Keswick, Cumbria

Keswick, Cumbria

infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 54.5999
longitude= -3.1293
official_name= Keswick
population = 4,281 (2001 Census)
historic_county= Cumberland
shire_district= Allerdale
shire_county = Cumbria
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Workington
post_town= KESWICK
postcode_district = CA12
postcode_area= CA
dial_code= 017687
os_grid_reference= NY270233

static_image_caption=The Moot hall in central Keswick

Keswick (pronounced "kez-ick" IPA|/ˈkɛzɪk/) is a market town within the district of Allerdale, Cumbria, England. With a population of 4,281, it is situated just north of Derwent Water, and a short distance from Bassenthwaite Lake, both in the Lake District National Park. It lies within the historic county boundaries of Cumberland.



The town is recorded in the 13th century as Cese-wic, indicating that it acted as a market for cheese.

Middle Ages

During the 16th century, small scale mining took place in Keswick, and it was the source of the world's first graphite pencils. [A Brief History of Pencil Making in Cumbria over the Last 400 Years (leaflet from the Cumberland Pencil Museum)] The pencil industry has recently left the town to nearby Workington though the Cumberland Pencil Museum remains with the world's largest pencil at Keswick.


Keswick was granted a charter to be a market town in 1276 by Edward I of England. The market is held every Saturday in the pedestrianised main street in the middle of the town. The marketplace features the Moot Hall which once acted as the town hall but is now a local tourist information office.

On January 11, 2005, Keswick was granted Fairtrade Town status.


Keswick is on the A66 road linking Workington and Penrith, as well as the A591 road, linking it to Windermere, Kendal and to Carlisle (via the A591 road). It has a population of 4,281 according to the 2001 census.

Present day

Today, the majority of Keswick's businesses are tourism related, providing accommodation and facilities for the tens of thousands of people visiting the area each year. The Keswick Tourism Association publishes an annual guide to the area, including details of annually inspected and approved visitor accommodation. This information is also available on the KTA website. []

Many visitors to Keswick come for the town's annual film festival that in 2006 attracted almost 3,000 paying customers.Fact|date=February 2007 Keswick is also host to an annual beer festival which takes place on Keswick Rugby Union Club field and an annual jazz festival. A half marathon is held each May - the 13.1 mile course starts in Keswick, loops through Borrowdale and circles Derwent Water before finishing at Keswick Rugby Club.

Keswick Beer Festival [] is now the largest festival in the north of England. Held the first weekend in June it is run jointly by Keswick Rugby Club & Keswick Lions. Over 5,000 people attend and can sample 200 real ales plus many ciders, lagers and bottle beers. Live bands play throughout the festival

In May, 2007 the town hosted the Keswick Mountain Festival. []

It is administered by Keswick Town Council and Allerdale Borough Council. Previous to 1974 the town had been an urban district in its own right and was entirely surrounded by the Cockermouth Rural District.During the Second world war students from Roedean School were evacuated to Keswick.


Keswick is the venue for an annual Christian Convention (called the Keswick Convention) that has been running since 1875 and now covers three weeks towards the end of summer.

In the Christian sphere Keswick is also the home to Castlerigg Manor, a leading Roman Catholic residential youth centre. The centre is in the manor house from which much of the local land was owned in the 19th century.

Places of interest

Keswick is the home of the Theatre by the Lake which is the permanent home for repertoire and festivals and carries on the tradition of summer season productions first started by Century Theatre in the Blue Box.

The town is also home to the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum, a motor vehicle museum featuring celebrity cars from television and film, and Keswick Museum and Art Gallery; a Victorian museum which features the famous Musical Stones of Skiddaw.

Keswick is also home to the famous Cumberland Pencil Museum. This details the manufacturing history of pencils and how pencils have been used through the ages. It even has facilities to allow children to experience pencils. [ [ Cumberland Pencil Museum ] ]

Castlerigg stone circle, a well preserved prehistoric monument, is a short two mile walk away.


The town used to be linked to Cockermouth and Penrith via the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway which closed in 1972.There is a project to reopen the railway [] .

Notable people

Samuel Taylor Coleridge moved here with his family in 1800 and visited/collaborated with William Wordsworth in nearby Grasmere by frequently walking back and forth between the towns. Robert Southey and his wife came to stay with Coleridge at Greta Hall in 1803 and ended up residing there until his death in 1843. Coleridge left Greta Hall in 1804 leaving his family in the care of Southey. Due to their residence in the district, the three poets are collectively known as the 'Lake Poets'.

Keswick was the first place in Great Britain where police used riot gear. The equipment was on trial in Manchester when there was a disturbance on lake road, in which a police car was turned over. Help was summoned, and the Greater Manchester Police arrived in full riot gear, thus giving Keswick this footnote in police history.

cite journal
last =
first =
title =
journal =Lake District Life
volume =
issue =
pages =23
publisher =Archant
date = May/June 2007
accessdate =


The Keswick dialect is a variant of the Cumbrian dialect spoken around the Keswick and Cockermouth area.


External links

* [ Derwent Valley Cycling Club] Based in Cumbria's Lake District and has a small, active and, above all, friendly membership
* [] - Keswick Tourism Association's official guide to Keswick and the North Lakes
* [ Keswick Hotel] - A selection of hotels available in the heart of Keswick
* [ Keswick Tourism] Guide to tourist attractions in and around Keswick
* [ Theatre by the Lake - Year-round professional theatre, visiting arts and festivals]
* [ The official website of Keswick's annual film festival]
* [ Keswick Beer festival]
* [ Keswick's tourism and community website]
* [ Guide to Keswick and the Northern Lake District]
* [ Keswick Mountain Rescue Team]
* [ Keswick & District Darts League]
* []

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