7 of the best walking spots in the Lake District

Home to some of Britain's most impressive mountains, rivers and lakes, and with hundreds of miles of footpaths spanning the area, it's no wonder the Lake District attracts thousands of people to its unique, awe-inspiring landscapes each year. It's a walker's paradise!

To help you find the best areas to explore on foot during your next visit, we've hand-picked our favourites, each offering a variety of strolls and hikes to suit every age and ability.

From best-kept walking secrets set off the beaten path, to must-visit hotspots with outstanding views, here are seven of the best walking spots in the Lake District to discover.


1. Martindale

If you wish to escape the Lake District crowds, the walks in and around this glorious hidden gem are for you. Hardly explored by anyone, you are more likely to bump into jumping red deer and grazing wild ponies than people when strolling these paths.

Our favourite hike is up Hallin Fell - the views at the top are spectacular! Or Beda Fell is another wonderful option. When in the valley, we recommend strolling around Hallin Fell and along the serene Ullswater lake. Also, don't miss a visit to St Martin's Church (pictured above). There's an impressive yew tree in the grounds which is said to be over 1,300 years old!


2. Helvellyn

Not such a secret spot, but one of the most spectacular. If you love hiking, this one's for you!

There are a variety of walking routes you can take up Helvellyn, the shortest being from Thirlmere. Our particular favourite route is up Striding Edge. It's an exhilarating hike and starts from the village of Glenridding on Ullswater, although we wouldn't recommend it for those who are afraid of heights.


3. Duddon Valley

Another true hidden gem, set remotely in the south west of the Lake District, passing Harter and Ulpha Fells in the west and Coniston Old Man in the east. This special spot is trickier to get to than others, but it's definitely worth it for some of the best scenery in the National Park which you'll virtually have to yourself!

Walk or canoe along the River Duddon, discovering magnificent waterfalls along the way, or amble to Swinside Stone Circle or Devoke Water, the largest tarn in the Lake District. Make sure to also seek out Ulpha Bridge - a picturesque setting and the perfect spot to sit down for a bite to eat.


4. Catbells

Although a classic route, walking to the top of Catbells, south west of Keswick, is well worth undertaking because of the bird's eye views it gives over Derwentwater and its cluster of islands, and across folds of Lakeland fells in every direction.

If you're feeling adventurous, we highly recommend continuing up to and following Catbells Ridge, and returning via the Cumbria Way along the west shore of the lake.


5. Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside

Escape the hustle and bustle of Ambleside on a short but quite demanding circuit (5 miles) taking in Lily Tarn and the summit of Loughrigg Fell, a delightful low fell that affords stunning views down Lake Windermere and over the wooded vale of Rydal into the high fells.

Discover Rydal Cave along your way - a 19th century man-made quarry whose interior can be easily accessed across stepping stones.


6. Blea Tarn

A photographer's heaven and one of the easiest spots to reach on foot. Only a couple of minutes walk from the car park on the Little Langdale to Great Langdale road, Blea Tarn is perfect for those not wanting to walk too far to enjoy stunning remote scenery. There are many footpaths around this area, and the Blea Tarn walk is suitable for all ages with wonderful views the whole way round.


7. Old Man of Coniston

Although not the most attractive of mountains - because of the scars left by copper mining and slate quarrying - the Old Man of Coniston is perhaps the most imposing of Cumbria's southern fells. Worth the hike for the panoramic views it gives to Blackpool, Morecambe, Heysham and Ulverston.

The school in Coniston or Scout Scar car park are excellent starting points, and The Sun in Coniston is a super pub to stop at afterwards for a well-deserved pint.

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Last updated: 19.03.21

Photo credit: Shutterstock (David Tyrer - Martindale/Kaca Skokanova - Duddon Valley/Daniel Kay - Cat Bells/Philip Birtwistle - Blea Tarn)