Explore Keswick on Derwentwater
The heart of Keswick is the Market Square, ringed round with shops and hotels. There are no cars in the pedestrianised area which makes for a very pleasant shopping experience.
The main building in the centre of the Market Square is The Moot Hall, an ancient foundation home to the Lake District National Park Tourist Information Centre and an excellent starting point for planning your adventures during your stay. It was built in 1813 on the site of an earlier building. It was used in the past as a covered market, a courthouse, Town Hall, a place of worship, a museum and a prison. Its one-handed clock strikes the hour only.
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 between the town and Derwentwater with beautifully tended gardens. Fitz Park has a superb children's play area, BMX track, 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 a wide range of specialist retailers plus you will find a good choice of fashion shops.There are various shopping areas in Keswick with a mixture of traditional and contemporary shops, don't miss Packhorse Court, just off the Market Square, Lake Road and St John's Street aswell as Station Street and Tithebarn Street.
Few visitors come to Keswick without making the short walk to the lakeshore of Derwentwater 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. It takes about 15 minutes leisurely stroll via Lake Road and Hope Park to walk top the lake from Keswick Market Square. Another five minutes walk brings you to Friar's Crag with its tremendous views across the lake and Borrowdale.
The 4000 year old Castlerigg Stone Circle has breath-taking 360 degree views over the surrounding mountain and fells. 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 the surrounding villages, has a comprehensive choice of accommodation to suit all needs plus a wide range of places to eat - restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways for a snack, leisurely lunch or evening dinner.