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Things to Do in Keswick

Boat trips on Derwentwater - the lake is just a few minutes' stroll from the town centre

Boat trips on Derwentwater – the lake is just a few minutes’ stroll from the town centre

Pencil Museum, Keswick - the original Cumberland Pencils factory is adjacent to the museum

Pencil Museum, Keswick – the original Cumberland Pencils factory is adjacent to the museum

Keswick is the outdoor activity capital of the North Lake District surrounded by spectacular lakes and mountains. A major centre for holidays, Keswick has a premier arts and cultural scene with first class theatres, cinemas and acclaimed literary and film festivals all featuring in the town. There is a wide choice of outdoor activities in the surrounding spectacular Northern Fells and on Derwentwater. Many outdoor adventure centres are located in the area, and there are two fantastic indoor climbing attractions.

Keswick is also a major centre for culture, arts and independent shopping in the Lake District, home to an acclaimed lakeside theatre and an independent cinema which hosts an annual film festival. Museums include long-standing favourites like the Pencil Museum and the town centre is brimming with independent art galleries. Unique gifts, cutting edge outdoor clothing and equipment shops and a weekly Saturday craft and local produce market make Keswick one of the best craft and specialist shopping locations in the Lakes.

Theatre, Festivals & Cinema

Renowned as an arts and culture hub in the Lake District, Keswick festivals include best film and literature festivals. The famous Theatre by the Lake is situated on the shores of Derwentwater, just a few minutes’ walk from the town centre, and hosts the annual Words by the Water Literature Festival. A magical mixed programme of classic plays, children’s theatre and the best in new adaptations feature year round here. The historic Alhambra cinema in Keswick hosts the acclaimed Keswick Film Festival annually in February and offers a fantastic mix of world, art and mainstream cinema.

Hire bikes for a day or full week from Keswick Bikes

Hire bikes for a day or full week from Keswick Bikes

Outdoor activities around Keswick

Outdoor activities in the North Lakes around Keswick include some of the best walking and hill walking territory in the Lakes. Keswick is surrounded by magnificent mountains and lakes including the great Skiddaw massif, the Grisedale Pike Peaks and Derwentwater. Outdoor activity centres offer a range of adventure courses and activities from climbing, mountain biking and abseiling to canoeing and raft building. Hire bikes from Keswick Bikes just opposite the Pencil Museum – available to hire for a day or a full week!

Guided walks are widely available and a number of the most popular walks in the Lake District cluster around this North Lakes capital including challenging Skiddaw walks, the incredibly popular Catbells and High Spy walk direct from central Keswick Moot Hall. For top cycling head to Whinlatter Forest Park just west of Keswick, one of the top spots for mountain biking in the National Park. You can also swing from the trees at Whinlatter’s Go Ape Centre. A huge choice of walking and cycling trails branch out direct from the town centre into the Northern Lakes and indoor activities include the popular Keswick Climbing Wall and Keswick’s large leisure pool. Keswick is also adding a second indoor climbing centre to its list of attractions – the King Kong Climbing Centre (open from 18 October 2014).

Keswick Gardens - Hope Park

Keswick Gardens – Hope Park

Museums & Attractions

Family fun activities and attractions are numerous in and around Keswick. Take a tour of the colourful world of the Cumberland Pencil Museum which always has lots of creative stuff going on for familes. There’s some weird and wonderful surprises inside the Keswick Museum & Art Gallery along with free family activities. Keswick’s wonderful parks offer a wealth family fun activities. Head to central Hope Park for some Crazy Golf or spend half a day at the town’s leisure pools with aqua slides and more! Be amazed in The Puzzling Place on Museum Square – a ‘mind blowing’ exhibition of holograms and optical illusions. Some great family attractions surround Keswick including Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum with underground experience and Honister Slate Mine – England’s last working slate mine! Other superb attractions sit around nearby Bassenthwaite Lake including Mirehouse Gardens and Lakeside Walk and the Lake District Wildlife Park.

Derwentwater Boat Trips

Hop aboard a scenic boat trip with Keswick Launch on Derwentwater, Cumbria third largest lake at 3 1/2 miles long. Derwentwater is unique with its four beautiful islands – St Herbert’s, Rampsholme, Derwent and Lords. A 50 minute scenic boat cruise with Keswick Launch takes in the islands – and you can hop on and off at any of the 7 landing stages. Many drop you off at the beginning of popular walks including Lodore for walks around the Borrowdale Valley and Hawes End, a populr landing point for walkers heading for the Catbells walk and walking in the Newlands Valley. If you prefer to take in Derwentwater at a more leisurely pace, Keswick Launch also offer cabin cruisers and rowing boats for hire. Evening cruises are the perfect addition to a romantic break and groups, private parties and special events are also catered for.

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