Catbells, Derwent Lake, Hloidaying in the Lake District, Keswick, Love the Lakes, Merienda, Northen Lights Gallery, Shopping in Keswick, The Dog and Gun, The Stone Circle in Keswick, Walking in Keswick, Where to stay in the Lakes
Having spent over 10 years visiting the Lake District, sometimes twice a year it’s hard to believe that we’ve never stayed in Keswick. We’ve stayed in Ambleside and Grasmere many times over the years and popped over to Keswick on market day, but this year we finally took the plunge and opted to spend a full week in Keswick, and we thoroughly enjoyed everything this little market town had to offer. We were even lucky enough to see the sun on a couple of days, which made our week even better.
Walks in and around Keswick:
At the start of the week I rather adventurously stated that I wanted to walk around 40 miles over the course of the week. However, when you throw in a couple of lazy days 40 miles was rather optimistic and so in the end we managed just over 20 miles over three really enjoyable walks.
The first was on what turned out to be the best day of the week – Sunday and although we were aiming for Catbells we ended up walking around Derwent Lake which was around 9.5 miles and completed in glorious sunny conditions. This is a really great walk and I highly recommend it and although it’s a long walk it is mostly on the flat so not too difficult for your average walker. And the views are just stunning
Two days later we attempted Catbells again and although we got lost we soon got back on track. However, the conditions weren’t as favourable and the foggy conditions meant we couldn’t enjoy any of the views as we continued to climb. This is a relatively short walk but it is all uphill so very tiring and unfortunately we didn’t actually reach the summit due to the weather, but we will definitely be attempting it again.
For our third and final walk my husband was keen to see the Stone Circle at Castlerigg and so after going the long way round we finally came across the stone circle. Again, this is a relatively short walk, which although uphill shouldn’t prove too much of a problem for your average walker. We made the walk on a Thursday morning and even though there were quite a few people milling about it was in a lovely setting and still quite peaceful. And of course after a week of activity we couldn’t help but spend the rest of the afternoon visiting all the pubs we’d missed during the week.
Food and drink in Keswick:
If you’re looking for somewhere to chill out and relax all week then Keswick is definitely the best place to be based as there are loads of great pubs and places to eat.
Best pub food was in the Dog and Gun. We’ve eaten here many times as my Husband loves the Goulash so of course we couldn’t come to Keswick and not have it. Since our last visit in February the Dog and Gun has gone under new management and the inside of the pub looks like it’s been given a bit of a make over with new fabric and light fittings, but other than that we didn’t notice any other changes.
We had the best breakfast and coffee in Merienda and my only regret is not trying this place sooner. Having spent all week wanting to try the coffee and pancakes we finally went for breakfast the day before we were due to come home and we liked it so much we went back before we travelled home on Friday. Both my Husband and I agreed that their Mocha was the best coffee we’ve ever tried. It was so thick, rich and creamy, and it wasn’t overly sweet which some mochas can be. I also recommend trying the Bert which is a toasted sandwich filled with bacon, egg, tomato, rocket and aioli and totally scrumptious.
My Husband said the maple beer, which was being served in The Wainwright pub, was the best pint of the week and I liked the Lake Road Inn. I had the hot chocolate twice and even though it was just a basic hot chocolate it was thick and creamy and so much nicer than the one I had in a coffee shop later in the week.
Things to do in Keswick:
Shopping – There are some great shops to while away the time in Keswick My favourite shops include, White Stuff and Joules for clothes and Northern Lights Gallery for pottery, paintings and glass wear, and Love The Lakes for bath, body, and gifts for yourself as well as friends and family.
Market day in Keswick is Thursday and Saturday so it’s always worth a visit during these days to see what you can pick up. If you like curry then I highly recommend you try the North Indian Paste from Mr Vikkis. This paste makes up a fantastic curry and is great value considering how many curries you get per jar. In fact we like it so much we don’t go out for curry anymore. On market day you can pick up four jars for £12 so it’s well worth giving them a go.
One other advantage to staying in Keswick is being so close to Booths. This is our favourite supermarket so as you can imagine we spent quite a bit of time browsing the aisles and buying all our favourite things while we were on holiday!
There are some lovely little parks in Keswick so if you’re not keen on the big walks then this in a lovely place the spend some time, especially if the weather is good and you could always pop into The Keswick museum and art gallery if the weather isn’t being so kind. We were lucky enough to see the Wainwright exhibition while we were there and it was really enjoyable.
We wanted to spend as much time as possible in Keswick which meant using the car as little as possible so we decided to visit Ambleside, Hawkshead and Grasmere all in the same morning so we could pay a flying visit to some of our favourite shops as well as pick up the things we needed.
Visiting the neighbouring villages:
If we aren’t staying in Grasmere then visiting in November generally means two things: picking up some Gingerbread for our butcher and me getting my Paperblanks diary from the local garden centre.
Chester’s by the River, is somewhere we don’t visit very often anymore even though it’s set in a beautiful location. Chester’s is part coffee shop/part gift shop and even though it’s a lovely shop, with some beautiful items it’s definitely somewhere you go to browse rather than buy as it can be very expensive.
There are two shops in Hawkshead which we always visit Poppi Red for gifts and the Hawkshead Relish Company for jams, chutneys and relishes.
Our last stop saw us head into Ambleside to visit my three favourite shops – OCG gallery, The Bath House Shop and Rush clothes store before we headed over to the Old Stamp House for lunch. It’s normally at this point that I would include all the my food photos however, this time I will be doing a dedicated blog post to give the food and the restaurant full justice as in my opinion this is the best restaurant in the Lake District (well of the ones we’ve tried and we’ve tried a lot over the years) so watch out for that on the blog soon.
All too soon our week in the Lakes came to an end, but I know for sure that the week we’d planned to spend in Ambleside has been high jacked and we will be going back to Keswick as we want to spend more time exploring the area and making the most of what Keswick has to offer. And of course I need to go back for another Mocha at Merienda!
*All photos are copyright of shhdonttellhim and shouldn’t be used without permission first.