Best walks in the Lake District

Whether you're glamping in the Lake District or simply want to explore one of the most celebrated national parks, you can enjoy a host of Lake District walking routes that are sure to put a smile on your face. With glacial ribbon lakes, rugged mountain backdrops and historic literary associations (Wordsworth used to visit this tranquil region for poetic inspiration), this is one part of the world you don’t want to miss. 

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of the best walks in the Lake District.

Tarn Hows, Lake District

1. Tarn Hows Circular Walk

There’s something wonderfully satisfying about a circular walk, and this easy route is ideal for the whole family. The trek starts and ends at Tarn Hows car park. Simply follow the track clockwise around the tarn and soak up the exquisite scenery. This walk is approximately 3km (almost two miles) and takes about an hour to complete. It’s very accessible and pet-friendly too, making it the ideal spot for a dog walk.

2. A Circuit of Buttermere

If you’ve never heard of Buttermere, you’re not alone. It’s not a well-known spot. But the lake is often frequented by photographers thanks to its stunning natural beauty. As a designated Miles without Stiles route, it’s ideal for families with younger children. The entire circuit is around 4.5 miles and will take 3-4 hours depending on who you’re walking with and how fit you are. Remember you can do all or some of the route, it’s totally up to you. One of the highlights of this route is undoubtedly the 100-foot-long Hassness Tunnel on the eastern shore. This was carved out of rock so that people could walk easily around the water without getting wet. It dates back to the 19th century.

3. Windermere Western Shore

When it comes to Lake District walks for beginners, a walk along the often-bustling Windermere Western Shore is perfect. This route is approximately four miles long, and there’s plenty to see and do along the way, so leave plenty of time for stops. The walk starts at Wray Castle and ends at Claife Viewing Station, where you’ll also find the quaint Café in the Courtyard. If you want to return to the eastern shore, you can do so by ferry via the nearby Ferry House. There are also Windermere Lake Cruises that can return you to your starting point, and there are special tickets available to walkers.

4. Old Man of Coniston Mountain

The Old Man of Coniston is certainly one of the best walks in the Lake District for those with a bit of stamina. Standing at over 803-metres tall, Coniston Old Man is one of the higher fells in the Lake District and there are several possible routes to the summit that are guaranteed to get your heart pumping. If you’re looking for a climb that’s moderate in difficulty, use the Goats Water route (heading west from Walna Scar) as this is longer, flatter and overall much easier than the Low Water route, which is significantly steeper. At a distance of around 5-6 miles, this route may take up to five hours to complete. Make sure you pack plenty of water and several snacks.

5. Helvellyn via Thirlmere

When it comes to things to do in the Lake District, don’t miss a trek to the top of Helvellyn for a spectacular climb and even more impressive views. At 950m tall, Helvellyn is not for the faint-hearted – and you’ll need proper walking gear – but once you’re at the top, you won’t be disappointed by the scenery. Starting at Swirls Car Park in Thirlmere will guide you to one of the most straightforward hiking routes.

Whether you’re looking for easy walks in the Lake District, or something more challenging, there’s routes for all types of walkers and fitness levels. Just don’t forget your camera, as there are so many beautiful sights to snap along the way.

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