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Derwent Water Lake District England

Best Walks in the Lake District: Exploring England's Beautiful National Park

, by FLOW Admin, 5 min reading time

The Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its stunning landscapes, tranquil lakes, and rugged mountains. It's a paradise for walkers of all abilities, offering a diverse range of trails from gentle lakeside strolls to challenging mountain hikes. 

1. Catbells

Catbells, Keswick, Lake District

Route: Hawes End to Catbells Summit

Distance: 3.5 miles (5.6 km)

Duration: 2-3 hours

Highlights: Catbells is one of the most popular walks in the Lake District, offering stunning views over Derwentwater and the surrounding fells. The route starts at Hawes End and follows a well-marked path to the summit. Although it involves a steady climb, the effort is rewarded with panoramic views of Keswick, Borrowdale, and the Skiddaw range.

2. Helvellyn via Striding Edge

Striding Edge, Helvellyn, Keswick

Route: Glenridding to Helvellyn Summit

Distance: 8 miles (12.9 km)

Duration: 6-7 hours

Highlights: Helvellyn is one of the highest peaks in the Lake District, and the route via Striding Edge is both exhilarating and challenging. Starting from Glenridding, the path takes you along the famous ridge with breathtaking views and a sense of adventure. This walk is suitable for experienced hikers who are comfortable with exposure and scrambling.

3. Buttermere Circular

Buttermere Lake, Lake District

Route: Buttermere Village to Buttermere Lake Circular

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)

Duration: 2-3 hours

Highlights: This gentle walk around Buttermere Lake is perfect for those looking for a scenic and relatively easy route. The path takes you through ancient woodlands, along the lakeshore, and offers stunning views of Fleetwith Pike, Haystacks, and Red Pike. It's an excellent choice for families and those seeking a leisurely walk with picturesque scenery.

4. Old Man of Coniston

Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, Cumbria

Route: Coniston Village to Old Man of Coniston Summit

Distance: 6 miles (9.7 km)

Duration: 4-5 hours

Highlights: The Old Man of Coniston is a prominent peak offering stunning views over Coniston Water and the surrounding fells. The walk starts from Coniston Village and ascends through old slate quarries and rugged terrain. The summit provides panoramic views of the Lake District and, on a clear day, even as far as Wales and Scotland.

5. Grasmere to Rydal Water

Rydal Water, Cumbria, Lake District

Route: Grasmere Village to Rydal Water Circular

Distance: 6 miles (9.7 km)

Duration: 3-4 hours

Highlights: This delightful walk links two of the Lake District’s most beautiful lakes, Grasmere and Rydal Water. The route takes you through picturesque woodlands, past Rydal Cave, and offers stunning lake views. It's a relatively easy walk with gentle inclines, making it suitable for all fitness levels.

6. Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike, Cumbria, Lake District

Route: Wasdale Head to Scafell Pike Summit

Distance: 7 miles (11.3 km)

Duration: 5-7 hours

Highlights: Scafell Pike is the highest peak in England, standing at 978 meters. The walk from Wasdale Head is the most direct route to the summit and offers breathtaking views across the Lake District. The trail is steep and rocky, requiring good fitness and experience, but the sense of achievement at the top is unparalleled.

7. Ullswater Way

Ullswater, Lake District

Route: Circular walk around Ullswater

Distance: 20 miles (32 km)

Duration: 2 days

Highlights: The Ullswater Way is a long-distance circular route around Ullswater, the second largest lake in the Lake District. The trail can be completed over two days and offers stunning lake views, woodlands, and quaint villages. Key highlights include Aira Force waterfall and the charming village of Glenridding.

Elevate Your Walking Experience

To make the most of your walking adventures in the Lake District, consider using a walking pad for indoor training. A walking pad allows you to maintain your fitness routine regardless of weather conditions, ensuring you're well-prepared for the outdoor trails. It’s also a great way to multitask, enabling you to stay active while watching TV or working.

FAQs

What should I pack for a walking trip in the Lake District?

For a walking trip in the Lake District, you should pack essentials including sturdy walking boots, weather-appropriate clothing (waterproof jacket and layers for varying temperatures), a map and compass or GPS device, plenty of water, snacks or a packed lunch, sunscreen, a first aid kit, and a camera to capture the stunning scenery. Additionally, carrying a walking stick or poles can be helpful on steep or uneven terrain.

Are these trails suitable for beginners or only for experienced hikers?

The Lake District offers a range of trails suitable for all levels of experience. Routes like the Buttermere Circular and Grasmere to Rydal Water are relatively gentle and well-suited for beginners or families. Conversely, trails such as Helvellyn via Striding Edge and Scafell Pike are more challenging and require a higher level of fitness and experience due to their steep and rocky terrain. Beginners should start with the easier trails and gradually work up to the more demanding ones as they build their hiking skills and confidence.

Are there any guided tours available for these walking routes?

Yes, there are several companies offering guided walking tours in the Lake District. Ambleside Adventure offers guided walks ranging from easy to hard levels, covering popular routes like Scafell Pike and Helvellyn via Striding Edge. Skyline Walking provides various guided walking holidays, including Borrowdale's Best Walks and low-level walks around the lesser-known Lake District locations​.


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