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!)
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.
4. It’s still got real toy shops!
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 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.
7. There’s plenty to please the taste buds and take home too!
8. The locals are friendly, if a little eccentric…!
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]
10. You can tick off more of the ewes on your Go Herdwick public art trail list! [Note: trail ended September 2016]
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.