Derwent Pencil Museum, Lake District

The Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick is a tribute to an object so everyday, yet so remarkably functional—the pencil. The museum takes you on a journey through time, showcasing the surprising complexity behind the making of this ubiquitous writing tool.

Historical Roots

The Keswick area has a long history of pencil manufacturing, owing to the rich deposits of graphite found in the local mines. The museum goes to great lengths to explain this industrial heritage, adding a local flavour to your understanding of pencils.

World Records and Wartime Secrets

Two centrepieces of the museum are unmissable. One is the world’s longest coloured pencil, a colossal display of craftsmanship that stands at a towering 7.91 metres.

The other is a pencil from the Second World War era that comes with a secretive compartment for storing maps and a compass, adding a layer of intrigue to the exhibit.

Crafting Demonstrations

For those curious about the pencil-making process, the museum offers live demonstrations that break down the craftsmanship behind each pencil.

Witness the transformation from a block of wood to a sleek, ready-to-use pencil, narrated by skilled craftsmen who’ve honed their art over years.

Drawing Workshops

The museum isn’t just about observing; it encourages participation. Regular drawing workshops are conducted for aspiring artists and doodlers alike. These sessions provide hands-on experience and bring out the artist in every visitor.

Children have a dedicated activity area where they can learn and play. Interactive displays, puzzles, and games focus on the creative applications of pencils, making the visit educational as well as entertaining for the younger generation.

You’ll also find an on-site café and a gift shop selling unique souvenirs, art supplies, novelty and even replica antique pencils.

Seasonal Exhibitions

The Pencil Museum regularly updates its collections and offers seasonal exhibitions. Whether it’s an exhibit dedicated to vintage advertisements of pencils or a showcase of contemporary graphite art, the museum ensures that return visitors always find something new to explore.


Getting to the museum is easy; it’s well-signposted and offers ample parking. It’s also accessible for wheelchair users and provides essential facilities like baby-changing rooms.

The Pencil Museum in Keswick is an unexpected delight, a space that captivates the imagination and engages the senses. It transforms an everyday object into a subject of fascination and wonder.

With its educational displays, interactive elements, and focus on hands-on activities, the museum offers a balanced and engaging experience for all age groups. It is a hidden gem in Keswick’s crown of attractions and is sure to make your Cumbria and Lake District holiday that much more memorable.

Address – Southey Works, Keswick, Cumbria,  CA1 5NG
Telephone – 017687 73626

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