On the surface, Keswick is another of the many attractive Cumbrian market towns, home to stunning views and an awe-inspiring lake.

Dig a bit deeper, however, and you’ll find a remarkable landscape, shaped by Neolithic occupation, Roman settlement and Viking invasion. Its scenery inspired the Lake Poets, while its graphite gave us the humble pencil.

This gem of the northern lakes is simply replete with natural beauty, vibrant local businesses and an intriguing history.

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Where to stay when exploring Keswick

The best campervan sites in the Lake District provide the ideal setting for exploring this picturesque part of the world.

One site to consider is Keswick C&CC Site. This spacious campsite is sandwiched between the River Greta and the banks of Derwentwater. It has hardstandings, lake access and mountain views.

Alternatively, you could consider Derwentwater C&CC Site – within walking distance of Keswick, Derwentwater and local beauty spots, this well-maintained campsite offers stunning views and is close to many of the National Trust attractions.

You can also check out our best motorhome sites in North-West England guide if you’re thinking of visiting other parts of this vibrant region.

What to do in Keswick on Day 1

10am – Off to market

Surrounded by views of the fells and the mountains beyond, the town’s cobbled streets are lined with independent shops, traditional pubs and charming cafés.

Grab yourself a cake and a cuppa in the modern-rustic Elm Café, then take a gentle stroll beside the River Greta, which flows through the town.

There are eclectic shops and eateries to explore

On Thursdays and Saturdays, visitors can explore Keswick Outdoor Market, in the town square. Running from 9am to 4.30pm, the market has been active for 700 years, offering a huge range of award-winning local produce and crafts.

12pm – Lunch break 

For lunch, stop by The Square Orange, a cosy café providing an excellent menu of tapas and stone-baked pizza, along with superb coffee and delicious cakes. They’re also licensed, should you fancy nominating someone else to drive and enjoying a lunchtime tipple!

2pm – Walk this way

Derwentwater, lying just to the south of Keswick, is the third largest body of water in the whole of the Lake District, so tackling the walk right around it can be a lengthy undertaking. But if you do want to follow the 10-mile circular route, there are plenty of beautiful views to enjoy along the way. However, if you prefer the idea of more leisurely exploring, Keswick Launch runs hop-on hop-off pleasure cruises, stopping at seven points of interest on the journey, where you can alight and discover the beautiful surroundings.

5pm – Time to dine 

Make your way back into town and enjoy an early dinner at the family-run Thyme Bistro, offering fresh and locally sourced dishes, including pizza and pasta.

7pm – Take in a movie

The Keswick Alhambra is a century-old cinema in the heart of town. Settle into one of the historic theatres with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and enjoy a film, livestreaming or exhibition on screen.

What to do on Day 2

10am – Standing stones 

Keswick’s surroundings are a patchwork of history, from Roman forts to Viking place names to Neolithic sites. Castlerigg Stone Circle is a two-mile walk from town. The 38 Bronze Age stones are encircled by views of Helvellyn and High Seat.

12pm – Brunch break 

Castlerigg is a great picnic spot, but it’s a shame not to sample another of Keswick’s culinary offerings. A popular spot for light lunches is Lake Road Brunch, a bright
and welcoming café. The modern menu features shakshuka, all-day breakfasts and delicious filled flatbreads.

1.30pm – Pencilled in

Yes, that’s right – a museum dedicated entirely to pencils! When graphite was discovered in the area, Keswick became a world-leading producer of pencils, so this really is a must-visit.

Learn about the history and heritage of the town in this thoughtfully curated museum – where you can also see one of the biggest pencils in the world!

3pm – Get on track 

Tracing the banks of the River Greta, this ‘Miles without Stiles’ trail follows what was once the Keswick to Penrith Railway. The 5km route winds across bridges, through tunnels and past gorges and viewpoints. Perfect for a gentle walk or bike ride, the path is also suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

 5.30pm – A hearty meal

Back in town, head to one of Keswick’s inviting pubs for dinner. The Pocket is a warm, cosy restaurant, with a superb menu of pizza and small plates.

7.30pm – Play time

A short walk to Derwentwater will bring you to Theatre by the Lake. Overlooking the water, this unique arts venue offers an exciting programme of plays, film, music and much more.

Theatre by the Lake
Image: Shutterstock – Theatre by the Lake is a unique arts venue

If you want to embark on a West Coast adventure instead of visiting the Lake District, the Cumbrian Coastal Route 200 could be the journey for you, stretching from Morecambe Bay to Carlisle.

Or perhaps you’re after ideas for a shorter getaway? Then take a look at our guides to spending 48 hours in Chester and 48 hours in North Berwick.

Lead image: Getty

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