Best Hiking Destinations in the Lake District

Written by Wendy Tucker

The Lake District is arguably one of the world’s best destinations for hiking. It has gorgeous lakes, majestic waterfalls, beautiful mountains, and picturesque archaic villages, attracting hikers of all levels. The mighty peaks of Helvellyn and Blencathra appeal to those looking for a more challenging hike. Meanwhile, the trail along the glistening valleys and lakes is more suited for relaxing walks.

Below, check out the top hiking destinations in the Lake District.

1. Keswick


The lakes and mountains around Keswick are some of the best places to enjoy picturesque walks in the Lake District. Whether you want to trek the highest peaks, enjoy stunning nature views, or take a relaxing stroll by the lakeshore, Keswick has plenty of trails for hikers of all levels. Most of these trails will start from the town centre of Keswick, which makes it more convenient.

If you want to enjoy a short scenic stroll in Keswick, walk the trail from Keswick to Threlkeld Railway. It’s a 5 km walk, which you can tackle in the morning or late in the afternoon. The path is completely flat and accessible to wheelchairs or prams. Therefore, it’s suitable for everyone. As you hike along this path, keep your eyes peeled on dippers, herons, and other bird species. You’ll also find kayakers paddling down the white water.

If you prefer to tackle a much longer trail, take the Walla Crag Walk, a 10-km path that should take up to four hours to conquer. Starting in Keswick, walk towards Springs Road and into Springs Woods, then turn right at Castlerigg Hall. From here, follow the wall towards a gate, then follow the wooded section with gorgeous views all the way to Walla Crag.

2. Windermere


Winding over 11 miles from Ambleside to Fell Foot Park, Windermere is England’s longest natural lake. It’s dotted with islands and has some of the Lake District’s beautiful villages near to some of the most picturesque trails. There are also gorgeous places to explore around the lakeshore on foot.

The 2-mile walk in Gummer’s How is among the easiest trails to walk in Windermere. This trail has signposts with incredible views along the route. When you get to the top, you can choose to follow a gentle winding route or one that requires a short climb to the summit. If you hike here between November and March, you’ll witness the incredible views of the clouds lingering down the valleys, transforming the peaks into hues of blue.

The Town End Toddle is a 3-mile route well suited for history lovers. It starts at the historic Townend House, a cosy farmhouse once a residence of the Browne family for over four hundred years. The trail begins north of the house and will lead up to a hill, where you can walk along Robin Lane, which was part of an ancient Roman Road. You will reach the Skelghyll waterfalls, a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic, watch the beautiful sunset, or take a refreshing dip.

3. Ambleside


Ambleside, ideally situated at Windermere Lake’s northern end and close to Grasmere and Rydal Water. This is a fantastic place to enjoy a walking or retreat holiday in the Lake District due to its position. Ambleside is blessed with many great walking trails and a perfect base for exploring the Lake District’s eastern fells.

One of the most popular hiking trails from Ambleside takes you to Grasmere through Coffin Road. It’s an easy walk of about 5.6 miles. But what’s interesting about the trail is that you’ll be walking on the same road used to take dead bodies to bury in St Oswald’s in Grasmere. Pay homage to the famous poet William Wordsworth along the route as you pass through his grave at the Grasmere cemetery. It’s also possible to walk this trail one way and take the regular bus service back to Ambleside.

As one of the Lake District’s highest fells, the Old Man of Coniston is one of the most popular walking routes near the Ambleside. You will have various options to get to the top, but the two most popular routes are the Goat’s Water and Low water tracks. Both of these routes start from the car park of Walna Scar. The hike can be pretty steep, yet it’s worth it. You’ll enjoy incredible views of the lakes and falls and come across remarkable sights, including the Victorian Quarry.

4. Penrith


Penrith is one of the most picturesque towns along the Lake District and is famous for its old stone buildings and excellent pubs. Boasting stunning natural landscapes, Penrith will leave hikers spoilt for choice when it comes to scenic hikes.

One such trail starts at the beautiful Castle Park in the town centre. It’s only a short hike of about 1.5 miles, taking you through the park and into the ruins of the Penrith Castle, a medieval castle built during the 14th century and now owned by English Heritage. From here, follow the route that takes you through the town to Fell Lane.

Continue your walk by heading south of the town centre to Eamont Bridge. Walk through a riverside footpath, taking you east to Brougham Castle. Here, you will find wonderful historical sites well worth a visit, such as the Mayburgh Henge and King Arthur’s Round Table Henge.

5. Bowness-on-Windermere


Bowness-on-Windermere is another beautiful town in the Lake District famous for walkers, thanks to its bountiful scenic routes. Whether you’re up for some challenging hikes or want to enjoy a leisurely walk, Bowness-on-Windermere is the perfect place.

The 3.5-mile hike in Orrest Head is one of the easiest trails to conquer in the Lake District. It takes you to a gorgeous hill, believed to be the place where Alfred Wainwright fell in love with the Lake District. Follow the route from Lake Road that takes you to the Church Street junction. From here, follow the signposts that will take you to the top.

The Bowness Circular route is another popular walking route that’s not too difficult to conquer. It begins at Bowness Pier, taking you to a small hill called Biskey Howe and into Dales Way.


Wendy Tucker


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