Kate Taylor
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Find the best campsites, things to do and places to visit on your caravan holidays in Keswick with Practical Caravan's travel guide to the Lake District

Tourists flock to Keswick, and with good reason: there’s so much here to entertain you. Combine your caravan holidays in Keswick with a visit to one of the town’s many annual Lake District festivals to really make the most of your trip.

Lovely Keswick is north of Derwentwater in the Lake District, and is one of the larger towns in the region. Keswick offers a great range of attractions, from stunning scenery to welcoming pubs, cafés, restaurants and much more.

The town grew from the village of Crosthwaite, which these days you’ll find to the west of the town. A visit there will allow you to see the medieval church of St Kentigern, which originates from the sixth century – St Kentigern is known as St Mungo in Scotland.

If you’d like to learn more about Keswick’s history you should pay a visit to the Keswick Visitor Information Office, where you’ll also be able to find details of many local walks.

And while you're browsing through tourist leaflets at this office, or in pubs, do pick up a copy of the Keswick cycle leaflet, which details five challenging rides in the area. The famous 120-mile coast-to-coast cycle route also passes through Keswick.

Other attractions near the town include the landscaped gardens of Hope Park, where you’ll be able to walk or simply sit and enjoy the sunshine – the café there is dog friendly and has free Wi-Fi. There’s also a nine-hole pitch-and-putt golf course, as well as an 18-hole course, or you could challenge the family to a game of boules.

For indoor fun on your caravan holiday in Keswick, head for the Pencil Museum close to the town centre. Here you will be able to see the world’s biggest colour pencil, find out about the history of pencil making and even learn about pencil drawing in one of the regular workshops.

If the weather’s fine, then take a drive to the Castlerigg Stone Circle, a couple of miles from the town – the megalithic stone circle is the most visited in Cumbria. And the town has attracted numerous famous residents over the years, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. Beatrix Potter also spent holidays at Fawe Park.

There are numerous campsites in Keswick, giving you plenty of choice on your next caravan holiday to this area of the Lake District. One campsite close to the town is right on the shores of Derwentwater – that’s the Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club Site. It’s open to members and non-members alike.

If you’ve pitched your caravan and you're driving solo into Keswick, you’ll find numerous pay-and-display car parks, including two where you can park for up to 24 hours at a time.

Top five things to do in Keswick

  1. Visit Honister Slate Mine, the last working slate mine in England. It's about a 15-minute drive from Keswick and here you can discover the history of the green slate mined here. Whether you want to relax or get active, there's lots to do at Honister during your caravan holidays in the Lake District.

  2. During caravan holidays in the Lake District, you have to make the most of the wonderful natural environment – and there's so much choice. The Keswick Launch Company runs a variety of cruises on Derwentwater. Or if you feel more adventurous, Keswick Canoe and Bushcraft offers a wide range of activities. Newlands Adventure Centre in Keswick is the biggest provider of outdoor activities, as well as being the UK's longest established outdoor activity centre – head here for mountain walking, archery, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, indoor climbing, ghyll scrambling, high ropes courses, mountain biking and more. 

  3. Keswick's Theatre by the Lake is the perfect setting for modern and traditional plays, poetry and live music. It plays host to, among other things, the annual Keswick jazz festival and the literature festival.

  4. The only true mountain forest in England, Whinlatter Forest is well worth a visit – and it's only about a 10-minute drive from Keswick. Go walking for free and enjoy breathtaking, money-can't-buy views, tackle the Lake District's longest, purpose-built mountain bike trails, get your heart racing at Go Ape or discover the forest's diverse wildlife.

  5. As a wet weather activity in Keswick, why not visit The Puzzling Place? It's a museum with a difference and great entertainment for visitors of all ages, as you watch balls roll uphill or scratch your head over illusion pictures.

When to visit Keswick

If you’re planning caravan holidays in this English Lake District town, you might like to combine them with some of the many festivals throughout the year. Here's our quick guide to what's on in Keswick.

In February/March, it is the Keswick Film Festival. Then in March it is time for Words by the Water, a 10-day literature festival.

May is a busy month in Keswick. It gets off to a flying start with the Keswick Half Marathon, one of the most scenic runs in the country. Once you've caught your breath, take a seat for the annual jazz festival, before it is time to get active once more at the Keswick Mountain Festival. This is an annual weekend event that attracts athletes and sporty types to take on the mountains and lakes in a range of physical challenges – including a special, moonlit swim.

In June, it's time for the Keswick Beer Festival. Be sure to book tickets in advance – they go on sale in December. As well as being a great chance to sample a lot of beer, lager and cider, there is always lots of tasty food, all accompanied by live music.

Then there is the Keswick Street Theatre, which is rather special. On summer Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm, for seven weeks, the history of Keswick is portrayed in 10 short mini-pantomimes – all profits go to charity.

How to get to Keswick

It shouldn't prove hard to drive to the many campsites near Keswick for your caravan holidays in the Lake District.

The town is accessed easily from the M6 – leave the motorway at junction 40 and take the A66 to Keswick. You can also take the scenic route, using the A591 through the Lake District from Kendal, passing through Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere. This road can become very congested in the peak holiday season, though.

Before leaving home, it's a good idea to check with your campsite regarding local roads. Some rural roads in Cumbria are tight with little visibility and many campsites will be able to advise you of the best routes to use when approaching their site with a caravan in tow.

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