With so many spectacular walks in the Lake District, it’s a tough job narrowing the list down to just 5.
The Lake District National Park comprises 912 square miles of high mountains, lakes, rivers and coastline, and receives almost 16 million visitors a year. No wonder, then, that it was loved so dearly by Beatrix potter, Alfred Wainwright, Arthur Ransome and William and Dorothy Wordsworth.
The Lake’s landscape is steeped with footpaths, and by simply stepping out of your front door, you’re likely to find yourself walking an ancient trail with unerring scenery flanking your gait.
For those seeking a little guidance, here are some of our favourite Lake District walks, from gentle riverside rambles to stiff mountain ascents.
Take a Hike in Great Langdale
A hallowed name amongst fell walkers, Great Langdale is home to some of the Lake District’s most iconic hikes. Most people choose to tackle the Langdale Pikes, a spiky chain of hills on the valley’s northern side, but more experienced hikers might feel up to the challenging circuit along the Crinkle Crags and Bowfell. The official car-parks fill up early, although extra spaces are often available in nearby fields.
Explore Borrowdale, Buttermere & Honister Slate Mine
With its green fields, cob cottages, drystone walls and rolling fells, Borrowdale seems to sum up the spirit of the Lake District landscape. Neighbouring Buttermere feels altogether wilder and emptier; its twin lakes, Buttermere and Crummock Water, are overlooked by a string of dramatic fells. Separating the two valleys, the windswept Honister Pass is home to one of the Lake District’s last working slate mines, where you can take a 1.5-hour guided tour.
Say Hello to Helvellyn via Striding Edge
Helvellyn (3,117ft) is famous (or infamous) for its twin ridges, Striding Edge and Swirral Edge, carved out by glacial action during the last ice age. There are some considerable drops and steep sections involved, and at one or two points you’ll be climbing hand over hand, so it’s not for vertigo-sufferers. Don’t be deterred by the challenge, though – thousands of people manage Helvellyn every year. The most popular routes start in Glenridding or Patterdale.
Climb Scafell Pike
A journey to its summit and back will likely leave you with blisters and wind or rain-blasted skin. But you’ll also get a stunning view of the National Park and an enormous sense of smugness. Just make sure you prepare properly. That means checking the mountain forecast and getting the right gear (primarily, decent footwear). Sure it’s fun, but it’s also a pretty chunky undertaking.
Escape the crowds in Newlands Valley
There’s precious little to see in Newlands valley other than miles of empty fells and open countryside, but that’s the attraction. The Newlands Round makes a classic 10-mile loop around the valley’s main summits, and it stays fairly quiet even in the height of summer. The shortest route begins in the tiny village of Little Town, but it’s easier to park in Keswick and walk southwest through Brandelhow Park.
View our collection of cottage in the Lake District with spectacular walks from the front door.