The Most Popular Walks in the Lake District
The Lake District is such a beautiful area to explore on foot, bringing thousands of tourists and hikers to scenic routes year after year. If you’re planning a hiking trip to the UNESCO World Heritage site that is The Lake District, why not research some of the most popular walks in the Lake District before you get here? Offering some of the most incredible sights as well as a chance to discover a number of Lake District waterfalls, planning your walking route can help you to get the very best out of your Lake District experience.
1. Buttermere Walk
Surrounded by breathtaking mountains, a walk around Buttermere Valley affords you some of the most dramatic scenes in the Lake District. Popular with walkers since the tourist boom of the Victorian era, Buttermere Valley has two well-trodden walks for you to enjoy that will both reveal the splendour of this area of the Lake District through spectacular views.
The first route around Buttermere is primarily flat and should be an easier walk around that lake that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Staying around the valley floor, you’ll feel right at the heart of the surrounding peaks while keeping close to hidden gems from bubbling becks to rich woodland and more. A historic walking route, the western shore of Buttermere has been popular with tourists from the Victorian era right up to the present day. Enjoy a steady climb through Burtness Woods by foot or bicycle for a scenic 4.2-mile route that should take around 1 - 2 hours in total to complete.
Along the northern side of Buttermere, you can enjoy a high-level walk that takes a tour around three summits including Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson. On your journey, you’ll encounter dramatic changes in scenery from shimmering views of the lake below to gothic crags above you. The walk officially begins at Honister Pass, so if you’d rather cut out the lengthy walk from Buttermere to the starting point, we recommend taking the Honister Ramble bus service (operating Easter - October) so you can save your energy for climbing the first peak! The full walk tackles steep terrain with some narrow mountain ridges, and covers around 5.8 miles and should take you between 4 to 5 hours in total.
2. Coniston Walk
One of the most calming walks the Lake District has to offer, Coniston Water’s western shoreline is home to peaceful views of low hills, beautiful pebble beaches and historic buildings. A walk along Coniston Water is guaranteed to give you a taste of the restorative powers of nature, unsullied by modern roads and offering uninterrupted landscapes for you to enjoy. Begin your walk at the Coniston Boating Centre and enjoy a long but leisurely walk of 8.2 miles that should take you around 3 - 4 hours, a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
3. Patterdale Walk
Patterdale offers a unique walk that’s sure to appeal to hikers looking for a full-day challenge. Following the peaks surrounding Deepdale, Patterdale walk guides you through a horseshoe of scenic summits from Fairfield to St Sunday Crag that gives you breathtaking views as well as secretive gothic landscapes. We recommend that you begin your walk around the Deepdale Horseshoe by climbing St Sunday Crag which will give you a clear view of the magnificent route ahead. Enjoy a succession of unmissable scenes throughout the 9.3-mile walk, and leave plenty of time for the 6 to 7-hour long journey. Remember that the Deepdale Horseshoe is a route that should be reserved for experienced hikers due to the high potential for poor visibility and the rocky terrain involved along the walk.
4. Ullswater Walk
If you’re looking for a path less trodden, Ullswater walk is a secretive alternative to many of the popular walks in the Lake District. Guiding you through tranquil summits including Heron Pike, Glenridding Dodd and Sheffield Pike, you’ll discover hidden historical remains of the lead and silver mines and cottages that used to populate the dale. Known for an abundance of flora and fauna for you to enjoy along your walk, the Ullswater walk is a 5-mile walk that should take you around 4 hours to complete as you traverse valley roads, snug woodland and stunning summit views.
5. Skiddaw Walk
One of the most visually impressive mountains in the Lake District, Skiddaw is isolated from other mountains in the area which provides you with uninterrupted views from the Skiddaw summit and the south side of the mountain. Perfect for those seeking some of the best views in the Lake District, Skiddaw walk takes you along the Jenkin Hill Path.
Exposed and smoothed by the wind over the years, the route was originally established for Victorian tourists travelling by pony. If you’re an experienced hiker looking for a higher peak to test yourself on, Skiddaw walk is sure to be the route for you. Set aside a full day of 6 to 7 hours for your ascent of 970m over 10.5 miles and prepare yourself for steep fellsides and a stony ridge at the summit of your journey.
6. Eskdale Walk
If you’re looking for a walk that doesn’t present too much of a challenge, Stanley Force at Eskdale offers a network of paths that each take you along classic woodland sections as well as idyllic views of the River Esk brimming with salmon and sea trout heading upstream. Plus, if you were hoping to catch sight of one of the many Lake District waterfalls, the impressive Stanley Gill waterfall is only a short walk upstream at the mid-point of your walk.
This 3-mile walk will take you through bridleways and wooded lanes over the course of two hours - a lovely introductory walk around the Lake District that shouldn’t be too taxing on families or inexperienced walkers.
7. Scafell Pike Walk
Possibly the most complex walk the Lake District has to offer, Scafell Pike is not for beginners. The mountain is host to a thrilling mix of rocky summits, narrow pathways and towering crags set out in an unpredictable manner that will keep you engaged and challenged throughout your journey. Perfect for those with a sense of adventure, Scafell Pike is a wild ride through some of the toughest terrain in the Lake District.
If you’re looking for an easier route, you can take a direct path from Brown Tongue to Wasdale. This route will see you bag the summit without too much difficulty, but you’ll be missing out on some of the most thrilling aspects of Scafell Pike if you do so.
Taking a route through the western part of Scafell Pike from Sty Head to Lingmell Col before meeting the Brown Tongue to Wasdale route, you can get your teeth stuck into the Corridor Route which affords you spectacular views and an intimate connection with the nuances of this iconic mountain range. The Corridor Route should take around 6.5 hours to traverse across 8 miles and will see you ascend 1070 metres as part of the journey.
Have you planned what to do with your downtime? The Lake District Pound Passport gives you the opportunity to give back to local businesses that keep the UNESCO World Heritage site of The Lake District community thriving, so why not invest in yours today?