One Day in Keswick, a traditional Lake District town

by | Destinations, England | 21 comments

One day in Keswick? Wonderful! Several days would be better, but you can always come back. So what is there to see and do in one day in Keswick and the surrounding area?

I recently penned a post with ideas about how to spend One Day in The Lake District. This offered a choice of one day itineraries for visiting the Windermere and Grasmere area of the Lake District, but the Lake District covers a vast area with many places which are well worth visiting. Keswick is definitely one of them.

Keswick is in the north of the Lake District National Park, an old market town perched on the edge of Derwent Water and overlooked by Skiddaw, one of the highest mountains in England. It is one of the prettiest areas of the Lake District.

View over Derwent Water on cloudy day

Looking out across Derwent Water: beautiful, even on a moody day!

Things to do in Keswick – where to go, what to see

Here are some suggestions for some wonderful things to do in Keswick, all of which could be managed in one day (I’ve done them!) or you could linger and spend a couple of days.

Keswick, the town

Firstly, take a stroll around the town and soak up the atmosphere of this charming Lakeland town. The old Market Square is picturesque and there is a myriad of interesting shops to browse in the town. Of particular interest are the art galleries and craft shops featuring the work of local artists. Not surprisingly, there are also many outdoor gear shops! (Incidentally, I took advantage of lockdown to take these photos without people. Normally the town is full of hustle and bustle!)

View of Keswick town centre

The Moot Hall in the middle of Keswick

View of Keswick centre

Keswick market square

A view of the lake

Next, take a walk along the side of Derwent Water out towards Friars Crag, a wonderful viewpoint over the lake. Admire the views looking over the lake and across to Cat Bells, another of the spectacular Lake District fells.

A view over Derwent Water


This is an easy walk from the centre of Keswick. Just walk along Lake Road, through Hope Park towards the lake and the boat landings. The path along the side of the lake to Friars Crag is well maintained and easy walking.

Sitting at Friars Crag

That’s me, with my pup, at Friars Crag in Keswick

Depending on the weather and your interests, this walk could be just a half hour stroll out and back or could be extended along the trails for several hours. Another possibility would be to take a boat trip on the lake and these run regularly from the landing stages.

At landing stages on Derwent Water

Derwent Pencil Museum

Visit the Derwent Pencil Museum on the edge of town. Graphite was mined in this area for many years and it was famous for its pencils. Discover how pencils were made in years gone by. The world’s first pencil was made in Keswick! This quirky museum is worth a visit.

Outside the Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Another “must-see” on any day trip to Keswick is the Castlerigg Stone Circle. The views across the valley from this elevated site are stunning, taking in several of the most iconic mountains in the Lake District: Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Blencathra. It is worth heading up to Castlerigg just for the views, but add in the historical interest and it is clear why this is a popular landmark for visitors to Keswick. These standing stones from the Neolithic period date back to at least 3000 BC. There is some parking at the site, but it is limited. It is also possible to walk from the town and takes approximately half an hour.

Castlerigg Stone Circle for one day in Keswick

The view from Castlerigg Stone Circle

The Lakes Distillery

Finally, drive the nine miles (approximately) along the A66 to The Lakes Distillery. This new distillery was established in some old Victorian farm buildings and the renovation is imaginative and beautiful. The stonework and ironwork, for example, are works of art in themselves.

The Lakes Distillery on One Day in Keswick visit

A variety of tours are available and they run regularly throughout the day. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience the whisky making process and to sample the wares. The tour is very interesting, but photos are not allowed unfortunately. The first whisky from the distillery was bottled at the end of 2019. (We have a bottle, but have not yet opened it!)

Whisky tasting on One Day in Keswick

The restaurant attached to the distillery is beautifully appointed and offers some tasty dishes.

The restaurant at the Lakes Distillery

Eating at the Lakes Distillery on One day in Keswick

And don’t forget to visit the alpacas!

Alpacas at the Lakes Distillery


Is it worth visiting Keswick?

Keswick is a traditional lake district town with a very distinctive charm. Is it worth visiting Keswick? Absolutely! A one day trip will give a flavour of the town, but it will leave visitors wanting to return and explore more. Enjoy!

One day in Keswick: Related Posts

One Day in The Lake District

View at Buttermere

Easy Walks in the Lake District

View over Windermere

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  1. Such beautiful views…but gotta admit I’m pretty intrigued by that pencil museum!

    • Definitely worth a visit Karen!

  2. What a beautiful lake district. I really miss hiking and seeing views like this – living in the Netherlands means alot of flatness. I would love to head here for a fall getaway!

  3. The stone circle and Pencil Museum are for me! I love the idea of a day in nature, seeing beautiful sights, then finishing with a visit to a quirky museum and a hearty meal!

  4. Aw Jane, you’ve brought back such fond memories of Keswick and our time in the Lake District. I remember visiting Friars Crag, but didn’t remember the name! A lovely region in England that everyone should visit.

    • Thanks Lisa. It is such a beautiful area whatever the weather.

  5. Must visit the pencil museum! Haha!

  6. We would looooove to explore the Lake District. Such a gorgeous place! Always intrigued by the standing stones! And, of course, we’d be up for checking out the Pencil Museum! How fun!!!

  7. Keswick looks like such a charming town and that lake is beautiful! Also, I had no idea where the first pencil was made until I read this article. How fascinating!

  8. This brought back such wonderful memories of my visit to Keswick, many years ago. The views of the lake are stunning and I’d definitely visit the distillery the next time around.

    • Hope you get to make a return visit before too long and yes, the distillery is well worth visiting.

  9. It is always funny when I read a title and think that the destination is close to home. But I guess it is not surprising there are similar place names in Canada. Keswick at home is a small lake town. But does not offer 3 days of fun like the Keswick in your post. I would love to stroll the small cobblestone streets. But the lake views would keep me entranced. We visited Stonehenge on our last visit to England so would definitely want to check out the Castlerigg Stone Circle.

    • I know what you mean. We lived in Canada for a couple of years and I was always bemused by how many place names were the same as in the UK.

  10. Keswick looks like a lovely place to visit! I had never thought about where the first pencil came from and now I know! ???? I would definitely want to spend time on the lake and ending the day with whisky would be perfect!

  11. Once I realized this was not Keswick, Ontario, Canada I was intrigued. ????
    It looks and sounds like a wonderful day trip. What more could you ask for? Quaint shops, beautiful views of lakes, a distillery…sounds like a fun filled day.

  12. Such a great place!! I love that there is a pencil museum to show the areas graphite history! Plus that distillery looks so modern and stunning. Ok, let’s not forget about the beautiful lake and stone circles. I must visit!!!

  13. I love lake communities! I grew up in the Great Lakes State of Michigan and spent all my summers on the water. This area looks so beautiful, taking reflection photos on the water is ????

  14. Keswick is really pretty. I’m not into shopping anymore, but I will enjoy strolling around and taking pictures of the beautiful buildings and stores exteriors. The Derwent Pencil Museum looks like a fun visit, and the Castlerigg Stone Circle is definitely interesting.

  15. I love that you have a picture of Moot Hall, the start/finish of the Bob Graham Round. The Nicky Spinks story is the reason the Lake District is on my must see list. The food and drink look incredible as well! Well done again, thanks for sharing.

    • Think we might have to organise a tour to take in places associated with these icons, Scott. I draw the line at fell running though!

  16. I’ll have to pencil in a trip to Keswick. Pencil- get it. 😅 the town looks so beautiful without people. Lockdown had its advantages. Definitely a stop worth taking in the Lake District.


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Hello!  I’m Jane. I live in the Lake District in the north of England with my husband, Peter. We love to travel, but this is a great place to call home.

We gave up work in order to travel and do all the things we were not able to do in our careers. We know we are incredibly lucky to be able to do this.

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