Explore the breathtaking beauty of Keswick with these 13 fabulous activities. From scenic hikes to charming local attractions, this guide will help you make the most of your visit.
This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click on a link and purchase something I recommend, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This helps keep my website up and running and is very appreciated. Thank you for your support! You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Keswick is one of the most popular places to visit in the Lake District National Park. It’s easy to see why, with its pretty market town surrounded by rugged mountains and a picturesque lake. It’s the perfect place for some much-needed relaxation or adrenaline adventures if that’s your thing! This guide will show you the best things to do in Keswick to make the most of your visit, including how to get there and where to stay.
Keswick and its surrounding area are absolutely stunning! I personally enjoy taking solo trips and getting out and about in the beautiful scenery, literally walking my feet off!
As you wander around, you will encounter fabulous picture-perfect countryside alongside fantastic mountain views! It’s the perfect place to unwind and recharge your batteries after a stressful few weeks at work.
If walking isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy your time in the Lake District. Derwent Water is the perfect place for a scenic cruise and If adrenaline adventures are your thing, you have plenty of activities to choose from, including rock climbing, abseiling or canyoning.
13 Fabulous Things To Do In Keswick:
Derwentwater is around 3 miles long, surrounded by mountains on all sides, and just a short stroll south from Keswick town centre.
There are a variety of ways you can enjoy the lake. You can take an 8-mile walk around the lake using the many well-maintained footpaths or enjoy a scenic boat trip from one of the Keswick launches that operate around the lake.
If a walk around the lake is too much, why not combine it with a cruise and have the best of both worlds?
There are also numerous activity centres around the lake offering various water sports activities such as paddle boarding, boating or windsurfing.
2. Castlerigg Stone Circle
Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the oldest stone circles in Britain, dating back to 3000 BC. Castlerigg is also one of the most atmospheric and dramatically sited circles with fabulous panoramic views surrounded by mountains. The circle is about 30 metres in diameter and comprises 38 stones, which vary in height from 1 metre to 2.3 metres!
The site itself is free to enter and is maintained by English Heritage. The site is open 24 hours a day and can be reached by car or with a leisurely 30-minute stroll uphill from Keswick town centre. Be warned, if walking, the hill can be very steep in parts!
If driving, there is a small car park, so it is best to come early in the day to guarantee a spot.
Dogs are also welcome but must be kept on a lead as grazing sheep are on the site!
3. Climb a mountain
If you enjoy walking or hiking, Keswick has plenty of mountains and trails to keep you occupied.
One of the most common trails is to hike up Catbells, which has a height of 451 metres and is situated on the western shore of Derwentwater. It offers an easy hike with fantastic views across the lake and surrounding area. You can climb Catbells from either end, walking up one side and down the other, or climb up and back down the same route if you are short on time.
On my last trip to Keswick, I incorporated a walk-up Catbells whilst walking around the lake, which was the highlight of my walk. The views are stunning and well worth the hard work up the trail. Other trails include Skiddaw, Latrigg, Wallaby’s Crag or even Helvellyn!
If you’re new to fell walking, don’t worry; there’s a variety of trails available for all different abilities; for those with limited abilities, Miles without Stiles offers selected routesLake District, including Keswick, throughout the that are suitable for wheelchair users, the visually impaired and those with pushchairs and young children.
4. Take a Cruise
Like other parts of the Lake District, Keswick has its own Launches and Jetties dotted around beautiful Derwentwater. These lovely little wooden launch boats leave roughly every half hour for a leisurely 50-minute boat trip around the lake. Around the lake are seven landing stages that enable people to get on and off and explore the local area.
You can buy tickets for single-leg trips or an all-day hop-on hop-off ticket, enabling you to explore most of the lake in one day. Boats have indoor and outdoor seating; however, be warned that the temperature can be much cooler out on the water, and the weather can change quickly, even in the summer months.
If visiting Keswick with children, visiting the landing stages is also a great spot to feed the friendly ducks. Duck food can be bought from the vendors and shops at the jetty for about £1
5. Ashness Bridge
Ashness Bridge is probably the most photographed stone bridge in the Lake District due to its location and stunning views. This popular viewpoint looks out over Derwentwater with spectacular views over Bassenthwaite Lake and the River Derwent.
You can reach Ashness Bridge while walking around Derwentwater, or you can take a launch boat and get off at Ashness Pier and head uphill towards the remote hamlet of Watendlath and Watendlath Tarn. The walk is pretty steep, but the views are totally worth it!
You can continue up the hill to Surprise View, which will give you even better views of the whole of Derwentwater, Borrowdale to the South, and on a clear day, Bassenthwaite Lake to the North.
6. Take a trip to Buttermere
You can take a trip from Keswick to one of my favourite parts of the Lake District, Buttermere! With only a 4km low-level walk, Buttermere is one of the smallest and easiest lakes to walk around within the Lake District. Views in the Lake District rarely get better than here!
Buttermere also has a small village nestled on its shore, offering a few fabulous pubs to have a bite to eat and a hard-earned beer! On the other side of the village, you will also find its twin lake, Crummock Water. These lakes were once joined together before fall erosion gradually split them apart.
Buttermere is easily accessible via public transport, with buses running every hour during the summer, offering plenty of time to explore the lake and the surrounding area. The bus ride is beautiful, taking you over the Honistor Pass. Be prepared to stand, though, especially in peak times in the summer months, as the buses can get packed out, even refusing passengers at times.
7. Check out one of the beautiful parks
There are two lovely parks in Keswick, Fitz Park and Hope Park.
The lovely Fitz Park is located alongside the River Greta and is only a few minutes walk from Keswick’s town centre. If the weather is on your side, then Fitz Park is a lovely spot to sit with a picnic or coffee and enjoy some sunshine.
It’s also a great little spot for those with small children who can enjoy the park facilities. Even without children, it is a great place to wander and chill out; you might even be able to catch a local cricket or football match in the playing fields adjacent.
Hope Park is a mosaic of gardens and family leisure facilities situated between Keswick and the lake. The park was landscaped in the 1920s by the landowner Sir Percy Hope, and the sweet ornamental garden on the west side was once his wife, Lady Hope’s private garden.
Today, Hope Park has free Wi-Fi remote-controlled boats, a woodland walk and a picnic area, crazy golf, an 18-hole putting green and a nine-hole pitch and putt course.
8. Walk with Alpacas and Llamas
Have you ever wanted to take a walk with an Alpaca or Llama? If so, Keswick is the place to visit. Alpacaly Ever After is an organisation that lets you get hands-on experience with their fabulous Alpacas and Llamas. There are several places around the area where you can meet these amazing creatures; however, the Lingholm Estate is probably the nearest to Keswick.
Opportunities range from meeting and feeding them to taking them for a little walk around the local area. If you are looking for something different to do in the Lake District, this could be for you.
9. Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden
I found this place purely by accident whilst walking around the lake. As it was still early morning, I saw a sign for a cafe and decided to stop and grab a quick drink.
The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden is part of the Lingholm Estate, which offers fantastic holiday accommodation along the shore of Derwentwater. However, you can’t access this part of the estate unless you are a guest.
The cafe and kitchen are lovely, with a large terrace overlooking the walled garden below; it’s the perfect place to sit and grab a coffee, and I recommend stopping if walking around the lake. The fabulous greenhouse next door to the cafe is also available for a special lunch or a sumptuous afternoon tea.
The walled garden is beautiful and very well maintained. The Octagonal walled garden sits on the same spot as the old Lingholm Kitchen gardens, which Beatrix Potter credited as her inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Within the garden is a gallery dedicated to Beatrix Potter’s work in the Derwentwater area, giving a little insight into her life.
10. Check out a Museum or two
Keswick is home to several museums that are worth a visit. These include:
Keswick Museum: If you want to discover some local history, this museum aims to tell the many stories that have put Keswick firmly on the map and at the heart of a World Heritage Site.
Derwent Pencil Museum: Located in Keswick, the home of the first pencil, visitors enter this museum through a replica graphite mine, which would have served as the source of the pencil industry over three centuries ago, a journey of graphite and pencil discovery from its humble beginnings as a cottage industry to modern-day production.
The Puzzling Place: The Puzzling Place’s ‘World of Illusion’ takes the theme of Illusion and runs with it. Its exhibitions include the anti-gravity Room, Ames Room, Hologram Gallery and Eyelusions Exhibition. It’s a fascinating, fun and social excursion into the beautiful world of optical illusion, which will leave you, quite literally, not believing your eyes!
11. Try some adventure sports
The Lake District is home to adventure sports, and Keswick is no exception. There are various companies around Keswick offering a multitude of activities to keep any adrenaline junkie happy. The most popular outdoor adventure in the Lake District is rock climbing, and the nearby Hoister Slate Mine, en route to Buttermere, is home to the fabulous Via Ferrata! Thought to be one of the best in the UK!
Using the original Miner’s track up the steep outer incline of Fleetwith Pike, the addition of a continuous cable made climbing this magnificent Lake District Mountain achievable and safe for everyone. You can choose between the Via-Ferrara classic or the Via-Ferrata X-treame!
Of course, not all outdoor adventures are that extreme! Various other companies offer activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking, or water sports, so there is something for everyone.
Ok, so most of the shops around Keswick are generally outdoor clothing adventure shops; however, if you delve a little deeper, you will find an assortment of novelty, vintage and some smaller boutique stores selling clothes, jewellery and homeware as well as great places to find some local produce including sweet treats to take home.
Don’t miss the fabulous Ye Olde Friars Sweetshop in the main square! The sweets in here are delightful!
Keswick market is also great for finding a bargain or some unusual souvenirs. Held every Saturday in the main square, it sells everything from Lakeland wool to Greek olives, cheese, meat, jewellery, art, and gifts. It’s also the perfect place to grab a bite to eat, with lots of different food stalls on offer.
13. Enjoy the local Cafes and Bars
With all that waking and sightseeing, you’ll be in need of putting your feet up and enjoying some hearty food and some beers! Well, there are plenty of places to whet your appetite; choose from cosy pubs with open fires, fancy wine bars or even a cute cafe selling the best hot chocolate! Whatever your tastebuds, Keswick has something for everyone!
How to get to Keswick:
Keswick can be easily reached via junction 40 of the M6 (Penrith) and the A66 or the A1 and the A66. For a scenic route from the South, leave the M6 at junction 36 and take the A591 through Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere. Using motorways from Manchester takes approximately 2 hours, whilst Keswick is around a 3-hour drive from the Midlands. The average journey time from London is about 5 1/2 hours.
The recently opened Carlisle Airport now operates flights to Dublin, Belfast and London Southend. Flights can be booked on the Loganair.
Keswick is within easy driving distance of several airports. All airports offer car hire and have easy access to the M6.
Newcastle Airport 1 3/4 hours
Manchester Airport 2 hours (There is a train station at the airport)
Edinburgh Airport 2 1/2 hours
Glasgow Airport 2 1/2 hours
Liverpool Airport 2 1/4 hours
Blackpool Airport 1 3/4 hours (Daily flights to the Isle of Man, Belfast and Dublin)
The nearest railway station to Keswick is Penrith, on the West Coast Main Line, a distance of 17 miles. A bus service, taking forty minutes, connects Penrith railway station with Keswick Bus Station.
For route planning and booking tickets, I recommend using the Trainline.
National Express offers cheap fares to Keswick from other major cities within the UK.
Getting around the local area:
With only living a few hours away from the Lake District, I have visited the area countless times and believe it is one of the most beautiful in England. On most occasions, I have travelled to the Lake District by train, only utilising public transport. I can thoroughly recommend the area for those without their own transport.
Where To Stay In Keswick:
Keswick has accommodation for every budget and every type of traveller. Accommodation ranges from campsites to pure luxury resorts and everything in between.
I always choose a local B&B within the town centre and close to all the local amenities.
On my last stay in Keswick, I stayed in the lovely Dolly Wagon Guest House, which had the most beautiful rooms and one of the best-cooked English breakfasts I’ve ever had! At only £50 a night for a single room, it was well worth it!
For booking accommodation, I recommend using Booking.com. This website offers the best-priced accommodation catering for all budgets and styles. Just pop in your requirements, and it will give you a list of available accommodations. Perfect for picking out the best hostels, B&B or even some luxury escapes.Booking.com
Whether you seek outdoor adventure or a calm weekend getaway, Keswick has something to offer everyone. From the beautiful mountains surrounding the area to the quaint village charm, experiences in Keswick will be ones that you won’t soon forget. So why not book your trip now? Immerse yourself in all that Keswick offers and create lasting memories of your time there. Pack your bags and go on an epic journey to explore this breathtaking part of England; you won’t be disappointed!
Thanks so much for stopping by; I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and make it to the end! I have lots of exciting new content in the next few weeks, so make sure you pop back to catch up!
Remember to follow our social media accounts for more travel inspiration and updates.