Travel Blogs

The Lake District (Part 1): Keswick

Written by Lynsey Oxton

We English like nothing more than a weekend getaway; somewhere we can switch our phones off (or at least put them on silent) and forget about work for a while. Where better to do this than the Lake District in Cumbria – a place with mountains, lakes (obviously) and winding paths that go for miles…..

We stayed in a lovely B&B in Portinscale called Dalegarth House owned by a fab couple (Craig and Clare) who couldn’t do enough for us; the welcome coffee and flapjack went down a treat following the 2 hour journey up from Manchester!

Portinscale is perhaps one of the lesser known beauty spots of the Lakes, a hidden gem nestled just a 15 minute walk from Keswick. We were lucky enough to have brilliant views from our bedroom window out to Derwentwater lake too.

Being just a hop, skip and a jump away, we decided to do the walk around Derwentwater. We had a hearty breakfast at the B&B and started off on our merry way, weaving between countryside and lake. The scenery around the waters, woodland and Skiddaw Mountains was pretty spectacular….

After walking at a steady pace for around three hours, we arrived into the market town of Keswick for a well earned drink stop. Although not a big place, it had all the shops a keen walker or mountain climber would want, plus the famous ‘Herdy’ gift shop and plenty of watering holes and eateries.

You only need a good pair of trainers to walk around the lake; there’s nothing too strenuous to worry about. For anyone who is more adventurous than I, there are obviously plenty of climbing opportunities. In fact, once a year on the May bank holiday, Keswick plays host to the ‘Lakeland festival of light’. Best seen from the Keswick side of the lake, hundreds of people walk up Cat Bells and create a line of light in aid of a charity (which differs each year). Unfortunately my picture, taken from a field in Portinscale, doesn’t do it justice – but you get the gist!

A Spring visit can always guarantee one thing – the sight of baby lambs in the fields.

What I didn’t expect to walk past was a field of alpacas too! And I thought I was having a bad hair day.

If you’re keen on trying the local ‘produce’, look no further than the Lakes Distillery near Cockermouth, where you can take a tour and see how they make their gin, vodka and whisky. We also stopped by the bistro for Sunday lunch and had a great meal (desserts to die for). After the tour and the ‘obligatory’ tasting, we felt it would be rude not to purchase a souvenir. I opted for the salted caramel vodka – drink this neat with a single ice cube for a cheeky tipple!

In fact, I discovered another fine vodka during my trip – Kins Toffee Vodka, which I purchased from Booths (a Lake District supermarket). I think there must be something about a long walk building up a liquid appetite?

So there concludes my short two night stay in the Northern Lakes. It’s easy to see why Keswick attracts repeat visitors in all seasons. We had the best of Spring blooms, but I’d bet it’s enchanting on a snowy Winters day (just be sure to remember the toffee vodka to keep the chill off).

4 thoughts on “The Lake District (Part 1): Keswick”

  1. Thanks for staying with us at Dalegarth House ( it was really great seeing you both. We are really glad you enjoyed your time with us and enjoyed the local area. A couple of things you could try next time are hiring a boat and going out onto the lake (this is a great way to get a different view of the surrounding hills) and if you are feeling a little more energetic then try the walk up a hill called Latrigg, giving an excellent view of Keswick, Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite and the hills all around.
    A tip for your readers if they are looking to book a small family run bed & breakfast or guesthouse then always try and book directly with the accommodation provider rather than booking through the big online travel agents such as booking dot com. You should always get a better deal by doing this as the online travel agents charge a very large commission. Potential benefits from booking direct may include things such as a discount, a better room, free breakfast or even free parking.
    Loved reading your blog and I am looking forward to reading about your next trip away. Hope to see you both again very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Lake District a favourite of ours- we visit every year. Keswick is a lovely place . The packhorse inn you have photographed we do the pub quiz each year and they do a really good meal too.

    Liked by 1 person

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