enjoy the mountain views. The beautiful wooden launches on Derwentwater are a quintessential part of Keswick as a visitor attraction. The launch stops at eight locations around the lake, so you can take in the scenery on a complete circuit of the lake without getting off the boat, or you can use the launch to get you from place to place. If you want to make a full day of it, why not take the launch to Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden, where you can enjoy lunch, as well as a browse through their gift shop.
9. Alhambra Cinema
This quaint little cinema is one of the UK’s very few picture houses that has remained in continuous operation for over 100 years and is independently owned. The interior is such a blast from the past with red and gold textiles, ornate radiators, velvet swinging chairs… a lovely trip down memory lane. There are a wide range of popular films available, for both adults and children, so check out the times on their website. There is a film club every Sunday that screens the best of UK and world films, generally offering something a little off the grid. There is also a film festival in February/March each year.
10. Theatre by the Lake
Keswick’s prestigious Theatre by The Lake offers a great range of plays and performances year-round. The full programme of events can be found online, so you can book your tickets in advance or can simply pop in and see what’s available on the day. For the season's main productions, an incredibly talented and versatile cast of in-house actors will play out all of the characters in an eclectic selection of plays. There is a main stage as well as a studio space for smaller and more intimate performances. This wonderful theatre famously started out as the humble ‘Blue Box’ mobile theatre, taking shows to theatre-starved towns in post-war Britain before finally becoming a permanent feature in Keswick and eventually being replaced by the theatre building that exists now. The Lakeside Café Restaurant next door offers great views out over Derwentwater.
11. Keswick Brewing Company
This local craft brewery, launched in 2006, is just a 5-minute walk from the town centre and a lot of work is being done to transform the building into a great space for visiting ale lovers. You can take part in a 1-hour brewery tour to learn about the brewing process and sample their range of ales; it's worth booking because spaces are limited. Afterwards, you can relax in the bar or you can purchase some of your favourite ales from the shop. The central location of the brewery means that groups can enjoy sampling the range of ales without needing to allocate a driver, simply walk back to your accommodation or book a taxi! If you fancy being right next door to the brewery, be sure to take a look at Brews Cottage!
There's certainly plenty to do to keep you dry on a rainy day in Keswick! If you're having your own wet-weather day at home, why not find your perfect holiday cottage with our cottage search?
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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.