Keswick and Derwentwater and the Northern Lakes
is a major tourist destination and reputedly covers about half of
the Lake District National Park. Situated between the high peak of
Skiddaw and the the lake of Derwentwater, Keswick is a pretty traditional
market town with plenty of shops, restaurants and museums as well
as offering boating trips around lake Derwentwater.
Left to Right: Keswick Market “Moot” Hall, the town centre,
snow-covered Skiddaw and Derwentwater at Sunset
The town boasts a wide variety of shops, cafes,
tea and coffee rooms, pubs and restaurants. For those requiring holiday
accommodation in this part of the Lake District there is a wide range
of hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfasts, hostels, self catering
cottages and camp sites. In 1276 Edward I granted the town its market
charter, and the Saturday market continues to this day, held every
Saturday in the pedestrianised main street in the middle of the town.
The marketplace features the Moot Hall which once acted as the town
hall but is now a local tourist information office.
Keswick is home to the 400 seat
“Theatre by the Lake” which continues to this day with
a long ttradition of summer season productions on the shore of Derwentwater.
The town is also the site of the Cumberland Pencil Museum, illustrating
the manufacturing history of pencils and shows how pencils have been
used through the ages.One of the exhibits is what is claimed to be
the world’s largest pencil. There is also a mining and rock museum.
Castlerigg stone circle, a well preserved prehistoric
monument, and a Mecca for the more archeaologiclly-minded tourist
is just a couple of miles away.b Fitz Park, located on the bank of
the River Greta, is home to the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, a
Victorian museum which features the Musical Stones of Skiddaw. In
2001 the park was voted the “Loveliest
Cricket Ground in England” by Wisden.
Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge moved to with his family
to live in Keswick in 1800 and visited and collaborated with William
Wordsworth in nearby Grasmere, frequently walking back and forth between
the towns. Robert Southey and his wife also came to stay with Coleridge
at Greta Hall in 1803 and ended up residing there until his death
in 1843. Coleridge left Greta Hall in 1804 leaving his family in the
care of Southey. Due to their residence in the district, the three
poets are collectively known as the ‘Lake Poets’. Southey is buried
in the churchyard of Crosthwaite Church and there is a memorial to
him inside the church.