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Keswick, Lake District

"This place does not feel like we're in the UK"
 

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Keswick is a quaint town in the Lake District, right next to a gorgeous lake: Derwent Water. If the weather is good (or if you’re braver than us, and have the right clothes to stay comfortable), it’s a brilliant place to get into nature, take long walks and hike for hours. But don’t panic if the weather isn’t looking great for your visit, it’s the perfect place to relax in a cottage or lodge with great views, head to some cosy cafes and explore nearby towns. 


Derwent Water, Keswick
Derwent Water, Keswick

In terms of walking and getting into nature, we imagine you could spend weeks in Keswick and still not explore every route around the miles of countryside nearby. Our favourite walk on our visit was when we hiked up and walked across Walla Crag. You can buy some great packs of walking instructions from the Tourist Information Centre, which is what we followed, but if you’re good with a standard map you could probably find your way around pretty easily. This one took us about 3 hours to get from the centre of Keswick, up to the highest point, and all the way back. 





A young man and woman taking a selfie in front of Derwent Water, Keswick
Exhausted, but worth it! Look at that view!

On the way from Keswick to Walla Crag, before you start the steep uphill climb, there’s a farm with a small but absolutely lovely café. In good weather, you can sit outside and admire the animals while you enjoy a drink and a snack. This place is worth a trip even if you’re not doing the longer walk, it’s surrounded by fields and you might get a glimpse of some goats or cows whilst you’re there! It’s called Annie’s Pantry.



Another walk we’d recommend is going up to the top of Latrigg, one of the nearest hills to Keswick. You get great views from the top of the entire town of Keswick and Derwent Water. 


You can even walk all of the way around Derwent Water, but it will take around 5-6 hours and you’ll need a map or instructions. There are a couple of places you can stop for refreshments on the way around, such as Lingholm Country House and Mary Mount Hotel. 


If you’re more interested in exploring towns than big hikes, head to Kendal, a market town just on the edge of the lake district. There’s a castle, shops, bars and restaurants, even a cinema if you want to relax on a rainy day. 


Another great place to visit, which is far closer to Keswick, is Ambleside and Waterhead. We didn’t spend a long time here, but the town is only a 25 minute drive and is right on Lake Windermere. There are plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants, but it’s generally just a really nice town to wander around for a couple of hours.


We stopped for a drink at The Wateredge Inn, and the beer garden was, as the name suggests, right on the edge of Lake Windermere. Plenty of space and stunning views - exactly what you want when the sun (occasionally) comes out in the UK!


Waterhead on Lake Windemere, a view of boats on the lake
The view from The Wateredge Inn beer garden!

If you’re fancying a walk from Keswick but not sure about the huge hikes, you can walk to Friar’s Crag, a beautiful viewpoint, clearly signposted as soon as you get to Derwent Water. Walk a little further and you’ll reach Strandshag bay, a lovely small beach with fields of sheep right next to it. It’s very peaceful and wasn’t too busy, even on a sunny day. You won’t be disappointed if you make the time to visit.



Alternatively, you can walk the flat 5km walk along the old railway from Keswick to Threlkeld. It has some good scenery, of course it’s never going to be as breathtaking as the view from a summit, but you’re still surrounded by gorgeous countryside. The main attraction of this walk is that the path is suitable for all walkers, runners, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and cyclists, starting from Keswick leisure centre. 


For all the foodies wondering when we’re going to mention eating and drinking in Keswick - don’t panic, we found you some great spots. Of course, Wetherspoons is always a great idea for a budget option. The one in Keswick was actually a former Magistrates Court and Police Station, hence the rather long name “The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas”. Alternatively, we loved Lakeland Spice for a delicious curry and Merienda for everything from coffee and breakfast to an evening meal with wine!


We also found a really interesting bar called No Monkey Business which serves no alcohol, but has alternative “cocktails” that have ingredients that aim to boost your mood. Perfect if you’re planning to get up for a hike in the morning! If you’re not too worried about hangovers, don’t worry, there are plenty of other places you can get a pint with some alcohol in it, but we thought this was a fab idea for those cutting down on the booze. 


Definitely book restaurants if you're visiting in Summer as the can become quite busy, you don't want to end up disappointed!


Also - a quick side note so you can learn from our mistakes: We did try to go and watch the sunset by the lake one evening - but we found that there are a LOT of little flies by the water, and we did have to leave. We’re not talking a small amount, we’re talking hundreds, everywhere you look! So maybe don’t bother with that “brilliant idea” we had…


A bottle of wine sat on the pebbles of a bay, looking on to a lake at sunset
Before the flies attacked!!

Anyway, if you’re looking for a place to get away and have cosy nights in, chill in cafes, or head off on huge hikes and see stunning scenery, Keswick is one of our favourite UK spots to visit. Especially if you want to bring along a pet, as Keswick is extremely dog-friendly. Whether you visit for a day and just take a quick wander by the lake, or stay for two weeks and use it as a base to explore the rest of the Lake District, definitely consider Keswick for your next UK Break.


Additional information: 


How do I get to Keswick?

Keswick is easy to get to from most parts of the UK if you're driving. The closest train station is Penrith, which offers a bus service to Keswick. The nearest airports to Keswick are Newcastle and Manchester, both less than 2 hours away by car. For more detailed information, have a look on the official Visit Keswick website.


Where shall I stay in Keswick?

We stayed in this cottage which we absolutely loved. You can search for accommodation in Keswick on Booking.com or Expedia to find the best option for your budget and the size of the group you’re travelling with.


How expensive is it in Keswick?

As with all destinations, the prices vary across the town. We'd say it's more expensive than your usual Northern town, probably more prices that you'd get in cities or tourist hotspots. We paid around £6 for pint in most places, and £4 for a coffee (unless you're in Wetherspoons, of course!)



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