Most accommodation is an easy walk from the centre, which makes Keswick a relaxing place to stay. Style tends to be simple and homey whether in a traditional inn, guesthouse, or B&B. The most popular locations are around the Market Square or near the lake or parks. Outside Keswick, the choice broadens to include country-house hotels.
Keswick appeals both to visitors who want action and those who prefer to take things slowly. The town offers numerous ways to enjoy the great outdoors, whether on the fells or on the water. Equally, there are gentler pursuits if you’d rather relax and admire the views - perhaps from a cozy pub or a traditional café.
The unofficial capital of the northern Lake District, Keswick is a sturdy market town that sits on the shores of Derwent Water beneath a backdrop of grassy fells. A small, friendly place of whitewashed, slate-roofed buildings, and once the centre of ore and graphite mining, it still holds a weekly market. Lake cruises, quirky museums, pub lunches, a lakeside theatre, and low- or high-level walking are the main attractions.
With outdoors and indoors activities, Keswick keeps children busy and happy whatever the weather might be doing. Surplus energy can be worked off doing water sports, climbing mountains, playing park games, or scaling high-level tree walkways. Indoors, there’s a mine to explore plus interactive museums. There’s even a zoo. JD Wetherspoon, in the town’s former police station and court, is a central, family-friendly pub.
For a small town, Keswick has a rich cultural scene. As well as historic monuments, a clutch of museums, and a nationally acclaimed theatre, the town hosts a raft of festivals throughout the year. Indeed, the jazz festival draws international musicians. If you know where to look, you'll find high-quality, original art, and the 19th-century poet Robert Southey is buried here.
You will not go hungry in Keswick. The town caters for tired walkers and outdoors lovers so there’s always a welcoming pub or a handy café around the corner. Food tends to focus on pub, pizza, and tea room staples - with children’s menus - but there is a growing number of international restaurants and tapas-style bars. Smarter dining is generally found outside the town.
Keswick has kept its roots as a hardworking market town. It’s open and friendly rather than smart and sophisticated. And it’s very much an outdoorsy place. Dress for comfort and practicality and always pack wet-weather gear. Because it’s compact, you’re unlikely to need a car or bus to get around, though you will do if you want to explore Borrowdale or neighbouring Bassenthwaite Lake.