The heart of Keswick is its Market Place, ringed round with shops and hotels. which is now renovated into a pedestrian priority area. The dominant building is The Moot Hall, an ancient foundation which currently holds the National Park Information Centre. Close by are two large public parks offering games facilities in open, garden and wooded settings. They are an important part of Keswick's well tended appearance which has won it several national awards, European commendation and, very importantly, the appreciation of its multitude of visitors.
Though only a small town, Keswick has a range of shops and services far larger than might be expected. The friendly attention in the shops and the weekly markets around the Moot Hall is seen as a pleasant reminder of days gone by. Keswick is now rapidly becoming known as the" outdoor clothing capital" of England because of the number of national and local specialist retailers supplying every need. The visitor also has the choice of four museums. art and craft galleries, cinema, and the successful and 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. The Moot Hall in the Market Square, now the home of the Tourist Information Centre, was used in the past as a covered market, a courthouse, a museum and a prison.
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!