Perhaps what surprised me more than anything was the number of foreign tongues I heard about town. Keswick was more cosmopolitan than I had imagined. It had moved with the times, but retained many of its old values. Many well-known retailers are present, but Keswick maintains deep roots to ancient past.

As appealing as Keswick is however, it’s not the main attraction in this part of the world. That title goes to a place of stunning natural beauty which has inspired artists and poets for centuries, compelling them to return again and again.

Derwent Water lies just outside Keswick town centre in the north of Lake District National Park, England. Its picture postcard looks have captivated audiences for centuries. Hire a boat and view the lake from a different perspective. It’s dotted with enticing little islands yearning to be explored. Boat hire is inexpensive and great fun for all the family.

The journey approaching Derwent Water incorporates an array of green, rolling hills separated by deep, lowly valleys. As I travelled northwards from Windermere along the A591, the clouds suddenly broke and bright sunlight flooded the valley, chasing away dark shadows settled over the vast ground. The valley seemed peaceful and content.

Rydal Water passed serenely by; the road ran adjacent to the north shore of the lake. Across the water, families picnicked beside the grassy banks; parents and children paddled in the cool, shallow waters.

The route advanced towards the mass of Helvellyn and its 950-metre summit. Its huge presence a magnet for hikers and ramblers attracted to the Lake District throughout the year. I remember conquering the summit myself one summer’s day many years ago on a school trip, staying over in Patterdale. I looked in awe, in the same way as when visiting as a child.

Lake Thirlmere was reminiscent of some of Canada’s great lakes, if a little smaller. Enveloped by tall trees, brief openings offered a tantalising glimpse of an exquisite stretch of water. As the road snaked alongside the eastern shoreline, several small boats were visible cruising the open water.

The elevated mountain road broke from the undulating hills and offered a glimpse of Keswick. The entire town sat snug amongst the gentle knolls, guardians of the village.

For centuries, those hills and mountains have overlooked Derwent Water and its neighbouring town of Keswick, evolve from medieval beginnings. Modern touches are evident throughout, but Keswick will always retain its ancient roots.