Derwent Pencil Museum

Keswick in the Western Lake District has long made its mark as a charming market town, surrounded by spectacular fells and serene lakes. But did you know that in the 1500’s Keswick also made its mark in the history books by becoming the home of the world’s first pencil?   

As a fascinating and educational Lake District attraction, Derwent Pencil Museum caters for everyone from toddlers to teenagers and OAP’s. You’ll follow the path of the pencil through the medium of words and pictures – starting with the discovery of graphite in the Borrowdale Valley and finishing with how the humble implement is used today.

Is there really that much to learn about the history of the pencil?

Even though we’ve all used a pencil at some point, we bet that you probably won’t know that pencils were created during World War 2 with secret maps and compasses inside them!

As a little taster of what else there is to know about the pencil, you’ll learn how a huge deposit of graphite was discovered near Keswick in 1555. By 1580, word had spread and artists in the Michelangelo School of Art were even using Cumberland graphite pencils. We could go on, but that would spoil the fun of visiting!

As well as housing a plethora of facts and information about the pencil, the Derwent Pencil Museum also has a Kids Zone, where the troops can enjoy colouring activities and quizzes. There’s also a coffee shop and a shop stocking the full range of Derwent pencils and sketch books.

Just like the hills that surround it, the Derwent Pencil Museum brings ultimate drama and colourful history to Keswick. So, pencil it in to your diary – a visit to the Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick is a must!

What we love about it: Not only is the Derwent Pencil Museum a treasure trove of history, interactive classes are also held there during peak times. How about checking to see if any children’s courses or life drawing classes are held during your visit?

Tips and Hints: If your children (aged between 6-16) have got their hands on a Blue Peter badge, they get free entry to the Derwent Pencil Museum! Hurrah! Who doesn’t love a bargain? And remember, if you are in the area over 30th March, a visit is a must as it’s National Pencil Day.