The small UK market town that’s ‘best for staycations’ – with boat trips, festival and surprisingly popular museum
NOT many people would consider going to a British market town when thinking about a holiday with spectacular views, festivals and fancy restaurants.
Yet, there’s one town in the UK that offers all of that and more, including a strange museum that is surprisingly popular with tourists.
Sitting next to one of the country’s largest lakes, Keswick is a very small town, with fewer than 5,000 residents.
It remains a very popular place for tourists to go and was named the country’s most popular staycation destination earlier this year.
The ‘most booked’ list, compiled by self-catering holiday specialist Cottages.com, was put together after analysing booking data.
Keswick came out on top of their list as the most-booked place for a holiday in the UK.
And it’s not surprising with some of the country’s most spectacular views on its doorstep.
Derwentwater Lake and Lake Bassenthwaite, the third and fourth largest lakes in the Lake District.
One visitor wrote of Bassenthwaite on Google reviews: “Absolutely beautiful place to relax.”
Another added: “Beautiful clear water and the surrounding hills serve as a stunning backdrop.”
Meanwhile, a review of Derwentwater reads: “Wandering down from Keswick for the first time, and the view emerging from the trees, is one of the few times, I was astonished in my life.
“It is absolutely wonderfully gorgeous.”
Visitors can walk around the lakes, or experience them from the water with a Keswick lake cruise.
The boats sail around Derwentwater, showing off the surrounding scenery, including Skiddaw, England’s fourth highest mountain, Catbells, and the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’.
Back on dry land, there’s plenty to explore, including the market, which has previously been named the best outdoor market in the country.
More than 60 stalls are set up every Thursday (Feb – Dec) and Saturday to sell snacks, clothes and goods.
Phil Byers, the manager of Keswick Market, said: “There is always an amazing atmosphere at our market, we have a great range of traders who all offer something diverse and unique.”
For those who prefer a more luxurious dining experience, restaurants like the Michelin-starred Cottage in the Wood offer modern menus in a tranquil woodland setting.
The restaurant’s website says: “At The Cottage in the Wood, we pride ourselves on offering a setting that is bursting with charm.
“Simultaneously cosy and airy, guests dine surrounded by views of England’s highest mountain forest, where red squirrels frequently roam.
“When night falls, candles are lit and the Lake District’s starry canopy emerges above the woodland. The magic of the night makes everything seem a little brighter.”
Meanwhile, pubs like the Bank Tavern, the Wainwright and the Dog and Gun provide locals and visitors places to sample ales and ciders in a cosy traditional pub atmosphere.
There’s plenty to do for families too, with Puzzling Place, a “fun attraction with illusion exhibits, a gallery of holograms and 3D images” found in the town centre.
Meanwhile, the Derwent Pencil Museum proves surprisingly popular among visitors, with thousands of positive reviews online.
One person who gave it a five-star rating said: “Excellent experience. Great for kids day out. Informational tour and plenty activities available for young ones.”
Another added: “An amazing place. Pencil museum sounds boring, right? Perish the thought! It was great.”
Visiting at specific times of the year can be advantageous as well, with the Keswick Mountain Festival coming every May.
The UK’s premier outdoor multi-sports festival features outdoor activities, including trail running, triathlon, swimming, cycling, and hiking.
However, there’s also live music, cinema, speakers and camping available on site.
A night in Keswick can be found from around £59 for two people.
Meanwhile, this town in the lakes is home to castles, waterfalls and England’s best restaurant.
And this tiny town in the same area invented the greatest pudding on Earth.
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