Lake District Walks

Region in England, United Kingdom

Lake District walks are an incredible pastime that will transport you to a magical world filled with breathtaking scenery, so it is easy to see why they are some of the most popular activities for outdoor enthusiasts in the UK. If you are after an unforgettable adventure in some of the wildest landscapes England has to offer, be sure to add a number of Lake District walks to your upcoming itinerary.

England’s Lake District offers one of the finest natural spectacles in the country, covering over 2300 square kilometers of truly gorgeous scenery. With its rugged fells, pristine lakes, green rolling countryside and jaw-dropping views, this north-west corner of the United Kingdom is one of the country’s most popular destinations. A walking holiday in the Lake District is a bucket list activity, and one that every keen hiker should experience at least once.

The Lake District is well known for its literary associations, and writers and artists from Beatrix Potter to William Wordsworth have taken inspiration from its bucolic landscapes. Lake District walks will see you follow in the footsteps of Samuel Coleridge and John Ruskin, or hunt for ancient Roman roads that pass along the mountain ridges. This natural paradise has a long, rich and fascinating history, and a walking trip is the perfect opportunity to learn about the local culture.

The main draw, however, is the landscape itself. There’s something magical about the way the light plays on the surface of lakes such as Windermere or Buttermere, and the scent of the mountain air as you summit the pikes, crags, and ridges of the Western Fells. For centuries, Lake District walks have helped visitors fall in love with this remarkable region, and we’re confident that you will too.

To give you a little inspiration for your next trip, we’ve put together a list of our favorite walks in the Lake District. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg – there’s so much to discover in this quintessential English national park.

The 10 Best Walks In The Lake District National Park

The Lake District may be compact, but there’s a tremendous amount of variety in the terrain that covers this small area in the north west of England. As a result, there’s a little something for everyone here, from easy valley walks to grueling scrambles over rocky, windswept peaks.

If you’re looking for easy, family-friendly walks in the Lake District, you’re in luck. This region is packed with beautiful trails that won’t take too much of a toll on your legs and lungs, allowing you to experience some truly stunning views without breaking a sweat. These Lake District walks are ideal for families with young children, and offer a good way to introduce kids to fell walking from a young age.

The Lake District also contains many moderate hikes that make a useful training ground for walkers who want to improve their fitness. You’ll find long day hikes over wild fells, or steep scrambles up to craggy peaks. Whatever your fitness level or ability, you’re sure to find a walk that will suit you.

  • Rannerdale Knotts Walk: Buttermere is one of the finest lakes in the region, with calm, peaceful waters reflecting the peaks of Haystacks and Red Pike. This fairly easy walk takes you from the village of Buttermere along a ridge that leads all the way to Rannerdale Knotts. You’ll enjoy wonderful views, and can look forward to a tasty lunch in the village at the end of the walk.
  • Langstrath Valley Walk: This low-level walk to the hidden Langstrath Valley is a family favorite that kids are sure to love! The valley itself is simply stunning, and the route takes you along a meandering path, close to a pleasant gurgling stream. This easy walk is suitable for families with children of all ages, and is an excellent way to introduce kids to the delights of walking in the Lake District.
  • Old Man of Coniston Circuit: The Old Man of Coniston is one of the most iconic peaks in the Lake District, and this circular route is rightly one of the most popular walks in the park. Make sure that you leave a full day to really enjoy the route, which passes by peaceful tarns and offers fabulous views over the hills and fells. Instead of descending the way you came after summiting the Old Man, we’d recommend this circular route, which will allow you to tick a few more peaks off your Lake District hiking bucket list!
  • Newlands Horseshoe Walk: The Newlands Horseshoe is one of the more challenging walks in the Lake District, but this route remains a firm favorite among hikers. There’s a steep climb, and you may need to do a little scrambling, but the ridge walk is simply spectacular. This route also takes in Catbells, which offers a remarkable view over the mountains and lakes that this region is so famous for.
  • Helvellyn Walk: Arguably the best walk in the Lake District, the ascent of Helvellyn via Striding Edge is a real bucket list hike. This dramatic ridge towers over the beautiful Red Tarn, offering fabulous views over Glenridding and Ullswater. Striding Edge is not for the faint of heart, and you might need to use your hands as you scramble to the top, but we think it’s one of the most rewarding hikes in the Lake District.
  • Fairfield Horseshoe Walk: The Fairfield Horseshoe is ideally located right next to the village of Ambleside, making it one of the more accessible, challenging hikes in the Lake District. This is a fairly long, strenuous hike, but once you’ve made it on to the ridge, the views make all the effort worthwhile. This Lake District walk is a real classic.
  • Haystacks Walk: Alfred Wainwright, the Lake District’s most famous rambler, is said to have favored Haystacks above all the region’s peaks. This route takes you up via Scarth Gap, covered in bluebells in springtime, all the way up to the stunning Innominate Tarn, where Wainwright’s ashes were scattered at his request. It’s a fitting resting-place for a man who loved these hills so much. Haystacks may not be the tallest mountain in the Lake District, but it’s certainly one of our favorite walks in the region.
  • Scafell Pike Walk: At 978 meters above sea level, Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, and should be on everyone’s hiking bucket list! This route goes via Ill Crag, making for a more enjoyable and interesting walk than the direct route straight to the top. You’ll pass by some classic Lake District scenery, with glassy tarns, craggy mountain passes, and dramatic, sweeping views.
  • Roman High Street Circular Walk: As far back as antiquity, people have been using the Lake District peaks as highways, and its most famous Roman road passes along the crest of a hill now known as High Street. This circular route will take you into a pristine, untouched valley, passing by Angle Tarn and Thornthwaite Crag. You’ll enjoy spectacular views over Windermere and the surrounding peaks, and it’s easy to imagine that you’re stepping back in time to a period when this would have been one of the most important highways in the north of England.
  • Mosedale Horseshoe Walk: The Mosedale Horseshoe is a challenging walk through some of the most beautiful scenery that England has to offer. It’s located in a fairly remote corner of the Lake District, meaning that you’re less likely to be bothered by the crowds, and the drive to the starting point of the walk is a pleasure in itself! The summit of Black Crag makes all the effort worthwhile, and you can enjoy a refreshing pint at the Wasdale Head Inn at the end of your walk.

When Is The Best Time To Walk In The Lake District?

It’s possible to go walking in the Lake District at any time of year, and there are plenty of low-level, accessible trails that you can walk along, whatever the weather! In the winter months the higher peaks can be cold, covered in ice, and foggy, so take care not to attempt challenging peaks in bad weather. Nevertheless, a bracing winter walk in the Lakes can be a very rewarding experience, and there’s nothing better than curling up next to the fire in a country pub after a day out on the wild, blustery fells.

The fell-walking season runs from April to October, and the region can get very busy and crowded in the summer months. Although the weather is spectacular, the roads and towns are packed with tourists, and you may find yourself jostling for space on some of the more popular trails. As a result, we’d recommend visiting in spring or autumn, just before the season kicks in, or after most of the visitors have gone home. You’ll enjoy beautiful flowers in springtime, and rich autumn colors in the fall, and the trails will be much less crowded. Whatever time of year you choose, the weather in the Lake District can be unpredictable, so come prepared, and always check the latest forecasts before you head out on to the trail. Even still, you should always be able to find a few Lake District walks to meet your needs, no matter the time of year!

Best Regions For Walking In The Lake District

Most visitors to the Lake District flock to the region around Windermere and Ambleside, where there are plenty of activities on offer and facilities for tourists. This part of the Lake District offers some fantastic walking trails, but can be very crowded in the peak season. For a quieter experience, we’d recommend heading to the Western Lakes, and the area around Eskdale and Wasdale Head. You’ll find stunning lakes, green rolling hills, and wild fells, and plenty of fantastic walking opportunities. The northern part of the region, close to Keswick, also offers some wonderful hiking trails, including the picturesque peaks around Buttermere.

Other Outdoor Activities in The Lake District

The Lake District is a paradise for adventure travelers, with plenty of exciting outdoor activities on offer in addition to walking. Cycling and mountain biking is a popular sport in the Lakes, with many designated trails suitable for bikes. The abundant lakes and tarns across the region provide many opportunities for watersports, including kayaking, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and paddle-boarding. If you’re even more adventurous, why not try your hand at ghyll scrambling, rock climbing, or abseiling?

How To Plan A Trip To The Lake District

A walking holiday in the Lake District is a bucket list experience for most enthusiastic hikers, and there’s plenty to discover in this beautiful part of the United Kingdom. To make sure your trip runs perfectly, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to planning a trip to the Lake District, complete with tips on where to stay, advice on packing the right gear, and recommendations for the best hikes in the park. Grab your walking boots and follow in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright as you scale some of the most beautiful peaks in the country on any number of amazing Lake District walks!

Lake District Adventure Holidays

Some of the best experiences in the Lake District are better with a guide or when they're planned by professionals. For that, you can check out the best adventure tours in the Lake District.

Frequently-Asked-Questions About The Lake District

Where should I stay in the Lake District for hiking?

The Lake District is one of the most popular destinations in the United Kingdom, especially for outdoor activities, and you’ll find plenty of accommodation options throughout the region. If you’re travelling by public transport, aim to stay in one of the popular hubs such as Ambleside, where you’ll find trails that start in the town itself, and good bus connections to other trailheads. However, if you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet head for the Western Lakes, away from the main tourist trail, with good access to the fantastic walking routes around Eskdale. You’ll find upmarket country hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, self-catering rentals, hostels and campsites all over the national park, so you’re sure to find something suitable, wherever you plan to hike.

Can you walk all around Lake Windermere?

Windermere is England’s largest natural lake, more than 11 miles long, nestled in some of the prettiest scenery in the Lake District. The 45-mile Windermere Way is a hiking trail that loops all the way around the lake, taking in the summits of Wansfell, Loughrigg Fell and Gummer’s How, in addition to the popular towns of Ambleside and Windermere.

Do you need hiking boots for the Lake District?

Although the walking routes in the Lake District are well maintained, you will still need a sturdy pair of hiking shoes to protect your feet and ankles out on the trail. Waterproof footwear is a must as the trails can often be wet and muddy (don’t forget to bring a spare pair of socks!).

Is the Lake District free?

There is no charge to enter the Lake District, and all of the walking trails are free to access at all times.

Can you camp anywhere in the Lake District?

In order to camp in the Lake District, you must have permission from the landowner. However, there is a long tradition of wild camping in the Lake District, and if you ensure that you make camp above the highest fell wall, away from villages and settlements, and apply the principles of Leave No Trace, it’s possible to camp in the Lake District.

Do you need a car in the Lake District?

The Lake District is well served by a network of local buses, so it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a walking holiday without a car. Some of the most popular trails leave right from the centre of Ambleside, and you can find bus connections to many other hiking routes in the region.

How many days do you need in the Lake District?

It’s possible to spend a year in the Lake District without uncovering all the wonderful places and walking routes in this gorgeous national park! However, if you only have a few days to spare, it’s still possible to enjoy many of the region’s highlights in just a few days, and it’s a popular spot for a short break. We’d recommend staying for at least three days so you can pack in at least two decent walks, and enjoy the marvellous views and scenery that this region is famous for.

Or check out all the best walking regions in the UK.

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Best Hikes in Lake District

Showing 161 to 180 of 195
    Open details for Whinlatter 3-Fells Circular Walk

    Whinlatter 3-Fells Circular Walk

    Moderate
    10.5 km
    570 m
    3.5-5h

    The Whinlatter 3-Fells Circular Walk is an awesome outdoor activity in the Lake District if you are looking to bag a few peaks and take in some stunning views. The trail will see you climb uphill to the summits of Lord’s Seat, Broom Fell, and Barf to enjoy a great sightline of nearby mountains and lakes. The trail can be a bit rough, wet, and boggy in areas, so be sure to wear sturdy walking boots.

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    Open details for Askham Fell Loop Trail

    Askham Fell Loop Trail

    Moderate
    13.7 km
    453 m
    3.5-5h

    Walking the Askham Fell Loop is a fun and beautifully scenic adventure in the Lake District that will allow you to visit historical sites and take in some stunning views. The trail begins on the grounds of the 19th Century Lowther Castle and climbs uphill to Askham Fell for amazing views overlooking Ullswater before returning through the village of Askham. This is a great walk for those with dual interests in history and beautiful scenery.

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    Open details for Banishead Quarry Walk

    Banishead Quarry Walk

    Easy
    4.2 km
    170 m
    1-1.5h

    The Banishead Quarry Walk is a lovely route in the Lake District that is less busy than others in the area, allowing you to get a bit of peace and quiet on the trails without sacrificing amazing views. The trail will see you climb gently uphill along Torver Beck to a small tarn, where you will enjoy beautiful views of nearby fells such as Brown Pike, Buck Pike, and the Old Man of Coniston. The quiet nature of this route makes it perfect for a weekend excursion on the trails.

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    Open details for Binsey Trail

    Binsey Trail

    Moderate
    2.4 km
    151 m
    1h

    The Binsey Trail is a short, family-friendly walking route that will take you up a small hill for beautiful Lake District views. While at the summit viewpoint, you will enjoy sweeping views of nearby fells, as well as the blue expanse of Bassenthwaite Lake. With an easy-to-navigate trail that is well-maintained and only features a small amount of elevation gain, this route is perfectly suited for a fun family adventure.

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    Open details for Black Combe Circular Walk

    Black Combe Circular Walk

    Hard
    13.7 km
    565 m
    4-5.5h

    The Black Combe Circular Walk is a wonderful trek in the southwest corner of the Lake District that will see you climb uphill for some absolutely stunning views. While out on the trail, you will make your way up the rough and rugged terrain of Black Combe, where you will receive a sweeping sightline into the Lake District to the Northeast and the Irish Sea to the west. Chances are that you might get some bad weather on this walk, but if you catch it on a clear day, this difficult trail will certainly reward you.

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    Open details for Blake Fell & Cogra Moss Circular Walk

    Blake Fell & Cogra Moss Circular Walk

    Moderate
    9.0 km
    519 m
    3-4h

    The Blake Fell and Cogra Moss Circular Walk is a fun, action-packed adventure in the Lake District that will provide you with views of a charming lake and nearby fells. While out on the trail, you will walk past the peaceful shores of Cogra Moss, as it sits flanked by several peaks, before climbing up the hillside to the summit of Blake Fell for panoramic views of the stunning Lakeland terrain. This is a great trail if you enjoy sweeping views of the beautiful English countryside.

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    Open details for Blea Rigg Circular Walk

    Blea Rigg Circular Walk

    Moderate
    12.7 km
    702 m
    4-6h

    The Blea Rigg Circular Walk is an intermediate-length adventure that will take you from the village of Grasmere to summit several rugged peaks. While out on the trail, you will walk along the edge of Grasmere Lake before climbing up the steep hillside to the summits of Swinescar Pikle and Blea Rigg for some amazing views. The return leg of the journey past Easedale Tarn is one of the most scenic locales in the Lake DIstrict, making this walk a great option if you find yourself in the vicinity of Grasmere.

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    Open details for Brantwood to Coniston Walk

    Brantwood to Coniston Walk

    Easy
    4.3 km
    122 m
    1-1.5h

    The Brantwood to Coniston Walk is a scenic lakeside route that will take you around the northern tip of Coniston Water for some amazing views that are characteristic of the Lake District. While out on the trail, you will traverse the peaceful stretches of forest and open farmland that surround the beautiful lake, making your way between these two villages on a point-to-point trail. While you certainly can walk along the shores of the lake, the start and end point of the walk are located at ferry crossings, creating the perfect opportunity for a relaxing boat ride on the return to the trailhead.

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    Open details for Cam Crag Ridge Circular Walk

    Cam Crag Ridge Circular Walk

    Hard
    12.1 km
    784 m
    4.5-6h

    The Cam Crag Ridge Circular Walk is a rough and rugged excursion in the Lake District that provides some beautiful views of the interior parts of the region. The trail begins in the valley floor and follows along the waters of Stonethwaite Beck before climbing up the steep hillside to the summit of Glaramara. The challenging terrain and level of fitness needed for this walk makes it a great option for seasoned walkers.

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    Open details for Claife Heights Circular Walk

    Claife Heights Circular Walk

    Moderate
    7.1 km
    234 m
    2-2.5h

    The Claife Heights Circular Walk is a moderate-length trail in the Lake District that is well suited for casual and seasoned walkers alike. The trail traverses scenic stretches of woodland and exposed terrain that produce wonderful views overlooking the scenic waters of Windermere. Although the route isn’t overly difficult, it becomes considerably harder in the rain. Be sure to plan ahead with a rain jacket and some proper water-resistant walking boots.

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    Open details for Coniston Coppice Caravan Park Loop Trail

    Coniston Coppice Caravan Park Loop Trail

    Easy
    5.6 km
    197 m
    1.5-2h

    The Coniston Coppice Caravan Park Loop is a lovely walking route that can be enjoyed by the entire family, due to its scenic views and laidback trails. While out on this walk, you will make your way through peaceful forests and experience gorgeous lakeside views as you walk the shores of Coniston Water. Pair this with an overnight stay at the park for a fun weekend of camping outdoors.

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    Open details for Grange Fell and Great Crag Circular Walk

    Grange Fell and Great Crag Circular Walk

    Moderate
    5.3 km
    274 m
    1.5-2.5h

    The Grange Fell and GReat Crag Circular Walk is a fun route that will lead you from the village of Watendlath to the summit viewpoints atop each of these fells. While out on the trail, you will walk along the shores of Watendlath Tarn and pass through the Bracken Plantation before climbing uphill for views overlooking Borrowdale. The scenic views along this moderate-length route are well worth the effort.

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    Open details for Derwent Water Circular Walk

    Derwent Water Circular Walk

    Moderate
    17.4 km
    417 m
    4-6h

    The Derwent Water Circular Walk is a fantastic Lake District excursion that will lead you around the shores of the lake for some beautifully scenic views. While out on the trail, you will walk through charming villages and peaceful stretches of woodland terrain that line the shores of the lake, all while enjoying some lovely views across the water. This route is a must-do if you are looking for a longer route in the Keswick area.

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    Open details for Great Dodd Circular Walk

    Great Dodd Circular Walk

    Hard
    20.1 km
    872 m
    6-8.5h

    The Great Dodd Circular Walk is a challenging outing that will take you across the summit viewpoints of several fells for a great sightline over the surrounding Lake District landscape. The trail will lead you up the hillside to traverse White Pike, Clough Head, Calfhow Pike, Great Dodd, Watson’s Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd, and Hart Side; all while taking in beautiful views of nearby peaks and the waters of Thirlmere and Ullswater. This is a difficult adventure; however, the views along the trail are breathtaking and well worth the effort.

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    Open details for Great Gable, Kirk Fell, and Pillar Circular Walk

    Great Gable, Kirk Fell, and Pillar Circular Walk

    Hard
    16.3 km
    1,447 m
    7-9.5h

    The Great Gable, Kirk Fell, and Pillar Circular Walk is a difficult route in the Lake District that will see you traverse some rugged terrain across several summits. While out on the trail, you will work your way east alongside Lingmell Beck before climbing up the steep hillside to traverse the rocky summit viewpoints atop Great Gable, Kirk Fell, and Pillar. This route is fairly exposed to the elements and will require some light scrambling, so be prepared for all trail conditions and pack any necessary gear.

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    Open details for Heron Pike & Alcock Tarn Circular Walk

    Heron Pike & Alcock Tarn Circular Walk

    Hard
    7.9 km
    636 m
    3-4.5h

    The Heron Pike & Alcock Tarn Circular Walk is a tough route that will take you through some varied terrain set in one of the most picturesque parts of the Lake District. The trail will see you climb uphill along the rugged terrain of Nab Scar and Heron Pike for some amazing views overlooking Rydal Water and Grasmere before descending the hillside along the quiet shores of Alcock Tarn. Parts of this walk are a bit physically demanding; however, the trail is well-suited for seasoned and casual walkers looking for a bit of a challenge.

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    Open details for Scout Scar & Cunswick Scar Walk

    Scout Scar & Cunswick Scar Walk

    Easy
    5.6 km
    178 m
    1.5-2h

    The Scout Scar & Cunswick Scar Walk is a family-friendly adventure near Kendal that will take you to the summit of two of Wainwright’s outlying fells. You won’t gain much elevation on this route; however, you will be able to take in some scenic views of the southeastern part of the Lake District. This trail is well-maintained and easy to navigate, making it perfectly suitable for beginner walkers and families with children.

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    Open details for High Dam and Rusland Heights Walk

    High Dam and Rusland Heights Walk

    Moderate
    12.1 km
    491 m
    3.5-5h

    Walking the High Dam and Rusland Heights Trail is a fun Lake District adventure that will expose you to the picturesque English countryside, complete with rolling hills and beautiful lakes. While out on the trail, you will climb uphill through stretches of farmland and forest terrain to visit the charming shores of High Dam and Boretree Tarn on the Rusland Heights. Parts of this route will require a bit of uphill walking; however, these are more than manageable for the average walker and will produce some beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

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    Open details for High Wray Walk

    High Wray Walk

    Easy
    10.1 km
    331 m
    2.5-4h

    Walking the High Wray Trail is an easy-going experience that can be enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts of almost every skill level thanks to beautifully scenic views and straightforward trails. The route will take you from the shores of Windermere Lake to the extravagant grounds of the Victorian-Era Wray Castle before climbing uphill along the slopes of Latterbarrow. This walk is perfect for a relaxing weekend stroll through the Lake District.

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    Open details for Dove Crag via Kirkstone Pass Walk

    Dove Crag via Kirkstone Pass Walk

    Moderate
    12.3 km
    918 m
    4.5-6.5h

    The Dove Crag via Kirkstone Pass Trail is a 12.6 km circuit that will see you traverse several summits for views overlooking the surrounding Lake District landscape. While out on the trail, you will climb uphill over Red Screes and Dove Crag, where you will receive stunning views of nearby fells and Rydal Water in the valley below. Parts of this trail can be a bit on the rugged side; however, the trail is well-maintained and suitable for casual and seasoned walkers alike.

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