Kayaking on Derwentwater


Keswick’s local lake; Derwentwater is 3 miles long, 1 mile wide and 72 feet deep. It can easily be reached on foot from Keswick itself, or there are several car parks located alongside the lake towards the Borrowdale Valley.

Parking nearby National Trust Great Wood Car Park – CA12 5UP
Pram accessible Yes (just about)
RefreshmentsClosest in Keswick


We parked at the National Trust Great Wood Car Park (CA12 5UP) paying £7.50 for an all day ticket. It’s then just a short walk (300m) to the shore crossing the road and following the path down until you reach the Calfclose Bay.

Our Visit – 13/06/2021

We had originally tried to get a parking spot in a car park which was a little closer to the lakeshore. However, despite our early arrival time of 8am, it wasn’t early enough to secure a spot. Obviously very popular. We were happy with the parking spot we found at Great Wood Car Park though as we had a nice bit of space outside the van for the kids to play and for us to chill outside with a cuppa. The joys of van life! We started with a walk around Great Wood before coming back for lunch and then heading to the Lake with the Kayak.

Plenty of space and lots of people paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming in this little bay which enjoys stunning views out to Cat Bells. Richard and Jack set off exploring the islands, of which there are 4 in total; Lord’s Island, Rampsholme I`sland, St Herbert’s Island and Otterbield Island. From Calfclose Bay, Rampsholme Island is the easiest to reach. Richard explored this with Jack alongside Scarf Stones which is classed as an Islet.

The shore is very spacious, so it’s not difficult to find a space to sit, however it is very pebbly, so it isn’t the most comfortable of spots for lounging. Our water shoes definitely served us well here too and although the water looks shallow, it actually drops off quite quickly, so we had to be extra hawk-eyed watching the kids playing in the water.


Great Wood is a lovely little trail to walk, easy for kids too. But if you want something a little more challenging then Walla Crag can also be reached from the car park.

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