Keswick and Derwentwater – an easy and spectacular walk

This lovely 4.5km Lake District circular walk roughly follows the route outlined in the great ‘Walks around Keswick’ guide map by footprint. The route starts in the heart of Keswick and takes in 2 famous viewpoints. I’ve added a short detour to allow for a third, and one of my favourite, view points.

There is a link to the ‘Walks around Keswick’ map guide below. This is a fairly easy and rewarding walk. It takes about 2 hours and would definitely complement any visit to Keswick.

This is a short video of the Keswick walk described here.

This walk starts in the centre of Keswick. As it is a fairly short walk I parked the Bells Close car park just behind Market Square. This is short stay (up to 3 hours) and you can pay via the MiPermit app. For longer stays I recommend the Central Car Park just to the south of Market Square.

As always in the Lake District it is always advisable to get parked early as it does get busy! A third option is on Lake Road. This is a little further out but still close to this walking route.

Market Square & The Moot Hall
The Moot Hall in Keswick

We start at the bottom of Market Square (Main Street) which is a pedestrian area (it was pedestrianised in 2005) and is host to a wonderful array of shops, cafes and hotels. The Square is dominated by the famous early 19th century Moot Hall, which replaced a building that stood there since around the 1650s. You can read more about it in our post about Keswick. This part of Keswick does get busy, and on Thursdays and Saturdays the Market Square plays host to the diverse Keswick Outdoor Market. The market brings a selection of, mainly local, products, including arts and crafts, into the heart of the town.

Lake Road

From the Moot hall and Market Square we head onto Lake Road which winds down towards Hope Park. I like this part of Keswick as it holds some great childhood memories. The interesting theme of shops, pubs and eateries continues. There is an obvious (as it is the Lake District) theme of outdoors shops in Keswick and one of the key landmarks on Lake Road is the local George Fisher Outdoor Store, established here in 1957.

At George Fishers we turn right (remaining on Lake Road) and head down towards Hope Park. Great shops here too and the indoor market is always worth a visit. At the bottom of Lake Road there is a little underpass you walk through into hope park. More times than not there will be a talented busker here, and often people will sell crafts on the grass at the other side. Hope Park has a cafe, crazy golf and plenty to do to keep the younger generation entertained. Walk into the park and follow the path down the side to the gardens.

Crow Park – Amazing view no. 1
Classic Lake district view from Crow Park in Keswick of Catbells and Derwentwater.
Derwentwater, Derwent Island and Catbells from Crow Park in Keswick

The landscaped Hope Park Gardens are one of the key Keswick attractions. It is well worth spending a little time here and admiring the beauty of the park before heading out and briefly back onto Lake Road by the car park.

Next stop is Crow Park and this is one of my all time favourite Lake District spots. Here, on the shore of Derwentwater, some of the beauty of the Lake District opens up before you. I often sit here to relax and look out on Catbells and Derwent Island, the latter now in the hands of the National Trust. Star Wars fans might recognise some of the scenery from the Battle of Takodana scene in the 2015 film ‘The Force Awakens’.

Friar’s Crag – Amazing View No. 2
The famous view of Derwentwater and Borrowdale from Friar’s Crag near Keswick

Head back up to the gate of the park and onward up Park Road to the famous Friar’s Crag viewpoint. On this stretch you will pass the Theatre by the Lake and the well photographed Keswick Launch jetties. Friars Crag is where people used to embark to visit the Hermit that once lived on Derwent Island in Medieval times.

The view from Friar’s Crag down Derwentwater to Borrowdale is, again, stunning. It can be busy here so for some peace and quiet I advise to here early. Not far from the crag is a monument dedicated to the writer John Ruskin. Enjoy the atmosphere then retrace your foot steps back towards Keswick.

Castle Head – Amazing View No. 3
Derwentwater and Borrowdale from the viewpoint on Castle Head near Keswick

As you get near the Keswick Launch you will see a track to your right (east) signposted to Cockshot Wood. Follow this track into the wood. There are a couple of paths but head east (the direction you are going) until you come out of the wood and onto a track across the fields. At the end of this track you cross the B5289 (Borrowdale Rd) and enter Castlehead Wood.

The Castle Head vantage point is on the highground and can’t be missed once you are in the woods. Castle Heads looks down on Derwentwater and on a clear day the views are immense. To your north is Keswick, Portinscale, and the ancient fell of Skiddaw. To your south is the beautiful Borrowdale valley that leads down to Scafell Pike. When you are down head back down the hill retracing your steps and continue north east back into Keswick and on to Spring Road.

A variation of this walk is in the ‘Walks around Keswick’ map guide by footprints.
Back to Keswick

At the end of Spring Road turn left and walk back to the centre of Keswick. Here you will pass St John’s Church on your left. As you near the centre the shops start to appear again and on this stretch you find some interesting antique shops. You can continue straight onto to where you started, but I recommend turning right onto Station Road and exploring along here as well. There is a lovely walk along the banks of the River Greta in Fitz Park (turn left after the main bridge) which takes you down to a footbridge leading you back to the centre through a small residential area.

In summary this is a fantastic walk with fantastic views. It isn’t too taxing and would take a couple of hours at an easy pace. I definitely recommend this to complement a great day out in Keswick. Have fun!

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