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Hit the ground running with our helpful guide on the best walks in the Lake District.
When it comes to varied walking opportunities, the Lake District is hard to beat. How better to discover miles of tranquil countryside, shimmering waters, and rugged hills than on foot?
Plan your next adventure with our hand-picked guide on the best walks in the Lake District…

Lake District Walks

Two young children holding hands with their grandparents walking across a river on stepping stones

Our spectacular region is renowned as one of the most popular places to visit for a walking holiday in the UK. The picture-perfect landscape provides a truly magical backdrop for some of the best walks in the lakes.

Find your favourite Lake District walk and return throughout the year to see how it changes with the seasons

Best Walks in the Lake District

1. Tarn Hows Circular Walk

A view across Tarn Hows to the conifer trees in the distance

A relatively easy walk, the Tarn Hows Circular Loop is one that the whole family can enjoy. The trail is also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your four-legged friend along for the journey!

A level path leads you on a circuit around the glistening waters, where the peaceful scenery of conifers provides a wonderful setting for a leisurely stroll. All-terrain mobility scooters are available to hire if pre-booked, offering accessibility to visitors with limited mobility.

To break up your walk, take a break and enjoy a pit-stop along the grassy shores of the tarn. How about the Langdale Pikes as backdrop for a picnic?

With toilet facilities available, you wont need to travel far from this Lake District walk to find your essential amenities.

Distance: 3.2km
Time: 1 hour
Starting Point: Tarn Hows Car Park
Route Details: Tarn Hows Circular Walk – National Trust

2. The Old Man of Coniston

A gravel trail leading toward the old man of coniston mountain

The Old Man of Coniston has gained recent popularity as one of the best fell walks in the Lake District. A handful of routes lead to the summit, ranging from 2-6 hours to complete.

Not one for the faint of heart, the Jack Diamond Path follows the southeast ridge, away from the tourist-heavy alternatives.

The circular route from Walna Scar Car Park rewards climbers with far-reaching views across Goat Water tarn and the Pennines. On a clear day, views can even stretch as far as the Isle of Man!

When it’s time for a well-earned rest, retire to one of our holiday cottages in Coniston. 

Distance: 4-9.9km
Time: 2-6 hours
Starting Point: Walna Scar Car Park
Route Details: The Old Man of Coniston Walking Routes

3. Scafell Pike

A view of the surrounding mountains and the rocky terrain from the top of Scafell Pike

Perhaps the most popular in our list of Lake District walks, Scafell Pike is a haven for avid adventurers. Renowned as the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike sits at 978 metres tall.

One of the best hikes in the Lake District, Scafell Pike forms part of the National Three Peaks Challenge. There are three main routes leading to the summit, with the Corridor Route being the most popular.

Due to the steep incline and rocky terrain, there are some challenging sections of the climb. Please keep in mind that this Lake District walk is not recommended for beginners. While the ascent may be difficult, the rewarding panoramas at the peak are well worth the effort.

Distance: 12.8km
Time: 6-7 hours
Starting Point: Wasdale Head Car Park
Route Details: Scafell Pike Corridor Route

4. Rydal Water Circular

An ariel view of Rydal Water and the surrounding green landscape

If a challenging ascent isn’t for you, a circular tour around Rydal Water may be better suited.

Positioned in the heart of the Lake District National Park, Rydal Water is one of the smallest lakes in the area. Views stretch out across the water towards the peaks of Loughrigg Fell and Nab Scar along the way. 

This one is a must for literary buffs, with the route passing the home of English poet, William Wordsworth. There’s plenty more to see and do along the way. Delve underground with a tour of the Rydal Caves, or stroll through the formal grounds of Rydal Hall.

Although the walk is relatively flat, there is a steep, uphill incline leading from the car park. Despite this, this Lake District walk is suitable for visitors of all abilities. 

Distance: 4.5km
Time: 2 hours
Starting Point: White Moss Car Park
Route Details: Rydal Water Circular Walking Route

5. Aira Force and Gowbarrow

A view of Aira Force waterfall in Autumn

The Aira Force and Gowbarrow Trail is arguably one of the best walks in the Lake District. You’re sure to find breathtaking scenery that will leave you lost for words.

The trail begins at the National Trust’s Aira Force Car Park, leading through a colourful arboretum. Views open up over Aira Force as it cascades 20-metres into the beck below.

A short, circular route ends the trail, whilst more daring hikers can push on to the summit of Gowbarrow. One of the easier fells to climb, views from the summit stretch over Ullswater and the distant fells.

What’s better, there’s a quaint tea room located a short stroll from the car park. Refuel with a steaming cup of coffee and an indulgent slice of cake ahead of your next adventure!

Distance: 7.2km
Time: 2-3 hours
Starting Point: Aira Force Car Park
Route Details: Aira Force and Gowbarrow Trail Route

6. Catbells

A view of Derwentwater from the summit of Catbells

Catbells, sitting at an elevation of 1,480 feet, is one of the Lake District’s most popular fell walks.

The best way to begin this walk in the Lakes is aboard the Keswick Launch, where visitors can park & sail. Journey across Derwentwater to Hawes End Jetty, where the two-footed trail begins.

A level path leads from the shoreline before meeting the incline of Catbells fell. A relatively easy hike, there are only a few brief sections of steep terrain and easy scrambling to contend with.

Awe-inspiring views of Derwentwater, Skiddaw, and Borrowdale can be seen from the summit. From here, it’s easy to see why Catbells was nominated one of the top 100 walks in the country.

Distance: 5.6km
Time: 3 hours
Starting Point: Keswick Rugby Club Car Park
Route Details: Keswick Launch to Catbells Route

7. Windermere West Shore

Morning sunlight shining on Lake Windermere

Arguably the Lake Districts most prominent landmark, no trip would be complete without a visit to Lake Windermere. Our collection of Windermere holiday cottages put you in the heart of the action.

One of the best walks in the Lake District, the trail begins at the western edge of Lake Windermere, from Harrowslack Car Park. The liner route continues along the shoreline towards the National Trust’s Wray Castle before looping back on itself.

Be sure to schedule some time to take in the Gothic architecture of the castle, with its many turrets and towers. Enjoy a picnic amongst the informal grounds before returning to the shores to soak in the glistening scenery.

If you’re not ready for the fun to end, extend your adventure by catching a cruise across the lake to the picturesque town of Ambleside.

Distance: 12.8km
Time: 2-3 hours
Starting Point: Harrowslack Car Park
Route Details: Windermere West Shore Walk

8. Ennerdale Water

A view of a footpath running alongside Ennerdale Water

Home to 92 glistening bodies of water, it’s easy to assume that another of our walks will be by the shore. A 7 mile circuit loops Ennerdale Water, with the southern edge making up part of Wainwrights renowned Coast to Coast Walk.

If you’re looking for an escape to total tranquility, this one is for you. The placid waters mirror the peaks of Great Gable and Red Pike, whilst the peaceful greenery provides a soothing backdrop.

The circular route is easy to follow, with a clear path guiding the way. However, the grassy trails that run along the tops of the surrounding fells offer the best vantage points.

Distance: 11.5km
Time: 4-5 hours
Starting Point: Bleach Green Car Park
Route Details: Ennerdale Water Circular Walk

9. Helvellyn via Striding Edge

A view of Striding Edge trail on Helvellyn

The third highest mountain in England, the climb to the summit of Helvellyn is one of the hardest on our list. One of Helvellyns three main hiking routes, Striding Edge is classified as a Grade 1 scramble.

The route begins in Glenridding, where a signposted trail leads to the base of the mountain. From here, the path follows the knife-edge ridge of Striding Edge to a steep, rocky incline. You’ll have to scramble your way to the top, but once you reach the peak, you’ll be rewarded by panoramic views stretching across the Lake District National Park.

Due to its difficult and dangerous conditions, this Lake District Walk is not for beginners. As with all of our recommendations, we urge you to exercise safety and precautions.

If you’re brave enough to take on the challenge, you’ll be sure to agree that this is one of the best hikes in the Lake District

Distance: 13.5km
Time: 4-5 hours
Starting Point: Glenridding Pay & Display Car Park
Route Details: Helvellyn via Striding Edge Route

Fancy an adventure through the varying landscapes of the Lake District? Browse through our hand-picked collection of holiday cottages in the Lake District and choose your base from which to explore!

And whilst you’re at it, if you’re traveling in the warmer months, give our guide on 25 things to do in the Lake District this Summer a read!