Welcome to Keswick the Lake District, an award-winning destination. Here you can plan your stay and book your stay on Keswick’s Official Visitor Website.
Keswick has been voted the 9th UK destination in the 7th annual Travellers’ Choice awards for Destinations; the best historic town in the Landlove Magazine Awards, and the winner of The Kennel Club’s most Dog Friendly town award.
The A591 from Kendal to Keswick is the best drive in Britain, according to scientific formulas devised for car rental company Avis, and The Lake District was the winner in the Wanderlust Readers’ Travel Awards 2015.
“We are delighted to be involved with Julia Bradbury and The Outdoor Guide.,
We are very much looking forward to welcoming Julia and the film crew back into the area to film for her latest walking series.”
Julia opens the Derwent Water Way. A new 10 mile footpath that leads you all around the edge of Derwent Water.
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The heart of Keswick is the Market Square, ringed round with shops and hotels. Except for the odd delivery van there are no cars in the pedestrianised area which makes for a very pleasant shopping experience.
The dominant building is The Moot Hall, an ancient foundation home to the National Park Information Centre and an excellent starting point for planning your adventures during your stay. It was used in the past as a covered market, a courthouse, a museum and a prison.
A short walk from the Market Square are two large public parks offering games faciities such as pitch and putt and crazy golf. Hope Park is one of Keswick’s major attractions positioned beween the town and Derwentwater with beautifully tended gardens. Fitz Park has a superb children’s play area, space for running about and ball games aswell as riverside picnic tables.
Though only a small town, Keswick has a range of shops and services far larger than might be expected. You can find lots of lovely shops both in the main Market Square and down every alley and side street. There are unique shops which you will not find in any other town. Most of the art galleries are off the main square and sell photographs, paintings, pottery and jewellery by local artists and craftspeople. If you need outdoor gear or equipment Keswick has the largest collection of speciaist retailers in Britain.
The visitor also has the choice of four museums, cinema, and the all year round Theatre by the Lake.
Few visitors come to Keswick without making the short walk to the lakeshore and the boat landings from where rowing and small motor boats can be hired; the regular launch service around the lake also starts from here. Another five minutes walk brings you to Friar’s Crag with its tremendous views across the lake and Borrowdale. The climbing wall is for the more adventurous while the leisure pool, tennis and bowls add to the list of activities for all.
Dive into Derwentwater, Keswick’s lake, and have a go at all the activities taking place on it, around it and of course, in it.
Derwentwater rivals anywhere in the world for its sheer stunning location and beauty. So, dive in, and have a holiday to remember.
Sail on it …………. hire a rowing boat, canoe, kayak, dragon boat, windsurfers – with two marinas and many water sport activity providers, the choice of watercraft is varied and fun. Sail to one of the islands, explore and have a picnic. Have a real ‘Swallows and Amazons’ adventure.
Walk or Cycle round it ………. the walk around the lake is about eight miles long and you can follow the shore for much of the way. Stop for coffee and cake at one of the hotels and cafes you’ll pass on the way. Rest on one of the shingle beaches and simply watch the world go by. The bike ride is slightly longer as you need to head down the Borrowdale Valley as far as Grange, take a right over the beautiful humped back stone bridge and back via Portinscale.
Paddle in it ……….. or feed the ducks or buy the kids a fishing net. The lakeshore is just perfect for families. Pack a picnic and have a memorable family day out. Take the launch to your favourite bay – which will it be – Brandelhow or Manesty, or perhaps Calf Close Bay?
Ramble round it …………. with the Rambler Stagecoach buses. From Keswick, travelling along the Borrowdale Road by the side of Derwentwater, visit our wonderful Borrowdale Valley and stop off at its attractions along the way – Honister Slate Mine, Whinlatter Forest with its Play Area, Cycle tracks and GoApe. Take a break at Buttermere and enjoy an ice cream.
Stay by it…….Keswick is situated by the lake – just a short walk from town. Quality accommodation from camping to cosy cottages, guest houses to luxury hotels. Try a valley location for a change-peace and quiet a world away from city life!
Walk on the fells surrounding it ………………. Derwentwater is surrounded by Skiddaw, Walla Crag, Catbells and the Jaws of Borrowdale. Plenty of fellwalking to give you such a fabulous day out. Explore the fells yourself, with map and compass in hand, or take a walk in the company of an experienced guide.
Take a tour on it……………..one of the best ways to get your bearings for Keswick and the surrounding area is to take a tour of the lake. Keswick Launch Company runs a regular service which take you clockwise or anticlockwise on a 50 minute tour of the lake. You can hop on and off at the six stops to explore the lakeshore and it’s the easiest way to get to the foot of Catbells (481m). There’s also a bus service that operates in a loop around the lake.
Keswick and the Northern Lakes must be one of the most dramatic landscapes in Britain with its spectacular array of mountains all in such a compact area.
Close at hand are the four highest mountains in England, over 3000 feet high. The Scafells, with their rugged outlines of volcanic rock dominate the central area while Helvellyn and Skiddaw’s smoother slopes reflect the softer geology. These form an impressive background to the lower hills, or fells, and the beautiful valleys with their lakes below.
The mighty Skiddaw and its neighbouring peaks provide a magnificent backdrop for Keswick. Skiddaw, at 931m, 3054′), is the fourth highest mountain in England and it’s one of the most popular to climb. At 978m or 3208ft if you prefer, Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England. Though the summit isn’t visible from Keswick one of the best routes up starts from Seathwaite Farm at the head of the Borrowdale Valley. Helvellyn is very accessible for walkers and climbers staying the Keswick area. If you want to tackle the rocky ridges of Striding and Swirral Edges it is an easy half hour drive from Keswick to Glenridding.
The Coldale Round is one of the classic Lake District circular walks. From Braithwaite climb the long west ridge of Grisedale Pike (or give yourself a head start by taking the bus to Whinlatter Visitor Centre and climbing Grisedale Pike via Hobcarton End). Stride out along the ridge to Hopegill Head – just the place for a picnic – before dropping down to Coledale Hause and climbing up over Eels Crags to Crag Hill. Next come a few scrambly steps on the way to Sail before gently descending the zigzags down to Sail Hause. Depending on your energy levels you can drop back to Braithwaite via Barrow Gate or bag a few more Wainwrights on the way – Scar Crags and Causey Pike or Outerside and Barrow can easily be included.
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It’s only a short journey from Borrowdale over the dramatic Honister Pass with its slate quarries, mines and exhibition into the lovely valley containing the lakes of Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater.
Buttermere lake, set in its amphitheatre of mountains, is a tranquil scene, made more dramatic by the play of light and shade in the narrow valley. The low level walk round the lake is a delight, especially if it begins and ends in the hamlet of Buttermere itself, where there is ample opportunity to eat, rest and stay.
Many popular high level walks start from the valley and can often be linked into “The Honister Rambler” bus service which follows a circular route from Keswick through Borrowdale and Buttermere.
The much larger neighbouring lake, Crummock Water, is closely followed by the road, with many vantage points looking towards the dramatic slopes of Melbreak and easy access to the Rannerdale valley. Be careful; the hardy Lakeland sheep wander on the unfenced roads! Small and picturesque settlements are scattered across the widening valley where the waters from the third lake pass through the hamlet of Loweswate of the same name.
The Borrowdale valley is one of the most idyllic places on earth. It runs for some ten miles from the high fells, with 977m Scafell Pike the highest summit, down to the shores of Derwentwater.
It’s one of the most popular places to rock climb in the Lake District because there are lots of low level fast drying crags which are easily accessible from the road. Three classic climbs can be found in Borrowdale: Little Chamonix, Shepherd’s Crag; Gillercombe Buttress, Gillercombe and Troutdale Pinnacle, Black Crag.
One of the scenic places of this area is the tiny hamlet of Watendlath with a small tarn of the same name, a popular place for fishing. The entire hamlet is owned by the National Trust and is managed by tenant farmers.
In the main valley below some 4 miles from Keswick, past the impressive Lodore Falls, is the small and attractive village of Grange in Borrowdale, reached over the striking two arched bridge, a popular stopping place for picnics or a visit to a cafe. The church of the Holy Trinity dates back to 1861.
From here the valley narrows into the spectacular “Jaws of Borrowdale” with road and paths squeezed into a gorge. With dramatic suddenness the scene changes to one of rich pastures bordered by dry stone walls spread across the flat valley floor. The wide panorama of mountains surrounding the head of Borrowdale are revealed in all their majesty.
To most visitors, it is the magnificence of the lakes which brings that special distinction to the scenery. Their ever changing nature, light and reflections transform the countryside, whatever the weather, and delight and amaze the onlooker.
Mile wide Derwentwater, island studded and with Keswick on its shores is probably the busiest, setting the scene for the impressive Borrowdale Valley. Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater lie close together in the lovely and peaceful Vale of Lorton. Nearby, Bassenthwaite Lake, the only ‘lake’, and Thirlmere, the reservoir for Manchester, are both dominated by the steep slopes of their shoreline mountains.
Buttermere lake, set in its amphitheatre of mountains, is a tranquil scene, made more dramatic by the play of light and shade in the narrow valley. The low level walk round the lake is a delight, especially if it begins and ends in the hamlet of Buttermere itself, where there is ample opportunity to eat, rest and stay. Much popular high level walks start from the valley and can often be linked into “The Honister Rambler” bus service which follows a circular route from Keswick through Borrowdale and Buttermere.
The much larger neighbouring lake, Crummock Water, is closely followed by the road, with many vantage points looking towards the dramatic slopes of Melbreak and easy access to the Rannerdale valley. Be careful; the hardy Lakeland sheep wander on the unfenced roads! Small and picturesque settlements are scattered across the widening valley where the waters from the third lake pass through.
Nestled in a wooded valley in the far west of the Lake District, in the Vale of Lorton, Loweswater is a peaceful lake that is often bypassed. At approximately 1 mile in length, 1/2 mile wide and 60 feet deep, it provides an excellent lake circuit for walkers. Loweswater is unique within the Lake District, as it is the only lake that drains towards the centre of Lakeland – to Crummock Water which it was once joined to. Red squirrels, whose favourite habitat is coniferous, can be found in the locality.
The Festival programme is made up of guided activities including MTB biking, hiking, canoeing, navigation training, ghyll scrambling, climbing and so much more, to be enjoyed with friends and family. There is also a fantastic line-up of challenging sporting events including Triathlons, Trail Races, Open water swims and a Sportive.
But it’s not over there, we have an incredible selection of kids activities, local food stalls, exhibitors, camping, live music and the views from Crow Park! And if you’re looking for something to do in the evenings we have a speaker programme at the lovely Theatre by the Lake on the shores of Derwentwater.
Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th July 2016 10am – 4pm
The first Derwentwater Regatta for 200 years was held on the lake last year and was such a success that the National Trust has organised another weekend of stone-skimming, boating and bathtub racing.
There’s a huge range of outdoor activities on offer, so there’s bound to be something you’ll want to try. Whether it’s family taster sessions in kayaks, a chance to build your own coracle or a motorised trip in a group around the lake, there are lots of ways to dip your toes into having fun on the lake. If you fancy a little more adventure you could have a go sailing a catamaran, a Viking Long Boat or sailing dingy.
Derwent Water Regatta was created by the eccentric landowner Joseph Pocklington (alias King Pocky) in the 1790s after he bought Derwent Island in 1778, and built a grand mansion and several follies. He devised a series of madcap regatta activities on Derwent Water, with a fair on Crow Park for spectators to watch teams of people rowing, sailing and swimming around the island. The festivities would reach their climax with a mock attack of the island, when Pocklington fired a cannon towards the local invaders.
Over 200 years later, the National Trust revived this regatta last year, for locals and visitors alike to enjoy, by recreating the spirit of King Pocky’s vision for the lake.
Keswick Mountain Festival 2016
The team behind Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) has revealed more details of plans to make 2016 the event’s biggest and best year yet. The 10th anniversary festival is now five months away and KMF has added to its growing programme of sporting events and outdoor activities.
Lucy Scrase, KMF sports director, comments:
“Every year, we resolve to make Keswick Mountain Festival bigger and better. I think that this line up of events will provide something to work towards for anyone whose own new year’s resolution is to get more active. That’s particularly important this year and we really hope that people will get behind these events and help Keswick to bounce back in a big way after the terrible flooding last month.”
New for KMF 2016 is a 3km open water swim on Sunday 22 May, the longest to ever feature during the festival.
KMF has also revealed details of its Hike schedule for this year. The programme includes hikes up some of the Lake District’s most iconic fells, with a scramble on Helvellyn, a sunset walk on Skiddaw, moonlit hike on Blencathra, two hikes on Scafell Pike, and a second chance to visit Helvellyn, in time for sunrise. I
n addition, the festival will host four navigation sessions for beginners, and a wild camping adventure. The programme has been devised to deliver a mix of levels of walking and offer something that is suitable for everyone.
A searing and soulful theatre piece inspired by the life and music of Nina Simone comes to Theatre by the Lake from 27th Feb to 3rd March. www.visitkeswick.com/nina-a-story-about-me-and-nina-simone-comes-to-keswick Photograph of Josette Bushell-Mingo and band by Simon Annand.
The 19th Keswick Film Festival is only one week away! Have you booked yet? Take a look at the programme and tell us what you will be going to see.