Head off in any direction from Grasmere and you will hit upon some superb walking trail or conquer some dramatic peak. This is prime mountain-biking territory, too, and the trails on the fell sides on either flank of Grasmere lake are particularly popular.
Sam Read’s Bookshop is a good choice for maps and guides, and there are plenty of outdoor clothing stores in the village, too.
Here are some of our favourite walks:
Otherwise known as Helm Crag, this peak is preeminent in the vale of Grasmere, and highly identifiable from the prominent rock formation that resembles from some angles a couchant lion with a lamb lying beneath it. It is equally notable for the spectacular views from the summit, and is one of the more easily managed fell walks in the vicinity, being lower in height than many. 1 ½ hrs.
Set in a hanging valley in the hills near Grasmere, Easedale proves that you don’t need to gain too much height to enjoy the best of the Lake District scenery. The tarn itself is beautiful and the tracks on the way up, by the waterfalls of the cascading Sour Milk Ghyll, are well-trodden. Begin from Grasmere village on Stock Lane. 2 hrs.
Walking out of Grasmere on the Red Bank road, towards Langdale, allows you to find a path that runs by the shore of Grasmere lake, and thereafter Rydal Water. Ascending near the far end of Rydal Water from the lower path to the higher path brings you to Rydal Caves, created by slate-mining. Returning by the high path on the hillside known as Loughrigg Terrace treats you to absolutely breathtaking views over the two lakes and Grasmere vale. 2 hrs.
Although it sounds dreary, the Coffin Trail, so called because coffin-bearers used to walk the trail to Grasmere from Rydal before the chapel at Rydal was built, is in fact a joyous walk, with lovely scenery and lake views. You can pass through the grounds of magnificent Rydal Hall, near Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount, to continue on to Ambleside if you wish. Walk back, perhaps making a circle around the lakes and onto Loughrigg Terrace, or take a bus from Rydal or Ambleside. 1 hr, Grasmere to Rydal section.
Visit the sheep-fold that was an inspiration to Wordsworth while writing his poem ‘Michael’, about a local shepherd. The landscape all around Grasmere is worthy of poetry, and the steep cleft valley here takes you up towards the higher fells, with superb views back towards Grasmere. 1 ½ hrs.
When a return is made from the Langdale side, this fell walk incorporates one of the finest views of Grasmere lake and village, and indeed one of the finest views in all of Lakeland. Therefore a must for photographers. 1 ½ hrs.
Ascent of Loughrigg Fell can be made via Loughrigg Terrace above Grasmere lake, or by continuing on the Red Bank road and ascending from Loughrigg Tarn. Either way, consider a visit to the beautiful tarn for dramatic views over the water to the iconic Langdale Pikes. The fell is relatively low, and not overly challenging, yet provides stunning vistas. 2 – 3 hrs.
Conquering one of the high fells of the Lakes is on the mind of most visitors when planning things to do in Grasmere. You can approach the third highest mountain in the Lake District from Thirlmere, beyond Dunmail Raise on the road towards Keswick. A car park on the right-hand side of the road towards the northern end of the lake lets you take the easiest available paths up Helvellyn. You may wish to be more adventurous and include the exhilarating and dangerous Striding Edge in your route. 4 hrs.