Walkers are in their element when they go on holiday to the Lake District, thanks to its sublime rolling countryside and stunning lakeside scenery. The number of different Lake District walks you can find would run into the hundreds if you spent the time looking. To save you the job, we’ve rounded up some of the best. From family-friendly jaunts to more adventurous hikes, here’s our list of the best walks in the Lake District.

Grasmere to Rydal Mount

Distance: 4.5 miles
Duration of walk: 2.5 hours
Fitness level required: Basic
Best for: Cultural highlights and pretty hamlets

Seeing Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount, the two former homes of William Wordsworth, are key cultural highlights of visiting the Lake District. This walk offers the perfect opportunity to see the great poet’s former abodes while also admiring charming villages. The walk begins in Grasmere where you can see the great poet’s grave at the parish church. It takes you through Grasmere village and after crossing the main Ambleside to Keswick road, you find the hamlet of Town End where Dove Cottage and its peaceful gardens are located. The walk carries on past White Moss Tarn and after admiring views of Rydal Water, you reach the hamlet of Rydal where Wordsworth’s second home is located.

Easedale Tarn

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Bill Boaden – geograph.org.uk/p/1758053

Distance: 6 miles
Duration of walk: 4-5 hours
Fitness level required: Moderate
Best for: Rugged scenery and waterside picnics

This is a walk for the moderately fit, and adventurous families who are well-equipped with carriers for the little ones (it’s not pushchair-friendly). The walk starts at the National Trust property of Allan Bank and after taking a path signposted for Goody Bridge, you pass the Glenthorne B&B to arrive at Easedale Road. A country track takes you through farmland, wooded areas and rolling scenery dotted with streams and stone bridges. The gushing waterfall known as Sourmilk Gill is the first highlight, while the second is the spectacular Easdale Tarn where – if you’re feeling brave – you can enjoy a quick swim. Return the same way or take a circular route via the eastern side of the tarn.

Aira Force and Gowbarrow trail

Distance: 4.5 miles
Duration of walk: 1.5-3 hours
Fitness level required: Moderate level
Best for: Waterfalls, woodland and views over Ullswater

There are a few Ullswater walks to choose from, but we reckon this one’s the best. A circular route, it starts and finishes at the Aira Force National Trust car park where you enjoy fantastic vistas over the Aira Force waterfall and a riverside path takes you through farmland to the Gowbarrow summit where you can enjoy phenomenal views of Ullswater, Helvellyn peak and surrounding hills. The return leg passes pretty woodland and a former 18th Century hunting lodge known as Lyulph’s Tower.


Helvellyn via Striding Edge

best walks in the lake district - helvellyn

Distance: 4 miles
Duration of walk: Approx. 3 hours
Fitness level required: High
Best for: Ticking off one of the Lake District’s highest peaks

Helvellyn is the third highest peak in the Lake District reaching a whopping 950 metres, and it’s one of the Eastern Fells listed by famed author Arthur Wainwright. Located in between Ullswater, Thirlmere and Grasmere, the walk begins from Ullswater and involves a tough scramble up Striding Edge, a vertiginous ridge that’s best climbed in calm weather conditions. With lots of steep ridges and loose, rocky paths, this walk should be saved for confident climbers!

Seatoller to Sty Head and Grains Gill walk

Distance: 7 miles
Duration of walk: Approx. 4.5 hours
Fitness level required: High
Best for: Picturesque tarns and dramatic, rocky scenery

Starting and finishing at the Seatoller car park near Borrowdale, this is one of the more challenging Lake District walks that continues to reward you with epic scenery. Crossing Seathwaite farmyard, it involves a calf-stretching climb up Sty Head Pass before reaching the mirror-like waters of Sty Head Tarn and Sprinkling Tarn. Crossing streams and taking in views of Borrowdale Valley, Derwent Water and the dramatic rock faces of Great Gable and Great End, this is the Lake District at its most rugged.


catbells - lake district walks

Distance: 3.7 miles
Duration of walk: Approx. 2 hours
Fitness level required: Basic
Best for: Views of Derwent Water and Newlands Valley

The Catbells walk is voted one of the best walks in the Lake District time and time again. It’s another one of the official Wainwrights and while it’s far smaller than it looks at 451 metres, the views from the top are sensational. Most people start the walk from the Hawes End carpark, close to Keswick, and take the Cumbria Way, steadily ascending the hill through woodland trails via the peak of Skelgill Bank. Despite the rocky steps, it’s a family-friendly ramble and the views of Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite, at the top, are spectacular. A steep descent via Hause Gate takes you back down the hillside.

Ready to strap on your hiking boots and go on one of these Lake District walks? First, you need to find somewhere to stay – so take a look at our picturesque holiday homes! And if you’re interested in adding anything else to your Lake District holiday, you might want to check out our list of top 10 things to do while you’re there!

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