Keswick, Lake District – 15 Most Awesome Things to do

Keswick is a charming market town located in Lake District, northwest of England. Nestled on the north shore of Derwentwater and surrounded by lovely mountains, It is truly a gem of the Lake District – a UNESCO World Heritage site. This lakeside town was a firm favourite with romantic poets, Coleridge and Southey.

Keswick offers plenty of hiking opportunities and outdoor activities. There are some lovely parks as well where you can sit and relax and enjoy a picnic with a gorgeous view. 

Not just the natural beauty, this picturesque town has some fascinating history to tell too. The iconic Castlerigg Stone Circle dates back to the Neolithic period. In the 1500s, Keswick evolved as a market town after getting a royal charter. That historic market still runs at the heart of the town, selling artisan crafts and local produce. At the centre of the market square, stands the historic Moot Hall with a one-handed clock. This town of Lake District has a rich history of pencil making as well – the first pencil in the world was manufactured here. Derwent Pencil Museum has many interesting exhibits and pencil sculptures.  

Keswick is home to a lakeside modern theatre, Theatre by the Lake which is one of the best-located theatres in the world. Plus, this town hosts a lakeside mountain festival every year, which draws a huge crowd from all over the world. Undoubtedly, there are plenty of things to see and do here for everybody.

🌤️ Best Time to Visit Keswick, Lake District

Keswick is an all year round destination. But it’s better to have an idea of the weather here so that you can come prepared.

🌞 Peak season: July and August are the busiest months when the weather is relatively warm and dry, and the days are lighter. It’s great for outdoor activities- kayaking, hill walking and swimming. Although it’s peak tourist season, you can find some peaceful spots in nature for yourself.

🍂Shoulder season: Late spring and autumn are the shoulder seasons, with the crowd getting fewer and the hills looking absolutely spectacular in colours. We went Keswick in late October and witnessed some of the most gorgeous autumn colour we have ever seen. Around Easter holidays it can be very crowded though. 

Low Season: November to January are the wettest months – not the best time to explore the outdoors. But you can enjoy the beauty of the snowy mountains and the sleepy lakes from the warmth of your accommodation.

Keswick Lake district
Keswick Lake district

How to Get to Keswick

🚌 By Public transport:

The nearest train station is Penrith, which is about 17 miles north-west of Keswick. Penrith falls on the West Coast Line. It has good train connectivity with the big cities of England and Scotland.

  • From London: 3 hours by Avanti West Coast Train.
  • From Oxenholme Lake District: 25 minutes by Avanti West Coast and Transpennine Express.
  • From Manchester: 1 hour 45 minutes by Northern and Avanti West Coast Services.
  • From Edinburgh: 1 hour 45 minutes by Transpennine Express.
  • From Glasgow: 1 hour 40 minutes by Transpennine Express and Avanti West Coast.
  • From Newcastle : approximately 2 hours by Northern and Avanti West Coast Services.

Stagecoach runs regular bus services (X4 and X5 Gold) to Keswick from Penrith. It typically takes about 40 minutes to reach. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from Penrith rail station which could be a bit expensive.

🚘 By Car:

You can reach Keswick very easily by car. M6 motorway runs through Penrith, which is connected to this town by A66.

  • Manchester: 2 hours 30 minutes/ 115-122 miles
  • Carlisle: 46 minutes/ 37 miles
  • Edinburgh: 2 hours 40 minutes/ 128 miles
  • Birmingham: 3 hours 10 min – 4 hours 40 min/ 191 miles

🚶How to get around Keswick

Most of the attractions mentioned in this article are within walking distance from the town centre. During our time here we completely relied on local buses to get around. Keswick is an excellent hub for local transportation. The main bus station is located near the Booths supermarket. You can also catch a bus to Buttermere, Honister pass, Windermere from here. 

🗓️ How many days to spend in Keswick

Plan at least 2-3 days to explore Keswick and the surrounding areas of Lake District. There are so many things to do – you would be spoilt for choices. Every time we are back here, we always find something completely new to explore. Later on this article we will also give you some ideas if you want to extend your stay.

🇬🇧 15 Awesome Things to do in Keswick, Lake District

1. Take a boat cruise in Derwentwater

derwentwater lake district

This charming town lies at the north end of Derwentwater, and to the south lies the valley of Borrowdale. Keswick Launch Co runs boat services in Derwentwater and stops at eight different jetties on the lake. You can take a 50 minutes round trip which sails past the beautiful islands of Derwent Island, Lord’s Island and St Herbert’s Island. On your boat ride, you would get to see some smashing view of the lake surrounded by mountains.

The price for a round trip is £11.50 per adult. You can use it as a day pass as well and cruise as many times as you want. You may also buy a single ticket if you are dropping off at other jetties and not coming back by ferry. They have rowing and motorboats available for private hire as well.

Tip: Want to discover more of Derwentwater? Join in a fully way-marked 10 miles scenic circular trail along the shore of the lake. This easy and flat path passes through some ancient forests and offers a beautiful view of the Derwentwater. The walk starts from the pier at the Keswick Launch.

How to reach: From Market Square, it’s only 10 minute’s walk to the Derwentwater Pier.

2. Admire the photogenic Ashness Bridge

ashness bridge near keswick lake district

Ashness Bridge is a packhorse bridge dating back to the 1700s. This small stone-arched bridge is a firm favourite with the landscape photographers. The setting against the backdrop of Derwentwater and Skiddaw mountains is a treat to the eyes. You would see the iconic image on many postcards of the Lake District. We were there in the mid of autumn, and with all the colours, it was too atmospheric.

Tips: 1. Ashness Bridge is one of the most photographed sites in the Lake District. Undoubtedly, it’s very popular among photographers and can get quite busy. So if you want to avoid the crowd and want the place to yourself, come early before all the tour buses and tourists come rushing in. Sunset and sunrise, depending on the time of the year, might be a great time to take your photos. The rocks near the waterfall can get very slippery after rain. So, be careful and watch your steps.

2. For a different point of view of Ashness Bridge, go down the waterfall a bit. Will suggest picking up some packed Lunch from Keswick. Sit on the rocks by the waterfall and enjoy a picnic with the amazing view.

3. Want to go on a longer hike? Visit Walla Crag for a stunning view over Derwentwater. The route passes through Ashness Bridge and takes 3-4 hours approx. Read the walk description here. 

How to reach: To come here, you can take the Launch service from Derwentwater Pier to Ashness Pier. Ashness Bridge is about 20 minutes uphill walk from there. Alternatively, you can come by Stagecoach bus service 78 and get off at the Derwentwater Youth Hostel stop. It takes almost the same time to walk up Ashness bridge. 

Want to avoid walking? Hire a taxi from Keswick market centre which will cost around £6-£8.

There is a small car park as well near Ashness Bride if you are coming by car. 

3. Take in the breathtaking view from Surprise View

rainbow from Surprise viewpiont

From Ashness Bridge, walk further up for about 10 minutes, and you would pop at the Surprise View point. You would get to see a jaw-dropping panoramic view over to the Derwentwater with the imposing mountains in the backdrop. No wonder, why it’s called Surprise View. Taking in the breathtaking view from here is one of the best things to do in Keswick.

On a clear sunny day, you could see Bassenthwaite Lake as well in the distance. Just be careful that Surprise View point lies on a steep cliff. So, don’t get too carried away with the view.

When we were there, it was raining, and the sun suddenly came out from the cloud. We were quite fortunate to see two amazing rainbows over Derwentwater.  It was purely magical. There is a car park as well near the Surprise View point if you are driving up here.

How to reach: 10 minutes walk from Ashness Bridge. It takes around 10 minutes from Keswick to reach here by car.

4. Visit Castlerigg Stone Circle - One of the Best Things to Do in Keswick

Castlerigg stone circle keswick

Set in a dramatic location, Castlerigg Stone Circle is a very popular attraction close to this town. It’s one of the most impressive Neolithic stone circles in Britain. The stones were laid out in circles around 3200 BC in the late Neolithic period. 

Now, there are about 40 stones in Castlerigg. Within the outer stone circle, there lies another set of stones, forming a small rectangle. That’s quite a unique feature in pre-historic stone circles in Britain.

castlerigg standing stones
castlerigg standing stones

Once here, you would get a majestic view across to the surrounding mountains (locally known as fells) of Helvellyn, Skiddaw and Thirlmere Valley. It’s so captivating.

From the town centre, it would take about 35 minutes to walk here. Rest assured, you would get some smashing view of the countryside on your walk.

Tips: The ground around the stone circles gets very muddy after a downpour. So, wear good waterproof hiking shoes. 

How to reach: An easy 35 minute’s walk from the Keswick town centre. Alternatively, you can walk the 4 mile circular route from the town centre which will take about 2 hours. 

Takes around 8-10 minutes to reach Castlerigg stone circle from the town centre by car. A taxi would cost you around £5 one way.

Entrance fees: FREE

Opening Times: Open any reasonable time during daylight

5. Soak up the view from Friars Crag

keswick friars crags

Friars Crag is a famous viewpoint at the shore of Derwentwater. From Keswick Market Square, It’s about 15 minutes walk through Hope Park. Friars Crag is named after the Friars, who would bring supplies here for St Herbert – a 7th-century hermit. He lived on a small island (St Herbert’s Island) on Derwentwater and would row here to collect the supplies.

There is a bench at Friars Crag to sit and soak the stunning view across the Derwentwater and the Jaws of Borrowdale. This bench itself is too photogenic, and you may have to wait for a while to have your turn, particularly in summer.

sunset from Friars crags

Near the Friars Crag, lies a memorial to John Ruskin – a famous English artist and writer, who had a close association with Keswick. He once said this town is too beautiful to live in. After enjoying the view, head towards Strandshag Bay, a short walk from here.

Tips: Don’t miss the sunset from Friars Crag. You can see the sun setting behind the mountains of the Lake District. It’s an excellent photo point in Keswick.

How to Reach: Walk 6-7 minutes on level paths from the Derwentwater boat landings. 15 minutes from Moot Hall in Market Square.

6. Learn the history of Moot Hall at Keswick town centre

town square

At the centre of the Market Square, lies the historic Moot Hall. The present-day imposing building was constructed in the early 1800s. In the first 20 years, the ground floor of the Moot Hall functioned as a local market. The upper floor was a courthouse. Then, the Moot Hall became the Keswick Museum which had a very famous collection – Flintoft’s model, a three-dimensional replica (measuring 12 ft by 9 ft) of the Lake District.

After the museum moved out to a different location, Moot Hall was used as the council building until 1974. Now this Grade II listed building houses the Keswick Information Centre. The tower of the Moot Hall has a unique feature – a one-handed clock. It can mark only the hours.

Opening Hours: Everyday 9.30am to 5:30pm

7. Climb up Latrigg for a stunning view of Keswick

Lake District is a hiking paradise having plenty of fells, hills and mountains around. Latrigg is a small fell in Keswick and a firm favourite with the locals and tourists alike. One of the good things about Latrigg is you would get incredibly beautiful view of the Derwentwater Lake with a very easy hike. So, walking up Latrigg comes very easily on the list of best things to do in this town.

The popular hiking route from Keswick goes via Spooney Green Lane. From the town centre, it would take about 2.5 hours to go up and down. If you would like to avoid the walk, drive to Gale Road Car Park. From there, the summit of Latrigg is not more than 15 minute’s walk.

latrigg viewpiont keswick

The panoramic view of Keswick, Derwentwater and the surrounding mountains is absolutely stunning from the top of Latrigg. When we went there it was quite cloudy, and the sunrays sifted through the clouds onto the Derwentwater in the distance. It was magical.

If you are not too tired and have the energy to extend your hiking adventure, you can walk up Skiddaw from Latrigg Car Park. Skiddaw is the sixth tallest mountain in England and can be quite strenuous at times depending upon your fitness level.

Tips: Before starting the Latrigg hike, get a packed lunch from Keswick town centre. There is a perfectly placed bench near the top of Latrigg – a great spot to sit and relax and enjoy a picnic with the most amazing view of the Lake District.

Though Latrigg is a fairly easy walk, the weather here can change drastically. So, come well-prepared. 

Starting point: Keswick Town Centre

Distance covered: 3 miles

Time: Approx. 2 – 2.5 hours

8. Take a Stroll or Play Crazy Golf in Hope Park

hope park keswick lake district

Hope Park is a lovely green space at the heart of Keswick. You will come across this beautiful park on your way to the Derwentwater from the town centre. The park has a nice history. It was earlier used as a grazing space for the coach-horses. They carried passengers from the Keswick station to the hotels in the town centre. Sir Percy Hope built a miniature golf course here in 1925 as a recreational space. The park has a gorgeous garden which was used by Lady Hope privately in the 1900s. After their death, the park and the garden became a public park as per their wish. 

You can play crazy golf here while enjoying a lovely view across the surrounding mountains. There are plenty of benches as well to sit and relax. They also have a café (Café Hope), where you can enjoy some light bites and hot drinks.

9. Pick up a bargain at Keswick Market

Keswick originally developed as an English market town after King Edward I of England granted a charter for a market in the 1200s. Every Saturday and Thursday, an outdoor market takes place in Market Square, located at the heart of this town.

You will find a wide range of local produce, arts and crafts, artisan foods in this bustling market. This market has been running for almost 745 years. Keswick market has been voted as one of the best outdoor markets in the UK.

Opening Hours: Thursday 08:00 – 16:30, Saturday 08:00 – 16:30

10. Take a stroll in Crow Park

crow park keswick

Crow Park is a stretch of green space, located at the northern shore of the Derwentwater. The park offers one of the best views across the vast expanse of the lake surrounded by mountains. Look out in the opposite direction of the lake. You would get a beautiful view out to the Skiddaw Mountain Range. 

Crow Park is a perfect place in Keswick to take a stroll or enjoy a picnic with a stunning view. Near the entrance of the park, there is a UNESCO plaque, erected in 2018 after Lake District’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

11. Amazing Food scene of Keswick

food in Keswick
food in Keswick

Keswick has some great cafés, restaurants, bakery shops and pubs. Bryson’s is a highly recommended bakery shop on Main Street. This family-owned restaurant has a great selection of cakes, bread and biscuits. They have a tearoom as well serving breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas. 

The Square Orange, Jasper’s coffee house, Java Coffee Shops are some of the coffee shops where you would enjoy a fresh brew with a relaxed atmosphere. 

For dinner, we popped into a restaurant called Fellpack – 34 Lake Road. They bring innovative twists on the classic dishes. We ordered a braised beef chilli and grilled lamb. The food was really delicious, the staff were very friendly and the service was spot on. We were too hungry to take photos though. The atmosphere was super cool as well. If you are looking for a relaxed and rewarding dining experience in Keswick, we would definitely recommend this place. 

12. Fitz Park

fitz park keswick lake district

Fitz Park is a public park, located not too far from Keswick Market Square. This park offers a stunning open view out to the Skiddaw and Latrigg Mountains. Having the River Greta flowing along one side of Fitz Park, It’s ideal for Riverwalk. Plus, you can participate in a great range of outdoor activities – this park has an outdoor gym, putting green, grass tennis court, cricket pitch. There’s a lovely garden as well. In summer, Fitz Park is very popular with sunbathers and picnickers.  

13. Learn the history of pencil making in Derwent Pencil Museum

Keswick is home to the world’s first pencil. Visit the Derwent Pencil Museum, located close to the town centre and explore the history of pencil making. The entrance to the museum is like a replica of Seathwaite Mine, where graphite was first discovered in the 1500s. The museum houses world’s longest colouring pencil, which is about 8 meters long. Plus, you would get to admire many interesting pencil sculptures and a WW2 pencil with hidden maps.

Opening Hours:  Monday-Sunday, 9.30am-4pm

Admission Fees: Adult £4.95

14. Watch a show at Theatre by the Lake

Theatre of the Lake is located on the shore of Derwentwater near Crow Park. It has one of the best settings a theatre can have. Opened in 1999, it replaced the Blue Boxes, a mobile theatre created by Century Theatre after WW2. Theatre by the Lake hosts about 600 shows a year, including the ones performed by the resident companies of the theatre. It also organises regular art exhibitions. If you are a fan of theatre, you would have to watch a performance in Theatre by the Lake.

15. Attend Keswick Mountain Festival

keswick mountains around lake district

Keswick Mountain Festival is one of the largest mountain festivals in the UK. Happening since 2007, this festival takes place in May every year in Crow Park overlooking Derwentwater. The festival includes a wide range of sports, outdoor stuff and Live music events. There would be many food stalls as well to keep you amused.

🗺️ Map of the attractions in Keswick

Here is the Google map of all the Best things to do in Keswick including the restaurants and the Local bus station. Click here to open it in Google maps.

map of keswick tourist attractions

Where to stay in Keswick

This town offers a wide range of accommodation choices to fit every traveller’s budget – cosy B&Bs, luxury hotels, holiday home, budget hostels. Book your hotel in advance, as early as possible. During the peak season it gets very busy. Getting an accommodation of your choice might get harder.

  • Keswick YHA – Just 10min away from Derwentwater lake. Great budget option.
  • Inn on the Square – Located in Market Square, a 4-star hotel just 10 min from Derwentwater.
  • The Royal Oak – An 18th-century hotel with cosy rooms. Great mid range hotel.

We had an amazing stay at a lovely airbnb right in the middle of  Keswick town centre. Will definitely recommend this self catering accommodation, especially to couples

surprise view piont near Keswick

Where to eat in Keswick

The Filling Station Cafe– Serves all-day breakfasts, fresh homemade pancakes, delicious burgers. 

Fellpack– They bring innovative twists to the classic dishes. We ordered a braised beef chilli and grilled lamb. The food was really delicious. We will definitely recommend them.

Merienda– Lovely place to get breakfast and brunch.

The Chalet Tearooms & Restaurant– amazing selection of bakeries. Serves Afternoon teas, handmade tray bakes and cakes.

The Kingfisher– Lovely Fish and Chips shop in the main town square. Great for takeaway.

Old Keswickian– Fish & Chips Restaurant serving food for over 30 years now.

Bryson’s of Keswick– Brilliant cake shop with an Upstairs tearoom.

The Bank Tavern– Real Ale pub and restaurant. They also have an enclosed beer garden.

Bar eS Keswick– Serving Mexican inspired tapas and a great variety of craft beers and cocktails.

The Square Orange Café– Cosy bar & eatery serving stone-baked pizzas, amazing tapas, nachos and desserts. They also have a Vegan menu. A must visit.

Pack Horse Inn– Traditional pub in Keswick just off the main high street. Serving great pub food and excellent drink collection.

The Cottage In The Wood– Award-winning Michelin-starred Restaurant 10min drive from the town centre. A unique luxury dining experience.

Planing a Trip to England?

Places to Extend your Keswick Trip

Exploring Keswick would take at least 2 days. If want to extend your trip to other parts of the Lake District, here are some recommended places you would love visiting:

  • Buttermere
  • Honister pass
  • Aira force
  • Ullswater
  • Grasmere
  • Windermere

These places are not too far from Keswick and you can completely do in public transport.

Hope you have enjoyed reading our travel guide to 15 Most Awesome things to do in Keswick, Lake District.

Love, Sankha and Moumita.

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