Family Walks around Keswick

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The Derwentwater Walk 

A scenic 10 mile waymarked walk around Derwentwater, Queen of the Lakes. On flat and easy paths, the walk passes through woodlands and along the lake shore. It can be broken down into smaller stretches by using the Keswick Launch.

Friar's Crag 

A short stroll out of the town, through Hope Park and along the lake shore to a beautiful viewpoint over Derwentwater.

Castlehead

This is a great walk for families, a short climb with a  scrambly bit at the top and a fantastic view over the lake to finish giving a fantastic sense of achievement for even the smallest legs. Click here for a free downloadable pdf of the walk.

A short walk in the Newlands Valley - a good walk to do with young children. If you have a child in a pushchair the only awkward section would be the potentially boggy bit just before the footbridge. It's also interesting to visit the real life places that were the inspiration for the Beatrix Potter books.

Making Walking Fun with Children

There are lots of ways to make walks more interesting for children. Have something to look forward to during or after the walk whether it be a picnic, a park, a visit to a cafe or a paddle in the lake. Don't forget to take lots of high energy snacks and spare clothes.

Try playing games along the way, here are some ideas -

  • The ABC game - everybody takes a turn to name something starting with each letter of the alphabet, either a general topic such as girls' names or choose your child's favourite topic such as dinosaurs so they can show off their knowledge.
  • The old favourite I Spy is always popular, try a harder version where you put an adjective in front of the word such as 'sparkling lake'
  • Treasure Hunt - make a list depending on where you are walking and the season of things to collect such as a pine cone, a feather etc
  • Hide treats along the way left by the fairies
  • Play hide and seek where children run ahead on the path
  • Sing songs or nursery rhymes
  • Stone skimming and paddling in the lakes and streams
  • Take  bag to collect things along the way to make a picture when you get home
  • Take it in turns to make up the next line of story
  • Animal, mineral, vegetable - see if you can guess in under 20 questions, can be a random object or something you can see along the route

Click here to view some of our favourite free things to do with the children around Keswick.

Latrigg is a great fell for children to climb, easily achievable in 2-3 hours depending on your pace. The views from the summit over Keswick town, Derwentwater and the surrounding fells are breath-taking and will give a real sense of achievement. 

Latrigg is an excellent half day walk to combine with the promise of a visit to Fitz Park at the end of the walk. For smaller children take the route through the park for a sneak preview before you start on the climb up Latrigg so it can provide a great incentive as an end of walk treat. Tired legs suddenly seem to become re-energised at the sight of swings and slides. Click here for the shorter up and down route via Spooney Green Lane and a free downloadable pdf of the route. A longer circular route is also available here which goes along the railway path, through Brundholme Woods and up to Latrigg.

If you can't make it all the way up from Keswick there is a small car park at Gale Road above Applethwaite with a Limited Mobility Path which you could use to reach the viewpoint with an all terrain pram.

In search of Millican Dalton's Cave from Rosthwaite

This is an easy short walk from Rosthwaite with lots of interest for children. Climb up to Millican Dalton's Cave and imagine living in there, play pooh sticks on the bridges, picnic by the river and go for a paddle if the weather is warm enough. Finish the walk by crossing the river via the stepping stones. For older and more adventurous children there is the added option to climb Castle Crag. Although only a short diversion be aware it is a steep path with loose slate that can be slippy in wet weather. Click here to view details and download a pdf of the route.

Catbells - Overlooking Derwentwater Catbells is a splendid fell to walk. Combined with a launch trip from or back to Keswick, the options are to follow the (quite steep) ridge or use the easier terrace along this prominent fell overlooking the Borrowdale and Newlands valleys returning along the lakeshore. Click here for a Catbells walking route.

dsc06348.jpg Catbells path
view from castlehead (1).jpg Catbells from Keswick
dsc06358.jpg View over Derwentwater from Catbells

Barrow - Although Barrow Fell is of modest height at 455 metres (1494'), there are excellent 360° views from the summit, a great reward for not too much effort. Barrow can be climbed from the village of Braithwaite or from the Newlands Valley. From the summit a magnificent 360 degree panorama suddenly comes into view over Bassenthwaite Lake, Whinlatter Forest, Grisedale Pike, Causey Pike, the Newlands Valley, the Helvellyn range, Derwentwater, Keswick and the Skiddaw range. Click here for a Barrow walking route.

barrow crop.jpg Barrow Fell
view from barrow 1.jpg Heading to Barrow Door
view from barrow 3.jpg View towards Latrigg, Keswick & Derwentwater

Castle Crag

Castle Crag is the smallest hill in Alfred Wainwright's 'Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells'. Although small in stature it is quite scrambly to climb at the top and easiest tackled on a dry day. It can be climbed from Grange in Borrowdale, Rosthwaite or Seatoller with the riverside path in the Borrowdale Valley making a lovely circular route and ideal picnic spot. Click here for a route from Seatoller.

castle crag 1.jpg Castle Crag
castle crag 2.jpg Path up Castle Crag
castle crag 3.jpg Path up Castle Crag

Walla Crag - Though less of a pronounced hill in its own right Walla Crag (379m) is an enjoyable and worth while outing giving a fantastic view over Keswick to Bassenthwaite Lake as well as down Borrowdale to Scafell and Great Gable and north to Skiddaw and Blencathra. The cliffs of Walla Crag are the most northerly of a line of cliffs running down the eastern side of Borrowdale providing interesting viewpoints such as Surprise View as well as some well loved rock climbing venues such as Shepherds Crags. Click here for a pdf of the route.

High Rigg

From the car park at Legburthwaite walk up and along the undulating ridge to High Rigg, past the pretty St John's in the Vale Church and back through the valley. Fantastic views to the Helvellyn ridge, Blencathra and Skiddaw. Approx 4.5 miles - the walk can be extended to incorporate Low Rigg and Tewet Tarn. Some easy clambering which children tend to enjoy. Take care on the final stretch where the hillside below the path drops away steeply.


Mountain Forests

Whinlatter Forest, just above the village of Braithwaite and Dodd Wood at the other side of Bassenthwaite Lake, both have numerous waymarked trails, ideally suited to families. If you follow the track up to the top of Little Dodd you'll enjoy fabulous 360 degree views. The Seat Howe summit trail in Whinlatter gives spectacular views of both Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake, as well as the Skiddaw and Helvellyn mountain ranges. 

Pop into the National Trust Lakeside shop and ask about the ‘easy’ way-marked walk ‘Lakeside Amble’; a perfect walk to get you started. Stepping out from the shop the walk includes wildplay areas for den building, a magic climbing tree and dragons. There’s woodland and lakeshore areas, great for wildlife and famous views. Can you find the Hundred Year Stone? Of course, just follow the orange way-markers.

If you’re looking for the next level there’s also the ‘moderate’ walk around Great Wood. Head to Great Wood car park, just 1 mile outside Keswick and you’ll climb up to the top of the internationally significant Atlantic Oakwood. People often spot red squirrels and even roe deer in the wood, and from the top of the hill a few 'windows' through the trees give glimpses out over Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite. For more information visit the National Trust's website.

For more inspiration visit our walking page.