Keswick,Cumbria, in the north of the English Lake District is an old market town with narrow streets and grey stone buildings roofed with slate. Standing on the banks of the River Greta and at the head of Derwentwater the town is flanked by mountains or ‘Fells’ including the mighty Skiddaw, the fourth highest mountain in England which rises to over 3000 feet. Set amongst such magnificent scenery Keswick is a popular tourist destination for those wishing to explore the Lake District and this picturesque region.
Keswick can trace its history back to Neolithic times with evidence of an early settlement and local finds of stone tools and weapons. An ancient stone circle at nearby Castlerigg is over 4000 years old. The name ‘Keswick’ is derived from ‘Cese-wick’, the cheese town on account of the cheese fairs held there since the thirteenth century. There is still a regular and thriving weekly market today, but not wholly devoted to cheese. In Tudor times Keswick was important for the mining of copper and lead. Later on graphite was discovered and the town became the centre of the pencil industry. The coming of the railways in Victorian times brought further growth and expansion and also the first tourists in search of lake and mountain scenery.
For the present day tourist Keswick offers much to see and do. The natural beauty of the area is a draw for all age groups and accommodates a varied range of outdoor pursuits from gentle walking on the Fells and forest trails, to mountain climbing and orienteering, boating on Derwentwater in motorised craft or in canoes and rowing boats, mountain biking, horse riding, pony trekking; the list is endless.
For the less active or those merely seeking a rest from the outdoors there are many things to do to.
Keswick Museum tells the story of Keswick and the surrounding area through the ages and includes amongst many exhibits an amazing set of musical stones resembling a stone xylophone. Original letters by some of the famous Lakeland poets are also on display.
The Cumberland Pencil Museum charts the history of the pencil.
There is a ‘Bond’ Museum, a collection of James Bond 007 items and memorabilia including cars, planes and gadgets.
A ‘Cars of the Stars’ Motor Museum includes many old favourites.
The Puzzling Place is an exhibition of optical illusions and holograms, sculptures and artworks and interactive displays for the entertainment of all ages.
The Theatre by the Lake is Cumbria’s only year round theatre and hosts a variety of plays, films and concerts.
The Keswick Brewing Company is a small local family run brewery offering a brewery tour and samples of their finished product.
In addition Keswick boasts many fine shops selling a variety of goods, both local and international, a good choice of places to eat and drink, from traditional pubs and hotels to cafes, coffee shops and restaurants. There are many smaller hotels, guest houses and bed & breakfast establishments offering accommodation to suit all.
Whatever you chose to do you will not be disappointed by a visit to Keswick.