Keswick (pronounced "kez-ick" /ˈkɛzɪk/) is a market town within the district of Allerdale, Cumbria, England. With a population of 4,281, it is situated just north of Derwent Water, and a short distance from Bassenthwaite Lake, both in the Lake District National Park. It lies within the historic county boundaries of Cumberland.
Keswick was granted a charter to be a market town in 1276 by Edward I of England. The market is held every Saturday in the pedestrianised main street in the middle of the town. The marketplace features the Moot Hall which once acted as the town hall but is now a local tourist information office.
Keswick is on the A66 road linking Workington and Penrith, as well as the A591 road, linking it to Windermere, Kendal and to Carlisle (via the A591 road). It has a population of 4,281 according to the 2001 census.
Many visitors to Keswick come for the town's annual film festival that in 2006 attracted almost 3,000 paying customers. Keswick is also host to an annual beer festival which takes place on Keswick Rugby Union Club field and an annual jazz festival. A half marathon is held each May - the 13.1 mile course starts in Keswick, loops through Borrowdale and circles Derwent Water before finishing at Keswick Rugby Club.
Keswick Beer Festival is now the largest festival in the north of England. Held the first weekend in June it is run jointly by Keswick Rugby Club & Keswick Lions. Over 5,000 people attend and can sample 200 real ales plus many ciders, lagers and bottle beers. Live bands play throughout the festival www.keswickbeerfestival.co.uk
It is administered by Keswick Town Council and Allerdale Borough Council. Previous to 1974 the town had been an urban district in its own right and was entirely surrounded by the Cockermouth Rural District. During the Second world war students from Roedean School were evacuated to Keswick.
In the Christian sphere Keswick is also the home to Castlerigg Manor, a leading Roman Catholic residential youth centre. The centre is in the manor house from which much of the local land was owned in the 19th century.
Keswick is the home of the Theatre by the Lake which is the permanent home for repertoire and festivals and carries on the tradition of summer season productions first started by Century Theatre in the Blue Box.
The town is also home to the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum, a motor vehicle museum featuring celebrity cars from television and film, and Keswick Museum and Art Gallery; a Victorian museum which features the famous Musical Stones of Skiddaw.
Keswick is also home to the famous Cumberland Pencil Museum. This details the manufacturing history of pencils and how pencils have been used through the ages. It even has facilities to allow children to experience pencils.
Castlerigg stone circle, a well preserved prehistoric monument, is a short two mile walk away.
Keswick was the first place in Great Britain where police used riot gear. The equipment was on trial in Manchester when there was a disturbance on lake road, in which a police car was turned over. Help was summoned, and the Greater Manchester Police arrived in full riot gear, thus giving Keswick this footnote in police history.