Take a boat tour of the lake and enjoy the scenery from the water; cruises allow you to hop on and off at a number of lakeside jetties. You can also enjoy the area’s hiking routes; the most popular are the 10-mile circular walk around the lake and the Cat Bells ascent, which offers stunning views. If you’re pressed for time, book a multi- or full-day guided tour to see Derwentwater and other nearby lakes on a single trip.
Things to Know Before You Go
There is a level trail running from Keswick to Friars Crag that is accessible for wheelchair users.
The weather in the Lake District can be changeable, especially on the water, so be sure to pack layers and raincoat.
Make sure to pack good-quality walking shoes for walking and hiking in the Lake District.
How to Get There
The northern shores of Derwentwater are just a 15-minute stroll from the market town of Keswick. The closest train station is in Penrith; the X4 and X5 buses run regularly between the two towns. Multi-day and full-day tours typically include round-trip transfers, and some depart from major cities such as Manchester, London, or Edinburgh.
When to Get There
Derwentwater lakes cruises operate all year round, with slightly reduced service between February and March. Most travellers visit the Lake District during spring or summer, when the wooded fells and wildlife trails are at their greenest, but fall and winter visitors can enjoy less-crowded cruises, calmer hiking trails, and snow-sprinkled vistas.
John Ruskin and Derwentwater
Victorian artist, critic, and philosopher John Ruskin was heavily influenced by Derwentwater and is said to have described the view of from Friars Crag as among the “three most beautiful scenes in Europe”. You can see the memorial to this English icon while looking at that same view (on the shores of the lake), then learn more about his influence on 19th-century culture at the Ruskin Museum in the village of Coniston, about an hour away.
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