Boats on Derwent water with Keswick Launch Company – Rowing Boats, Self-Drive or Scenic boat ride

Keswick Launch Company - boat trips and rowing boats on Derwent Water

During our camping trip to Keswick in the Lake District we went to the Keswick Launch to have a boat ride on Derwent Water. We didn’t really know what we were going to do when we arrived so we parked in the car park and went to the side of the lake to see what was on offer. There were a number of options including a scenic boat ride or a self drive motor boat, but feeling like we should do something a bit more healthy we decided to go in a rowing boat.

Rowing boats on Derwent Water - Keswick Launch

This is the first time I’ve taken my children together on a rowing boat. There were four of us in total including my wife, 6 year old daughter and 4 year old son. It was possible to hire the boats for either 30 minutes or 1 hour. We decided to go for the 1 hour option.

The children were fitted with life jackets and we got into the boat. A quick push from the attendant and we were on our way. We rowed out into the lake heading in the direction of the campsite that we’d recently left. We didn’t go as far as the campsite, but went far enough so we could see the launch area on the camp site. We then headed towards the centre of the lake rowing around the nearest island.

As we rowed in the Lake one of the lake cruises passed. I think we must have made a few people’s holiday photos as there were quite a few taking photos of us rowing the boat. There was a bit of a wave left by the boat passing, but it didn’t rock the boat too much.

I let the kids have a go at rowing the boat with me, which they liked, but the boat was not stable enough for the adults to swap places, so it was down to me to do all the rowing.

Landing is not permitted on the island near the launch as someone lives there, but we rowed around the island. We went back after about 45 minutes which was a good length of time. If we had only gone for 30 minutes then we wouldn’t have had time to go as far as we did, but I wouldn’t have wanted to have kept rowing much longer.

After the boat trip we went to get something to eat. There is a Cafe at the launch area, but they did not have any children’s menu options, so instead we went into Keswick and ate at a restaurant in Keswick town centre.


The children really enjoyed the experience of going in a rowing boat and it made a change from the cruise boats which is what we normally go on. It made me think about taking up canoeing again, but I think I’ll wait until the children can swim before I take them out on canoe.