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The landscape of the Northern Lake District ranges from the rugged central volcanic mountains to the smoother outlines and more open countryside found along the valley floors, offering visual delights at every turn. This is a wonderful area in which to enjoy a wide choice of outdoor activities; walkers and climbers, fishermen, white knuckle rafting enthusiasts, riders and golfers are particularly well catered for here.
In 2004, the Sunday Times readers voted Keswick and the North Lakes as the Best British Weekend Break destination. We think they chose very wisely. Few visitors come to Keswick without making the short walk to the lakeshore and the boat landings from where rowing and small motor boats can be hired; the regular launch service around the lake also starts from here. Another five minutes walk brings you to Friar's Crag with its views across the lake and Borrowdale. There is a climbing wall for the more adventurous as well as a leisure pool, tennis and bowls.
On the nearby hilltop of Castlerigg, the 4000 year old Stone Circle overlooks Keswick in its lush valley setting on the shores of Derwentwater. The founding of St Kentigern's Church in AD533, early lead mining, quarrying, farming and the growth of pencil manufacture are all in evidence here as an historic backdrop to for today's visitor to explore. Famous literary names too, such as Southey, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Ruskin, were influential in attracting the early tourists with their vivid portrayals of what visitors were missing.
The name 'Keswick' is said to mean 'cheese farm' and is first recorded as a settlement in 1240. Its origins as a market town date back to 1276 when Edward I granted Thomas, Lord of the Manor of Derwentwater a charter to hold a Saturday market, which still continues today over 700 years later. The Moot Hall in the Market Square was used in the past as a covered market, a courthouse, a museum and a prison so has many an echo of the past within its walls.