What to do in Keswick

04 November 2016

This fabulous market town is the perfect base from which to explore the wonders of the Lake District. Saga's guide advises you where to stay, where to eat and what to do.

Where to walk?

The Derwentwater Walk

Perhaps the most obvious walk is the 10 mile circuit around the magnificent Derwentwater, one of the principal bodies of water in the Lake District. The route is clearly waymarked and if you're staying in Keswick, the best place to begin is from the National Trust Shop near the launches.

At a leisurely pace, you should take a whole day out to enjoy this incredible walk which takes you through ancient woodlands and right up to the shore of the lake. Although the path is relatively flat and easy, still bring a good pair of boots as some of the woodland areas can become a bit waterlogged in the wetter months.

There are plenty of picnic benches, cafes and restaurants en-route where you can take a breather, or you can create a shorter route by taking a bus or catching a launch and still reap the beautiful views across the lake.

View a map of this walk…

Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path

This pleasant walk takes you along part of the former Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway, which closed in 1972. This section of railway remains relatively untouched by road developments, and a series of impressive bridges over the River Greta provide the framework for this scenic, tree-lined walk.

Normally 4 miles in length, this route has been shortened considerably since late 2015 after Storm Desmond destroyed two of the bridges but the path that remains is still worth a visit if you don't mind having to turn back on yourself.

Find out more about the work being carried out to reconnect this path…

Walla Crag

If you want breathtaking panoramic views of the lake, a trek to the summit of Walla Crag is an absolute must. There are a number of different walks centred around this incredible fell and each will have its own difficulty rating, so always be prepared for whichever route you choose.

For the experienced walkers, the steep and laborious ascend next to Cat Gill named 'The Falls' is arguably one of the best ways to reach the summit with rewarding views before you even reach the top and the sights and sound of the waterfalls throughout your climb.

Where to shop?

You'll be very pleased to know that most mainstream shops are absent from Keswick's high street. Instead you will have a huge range of independent shops to choose from selling everything from paintings and antiques to hand-made jewellery and knickknacks.

Don't forget to pay a visit to Ye Olde Friars of Keswick who sell a huge array of delicious seasonal chocolate and sweets, you won't miss the store as it's right in the market square and normally a hive of activity.

If you want a unique gift to take home, be sure to visit the quirky Herdy shop. Each product is inspired by the local Herdwick sheep, and some of the profit goes on to support the sustainable rural community and upland fell farming projects. Nearby you'll find the local Booths and Co-op stores where you can pick up groceries but larger supermarkets can be found outside of town if you don't mind going further afield.

Where to eat?

If you love eating out, you will be spoilt for choice in this fabulous market town. The Square Orange Cafe Bar is a perfect choice for any occasion and sells a huge range of beverages from coffee to draft beer, but don't overlook the great nachos, tapas or pizza.

If the Square Orange is too busy, we'd highly recommend finding the Treeby & Bolton Cafe easily identified by the metal giraffe sculpture out front. The ground floor is a shop and gallery selling interesting hand-made crafts but downstairs you can sit in a well appointed, roomy cafe and enjoy the friendly service and great food. The platters are well worth exploring if you need a bite for lunch and feature local, fresh ingredients.

And, if you're feeling particularly ravenous, definitely stop by The George Hotel and try a slice (or should that be wedge) of their Gigantic Cow Pie complete with chunky chips, vegetables and lashings of gravy.

Where to stay?

There are many wonderful places to stay in Keswick from hotels and B&Bs, to beautiful stone cottages nestled in the outskirts. However, our personal favourite is Chaucers Nook, a 2-person apartment set is the very heart of Keswick. It's in a very quiet part of the town but still only five minutes to the Market Square and ten minutes to the shore of Derwentwater, the local lake, so your car will likely never leave its off-road parking space!

The apartment itself is luxuriously furnished with an open plan living area, including a very well-equipped kitchen with an electric oven and hob, dishwasher, full-sized fridge/freezer and microwave - perfect if you want to make your own packed lunches or have a quiet night in. The bedroom has an extremely comfortable king sized bed with lots of wardrobe space, just be sure to bring an extra blanket in winter months if you think you'll need it.

You'll also find that Chaucers Nook is very well equipped for walkers; books with local walking routes and OS maps are provided or if you've got a tablet or laptop, you could even use the free WiFi to map out your next day. If you return home muddy and wet (we're not skirting around this subject, we all know the Lake District is famous for it's rain!) there is a small wet room to put your dirty boots and a combined washer/drier, not to mention a very pleasant bath where you can pamper yourself.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.