With deep lakes surrounded by mountainous fells, forests and cascading waterfalls, the Lake District is one of the most dramatic and majestic landscapes in Britain. It’s visited every year by climbers, mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts, but by far it’s biggest draw is the unrivalled walking trails that criss cross this national park. There are trails for every ability - from lazy Sunday strolls to difficult multi day hikes. Here’s our guide to walking in the Lake District.
These two towns make excellent bases for exploring the Lakes. Full of restaurants, cafes and outdoor shops, they are a great place to stock up on essentials before your trip, as well as unwind with a bottle of wine over a heartwarming meal. Windermere and Ambleside are close to the iconic Lake Windermere, where you can take a break from the walking trails and take rowing boats, steamers and ferries out onto the water.
This U shaped glacial valley is one of the most photographed areas of the Lakes. Featuring the famous Langdale pikes of Pavey Arc and Harrisons Stickle, it’s a stunning landscape of jagged peaks and verdant valleys. Great Langdale is also home to Dungeon Ghyll, a deep ravine with a gushing waterfall that’s part of several walking trails. Walking these hills gives you panoramic views to the larger fells such as Scafell Pike and Helvellyn.
One of the more remote regions in the Lakes, Wasdale is a staggeringly beautiful landscape that includes England’s deepest lake, Wastwater, as well as England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. Wild and rugged, trails here are a walker’s dream, uncrowded and peaceful yet offering some of the best views in the park. In fact, the view from the southern end of Wastwater was voted Britain’s favourite view in 2007!
Generally regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in England, Ullswater is a blend of rolling countryside, charming hamlets and dramatic peaks including the grand Helvellyn. At 9 miles long, the lake features plenty of shore-side walks, as well as boating and cruising opportunities if your legs are feeling a little tired. It’s from this region that Wordsworth took inspiration for his Daffodil poem, and it was also used in the recent Miss Potter film. It’s a picturesque and idyllic area that even the most seasoned visitors can never tire of.
Stretching deep into the great central fells (Scafell, Bowfell, Great Gable), Borrowdale is a landscape of craggy peaks, ancient stone circles and swathes of deep oak forest. Holding Derwentwater, the ‘Queen of the Lakes’, Borrowdale has walking trails for every type of rambler, including vertiginous scrambles and gentle boardwalks along the lakes' wetlands. It’s also an area full of history, with stone age relics and abandoned mines dotted around, echoes of a long forgotten industrial valley.