Situated between the huge bulk of Skiddaw and the gentle beauty of Derwentwater, Keswick has become the major centre for tourism in the north lakes. It is connected to the trains at Windermere station by the 555 bus service.
This pretty market town offers a wide range of attractions for visitors, from shops and restaurants to museums with a difference, and boating trips around Derwentwater. In 1276 Edward I granted the town its market charter, and the Saturday market continues to this day. In the centre if the Main Street is the Moot Hall, now home to the Tourist Information Centre.
The original settlement was at Crosthwaite, on the Western side of the town. The first Church at Crosthwaite was built in 553 AD, and named St Kentigern. Canon Rawnsley served the church as vicar from 1883-1917. He was one of the co-founders of the National Trust, which owns much land in the area.
The rural economy was transformed in the reign of Elizabeth I, when minerals, copper in particular, were discovered in Newlands and Borrowdale. During her reign, skilled miners were brought to the area from as far away as Germany. The discovery of black lead at Seathwaite in the 16th century sparked off pencil making which is still the major industry in the town. The Pencil Museum tells the story of pencil making in Keswick.
Between 1885, when she was 19, and 1907, Beatrix Potter spent summer holidays at Lingholm and Fawe Park, the two stately homes whose estates now occupy most of the north western side of Derwentwater. The two houses, their gardens and the surrounding landscape provided material for several of her books.
The Museum & Art Gallery is a purpose built Victorian museum, hardly changed today since it was created, with a local history collection, and original manuscripts from the Lake Poets.
At Friars Crag is a memorial, unveiled in 1900, to John Ruskin, who had many associations with Keswick. He once said Keswick was a place almost too beautiful to live in. There is also a memorial to Canon Rawnsley.
The Theatre by the Lake between the lakeside car-park and Derwentwater is a purpose built theatre attracting visitors from a vide area.
At the southern end of Derwentwater is the valley of Borrowdale, leading to the Honister Pass, and on to the smaller lakes of Buttermere, Crummock Water, and Loweswater.