Once famous for producing lead
pencils, thanks to local deposits of graphite,
rugged Keswick is a major town in Lakeland. It
lies at the northern end of Derwent Water and is
overshadowed by Skiddaw and Blencathra.
A one-time woollen town, it developed through the mining of materials such as lead, copper, iron and gold. The use of graphite, found in Borrowdale, is celebrated at the Cumberland Pencil Museum.
The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived in Greta Hall, now part of Keswick School, while other ‘celebrities’, including Sir Walter Scott, Lord Tennyson, John Ruskin and Robert Louis Stevenson, paid frequent visits. The story of Keswick’s literary associations is told at Keswick Museum and Art Gallery.
Castlerigg Stone Circle, dating to 2,000BC, stands outside Keswick, while Canon Rawnsley, who inspired Beatrix Potter and was a founder of the National Trust, is buried at Crosthwaite Church. Family attractions in Keswick include Mirehouse Historic House & Gardens and ‘Cars Of The Stars Motor Museum’, which possesses ‘James Bond’ cars and Del Boy's misfiring Robin Reliant.