Keswick on Derwentwater
Keswick is a thriving little market town and caters for visitors all year round – it never has the “closed up” feel of a seaside resort after the summer months – there is always plenty going on whatever the weather or season. Hazelmere is usually fully booked at weekends throughout the year so please always book early to avoid disappointment.
Keswick has won awards in Britain in Bloom many times over the past few years; it obviously has a head start with such a superb location. The town offers a wide range of places to eat out and has an attractive shopping centre, of course the outdoor clothing industry is a speciality here! Our market day is Saturday but Farmers Markets are also arranged on many Thursdays throughout the year with, among other things, the opportunity to buy local craft work, photographs and so on.
Keswick is a great base from which to explore the Lake District, learn the literary past of Coleridge, Wordsworth, Southey and of course Beatrix Potter. Visit stately homes and gardens, Mirehouse is close by or go further a field – Hadrian’s Wall is easily explored from here and is a popular destination for foreign visitors in particular. Keswick has lovely parks, the newly refurbished Keswick Museum and Art Gallery or the world famous Pencil Museum, tennis courts, bowling greens, pitch and put, an excellent theatre, cinema, a climbing wall, Ice climbing, leisure pool and mountain bike hire for the more energetic. Water sports can be arranged from several venues on Derwentwater and there are numerous other organisations who will take you on the fells, anything from an easy walk to rock climbing or paragliding. There are several good golf courses in the area.
The natural rhythm of life in this lovely town across the seasons is something like this:
Spring: Lambs in the fields, snowdrops are replaced with Wordsworth’s daffodils the hedges begin to burst, birds sing and walking the fells is a pleasure without summer heat. Crisp, clear high pressure days are a bonus for photographers and lengthening days mean more time exploring the fells and enjoying the spectacular views. February brings the Film Festival and the film club has an interesting selection of guest films showing on Sundays throughout the year. The Theatre by the Lake stages their annual festival of Words by the Water in March and Keswick’s Half Marathon takes place usually on the Sunday of the first May Bank Holiday.
Summer: Mid May is always a wonderful time in the woods. Bluebells carpet the floor, a walk around Rydal is a special treat and there are rhododendrons out in gardens and roadsides bringing patches colour to the scenery. The ospreys return from Africa and can be viewed at Dodd Wood and on live link at Whinlatter Forest Centre. The Siskins Café at the Whinlatter Visitor Centre is a great place for lunch! We have a 4 day annual Jazz Festival in the middle of May which is great fun and brings guests from all over the world – see the Theatre by The Lake website. Keswick’s Annual Beer Festival is held in early June and from mid July the 3 week Keswick Religious Convention takes place. The Keswick Show is held on the August Bank Holiday Monday and there are many other agricultural shows, fell races, sheep dog trials and hound trails held throughout the area.
Autumn: Early September brings blackberries in the hedgerows, the colour of rowan berries in the woods, the bracken and leaves begin to turn so each fell side glows golden and red as the sun slants lower each day. The autumn colours are breathtakingly beautiful and walks on the fells over the early morning mist of the valleys are a wonderful experience. There are plenty of cosy pubs with open fires to enjoy the longer nights and several pubs run quiz nights which are a pleasant way to end a day.
Winter: Keswick looks amazing with the Christmas lights up, we defy anyone to find a prettier town! The Annual Victorian Fayre is usually held on the first Sunday in December. It is lovely to relax with a cup of hot punch and wander about the stalls selling homemade produce and gifts for Christmas whilst making money for local charities. Keswick is a great place for Christmas shopping! The Theatre by The Lake always puts on an excellent pantomime and there are many other productions organised for all tastes. Although the days are much shorter we still get some fantastic days for walking, clear crisp skies and, with the leaves of the trees removed, you can appreciate the massive crags of the fells as the bones of the land are laid bare. Paths are less busy and lakeshore walks on frosty days are a perfect way to relax and work up the appetite for a huge pub meal by a roaring fire.
Check out George Fisher’s web cam for a look at the weather.