Close Icon

Prepare to be inspired to pull on those walking boots and explore some of the best walks in the Lake District, which showcase some of the most breath-taking country sights that England has to offer.

Seen as being one of the most popular National Park’s in the whole of the UK, the Lake District is famous for its beautiful mountain walks, rocky headlands, far-reaching views and for inspiring famous literary works because of its sheer beauty.

Discover 6 of the best Lake District walks below…

1. Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere, Lake District

You can take this Lake District walk in stages, from Bowness-on-Windermere to Ambleside, Hawkshead to Graythwaite or somewhere in between, wherever you choose to begin, you are in for a treat with those stunning and far-reaching lake views.

With train stations at Lakeside and Bowness-on-Windermere, you will find the lake is within walking distance with ample choice of traditional eateries, as well as a choice of thriving tourist attractions. Discover the magical recreation of The World of Beatrix Potter, an independent family-run business showcasing beautiful contemporary paintings and prints of the Lakes, and let’s not forget the wonderful Windermere Golf Club, regarded as one of the finest courses around.

Take the ferry across the lake, with more excellent walking opportunities anywhere from Ambleside to Lakeside, there’s so much to choose from. On the other side of Lake Windermere, you can pass by the National Trust property of Wray Castle towards the beautiful Claife Heights (featured in a chapter of Wainright’s book The Outlying Fells of Lakeland), with the 19th-century Stott Park Bobbin Mill also nearby.

Read our Lake District vs. the Peak District debate to decide on your next adventure.

2. Coniston

Coniston, Lake District

With endless opportunities for hiking in the Lake District, Coniston is not one you want to miss! A popular walk can be found at The Old Man of Coniston, starting from Coniston village with its pretty whitewashed cottages and views across Coniston Water, before ascending the slate quarries, past the low water tarn and towards the summit. Even the most experienced walkers might find this steep hike difficult upon first try. The Old Man of Coniston still has old mining machinery on parts of the mountain, left there to rust over the years.

Adding to its walking appeal, Coniston is well-known for its famous figures leaving their mark upon the area, including famous children’s writer Beatrix Potter and Victorian art critic John Ruskin, with his Brantwood house lying on the east side of the lake. Author Arthur Ransome based the location of his novel Swallows and Amazons on this lake.

Also famous for the area is Donald Campbell who broke eight absolute speed world records on water and land, his last attempt occurred at Coniston Water, which has attracted many tourists over the years. Travel towards The Ruskin Museum, an award-winning museum retelling the story of Coniston throughout the years, from Stone Age fell-walkers to the famous Bluebird’s K7.

Coniston Water reaches five miles long and would be ideal for those avid walkers or keen watersporting types can take the opportunity for boat hire and tours across the water, including the National Trust Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola which sails between March and November every year.

If you bring your four-legged friend along for the walk, you may be looking for a place to rest and quench your thirst. Well look no further, here you can discover four dog-friendly pubs in Coniston.

3. Grasmere to Ambleside

Dove Cottage at Grasmere, Lake District

Whether you’re visiting during winter or summer, this Lake District walk is an exceptional one, with access to Loughrigg Fell for those beautiful scenic views. Less than four miles, this walk averages just under an hour and a half and is perfect for a morning stroll from your Grasmere cottage into the bustling town of Ambleside.

Nestled on the edge of the pretty village of Grasmere, you will find the popular tourist attraction of Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, the former home of the famous Romantic poet William Wordsworth and a Grade I listed building. Essayist Thomas De Quincey once described Wordsworth’s time at Dove Cottage as “plain living, but high thinking”, and true enough, once inside, you can experience what ordinary life was like for Wordsworth and where many of his best works were written.

Made from local white, limewashed stone, this cottage showcases 18th-century living, with many rooms still housing his personal possessions, as well as Wordsworth’s study with some of his original writings and his sister Dorothy’s fascinating Grasmere journal. Once the tour is complete, you are free to wander the beautifully landscaped garden surrounding the property, that William and Dorothy constructed and planted themselves.

After exploring this timeless attraction, turn onto the Whitemoss Common track, before crossing a footbridge to join the Loughrigg Terrace bridleway and follow alongside the Rydal Water, where you can spot a plethora of wildlife along the way. Circle the rear of Rydal Hall and through Rydal Park before joining the A591 towards Ambleside.

Ambleside is an excellent place to finish your walk, with its access to a number of traditional pubs and eateries to sample from, including the Grade II listed Golden Rule pub. Soak up the sunshine in the delightful beer garden and take advantage of its dog-friendly atmosphere to bring your four-legged friend along for the journey.

Make sure you sample their cask beers, draught lagers and fine wines whilst getting involved with the selection of board games and even a dart board to finish up your afternoon! Take a browse through our list of the 6 dog-friendly pubs in Ambleside to bring your pooch along for a refreshing beverage.

4. Honister Pass

Honister Pass, Lake District

Connecting Buttermere Valley and Borrowdale Valley, there is plenty for you to explore here, with Honister’s path starting between these two valleys and rising to 1167 feet to the summit. Situated at the top of the Honister Pass is Honister Slate Mine, hugely popular with tourists for its guided tours through the mine lasting 90 minutes, showcasing the current workings which have changed little in 300 years, something you history lovers will delight in.

Accessible from Honister Pass is the famous Haystacks, resting at the eastern end of Buttermere Valley and is considered one of the most popular fells in the area, particularly with famous novelist Wainwright who wrote many of his novels about the Lake District’s walking sights. Haystacks was his favourite walk and became the very placed he requested his ashes to be scattered.

If you’re looking for some more unique opportunities in the Lakes, have a read of our 7 hidden gems of the Lake District.

5. Helvellyn

Helvellyn, Lake District

Helvellyn is the third-highest point in both England and the Lake District, one of the more difficult Lake District hikes which would be ideal for those sportier types seeking to explore this 10-mile route.

Not for the faint of heart, Helvellyn’s highest peak reaches 950m (3,117 ft) in total, with Striding Edge being particularly popular for scrambling and those who are looking to challenge themselves, best completed during the summer when the rock is dry. For those looking for an easier ascent, try accessing the mountain via Swirral Edge.

Named ‘Britain’s Best Walk’ in January 2018, this mountain was formed by volcanic rocks in violent eruptions over 450,000 years ago. Look forward to spending time with friends and families during your fell walk, a great way to keep active whilst also enjoying the very best of the Lake District countryside.

Many of its earlier visitors were famous poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, with many of their works corresponding with the beautiful scenery. Once completed, just over a mile from Gelridding you will find the Hole-in-the-Wall, which offers some excellent pub food and a selection of beers to quench your thirst!

6. Eskdale

Eskdale, Lake District

With a selection of paths, ancient lanes and bridleways in the area, Eskdale is ripe with easy walks for those looking to explore the valley, whilst still getting to explore those rocky fells and the majestic rolling countryside. A popular choice is following the banks of the River Esk, and see if you can spot the red squirrels and bird life during your walk, whilst also enjoying the tranquil surroundings.

Benefitting from the coastal weather, these walks are less likely to have rain than other parts of the Lakes, and this also gives you the opportunity to visit one of the seaside towns or villages for a number of beautiful white sandy beaches. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try Eskdale’s most famous route up Scafell Pike, or stop off at the Muncaster Castle, resting in 77 acres of landscaped gardens, and overlooking the River Esk, and is a Grade I listed building.

Still looking for inspiration for things to do? Then take a look at the Lake District things to do Guide for a deeper look into its best attractions. Or have a browse through our walks in the Lake District Guide for more walking options.

Have we inspired you to visit these picturesque sites? Then take a look through our list of Lake District holiday cottages. Browse our Lake District travel guide for more information on the local sites and places to eat.

Image credits: AngelJuoles – (CC BY 2.0)

Get involved in the Discussion

Sign up to receive discounts, exclusive offers, travel tips and guides.