So you’ve found a lovely luxury lodge complete with hot tub at Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat, you’re now looking at what you can get up to nearby. It always amazes me when people say they haven’t been to the Lake District or have only been a couple of times. Growing up it was somewhere we went a few times every year, and you very quickly go from being a moody teenager annoyed at no phone signal, to an adult who massively appreciates the beauty of the place and the chance to escape reality for a while. Keswick isn’t the most secluded place you’ll find in the Lakes, (try Buttermere for that), but it’s the biggest town in the region and there’s plenty to do there to keep you entertained.
If it’s your first time visiting the Lake District, then you’re definitely going to spend some time in Keswick, so here’s some suggestions of what you can get up to.
Rummage around the vintage shops
While the majority of shops in Keswick may be outdoor brands, camping shops and mountain gear there are some random little vintage and boutique shops to rummage around in. The biggest is down the side street to the right of George Fishers as you head towards the lake, but there are a few others dotted around. They sell literally everything – clothes, jewellery, decor, vinyls, homeware, wind chimes, the list goes on.
Browse the art galleries
Some of the most beautiful paintings, prints and photographs can be found from local photographers and artists in the many art shops dotted about Keswick. They’re small, quiet, and you kind of feel like you might break something but if you’re looking for anything to hang up on the wall at home then you’ll look no further.
Shop at Keswick Market
Every Saturday the market is held in the market square by the town hall. It has everything from lakeland wool, to Greek olives, cheese, meat, jewellery, art, and gifts. I personally recommend the Greek food stall because those olives and that feta cheese tastes as though you’re sat in a Greek taverna.
Try one of the cosy cafes
George Fishers tea room is one of the most famous cafes in Keswick, but there are plenty others especially on the main street. Laura in the Lakes and The Wild Strawberry are two of the most colourful, but you can’t walk very far anywhere in Keswick without passing somewhere with the smell of coffee and freshly baked treats wafting out the door. They’re usually very small and you have to shuffle everywhere, but they’re very cute.
I love taking photos of little buildings and doors full of local charm and character. Wandering off the main streets in Keswick you will find plenty of little side streets full of lakeland cottages if you fancied doing the same.
Indulge at Ye Olde Friars sweetshop
I think every post I ever write on the Lake District will suggest to pay the old fashioned sweetshop a visit. It’s AMAZING. Jellies, chocolates, nougat, biscuits, there’s everything. If you’re visiting near Christmas you’ll find some unique and fabulous takes on advent calendars, Easter is an absolute feast for the eyes and so is Valentine’s Day. Even on a normal day there’s bound to be something to tickle your tastebuds.
Walk down to the lake
A few minutes walk from the centre of Keswick you can get a real taste of the natural landscape you’re surrounded by in the Lake District. Passing a delightful little ice cream shack, and the parks and landscaped gardens you end up at the waters edge of Derwent Water. Enjoy the view over towards mountains like Catbells and Skiddaw, feed the ducks, or enjoy a coffee from the cafe in the peace and quiet.
Play crazy golf
On the walk to the lake you pass the Keswick Golf Club, where you can play with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, or enjoy a more relaxing game of crazy golf too.
Get on the lake
Depending how brave you are you could rent a rowing boat, or if you prefer something a bit less stressful then you can go on the shuttle bus that takes you four stops around the lake. Walkers use it to get to start or finish hiking points, but you can just do go on to enjoy the view. In the summer months the lake can get very busy if the weather is good, with people taking their own kayaks or dingy boats.
Get active with some adventure sports
If you want to get active then the Keswick Climbing Wall Centre has a lot more to offer than just the climbing wall. Through them you can go rock climbing, ghyll scrambling, canoeing, kayaking and a whole host of other outdoor activities.
Grab a pint or two in the Lakeland Inn’s
For traditional British country pubs you can’t beat the Lake District, and there are plenty to choose from in Keswick. They’ve all retained their old fashioned feel, and serve proper beers and ales as well as British food. You have to try the local Cumberland sausage. The Dog & Gun, the Packhorse, and the Lakeland Inn are just a few worth mentioning.
Visit the wine and tapas bar
If you want something other than a pub, Keswick’s answer to nightlife is the wine and tapas bar called Bar 26. It’s a great little bar with a big selection of wine and delicious tapas. It makes a nice change from the pubs and British food of all the pubs.
Get cultured in a museum
If you’re after a bit of local culture Keswick has a few museums to choose from. There’s the Derwent Pencil Museum (I used to love getting a brand new set of crayons as a kid so don’t laugh), and the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery that tells the history of the local area. Like everywhere in the Lake District both have cafes too.
Stock up on outdoor wear
As I mentioned before the majority of shops in Keswick are outdoor, camping and mountain shops, so if you need anything like walking gear, tents, or outdoor equipment you’re spoilt for choice among some of the top of the range brands. George Fisher’s stocks a huge range, but there’s a lot of smaller independent shops too.
Do your food shop
If you’re staying in the Lake District outside of Keswick, then there’s not likely to be all that much there. Any supplies you’ll need like food, first aid etc can all be purchased from Keswick. In the remote villages opening times can be unpredictable, so stock up on everything you might need for a cosy getaway to the middle of nowhere and enjoy knowing you won’t be stuck in adverse weather. It’s a real possibility in winter!
These are some ideas for what you can get up to in Keswick, but for some wider suggestions including other areas of the Lake District take a look at this post: 22 Things to Do in the Lake District (That Aren’t Hiking!).
Many people associate the Lake District with long walks and mountain climbing, and if that it what you’re after then the opportunities are endless. Catbells, Fleetwith Pike, Red Pike and Haystacks are some of my favourite mountains, walks around Buttermere Lake or to Scale Force waterfall are some smaller walks that I’ve enjoyed many a time too, or for some family fun the nature trails at Whinlatter Forrest Reserve are a lot of fun.
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