Located on the shores of Derwentwater in the finest mountain scenery of the Lake District, Keswick is an ideal base for a family adventure. It is also a great place to make the most of your evening, having a wide selection of pubs, cafes, wine bars, and restaurants, as well as the Theatre-by-the-Lake, a cinema, and Hope Park with its gardens, pitch and putt, and crazy golf courses.
This Lake District family adventure is for active families looking for a spectacular location, comfortable accommodation, plenty of local facilities for eating and entertainment, and a great mix of activities to keep everyone happy. It will take you through the heart of the Lakes from the beautiful Langdale Valley around Scafell Pike and will let you enjoy some of the best mountain walking the Lake District has to offer.
Detailed route notes and a map are provided for all self guided walks. The walks are designed for active families and are suitable for all ages from 10 years and up.
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Day 1: Arrive Keswick
If you are travelling by train, we can arrange a pre-paid taxi to collect you from Penrith Railway Station. After check-in, take a stroll down to the Lake or explore the town.
Day 2: The Circuit of Derwentwater | 10 mi
The circuit of Derwentwater is a varied walk that will take you on a mix of lake-shore paths, woodland trails and some sections of boardwalk with lots of interest on the way. A full circuit is 10 miles, mostly on level trails. There are opportunities throughout the walk to shorten the route by catching the regular Keswick Launch (£4 per person) from one of eight jetties around the lake.
- Walking for the day: 10 miles
Day 3: Scafell Pike Guided Walk | 6-7 hrs
This is an opportunity to be more adventurous, hiking with a Lake District guide (included). Challenge yourself with the climb of Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak, or introduce the family to the fun of scrambling on one of the Lake District’s famous ‘edges’, or explore one of our hidden gems. The choice is yours. Your guide will meet you on your arrival or on the evening of Day 2 to discuss your options and devise a route that best suits you. During the hike, your guide can also teach basic navigation skills to family members.
- Walking for the day: The mileage and ascent of this day will be determined during the consultation with the guide
Day 4: Go Ape | 2-3 hrs
Today you head for Whinlatter forest (transfer included), where you can take the tree-top challenge (included). With canopy high tree-to-trees crossings, free-fall Tarzan swings and super-fast zip wires, this will provide thrills for all ages. It takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete the tree-top challenge course, after which you can take advantage of the other options available at Whinlatter (extra cost). These include riding an all-terrain Segway out on the forest trail or hiring bikes for various graded off-road routes. There are also several walking trails through the forest, and there is a cafe for refreshments. Afterwards, return to Keswick (transfer included).
Day 5: Walk to Catlerigg Stone Circle and Castle Head | 7 mi
Using the route notes provided in your information pack, today, you will visit an ancient Bronze-Age stone circle set among the hills and the local viewpoint of Castle Head. The route starts at the old Keswick Railway station and follows the disused line, now a leisure track, crossing the River Greta several times on refurbished railway bridges before heading along quiet country lanes to the stone circle. From here, you will head across pastures and into Springs Wood before making the gentle ascent to Castle Head, with its spectacular view over Keswick and the lake. Afterwards, the path from the summit winds down to the lakeshore emerging close to the Theatre-by-the Lake on the edge of Hope Park.
- Walking for the day: 7 miles ↑340 m
Day 6: The Ascent of Catbells or Rest Day | 9 mi
The ascent of Catbells is a relatively short climb to a spectacular viewpoint over the lake. The climb is steep in places but on a good, clear path. This walk is 9 miles with a total accumulated ascent of 700m. The walk can be shortened by catching the Keswick launch across the lake one or both ways – allow £4 per person each way for the launch that shortens the route by 2 miles each way. Alternatively, you can skip the walk and enjoy the many amenities of Keswick town. Visit the Pencil Museum or the Puzzling Place, walk through Hope Park where you can have a round of crazy golf or pitch and putt, hire a rowing boat or a motorboat and go out onto the lake.
- Walking for the day: 9 miles ↑700 m
Day 7: Stand Up Paddle Boarding or Canyoning | 2-4 hrs
A chance to learn this brilliant water sport or hone your skills with a two-hour SUP session or a 4-hour canyoning session (either included). Stand up paddle-boarding is a surprisingly easy activity to learn, and you can become an expert paddleboarder in no time. After the session, there is the opportunity to hire paddle boards or kayaks (extra cost) to explore the lake independently.
Day 8: Walla Crag and Ashness Bridge | 7 mi
Starting from the heart of Keswick town, you will follow footpaths which take you up to the top of Walla Crag for fabulous views across Derwentwater and to the fells beyond. The trail now heads down Borrowdale along the top of the rock-climbing crags of this beautiful valley, staying above the tree-line for continuous views, before dropping down to the picturesque Ashness Bridge. This is one of the most recognisable images of the Lake District, yet hard to find for most visitors. The return to Keswick is by a different lower-level trail and through Great Wood to the lakeshore.
- Walking for the day: 7 miles ↑380 m
Day 9: Departure
If you are travelling by train, we can arrange a pre-paid taxi to collect you from your hotel and take you to Penrith Railway Station.
What to Expect
Accommodation on this centre-based tour is in a charming comfortable hotel or guesthouse in the heart of Keswick, carefully selected for its location, atmosphere, cuisine and unique services. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms. Depending on availability we can arrange triple rooms for three children together. Single occupancy of rooms is also available for a supplementary cost.
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*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included on all days. Keswick has many excellent restaurants and pubs and our extensive notes will help you choose the best place to suit your taste and budget for your evening meal. For lunch, your accommodation will be able to prepare a packed lunch if ordered the evening before. There are also several sandwich bars in the town and several supermarkets.
Difficulty & terrain
This itinerary is suitable for regular walkers. You will cover various terrain, including rocky mountainous terrain, some boggy sections and lakeside and woodland paths. Some days will involve a couple of steep ascents and descents (read more about difficulty grades). The route is partially waymarked. However, it is relatively easy to navigate. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from the beginning of April until mid-October. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
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By train or bus
- By car: Keswick is best accessed from junction 40 on the M6. We will provide directions to your accommodation.
- By train: The nearest railway station is at Penrith on the main North-West rail link between London and Glasgow. From Penrith, there are taxis and a regular bus service to Keswick – a journey of 16 miles. We can arrange a pre-paid taxi to collect you from the station on request.
- For more information, use the Omio planner above.
- 8 nights accommodation in twin/double rooms (with ensuite or private bathroom) in a guest house, inn or hotel in Keswick
- 8 breakfasts
- Guide for a full day of walking or scrambling on Day 3
- Instructor for paddle-boarding on day 7 (2-hour session) or canyoning (typically 4 hours)
- Use of paddleboard, paddle, buoyancy aid and wetsuit (if required) during the session
- Entry to Whinlatter ‘Go Ape’ Tree-Top Challenge course
- Private transfers (as indicated in the itinerary)
- Detailed journey documentation and practical information: all necessary maps and route cards, plus ‘info sheets’ with local information – including locations and opening times of restaurants, cafes, ATMs, supermarkets etc.
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative in the Lake District
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras & supplements
- A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
- This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers