The Lake District is a land famous for its rolling peaks and wild hills. Tourists come here to walk, explore, and go wild swimming in the fresh waters. Wordsworth the poet lived in and wrote about the magic of the place.
Nearby is Keswick, a market town in the county of Cumbria and an ideal spot for those exploring the Lakes.
While Keswick train station isn’t in use these days, various train stations in the Lake District feed commuters to the tiny towns and villages. For Keswick, visitors can go directly to Penrith on the West Coast Main Line, a short cab ride away.
This guide will help you plan what to do in Keswick and the surrounding area. We’ll also discuss some of the museums in the area, including the Threlkeld Quarry Mining Museum.
Why visit Keswick?
Keswick is on the shore of Derwentwater, tucked beneath several hills. Its history dates back to the Middle Ages, in which the area was conquered by Anglo-Saxons in the 7th century,
Keswick is a busy market town in an area known for its mines, farming, and beautiful scenery. People of all ages come here to walk, exploring what these pretty and historical towns have to offer.
What to do in Keswick
This market town has plenty of stalls and galleries to explore, as well as the market of course. When you’re ready for a breather, take a trip to Derwentwater and view the town from a boat.
When you visit a market town, one of the main features will be the market itself. Keswick has around 60 stalls, where you’ll find food and clothing, as well as handcrafted gifts and seasonal pop-up events.
Shopping is a key activity here, and remember to bring plenty of bags for your goodies. There’s also the local Information Centre on Market Square, so you can pop in to plan more outings.
More information about Keswick Market
- Address: Keswick Market, Keswick CA12 5JR
- Opening Times: The market is open Thursdays and Saturdays from 8am to 4:30pm, although times may vary depending on the season.
When you come to Keswick, you’ll want to fit in a hike. The climb up this mountain, or fell, starts on the banks of Derwentwater and takes hikers high above the gorgeous lake.
The top section is a little bit steep but worth it for the outstanding views. Make sure you bring food and drink for the walk. It’s also advisable to wear appropriate clothing, as weather conditions can change with no warning.
More information about Catbells Fell
This three-and-a-half-mile route takes about three hours with stops. You can also take a cab or the 77 bus from Keswick to Hawes End Landing Stage. Additionally, there’s also the Keswick Launch across Derwentwater which gets you to the starting point.
Keswick Launch boat trips are a great way to see the land from the water. This wooden fleet takes day-trippers on cruises across Derwentwater. There are several jetties around the three-mile-long lake, allowing passengers to explore the area.
You can also hire a boat for a private cruise. If you’re planning a special occasion, this is a great way to turn the day into a special memory.
The boats have partially covered decks for changing weather. You can use your ticket for the full 50-minute round trip or take stops at your leisure.
More information about Keswick Launch
- Address: Keswick Launch, Derwentwater Foreshore, Keswick CA12 5DJ
- Contact Number: 01768 722263
- Costs: The cost is £13.50 for adults, £7 for children, £34 for a family ticket
- Opening Times: From March to November, cruises start at 10am and the last landing is at 5:50pm. From November to March, they start at 10:30am, last landing at 4:20pm.
Hope Park & Café
One of Keswick’s main attractions, this fun collection of gardens and nature trails is just a 10-minute walk from town. Children can keep themselves entertained by scrambling over the outdoor activities or trying the remote-controlled boats.
There’s also a bird hide, crazy golf, and a nine-hole pitch and putt. Afterwards, relax over breakfast or lunch at Café Hope before heading off for more adventures.
More information about Hope Park & Café
- Address: Hope Park Games & Café, Lake Road, Keswick CA2 5DG
- Contact Numbers: Call 01768 773445 for the games centre, or 01768 780844 for the café
- Opening Times: The park is open from 10am to 7pm, while the café is open from 10am to 5pm
Things to do around Keswick
Part of the Lake District National Park, Keswick is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering water activities, walks, and historic places to explore.
Given its location, it boasts vistas that are awe-inspiring and tranquil, with a rich history for those who want to learn more.
A rather mysterious building from a bygone era, Penrith Castle is one for any history buff. Located just a few miles from Keswith, the castle can be accessed via the London to Keswick train, stopping off at Penrith.
The castle dates back to the 14th century, where it played a significant role in defending the area from Scotland. It was founded by clergyman and politician Ralph Neville, before becoming a luxurious home for King Richard III in 1471.
Cross over a wooden footbridge and stroll around the red sandstone remains. From here, a stone path takes you around the interior and walls, which offer expansive views on clear days.
More information about Penrith Castle
- Address: Penrith Castle, Castle Terrace, Penrith CA11 7EA
- Contact Number: 0370 333 1181
- Nearest Train Station: Penrith Station. The castle is across from Penrith Station, making it easy to find.
- Opening Times: From March to September, the castle is open from 7:30am to 9pm. From October to March, it’s open from 7:30am to 4:30pm.
Threlkeld Quarry Mining Museum
Part of an old quarry, this mining museum is just three miles east of Keswick. If you’re keen to learn more about the history of this area, this is a great place to start.
Guests can learn how mining works and explore the collection of old quarry machinery. There’s also a narrow gauge railway to explore the inner quarry. The line is half a mile long and currently has three passenger trains.
More information Threlkeld Quarry Mining Museum
- Address: Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum, Threlkeld CA12 4TT
- Contact Number: 01768 779747
- Nearest Train Station: Penrith Station
- Opening Times: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Look out for seasonal events and working weekends.
The Lakes Distillery
Situated about 10 miles from Keswick and next to Bassenthwaite Lake, Lake Distillery is in a serene location that’s ideal for a day outside the town.
Once a Victorian farmstead beside Bassenthwaite Lake, The Lakes Distillery now offers tours and tastings of whiskies, vodkas, and gins.
The distillery also has a restaurant where guests can have lunch or afternoon tea. The full drinks menu includes a selection of whisky, gin, vodka, wines, and beer. The restaurant is in an old cattle parlour, so it has that rustic ambience needed for a local eatery.
More information about The Lakes Distillery
- Address: The Lakes Distillery, Setmurthy, Nr. Bassenthwaite Lake CA13 9SJ
- Contact Number: 01768 788850
- Nearest Train Station: Penrith Station
- Opening Times: The shop and tours are open from 10 am to 6 pm (the last tour 5 pm). The Bistro is open from 10am to 5pm, and afternoon tea from 2pm to 4:30pm.
Getting to and from Keswick by train with Avanti
In this idyllic spot, you may be wondering whether there is a train station in Keswick so you can get there. While there isn’t, you can take the train to Penrith, which is 17 miles away, a short cab ride.
It’s on the Avanti railway line from London Euston. Trains arrive here from Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, Edinburgh, and beyond. There’s also a bus service, which runs an easy route from Keswick to Penrith train station.
The London to Keswick train, arriving at Penrith, takes between three and three and a half hours. From Manchester, the journey takes from one and a half to two hours. The Carlisle to Keswick train goes to Penrith and takes around 15 minutes. This makes it a great option for accessing a big city in a short space of time.
Buy a First Class ticket and enjoy extra space, complimentary food and drink, and access to the First Class Lounge. Standard Class ticket holders can use the Lounge on their return journey. Ask the inspector for a voucher.
Advance tickets may get you a better deal on journeys. Download the Avanti app to make your bookings and manage the trip on your phone. And if you have a Railcard, always carry it with you in case the inspector asks to see it.