Best walking routes in the Lake District

Guest blogger

The Lake District is one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations, welcoming over 15 million visitors each year. Walkers and hikers represent a good proportion of this number, enticed by the glittering lakes and rugged mountains which provide idyllic walking opportunities. While the visitors are numerous, the vastness of this beautiful National Park gives walkers the space to enjoy the awe-inspiring landscape without the crowds.

It would take a lifetime to explore each corner of the Lake District, so holidaycottages.co.uk, which has local holiday letting offices in Hawkshead and Keswick, has put together a list of its top suggestions of unmissable walks in the area.

Rydal Water

This scenic lakeside walk is the perfect choice for those looking to appreciate the beautiful scenery without taking on any challenging terrain. Set in the heart of the Lake District, Rydal Water is particularly striking in the autumn months, when the colour palette shifts from greens of every shade to hues of rusty red and orange. Head up to Wordsworth’s Seat to appreciate the landscape in all its glorious colour. 

There is a 5.5-mile walk around the lake which takes in the popular village of Grasmere where you recharge your batteries with a stop in one of the many cafes. Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage, two of the homes of William Wordsworth, are highlights of this walk as well as the Wordsworth Museum where you can discover more about the famous author’s life and works. The walk starts at Pelter Bridge car park and there are various other points of interest along the way, including a collection of caves, stunning views of the lake and its island, and peaceful woodland scenery.

There are various other routes to choose from – some long, some short, some with climbs up through the woodland to see Rydal Falls – so pick one to suit you and enjoy your time in this wonderful place.

Rydal Water with autumnal trees

Stay near Rydal Water:

Mickleden Valley Trail

There’s solitude in abundance on this remote walk, with dramatic scenery including glacial moraines (deposits from historic glaciers), a craggy hillside of juniper trees, and jagged peaks which are sometimes capped with snow. 

The Mickleden Valley Trail begins in the Old Dungeon Ghyll National Trust car park and follows the valley between Pike O’Stickle and The Band. When you reach the end where the path splits, retrace your steps and enjoy the views from the other direction. The 3.8-mile walk is level and easy, so perfect for families or those looking for a relaxing stroll.

Mickleden Valley in the Lake District

Stay nearby:

Derwentwater and Cat Bells

If you’re looking to be blown away by the views on your walk, this one’s for you. Offering panoramic views from the very beginning of the walk, you’ll be dazzled by the craggy peaks reflecting in the glistening lake and the lush, undulating hills. An unparalleled feeling of freedom makes this one of the best walks for getting back in touch with your joie de vivre!

The Derwentwater and Cat Bells walk is 3.5 miles and takes about 3 hours, starting at the Hawes End Landing Stage which you can access via boat from Keswick. The enjoyable ferry ride kicks off the spectacular walk which heads up to Cat Bells before curving around to skirt the lake back to the pier. Remember your camera and stop to admire the impressive views of Derwentwater and Borrowdale. 

This walk involves a few scrambly sections, but nothing too challenging, so it’s a good one for couples or adventurous families!

View from the summit of Catbells with Derwent Water down below

Stay nearby:

Aira Force and Ullswater

There are lots of routes to choose from here, so select one to suit your abilities or energy level, pull on your walking boots and get ready to enjoy some of the best Lake District scenery. Ramble alongside Ullswater Lake or hike up to the summit of Gowbarrow where your efforts will be rewarded with views over Ullswater. If you’re not looking to exert yourself too much, just follow the beginning of this walk which follows a well-maintained path to the dramatic 65-foot Aira Force waterfall.

The Aira Force tearoom is a pleasant place to stop off for a cream tea, and for children to run off any extra energy in the natural play area. An idyllic setting with something for everyone!

Aira Force waterfall near Ullswater

Stay nearby:

Stickle Tarn

Again, there are route options for everyone in the Langdale area, with lower trails catering for those who want a more leisurely walk, and routes which scale the higher peaks for more of a challenge. One of the most popular walks which covers tricky and steep terrain is the 2-mile Stickle Tarn walk which begins at the Sticklebarn pub. 

The route follows the river, Stickle Ghyll, up the side of the valley where there are plenty of spots to catch your breath and enjoy the magnificent views. Plunging waterfalls and mountainside pools are just some of the highlights of this rewarding trail, which includes some scrambly sections over rocky outcrops. There’s a real feeling of wilderness on this walk, and a respect for the way nature has sculpted the landscape over thousands of years. The sight of Stickle Tarn is saved for the end, at which point you can stop for a while before turning back and following the same path back to the car park.

A view down to Stickletarn in the Langdale Valley

Stay nearby: 

Looking to let your property?

Get in touch with holidaycottages.co.uk, the national holiday letting agency with local offices in Hawkshead and Keswick. You’ll benefit from a personal service, with a dedicated Property Account Manager ensuring that your property gets the bookings it deserves, supported by the marketing strength of a national company.

Guest blogger

HolidayCottages.co.uk - quality self-catering holiday homes across the Lake District and the UK.


Date: 12 Mar 2020