10 great reasons to go shopping in Keswick

The pedestrian zone in the centre of Keswick
The pedestrian zone in the centre of Keswick

Keswick’s one of my favourite places in the Lake District to go shopping, and having not visited for some time, I was rather pleased to have a spare couple of hours to go exploring there recently.

Here are just some of the reasons I suggest you visit Keswick:

1. It’s got a great atmosphere any day of the week, but especially on market days (Saturday)

2. Keswick has a huge range of independent shops (and contrary to popular belief, they’re not all outdoor shops!)

John Young Furnishings of Keswick
John Young Furnishings of Keswick
Packhorse Court, Keswick
Packhorse Court, full of independent shops
Nordic Outdoor Keswick
Although there are one or two outdoor shops too…!

3. You’ve got lovely views very close to hand

Walk through Hope Park and past the Theatre by the Lake and you’re at the lakeside before you know it. There’s a lovely short stroll from here that will take you to Friar’s Crag, a viewpoint with incredible views across and down the lake – there’s a handy summary of the route on the Miles without Stiles section of the Lake District National Park Authority website.

Derwentwater from Friar's Crag
Derwentwater from Friar’s Crag

4. It’s still got real toy shops!

Touchwood Toy Shop, Keswick
Touchwood Toy Shop, Keswick

5. The gift shops sell things that you actually want to buy!

Sometimes the term ‘gift shop’ brings to mind some rather tacky items that are of little use to anyone – not so in Keswick! There are lots of gifts created by producers in the Lake District, which will brighten up someone’s day or act as a treasured reminder of your stay.

The Herdy shop, Keswick
The Herdy shop
Inside Love the Lakes
Inside the Love the Lakes shop
Prosecco bath salts
Prosecco bath salts?! From Bath House at ‘Love the Lakes’
Soaps sold in The Soap Co shop
Some of the vibrantly coloured soaps on display in The Soap Co shop

The Soap Co is well worth a visit – a social enterprise, you can read more about this super little shop in a recent blog post.

6. There’s an excellent choice of cafés and pubs

I had a great lunch at The Honey Pot in Packhorse Court (and predictably went for my favourite, the cheese toastie!), so would highly recommend it. There’s a huge range of cafés, pubs and restaurants, so something to suit everyone.

The Honey Pot in the Packhorse Court arcade
The Honey Pot in the Packhorse Court arcade

7. There’s plenty to please the taste buds and take home too!

The Cheese Deli Keswick
The Cheese Deli Keswick
Ye Olde Friars of Keswick
The chocolate shop, Ye Olde Friars of Keswick
Roly's Fudge Keswick
Making fudge at Roly’s Fudge in Keswick

8. The locals are friendly, if a little eccentric…!

The giraffe outside Treeby and Bolton
The giraffe outside Treeby and Bolton
Outside King Kong Climbing Centre
Outside King Kong Climbing Centre

9. You can leave the car at home and take public transport

Because the A591 from Grasmere will be closed until mid May 2016, I took the temporary Thirlmere bus, and what a treat it was not to drive! When the road opens again, you’ll have the choice of driving or taking the 555 through from the South Lakes. [Note: the A591, which is a stunning route to travel, re-opened and the 555 bus service returned to normal in May 2016]

The Stagecoach service to Keswick

10. You can tick off more of the ewes on your Go Herdwick public art trail list! [Note: trail ended September 2016]

Go Herdwick 100 Years and Counting
I visited Keswick just before the Go Herdwick trail began, but this ewe ‘100 years and counting’ was designed by Rachy McKenzie for Caterite, and can be seen at Treeby and Bolton Gallery and Café (picture taken at the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show in February).

Keswick received some bad coverage following the Cumbria floods just before Christmas in 2015, and I’ve often heard people suggest supporting local businesses by stopping in the town. My message is this: don’t go to Keswick because you feel you should… go because you’ll have a really great time there!

What’s your favourite thing about Keswick? Share your recommendations by leaving a comment below.

  • Article updated 14 April 2016 and further amendments made 3 December 2016.

One Comment

  1. Recently we heard the great news that the A591 between Grasmere and Keswick is due to be opened earlier than scheduled, on 13th May – so no excuses not to visit!: http://www.itv.com/news/border/2016-04-07/may-13th-confirmed-as-opening-date-for-a591/

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