The most visited National Park in the United Kingdom, with over 15 million people coming here every year, the Lake District is a place of surreal beauty. Nature was very giving to this region and those who love hikes and really long walks keep falling in love with its outstanding views. There’s a certain serenity that accompanies hikers along every step, a certain reassurance that at the end of every walk they will find themselves calmer, more in touch with their inner self and nature, and, why not, happier.
Nature is just being herself in the Lake District! She’s not afraid to reveal her secrets and she’s not afraid to let people in. As a matter of fact, the farmland and settlements in the area, with their cozy pubs and good ale, add more to her beauty and never try to rob her of its timeless gifts. It’s that perfect union we’re always trying to achieve with Mother Nature. It seems that the Lake District can be our muse and inspiration.
But, let’s return to our long walks! Since there are hundreds of trails in the Lake District, you’ll need some time and research to choose those who are the perfect fit for you. Here are some of the most popular walks in the Lake District.
Walks for shy beginners
If you’re a beginner but you want to discover the Lake District by foot, you can start with some hiking trails in the Ambleside area. This region is located in the South Lakes, and you can easily get here by car or even by bus or train. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options, as well as shops and pubs to enjoy a perfect vacation.
For amazing views over Ambleside and Lake Windermere, choose a 6-mile walk to the Wansfell Pike. It will take you about 4 to 5 hours to get to an altitude of 482 m, the perfect way to start your day or relax in the afternoon. If you’re lucky to get a clear sky, you will be rewarded with amazing views from the top of the Pike.
In the North Lake District, you’ll find Catbells, a pretty popular hiking trail among hikers. For this, you’ll need to visit Keswick, one of the most beautiful towns in the region. A truly idyllic town, Keswick will make the perfect base for your walks with plenty of pubs, cafes, restaurants, and shops to keep you busy when you’re not exploring the hills. The Catbells walk will take about 3 hours and offer superb views of Derwent Water, Borrowdale Fells, and Castlerigg Fell, taking you to an altitude of 451 m. Not very high, but high enough for beginners to feel like they’re standing on top of the world.
Walks for ambitious beginners
If you already have some experience with longer walks but you don’t want to call yourself an advanced hiker, you can opt for the Blencathra walk, probably one of the most famous mountains in the Lake District. It will test your fitness level a little bit, offering you the opportunity for a good climb but it will not break your spirit and self-confidence. The walk is about 5.5 miles long, which means you’ll be able to reach its finish line in about 4 hours or so. If you’re not in the mood for a few risky sections, you should avoid taking the Hall’s Crag route and just stick to Blease Fell on the west part of the mountain, descending on the Doddick Fell or Scales Fell. Once you reach its top, at an altitude of 868 m, you’ll pretty much be able to see the entire Lake District.
Coniston Old Man will wait for you at an altitude of 803 m. The departure point of this lovely walk is the town of Coniston, a scenic town with a few pubs. Once you’ll find it in you to walk past those pubs, you’ll have to get through some quarry workings and then start your ascend to the top. The walk is 4 hours long at a normal pace, so you’ll be back in town in the afternoon, ready to reward yourself with an ale.
Walks for valiant hikers
If you’re not afraid of a challenge and you’re always ready to test your limits, the walk up Helvellyn should definitely be your first choice when visiting the Lake District. This is a true challenge for hikers who love heights and have no problem using their hands to get to the finish line. The biggest obstacle of the route is the Striding Edge, where you’ll have to use your feet and hands on both the way up and the way down. However, this is a classic route in the Lake District and a must for passionate hikers. The walk starts from the town of Glenridding, another gem in the Lake District, and will take you up to an altitude of 842 m. You’ll find no route signage but there’s a tourist information office right at the beginning of the walk.
If you want to get even higher, follow the Fairfield Horseshoe path, an 18-km hiking trail that will consume most of your day. It will take you about 6 to 8 hours to complete it but you’ll love every minute of it. The route will reward your efforts with views of the beautiful peaks that embrace Ambleside and offer you the chance to admire the region from an altitude of 928 m.
No matter what walk you’re going to choose in the Lake District, you can be sure of a few things: you will discover amazing views, you will see a river, lake or some other body of water along the way, you will walk past a pub or maybe two, and you will always be up for the challenge. Also, since most walks start from either Ambleside or Keswick, you will find plenty of accommodation and transport options. Hiking has never been more human-friendly in a wild, mesmerizing realm than it is in the Lake District! Just take your trekking poles and go explore the Lake Districts!