Keswick’s Parks: Where To Go And What To Do
Keswick is surrounded by beautiful Lake District scenery and there’s no better place to relax and take in the views than one of our many parks. Fitz Park, Hope Park, and Crow Park are all just a short walk from the town centre, and Whinlatter Forest Park, England’s only true mountain forest, is just a short journey away. From ziplining through treetops to traditional park games, each park has its own unique appeal for visitors of all ages. Read on for our guide to Keswick’s parks.
Fitz Park is an ideal spot for picnics and is just a short walk from Keswick Market Square. With the River Greta running through the park, and stunning views towards Skiddaw and Latrigg, this peaceful park is perfect for relaxing strolls, or simply sitting back and enjoying the view. If you’d like to get involved in sports and games, Fitz Park is a great place to enjoy this too: the lower park features a large open area, cricket pavilion, and a games area, perfect for playing football or basketball. There’s a BMX track, suitable for both BMX bikes and mountain bikes, which can be enjoyed by everyone from beginners to more advanced riders.
There’s also a fantastic children’s playground, which is sure to keep your little ones entertained for hours; there’s lots of sand for digging and building sandcastles, as well as climbing frames, slides and more. The upper park is more formal, and features a bowling green, grass tennis courts, an 18 hole putting green, bowls and croquet, and an arboretum.
Hope Park can be found midway between Keswick town centre and Derwentwater, which makes it a great place to stop off on your way to or from the lake. The park was once owned by Sir Percy Hope and his wife Lady Hope, who opened the park to the public in 1927, as it was their wish that the park would remain open to future generations of residents and visitors of Keswick. Now, the park is home to a range of park games, perfect for both big and little kids, including an 18 hole crazy golf course, a 9 hole pitch and putt golf course, an 18 hole putting green, boules pit, and the incredibly popular remote controlled boats, sailing on a miniature Derwentwater.
The park is also home to a woodland path and Lady Hope’s ornamental garden, the perfect setting for a leisurely walk, with views overlooking the fells beyond Keswick. If you’re in need of refreshment after walking or playing in the park, you can buy hot and cold drinks, snacks, and ice creams from the park kiosk, with picnic tables nearby. Or visit Café Hope, which serves light meals at all times of day, as well as hot and cold drinks, with indoor and outdoor seating.
For a unique way to explore Keswick and its surrounding areas, you can hire an electric Twizy from Café Hope. Yan and Tyan are two-seater electric cars, so you can rest assured that you’re not polluting the beautiful Lake District landscape when you explore in one of these quirky cars. Simply contact Café Hope with your driving license details to hire a Twizy.
If you carry on walking past Hope Park, you’ll soon find Crow Park between Theatre By The Lake and Derwentwater. Crow Park is a wide expanse of grass owned by the National Trust, which has fantastic views overlooking the lake and Skiddaw. There are sometimes sheep grazing in Crow Park, but when vacant it’s a great place for picnics, running around, playing games, or to sit and look out across the lake. Crow Park is also home to events throughout the year, such as the Derwentwater Regatta, and Keswick Mountain Festival, so keep an eye out for any events that might be taking place in Crow Park during your visit. You can also find the plaque which marks the Lake District as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Crow Park.
Whinlatter Forest Park is around a 15 minute drive from Keswick town centre, and is the only true mountain forest in England, managed by the Forestry Commission. Whinlatter is a great family-friendly day out, with lots to do for people of all ages. Starting from the Visitor Centre, which has its own shop and café, there are 9 walking trails to suit all abilities, as well as running trails, which will take you to stunning viewpoints overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater, Skiddaw, and Grisedale Pike. There are three cycling trails and the option of mountain bike orienteering for keen cyclists. The Gorse Cycle Trail is a 10km route across well surfaced forest roads, which takes you through the best and quietest corners of Whinlatter, which is great for beginners; the blue grade Quercus Trail is a single track with gentle berms, rolling jumps, and wide gradual climbs for adventurous riders; and the red grade Altura Trail is suitable for experienced riders, with a high level of fitness and stamina, with good off road skills. If you haven’t brought a bike with you to Whinlatter, you can hire one from Cyclewise, the on-site cycle shop, which also sell bikes and kit and offers a range of bike training courses.
For little ones, there’s the Whinlatter WildPlay trail, with nine different play areas which take you on a journey through the trees, including a climbing wall, water features, giant swings, and a secret path. There are also two children's discovery trails for exploring the forest, available from the Visitor’s Centre.
For a truly adventurous day out, you can try your hand at swinging through the trees or zooming through the forest with Go Ape. The Tree Top Challenge is an exhilarating high ropes course, 14-metres above the forest floor, packed with epic obstacles and jaw-dropping Tarzan swings. If heights aren’t your thing, you can hop on an all-terrain Segway, and take your exploring off-road!
If you're on holiday in Keswick, you don't have to miss out on your weekly parkrun. Did you know we have not just one but three parkruns? On Saturday morning, there is a 5km run along the old Keswick to Threlkeld railway line whilst, in Whinlatter Forest, there is a hilly course with the most elevation gain of any parkrun in the UK with spectacular views towards Derwentwater. On Sunday morning there is a 2k junior parkrun in Fitz Park. If you're doing the A-Z of parkruns you can come to Keswick and tick off not only K but W as well.