Lake District self-catering accommodation near the market town of Keswick

Nowhere in and around Keswick is far from the lakeshore, so few visitors miss the opportunity of exploring the shore area. There are boat landings where rowing boats, or for the more adventurous, motor boats can be hired. There is also the launch service around the lake operating from here.

The Lake District in Cumbria is England's largest National Park, one of 14 in the United Kingdom. It is approximately 34 miles wide and it covers some 885 square miles. It is also has England’s highest, deepest and longest - highest mountain (Scafell Pike), deepest lake (Wastwater) and its longest Lake (Windemere).

Some of the better know towns in the Lake District include Kendal, home of the world-famous mint cake, situated on the South East edge of the National Park area, and the lakeside towns of Keswick, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere. The Lake District World Heritage Project, attracting visitors both scientific and tourist from throughout the world, is currently based in Kendal.

St Kentigern's Church was founded back in AD533, there was some very early lead mining, quarrying and farming in the area, and of course the rather unique manufacturing of pencils, all of which have contributed to the fascinating history of the town and surrounds. Friar's Crag is only a few minutes away and offers fantastic views across the lake and Borrowdale. Visitors in a rush to take as much in as they can, will of course have their cameras, while those in a more contemplative mood might decide to use their canvas and brushes. Mention must also be made of the 4000 year old Stone Circle on the nearby Castlerigg hill overlooking the town.

And if your group of guests want something a little more active, there is a climbing wall, leisure pool, tennis and bowls to add to the list of activities for all ages and accommodating large group sizes.

According to official Met Office information, when there’s above average annual rainfall, it can sometimes reach 2000mm (approximately 80 inches). However, despite the relatively small area, there can be a variation in rainfall throughout the Lake District area.

Weather records show that Seathwaite in Borrowdale is one of the wettest inhabited places in the British Isles. It records an annual average of 3300 mm (approximately 130 inches) of rain. However Keswick, also in Borrowdale, sees an average of 1470mm (approximately 60 inches ) per year, yet this is just under half of its neighbour Seathwaite. Penrith, the town that lies just outside the Lake District to the North East, receives only 870mm (approximately 30 inches) per year. A great variance in areas within a relatively short distance of each other.

Visiting Keswick

There are still all the regular Lake District attractions available to the last-minute visitor. There's boating – both escorted and self-propelled – on the lakes, mountaineering, fell walking, fishing, visits to houses and gardens of note, golf at Keswick Golf Club, heritage trails and of course shopping.

Large Lake District holiday houses for big groups near Keswick

Brothersfield Cottag, sleeps 10 in Glenridding and Southern Ullswater.

Large holiday property in Cumbria near Glenridding and Southern Ullswater with 4 bedroom, sleeps 10, No pets, Pub within 1 mile, Cot Available.

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Hillcrest, sleeps 10 in Haverigg and the National Park Coast.

Self-catering accommodation in Cumbria near Haverigg and the National Park Coast with 5 bedroom, sleeps 10, No pets, Coastal Property.

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The Hollies, sleeps 10 in Windermere and Troutbeck Bridge.

Holiday home in Cumbria near Windermere and Troutbeck Bridge with 5 bedroom, sleeps 10, No pets, Ground Floor Facilities, Pub within 1 mile, Wifi, Cot Available, All En-suite.

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Holly House, sleeps 10 in Pooley Bridge and Northern Ullswater.

Holiday house in Cumbria near Pooley Bridge and Northern Ullswater with 5 bedroom, sleeps 10, No pets, Barbecue, Pub within 1 mile, All En-suite.

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The Larches, sleeps 10 in Kirkby Stephen.

Self catering for large groups in Cumbria near Kirkby Stephen with 5 bedroom, sleeps 10, No pets, Barbecue, Pub within 1 mile, Cot Available.

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Broughton House, sleeps 10 in Eskdale.

Exceptional holiday cottage in Cumbria near Eskdale with 4 bedroom, sleeps 10, Pets friendly, Barbecue, Ground Floor Facilities, Pub within 1 mile, Cot Available, Coastal Property.

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Mirehouse House in Keswick is a family run historic house in a wonderful setting with magnificent gardens. It also has a strong literary heritage offering poetry walks in the grounds. There are woodland playgrounds and walks by the lake. There’s a cozy tea room offering find Cumbrian food, regular live piano music and even a children’s quiz held in the house.

For shopping areas, Keswick is the main town in the north of the Lake District, while Ulverston and Kirkby Lonsdale are delightful market towns with a character of their own. Closer to the coast, yet within easy reach of the Lakes you’ll find the maritime town of Barrow-in-Furness in the south, the pretty harbour town of Whitehaven to the west. There’s the attractive Penrith and Appleby in the Eden Valley to the east, and the historical market town of Cockermouth. So there’s certainly plenty of choice.

Regardless whether you’re looking for something a little different to eat, or a fast food outlet to keep the children quiet during your shopping forays, there is an incredibly varied selection of specialist food shops, many totally unique to the Lake District. All are well worth a visit, and the one unique food that has to be sampled is the region’s legendary Kendal Mint Cake. Even the smallest of towns will have its own independent shops selling products and souvenirs unique to their area.

If you are interested in contemporary art, Thornthwaite Galleries in the village of Thornthwaite, near Keswick features the work of over 130 exhibitors, many from the North West. Beckstones Art Gallery on the edge of the National Park near Greystoke has works by many current Lakeland landscape painters and still life artists.

William Wordsworth and his wife are buried in the churchyard of Grasmere. Another famous English literary giant, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, lived both in Keswick between 1803 and 1843 and with the Wordsworth family at Grasmere. Wordsworth, together with his poet Laureate friend Robert Southey and Coleridge became known locally, nationally and then internationally as the "Lake Poets".

And of course, coming right up to date, writer, author and television presenter Melvyn Bragg was brought up in the region, while film director Ken Russell currently lives in the Keswick/Borrowdale area where parts of Tommy and Mahler were filmed.