Keswick is one of the largest and most popular towns in the Lake District National Park. It is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with every other shop selling outdoor clothes, gear, and equipment.
It is, however, about much, much more than this there is a fantastic selection of artisan shops and a great weekly market.
Keswick is also the Northern Lakes hub for a large selection of events throughout the whole year. Kestrel Lodge is a great place to stay for all of Keswick’s activities located just 6 miles away in a quiet enclave it is an easy drive or bus ride away but can also be accessed by foot with nice walks either along the side of Bassenthwaite Lake or around the foot of Skiddaw, passing Skiddaw house and dash falls along the Cumbrian way.
Keswick is located in the shadow of Skiddaw and Blencathera, two of Lakelands highest and most iconic mountains, and is around a 15 minute drive from the M6 motorway.
Shopping and Markets
For those who enjoy a potter around markets, then look no further than Keswick, which holds a traditional market twice a week, Thursdays and Saturdays, throughout the year.
This is an incredibly popular market which has a vast array of stalls ranging from fruit and veg, locally produced cheeses, freshly baked bread (my personal favourite!) to handmade gifts and household products. There are also several hot and cold food snacks available to tempt you with inviting smells.
Thursday’s market specializes in local artisan produce and crafts as well as the usual market stalls.
Keswick Market was recently crowned ‘Best Outdoor Market’ in the recent 2015 Great British Market Awards.
Shopping in Keswick is excellent from Booths “Local” supermarkets with a difference where you will get great local produce as well as the necessities through to the Outdoor shops and gift shops.
Keswick High Street is a hive of activity and provides a “buzz” to the town. The High street is a venue for festivals and music throughout the year as well as being flanked by cafes, and shops that spill out onto the street year round.
If shopping for Camping, walking, climbing, or in fact any outdoor pursuit is your thing then Keswick is a Mecca the choice is phenomenal and caters for everyone who cares to look.
There are a number of shops selling Lakeland fair as well shops like Herdies welcome you in with a great range of products that offer something a little different yet distinctly Lakeland in flavour
Keswick is a working town with a local population as well though and as such you will also find pet shops (Keswick is the dog friendliest town in the UK), chemists, and anything else you require.
Keswick’s Theatre By The Lake is located in a fantastic location just a stones throw from the edge of Derwent Water. The theatre has two stages, a large 400 seater main hall, and a smaller “studio” that provides an intimate theatre experience. The theatre produces plays throughout the year from classic productions through to a more contempory selection as well as hosting a variety of festivals.
The theatre also has a café open year round that you will pass as you walk down the lakeside a great stop off for coffee and cakes after a walk or boat ride on the Keswick Launch.
There are 3 museums in Keswick, you may be surprised to discover. The Pencil Museum is probably the best known and located in the former pencil factory. It offers great entertainment for the kids on a wet day and has a lovely cafe too. The Keswick Museum and Art Gallery is near Fitz Park and open daily between 10am and 4pm. The Museum has a regular collection as well as hosting various exhibitions throughout the year to suite a variety of tastes and ages. Guest collections have recently included a mountain heritage trust exhibition and Inspiring Adventure from Tom Price a lifetime explores and mountaineer. The third museum is Puzzling Places, located on the aptly named Museum Square, this is an optical illusion and art exhibition that’s fun for all the family.
Amongst the many attractions that Keswick has to offer are two stunning public parks. These offer traditional opportunities to rest and relax amongst the beautiful planted gardens which have helped to make Keswick a winner in the Cumbria in Bloom competition year after year. There are also activities for those so inclined, such as bowling, tennis, and miniature golf.
Fitz Park is located near the town centre and offers 28 acres of parkland next to the river Greta with Skiddaw and Latrigg visible in the background. Dogs are welcome in the park and a children’s playground is just one of the facilities on offer. Recently affected by the 2015 floods the trustees were quickly on hand to put it back together and this remains a great place to visit in the town.
Hope Park is situated between the town and the lake and was donated to the town by Sir Percy Hope in 1925. Most people will meander through Hope Park on there way down to the lake or theatre. The park has beautiful planted gardens to walk around along with a crazy golf and an 18 whole putting course.
Keswick Leisure Centre
Fun for all the family and our pick for a wet day, Keswick leisure pool are located near Fitz Park just out of the town centre, the fun pool offers slides and wave machine. There are times set aside for serious swimming though if you’re training for the great north swim or anything else. The Leisure Centre also has a guy with a pay as you go opportunity so if you are only in the area for a day or so you can still use the facilities.
Portinscale - if you fancy a walk or Keswick Launch across the lake
Portinscale can be a busy little thoroughfare but there are a few great places to try weather you’ve had a walk by the lake caught Keswick launch to Derwent marina or are just driving few there are 3 places that are on my must try list as they are places we very much enjoy. All are very dog friendly and all are quite unique and different.
The Chalet Tearooms and Restaurant
Open from breakfast through to afternoon tea, they offer some great meals or coffee and cake options if you prefer. Whether you want to chill outside or pop inside this airy chalet you won’t be disappointed. I’ve had lunch here a couple of times and there are still more dishes I want to try it’s a lovely little spot and worth a visit.
Nichol End Marina Café
This is a little hidden gem, you can get off Keswick launch at Nichol End Marina if you fancy a walk around the lake. You can stop here if you fancy hiring a canoe or boat here. It’s a great place to have a swim from but whichever of these activities you decide to do here you HAVE to stop for a homemade scone which are enormous and gorgeous. The café is quirky and there is always a hustle and bustle about the place but don’t worry about the lack of designer décor here its friendly its value for money and its lovely tasty food.
At the other end of the spectrum really is Lingholme. Lingholme has recently been refurbished and the décor is lovely, Lingholme estates has a café and shop and also Lama walking if you fancy! We often visit this place after a walk around the lake, it’s a great place to park and have a walk before a coffee or lunch. It can get very, very busy in the summer but don’t let that put you off. The menu is very fancy its quite different but very tasty. Andrea loves the mint tea and I keep visiting for the artisan bread you can buy there to take home.