Rebuilt after flood damage, this cult favourite in the Lakes is a big draw for visitors when the weather is a bit sketchy
The ultimate rainy-day venue in one of the rainiest areas of England, this small museum already had cult status long before its starring role in the 2012 horror-comedy film Sightseers. After being damaged during Storm Desmond in December 2015, its interior has been rebuilt and is now a bright open-plan space that tells the story of Keswick’s pencil industry from its origins in the 1550s. That’s when Borrowdale shepherds are said to have discovered that the black substance clinging to the base of an upturned tree was really useful for marking their sheep. The mineral was graphite, known locally as “wad”. In the 17th century some saw it as more valuable than gold, which led to a thriving black market, centred on a Keswick pub.