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The best walks in the Lake District for all abilities

Located in the county of Cumbria in the North West of England, the Lake District region and national park is one of the top destinations for walking and hiking in the United Kingdom. Named after 16 glacial lakes that lie amid rolling hills and rugged peaks, the area offers hundreds of walks accessible to all ages and hiking abilities. Sweeping landscapes encompass hiking routes for the whole family, with stunning views over fells, lakes and villages. Read on for our guide to the best walks in the Lake District.


The best Lake District walks

Although this mountainous region does offer plenty of challenging hikes such as the Coledale Horseshoe and Striding Edge, there are also numerous easy Lake District walks that are suitable for everyone. And at the end of each, a refreshing post-hike pint is just a short walk away in a traditional pub in the nearest town or village.


Lake District fellwalker and celebrated guidebook author and illustrator, Alfred Wainwright, described the 1,480-foot-high Catbells as "a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together". And his description holds true to this day. A perennially popular Lake District destination, Catbells' gently-rising, well-marked trail and rewarding views of Derwentwater lake and the surrounding mountains provide a pleasant walk for hikers of all ages.



Overlooking the glassy waters and grassy slopes of Buttermere lake and valley, the rugged but accessible Haystacks gained popularity as Wainwright's favorite fell-top – he loved it so much that he requested his ashes be scattered here. Perfect for rambling, this fantastic walk gently winds its way up a moderately graded zig-zag path from the valley floor to the hill summit, taking five to six hours if you follow the full circular route starting out from the village of Buttermere.


The easy walk up Latrigg, one of the Lake District’s lowest fells, only takes around an hour, but nevertheless culminates in breathtaking views of Keswick town, Derwentwater and the surrounding mountaintops. This leisurely stroll is also enhanced by local wildlife, from sheep and deer to red squirrels and plentiful birdlife.


Scafell Pike

As the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike has its fair share of challenging hikes. But climbing England's most prominent peak is possible even for beginners via the well-trodden path starting from Wasdale Head. At around five and a half miles, it's the shortest and most popular route to the top. Although it's a steep uphill hike, the rise in elevation is gradual and you can always pause to catch your breath and take in the awe-inspiring mountain landscapes. The final steep climb requires a bit of scrambling, but it’s worth it for the view and bragging rights.

Tarn Hows Circular Walk

If you're looking for a relaxing afternoon stroll with beautiful lake and forest views, this popular Lake District walk in the Lakeland Fells is just the ticket. An easy two-mile route around the bucolic Tarn Hows lake can take from half an hour to an hour, depending on your speed, but the flat grade, low elevation gain, and tranquil surroundings invite you to take your time.


Cumbria Way

Stretching 73 miles from Carlisle to Ulverston, the Cumbria Way is a popular long-distance walking trail, with primarily flat terrain and a low level of difficulty that make it accessible to everyone. From moorlands to forests and mountains, hikers pass through some of the Lake District's most scenic landscapes, as well as historic villages like Keswick and Coniston. Although the full route would take a week to complete, you can savor classic fell walking on day hikes in the central section over Stake Pass, between Langdale and Keswick.

Aira Force

Leading to a magical 65-foot waterfall set amid forest and landscaped parkland, this easy, hour-long circular hike along a well-groomed path over stone bridges is great for families with young kids. The route also passes by a money tree, where former travelers have embedded coins in the wood for good luck or to make a wish.


How do I get around the Lake District?

Many of the hiking and walking paths in the Lake District link different towns and villages, allowing you to explore the region almost entirely on foot. But you can also get around by car, and free or pay-to-park car parks are conveniently located around the district close to trailheads. If you use a National Trust car park, it's free for members.


Hike the most popular walks in the Lake District with Explore

Led by an experienced, local guide, our small group Walk the Lake District tour around the northern Lake District explores many of the region's most popular climbs and walks like Catbells and Scafell Pike, while evenings are spent relaxing in cozy, local accommodations in charming villages.

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