Things to do nearby Walkers Retreat
Walkers Retreat is situated in the heart of Keswick, a buzzing hub of outdoor activities. There is a vast choice of outdoor activities on two feet, two wheels or out on the water, and numerous instructors and guides should you need them, eager to show you the ropes. The town has a growing number of stylish bars to rival the traditional pubs as well as lovely tea rooms and cafes. As for outdoor shops, well Keswick is the place to be, with a wide range of independent retailers staffed with outdoor aficionados. But Keswick is not just a great place for gear fiends to shop, there are also quirky independent shops, clothes shops and a cavernous book shop. On Thursday and Saturday the market takes over the pedestrianised town centre. Thursday's market is put on by local traders only and is the perfect place for picking up a jar of honey produced at the foot of Skiddaw, something from Saddleback Butchers or a piece of decorative slate from Borrowdale.
Keswick's lake is a gem in Lakeland's crown, encircled by majestic mountain scenery - the family friendly tops of Catbells and Walla Crag on either side and the jaws of Borrowdale at the southern tip. An easy ten mile path loops around the lake with a pushchair/wheelchair friendly section starting from Lodore. The Launch cruise takes around 50 minutes for the round trip or you can hop on and off at any of the seven jetties around the lake. Use the launch to get to the foot of Catbells as there are now double yellow lines along all the roads around the fell preventing parking in the narrow lanes.
You can hire self-drive motor boats and rowing boats from the main launch jetty and the Launch itself is available to hire for special events. Derwentwater Marina and Nichol End in Portinscale offer lessons in sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking and boats are available to hire without lessons or supervision.
At the southern tip of Derwentwater is Platty+, based at the Lodore boat landing. As well as offering tuition and hire for all manner of boats, they have dragon boats and viking long ships for hire which really are a sight to behold out on the water. Platty+ are a good choice for a team building event or for large groups.
Derwent Island House is an eighteenth century house situated on an island on the lake. It is owned by the National Trust but lived in by a tenant (how lovely). It is open to the public for a few days each year, subject to lake levels. Tickets must be booked in advance either by calling 017687 73780 or visiting the small National Trust shop by the lakeside.
Hope Park - This park, between the town centre and the lake, has a 9-hole pitch and putt course, crazy obstacle golf, a plant centre, lots of seats, and an ice-cream stand.
Fitz Park This park has a children’s playground, a cricket pitch (see the locals play in summer), a bowling green and tennis courts
The Theatre by the Lake - Positioned between Hope Park and the lake, the Theatre has a summer season of 6 rotating plays. It is much loved for its Christmas shows and also the many festivals it hosts, including Words by the Water and the Jazz and Mountain festivals.
The Pencil Museum - At Southey Works, Main Street. The Cumberland Pencil Co. has been based in Keswick for 175 years, and this well-thought out museum tells the history of pencil making, with a replica of a graphite mine. It is highly suitable for kids, with a quiz and drawing zone. There is also a café and pencil shop. Open daily from 9.30-4.
The Mining Museum - It’s not well known outside the area, but Cumberland was a hive of mining activity for hundreds of years. This museum, at Otley Road, tells the story, starting with the immigration of German mining specialists in 1564. In the geology room, you can find out about mining copper, lead, graphite, slate, coal, iron and gypsum and discover how they were smelted and treated to provide familiar objects. Open 10-5 daily, closed on Mondays in winter.
Threlkeld Mining Museum - The mine at Threlkeld, 3 miles east of Keswick, produced granite for road building until 1982. Here, you can go underground to see a real mine, see the original quarry machinery and visit the geology and mining museum. Open 7 days a week from Easter to October.
Honister Slate Mine - The mine is on Honister pass, 9 miles west of Keswick. It is the last working slate mine in the country. There are guided tours of the mine itself, and a visitor centre, but most people go there for the Via Ferrata. This ‘iron road’ is an updated version of the climbing system used by Victorian miners to get to work; it has iron cables and hand holds up the rock face, reaching the 2126 ft-high summit of Fleetwith Pike. Open 7 days a week, 9-5.
Keswick Museum and Art Gallery - This free museum was opened in 1898 and well deserves its moniker as the ‘3rd strangest museum in the world’! It has a mixed collection of interesting objects left to the museum, including a stone xylophone, a 664-year old desiccated cat and a penny farthing bicycle. More seriously, it also has a credible collection of the manuscripts of Southey, Wordsworth and High Walpole, and examples of the Keswick School of Industrial Art’s arts and crafts items.
St. Kentigern’s Church, Crosthwaite - This gem lies to the west of Keswick. The first church at this site was allegedly established by St. Kentigern himself in 553AD, but the current church mostly dates from 1523 with parts from the late 12th and 14th centuries. It is unique in having all twelve consecration crosses. It has a 14th century font, a fine mosaic floor and two alabaster effigies dating from 1495. It also houses a monument to the poet, Robert Southey. Weekly services.
The Puzzling Place - At Museum Square. This interesting exhibition aims to entertain with confusion, with lots of optical illusions, including holograms and an ‘anti-gravity’ room. There is a puzzle shop and a puzzle room. Open 10-6, seven days a week from Easter to November. Open 11-5 from November to Easter, closed Mondays.
The Keswick Brewing Company - You can tell how long this has been here – it’s based on Brewery Lane. Full brewery tours available but opening times vary – call 017687 80700.
Alhambra Cinema -On St. John’s Street.
A number of eating places have live musicians in the evening. Try
• The Oddfellows Arms, Main Street, has live music seven nights a week in the summer months .
• The Square Orange, St. John’s Street, has live music on Thursdays.
Lake District Spas - Treat yourself to a Pamper Day at one of Keswick’s most beautifully sited hotels. Indoor pool, sauna, gym, tennis court and full range of beauty treatments.
Keswick Golf Club - Based at Threlkeld Hall, three miles to the east of Keswick. 18-hole parkland course with Lakeland views. Club house with bar and restaurant, golfing shop.
Castlerigg Stone Circle - This sight is not to be missed – a short 1.5mile walk or drive to the southeast of Keswick. This circle of 40 stones is believed to be 5,000 years old, and, in common with a lot of Cumbrian stone circles, is supposed to be aligned to midwinter sunrise…but we don’t know why! Sited on a flat-topped hill, overlooked by the peaks of Skiddaw and Blencathra, it’s a beautiful place to visit, whether you’re interested in ancient monuments or not.
Keswick is famed for excellent festivals. Try these:
• Film Festival (Feb)
• Words by the Water (Feb-Mar)
• Half Marathon (May)
• Jazz Festival (May)
• Mountain Festival (May)
• Beer Festival (June)
• Street Theatre (June and July)
• Christian Convention (July)
• Derwentwater Trail (September)
• Christmas Faeroe (December)
Adventure Training. There are many activity providers in the area. Here are just a few:
• Keswick Rambles offers guided walks between April and November.
• Tim Mosedale - Learn to rock climb with an Everest Summiteer .
• Pace the Peaks offer guided walks .
• Mountain Sense offer guided rock climbing, scrambling, gorge walking and canoeing.