North Lake District

4 mins read
Image Source: Vivienne Crow

Exploring Keswick and North Lake District Top Attractions

Keswick is the largest town in the Lake District National Park but it’s far from being a big settlement. Urban visitors might be forgiven for calling it a ‘village’. It sits at the foot of England’s fourth-highest mountain, Skiddaw, while Derwentwater, the Queen of the Lakes, borders it to the southwest. Walkers come here to scale the fells, to stroll along the lakeshore or to wander Borrowdale’s ancient oak woods, and there’s also plenty to keep you busy if the weather turns foul. The Derwent Pencil Museum tells the story of graphite, first discovered in Borrowdale. The recently refurbished Keswick Museum and Art Gallery has exhibits covering the worlds of literature, mountaineering, art and geology. The enigmatic Castlerigg Stone Circle is just outside town, built about 5,000 years ago. Come the evening, there are restaurants galore, an old-fashioned cinema complete with balcony and the Theatre by the Lake.  

Looking across Derwentwater to Skiddaw - Keswick Lake District attractions
Image Source: Vivienne Crow

Outdoor Adventures in the Northern Lake District

Beyond the theatre is the glorious lake itself, which can be explored leisurely from the deck of the Keswick Launch. For those seeking a more energetic experience, by hiring a canoe, kayak or rowing boat. Hugging the eastern shore of Derwentwater is the B5289, one of the loveliest roads in England. In summer, open-top buses ply this route up into beautiful Borrowdale. Hop on and off to visit some of the key attractions, including the Lodore Falls, the Bowder StoneAshness Bridge, the picturesque Ashness Bridge and the tranquil villages of Rosthwaite and Grange. Beyond the valley, the road climbs steeply to Honister Pass and the Honister Slate Mine, where visitors can join an underground tour or scale the scary via ferrata up the side of the craggy fell.

Keswick Launch - Derwentwater
Keswick Launch – Derwentwater

Festivals and Cultural Events in Keswick

Keswick vies with Kendal for the title of Cumbria’s festival town, hosting a diverse range of events as part of Keswick Lake District attractions. Events from film, literary and jazz festivals through to the massive Keswick Mountain Festival and the Keswick Convention, which attracts 15,000 people to Christian seminars every summer. 

Attractions Beyond Keswick: Bassenthwaite Lake and More

North of the town, the holiday crowds begin to thin out. This is where you’ll find Bassenthwaite Lake, the Northern Fells and tiny villages that time (and tourists) seem to have forgotten, such as Caldbeck and Hesket Newmarket. Attractions include the elegant 17th-century Mirehouse, the Lake District Wildlife Park for kids and, for adults, the Lakes Distillery. Whinlatter Forest is home to miles of hiking and biking trails. Some are family-friendly; others more challenging. And those screams you’re hearing? They’ll be from the brave souls swinging from the Go Ape tree-top obstacle course high above your head.

Places to stay in Keswick and North Lake District

The Pheasant Inn 

The Pheasant Inn  - Bassenthwaite

Address: Bassenthwaite, CA13 9YE

>>> Check rates and availability

The Leathes Head Hotel

Address:  Keswick, CA12 5UY

>>> Check rates and availability