Once known for its lead mining industry, Keswick is today better known as a tourist destination. Stunning Lake District surroundings, great places to eat and unique dog-friendly attractions should make this destination a top priority for travellers with dogs.
Getting to Keswick
Keswick hasn’t got a train station, so you’ll have to take a bus. To get here, you should take the train to one of Carlisle, Penrith, or Windermere. From Carlisle bus station, bus 554 runs 4 trips each day (09:00, 11:00, 12:00 and 16:00), taking 1hr 15 minutes.
From Penrith, buses X4 and X5 combine to give a service of one bus each hour, taking 40 minutes. From Windermere, bus 555 runs every hour, with a journey time of 45 minutes. The route from Windermere in particular is noted for its scenery, heading through the heart of the Lake district through Ambleside and Grasmere – open top buses are available for part of the journey, between Windermere and Grasmere.
Another bus service worth mentioning is the number 78, which is an open-top bus running every half hour along the shores of Derwentwater to Seatoller.
We took an open-top bus from Windermere to Grasmere. It was a beautiful journey, with plenty of Australian tourists enjoying meeting the dogs.
In the Centre of Keswick
Keswick is best known for its beautiful natural surroundings. But its town centre is well worth a look too. You can admire beautiful old buildings, or walk by the River Greta. Particularly sites include the Moot Hall and some of the old churches.
The best park in the area is Hope Park. This Victorian park has paths through flower gardens, a small café and even a dog statue! The statue depicts Max The Miracle Dog, a famous fundraising pup from Keswick. Surrounded by picturesque old houses and with views of the mountains in the distance, it’s a peaceful spot that’s ideal for a photo.
You’ll find lots of pet-friendly shops too. More and more businesses are catering to the many dog owners who visit the area. At a pet shop near the station, Lewis decided to try out the display of beds outside.
You can buy walking maps of Keswick and its surroundings from coin machines throughout the town. These are well worth picking up, allowing you to find some of the hidden spots around Keswick.
A word of warning when exploring the town centre: the pavements are very narrow in places. If you’re visiting during the warmer months, the streets will be thronged with tourists and dogs alike. We had a little bit of trouble getting from place to place, but Lewis enjoyed meeting some new doggy friends.
Places to Eat in Keswick
You won’t have far to go if you’re looking for a dog-friendly place to eat. The high street is dotted with eateries, from fancy restaurants to quaint cafes. We tried a few dog-friendly places, but they were so busy that we had to keep looking.
After a quick look around, we chose the Wild Strawberry café. One greyhound was already inside, but there was plenty of space over two floors for us to enjoy our food in peace. The food was great, and we enjoyed soups, scones and pancakes. Prices were reasonable and the café interior was pleasantly decorated.
Just look around town and you’ll find plenty of great places to enjoy with your pups. Some favourites include:
- Lakes Bar and Bistro, a classy option with a varied menu and modern decor
- The George Hotel, known for offering a pie containing an entire pound of meat!
- Lake District Sandwich Shop, a small establishment with outdoor seating, perfect for a quick bite
Most, if not all, pubs in town are dog-friendly too. If you fancy a pint or a bit of pub food, you’ll see options all around you.
Things to do In Keswick
It’s well worth taking an hour or so to visit Derwent Pencil Museum. After paying for admission at the front desk (£6.25 for adults, £4.5 for children), we entered the museum through a mock-up lead mine!
Pencils may not seem like the most interesting topic, but this museum is more interesting than you might expect. One exhibit explains how local companies created special hollow pencils for secret agents during the Second World War. These pencils could then be used to hide maps and other items.
There are also some challenges to complete inside the museum, and you’ll get a reward if you can complete them. The lads loved mooching around the museum, sniffing the exhibits and greeting tourists.
The Puzzling Place is another great pet-friendly attraction. Located in the town centre, it features various optical illusions, puzzles and holograms. Admission is £4 for humans but dogs go free.
Keswick has hosted a market for over 700 years, and the outdoor market still runs to this day. Market days are Thursday and Saturday, from 9am to 4:30pm. You’re likely to find all sorts of interesting items there, including dog treats and accessories.
Walks Around Keswick
If you’re staying in Keswick for any length of time, you’re probably planning on enjoying some hiking. Luckily, there are great walks to suit all abilities.
We took a short walk on the banks of Derwentwater, in an area called Crow Park. The lads enjoyed a paddle in the water and a drink from the lake. There was plenty of grass and although it was dotted with tourists and dogs, there was plenty of space for us to enjoy our walk.
One popular spot is Friars Crag. This rocky spot is about a 15-minute walk from Keswick Centre, via a pleasant, wooded trail. There, you can enjoy amazing views across Derwentwater.
If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, you could head up in the nearby hills or circle the lake. Circling the entire lake would take over three hours, so it was certainly too much for the lads. But more energetic pups may be able to handle this trek with plenty of rest stops along the way.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Keswick
If you can stay in Keswick for a while, we highly recommend you do so! There’s plenty to keep you occupied, both in Keswick and the surrounding towns and villages. Some of the best dog-friendly places to stay include:
- The King Arms Hotel, a city centre spot with great views
- The Hazeldene, a four-star hotel close to Hope Park
- Acorn House, a quiet but luxurious hotel with its own restaurant
There are also plenty of campgrounds around town if you prefer the great outdoors.
Enjoy an Adventure in Keswick
If you’re visiting the Lake District with your pets, stopping by Keswick is a great decision. The natural beauty of the area is unrivalled. The wealth of activities and sites to see around town are an added bonus!
Lots more adventures are coming up soon. Follow our Facebook page to keep track of Chase and Lewis on their travels.