The heart of Keswick is the Market Square, ringed round with shops and hotels. Except for the odd delivery van there are no cars in the pedestrianised area which makes for a very pleasant shopping experience.
The dominant building is The Moot Hall, an ancient foundation home to the National Park Information Centre and an excellent starting point for planning your adventures during your stay. It was used in the past as a covered market, a courthouse, a museum and a prison.
A short walk from the Market Square are two large public parks offering games faciities such as pitch and putt and crazy golf. Hope Park is one of Keswick's major attractions positioned beween the town and Derwentwater with beautifully tended gardens. Fitz Park has a superb children's play area, space for running about and ball games aswell as riverside picnic tables.
Though only a small town, Keswick has a range of shops and services far larger than might be expected. You can find lots of lovely shops both in the main Market Square and down every alley and side street. There are unique shops which you will not find in any other town. Most of the art galleries are off the main square and sell photographs, paintings, pottery and jewellery by local artists and craftspeople. If you need outdoor gear or equipment Keswick has the largest collection of speciaist retailers in Britain.
The visitor also has the choice of four museums, cinema, and the all year round Theatre by the Lake.
Few visitors come to Keswick without making the short walk to the lakeshore and the boat landings from where rowing and small motor boats can be hired; the regular launch service around the lake also starts from here. Another five minutes walk brings you to Friar's Crag with its tremendous views across the lake and Borrowdale. The climbing wall is for the more adventurous while the leisure pool, tennis and bowls add to the list of activities for all.
The 4000 year old Stone Circle on the nearby airy hilltop of Castlerigg overlooks Keswick in its lovely valley setting on the shores of Derwentwater. The founding of St Kentigern's Church (AD533), the Market Charter (13th Century), early lead mining, quarrying, farming and the growth of pencil manufacture have all played their part in a long and often dramatic history. Famous literary names too, such as Southey, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Ruskin, were influential in attracting the early tourists to experience the spectacular scenery all around.
The name 'Keswick' is said to mean 'cheese farm' and is first recorded as a settlement in 1240. Its origins as a market town date back to 1276 when Edward I granted Thomas, Lord of the Manor of Derwentwater a charter to hold a Saturday market, which still continues today over 700 years later.
There's much more than cheese on offer today, the market sells all sorts of things from fresh fruit and vegetables to meat and cakes and from pet beds and second hand books to plants and clothing. A local produce market is also held on a Thursday for much of the year.
Keswick, and its surrounding villages, has a comprehensive and large accommodation sector to satisfy all needs, with a wide range of restaurants pubs and cafes to tempt the short and longer stay visitors. The choice is yours!