While most people think of the great outdoors when they think of Keswick, sometimes the Lake District rain means a day indoors is in order. Here are twelve things to do in Keswick in the rain.
Keswick (as you may well know if you’re on this site) is a small market town in the north west of England. It sits in the county of Cumbria, and also within the Lake District National Park that sits within Cumbria.
The Lake District has been designated an Area Of Outstanding Beauty, and Keswick certainly lives up to that. People travel and live here because of the views, the scenery, and the amazing access to the outdoors that Keswick offers.
Things to do in Keswick in the Rain
However, it isn’t called the Lake District for no reason. With hundreds of lakes, rivers and tarns, there’s also a significant amount of rainfall to be expected in Keswick.
So, when the rain arrives, what should you do? If you’re anything like my family, staying in and playing Uno will only work for a while (we LOVE a game of Uno – if you’ve never played it, I’ve linked it here).
Luckily, you can find loads of different things to do in Keswick in the rain. I’ve made a list of our favourites, and also some that my local friends have recommended, so they’re tried and tested! Everything on the list is family friendly, so you should be able to find something to suit you and yours. Enjoy!
Theatre by the Lake
This place is SO GOOD. My (very lucky) children have been here on countless school trips over the years, and we like to keep an eye on the What’s On page to catch any plays we like the look of.
Obviously this one depends on timing, but if you’re stuck for something to do indoors I’d definitely check to see if there are any suitable shows on.
There’s also a restaurant with lovely views down the Borrowdale valley. The menu is fairly geared to adults/older children but my three enjoy the jacket potatoes or the soup.
This is another great place to visit when it’s raining in Keswick! Keswick museum has a large focus on local history, with permanent and visiting special exhibitions.
Many of the permanent exhibitions are aimed at adults and older teenagers, and younger children (like mine) might just fly through these. My recommendations to get the most out of Keswick museum if you have tweens or younger are:
Make sure you take part in the trails. There are always a couple of permanent trails, and some time limited ones too. At the time of writing this, there is a Comic Challenge activity to take part in. And:
Check the website under the ‘For Families ((((link))) section before you visit. There are often different activities taking place, and you can either book on or make suer you time it right to see these.
A favourite! I know ALL my friends have taken their children here at some point, and it even makes reluctant teenagers smile.
The Puzzling Place is a world of illusions, and it’s tagline is ‘seeing is not believing’. It is a series of rooms and exhibits that challenge your eyes and your brain, and it’s just a lot of fun.
Useful things to know:
You can probably spend around an hour in here, and it’s in the town centre so ideal to pop for some lunch/a coffee/a hot chocolate afterwards.
There are no toilets, but there are public toilets close by.
It is upstairs and at the moment you can only access it via stairs. They are hoping to change this in the future.
This is a stately home that states that it ‘actively welcomes children’ which is music to my ears! My eldest boy is interested in buildings and architecture, so we love visits to places like this, but it can be hard sometimes to not stress about having kids in somewhere quite so lovely. This beautiful home is super relaxed and an ideal way to spend time out of the rain.
With an owl hunt for younger children, a history quiz for older children, and a nursery where children are encouraged to play with all the toys that are out, this is honestly well worth a visit.
The grounds are fab too, and if the weather isn’t too awful, I would recommend seeing the inside of the house first, then before going home having an explore around the gardens (in full waterproofs if necessary!). There are adventure playgrounds set off the main drive, some for younger children, and one for 12-16 year olds. If the rain is torrential I would give these a miss, but if you can check them out then do (just maybe don’t go back into the house afterwards!).
Keswick Alhambra Cinema is lovely. Built in 1913, it’s been in continuous operation since then, and has been updated beautifully. It has 2 screens; Screen 1 seats seats 159 with space for 2 wheelchairs, and Screen 2 seats 29 with space for 1 wheelchair.
The cinema shows both current and classic films, and includes family films in their showings. They also often have relaxed viewing sessions, where the sound is a bit quieter, the lights stay on at a low level, and everyone is ok with a certain amount of fidgeting/moving/baby crying. Check here (((link))) for what’s on.
Did you know Keswick is the home of the very first pencil ever produced?! Well now you do, and that’s why there’s a whole museum dedicated to pencils here!
Honestly, this museum is surprisingly good. And it’s a bit of a Keswick rite of passage I reckon – sooner or later you end up at the pencil museum, and find yourself enjoying it.
Derwent pencils are now widely used around the globe, but it all started here in Keswick, and the history of pencils is way, way more interesting than I would have imagined. Bonus – there is a lovely coffee shop here too.
This is a lunch spot rather than an activity, but just a really really fab one so it definitely makes this list.
The cafe is inside a vintage style art-deco train carriage, and it is gorgeous. People are welcome for lunch or afternoon tea, and they do both a kids menu for lunch and a children’s afternoon tea.
Customers are welcome whatever they are dressed in – I wondered if I would have to dress up because it’s a bit fancy but nope! People in walking gear sit alongside those people who have dressed up for it.
You do need to book to get a table in the carriage, but they also have tables in the fully refurbished Ticket Office, which they reserve for walk ins.
This is a really nice treat, and again, a way to keep out of the rain while doing something fun!
I never really know how to describe Rheged to people. It’s part shopping centre, part cinema, part exhibition space, part soft play…..the list goes on.
However, because it’s such a mix of all those things, it’s a great place to take children if you’re in Keswick and the rain is pouring.
You can find Rheged just off the A66, it’s easy to find and has loads of free parking.
My children have been in the soft play once – because it was only built fairly recently and they are sadly now too big for it. However, friends of mine with younger children LOVE it – we all know soft play can be a bit hit or miss (for kids and for the parents!) but this is a brilliant one. Children can play here up to age 8.
The cinema is fab too, and we often combine it with a pizza in the cafe, and a visit to the toyshop where the kids can spend their pocket money.
Braving the Rain
Ok, I know this is strictly a list about finding things to do in Keswick in the rain. And that those things have all been indoors. But, sometimes, if the rain isn’t too bad, some outdoor activities can still be fun as long as you have the right gear.
With all that in mind, here are a few low level outdoor activities that might still be fun on a rainy day.
Keswick to Threlkeld Cycle Path
This cycle path is completely off road which is why I recommend it as a safer cycle for wet weather. The path starts at Keswick Leisure Centre (there is pay and display parking there), and follows the path of the old Keswick to Threlkeld railway.
It’s 5km of flat cycle path all the way to Threlkeld, where you can stop for refreshments at either of the pubs or the cafe there.
This route is also a Miles without Stiles walk so the path is shared use and you’ll come across walkers as you go. This is a big family favourite as it’s so accessible and comes highly recommended.
Take a Launch on Derwentwater
This one isn’t much fun if the weather is truly awful, but the beautiful launch boats on Derwentwater have inside areas, and as long as the water isn’t too rough it’s a great way to fill your eyes up with the amazing surroundings.
There are 8 jetties en route, but if you’re staying inside and simply enjoying the view it takes 50 minutes for a round trip.
Again, if it’s really soggy I wouldn’t try this one out, but for lighter rain a forest can provide an extra layer of shelter, and Whinlatter is a great one to visit.
If you need any more wet weather ideas, check out Things to do in Bowness on Windermere in the Rain