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Keswick Travel Tips - How to Pack, Plan, and Picnic

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Keswick has kept its roots as a hardworking market town. It’s open and friendly rather than smart and sophisticated. And it’s very much an outdoorsy place. Dress for comfort and practicality and always pack wet-weather gear. Because it’s compact, you’re unlikely to need a car or bus to get around, though you will do if you want to explore Borrowdale or neighbouring Bassenthwaite Lake.

Best time to travel


The Lake District is famous for its changeable weather. Sometimes you can get several seasons in 1 day. It’s a near certainty, however, that it will rain at some point if you stay for any length of time. On the plus side, the weather rarely gets dramatically cold or hot. High summer (July and August) is the warmest time but also the busiest. Easter, too, is popular. Fall and early spring are the quietest times and reward visitors with fiery autumn leaves and wildflowers respectively.

Not to miss


A boat trip on Derwent Water is a must, as much for the soothing experience as for the views. Getting out and stretching your legs is the real way to get to know the Lake District. It doesn’t have to be a mountain hike; the short walk to Friar’s Crag on the lake shore is rewarding. Browsing the Saturday market is a good place to pick up gifts as well as meet the locals. And you would kick yourself if you didn’t drop by Friars chocolate shop in the Market Square, family-run since 1927.


Getting around


Keswick is small and compact, so unless you’re staying on the edge of town or outside, you shouldn’t need to drive or use a bus. If you do drive, parking is strictly controlled. Use the Pay and Display car parks or be aware that street parking, for most of the year, is usually time-restricted. Regular bus services connect to Borrowdale, and neighbouring towns and attractions, with the bus terminal next to Booths supermarket just off Main Street.




Food tends to the simple and hearty - chunky soups, steak and chips, and casseroles - with good use of local produce. Children’s menus are available in most places. Many cafés supply snacks and sandwiches for picnics. Pizzerias, Indian restaurants, and tapas bars add variety. Cozy pubs serve British and international fare as well as a good selection of local ales.


Customs and etiquette


A friendly smile will get you a long way, and a "thank you" to bar staff and waiters will be appreciated - and remembered. Tipping of around 10 percent is usual in restaurants, pubs, and cafés, and is normally added to taxi fares. It is not considered acceptable to haggle in shops or markets; the prices will be clearly shown. British people love to stand in line - or ‘queue’ to use the local term - and don’t take kindly to people who break in ahead of them in the line.


Fast facts


  • Population: Around 5,000

  • Spoken languages: UK English

  • Electrical: 220-240 volts, 50 Hz, plug type G

  • Phone calling code: +44 17687

  • Emergency number: 999