Keswick has perhaps the best location of any of the Lake District's towns, sitting between Skiddaw and the northern end of Derwent Water. As a result the town centre is packed with walking shops (only Ambleside provides a similar range) and the town is a major tourist trap.
The town is separated from the lake by Crow Park, a small area of open ground owned by the National Trust. A well signposted route leads from George Fishers, the most famous walking shop in Keswick, down to the lake shore, passing by the large lakeside car park and the Theatre by the Lake, the only professional theatre in Cumbria to operate all year round (www.theatrebythelake.com).
Keswick now holds an annual Mountain Festival (2009 being the third festival), with a mix of outdoors activities (http://www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk/).
Keswick is the starting point for two of the best short walks in the district - the ascent of Latrigg, an outlying foothill of Skiddaw and fantastic viewpoint for Derwent Water, and the ascent of Cat Bells using the Derwent Water ferry to cross the lake.
The best known of Keswick's walking shops in George Fishers, established in 1957 at the southern end of the town centre in a building constructed in 1887. The shop is now spread out over several levels of the building with a tearoom in the rafters.
Keswick has an industrial past. Brigham, on the eastern edge of the town, was once a centre for metal smelting, using lead and copper ore from the local mines, although this ended when the suburb was destroyed during the Civil War.
The town then became a local centre for the woollen and cloth trade in the northern lakes, but this ended when the canals and then the railways ended the important of the smaller market centres.
The most famous of Keswick's industries was the production of pencils, using graphite from mines under Seatoller Fell. The first mention of the pencil industry came in the eighteenth century, but the famous Cumberland Pencil Factory wasn't built until 1898 after the original factory in Braitwaite burnt down. The factory is now the site of the Keswick Pencil Museum (with an excellent shop, selling a vast range of pencils, from children's crayons to high quality artist's pencils).
Keswick also houses the Fitzpark Museum and a Railway Museum.
Keswick has its own connection to the Lake Poets – Coleridge moved to Greta Hall soon after Wordsworth returned to the area in 1799, and Robert Southey joined him in 1803.
Keswick has an excellent theatre, the Theatre by the Lake, on the side of the road from the town to the Derwent Foreshore.