Derwent Pencil Museum: A Review

Yes, a museum about pencils can be more fun than you’d expect! Here’s what we thought of Derwent Pencil Museum.

What is Derwent Pencil Museum?

Derwent Pencil museum is, as the name suggests, a pencil museum in Keswick. Keswick is the home of the very first pencil and this museum makes the most of that.

Where is Derwent Pencil Museum?

Derwent Pencil Museum is in Keswick, just by the river. (Postcode is CA12 5NG, and google maps will take you straight there.) A pay and display car park is right next to it, which means you can park and then wander into Keswick village centre after your museum visit.

The museum is the low building, next to the big working factory with the Cumberland Pencils signage.

The Museum

The museum itself is really quite small. On first glance, I did wonder if there would be enough to keep us entertained for long!

However, when we entered and paid for our tickets (see ticket prices here), we were greeted by the friendliest staff I have ever encountered who gave us plenty to keep us busy.

For my 7 year old, there was a pencil hunt, where you find the hidden coloured pencils around the museum and work out the mystery word.

For my 9 and 11 year olds, there was a quiz, with the answers to be found around the museum.

I want to note as well, that the lovely lovely staff asked me which of these I thought my kids would like/be able to do, so that they were appropriate to them, which I liked a lot.

There was also a quiz for adults! My husband made off with this one, which meant I could help everyone and have a good luck around.

Clearly these quizzes and hunts are made to maximise the time in the museum, and they definitely worked. My 11 and 9 year olds especially read and looked at way more than they might do in other museums, and even more importantly they enjoyed it too!

There was loads to look at, with a mixture of written information and artefacts and pictures. It’s tricky to show the scale of the world record breaking pencil, but it’s BIG!

My children (and me!) were especially interested in the pencils made with hidden maps and compasses that were used in the war to help people escape from occupied Germany.

The ‘black market’ information was also received well – anything to do with criminal activity always makes things that bit more interesting!

There were also plenty of displays of Derwent Pencils products, from past and present.

The museum then leads seamlessly into the gift shop. And it is probably my favourite gift shop of all time.

First of all we all handed our quizzes in, where the staff complimented everyone on their results, and handed out Derwent colouring pencils to us all. Because there are five of us, this meant we came away with a full set of colours, and we bought a tin to store them in. They are the BEST colouring pencils I have ever used, and the whole family agrees.

We then had a good look around the shop, trying out the different pens and pencils that we could. From the pick and mix pencil tins, to the high end watercolour pencils there was so much to like, and I will definitely be buying our family art supplies from here from now on.

Overall, we loved our visit to Derwent Pencil Museum, and definitely recommend to it other families. Enjoy!

About the author

I'm Michelle, Lake District resident and founder of this site. You can mostly find me up a hill, on a lake, or enjoying a hot chocolate by the fire. Feel free to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

Leave a comment