10 best walks in the Lake District

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With hundreds of beautiful routes to choose from, we are absolutely spoilt for walking in the Lake District. Whether you like to take a gentle stroll by the water or an invigorating climb with spectacular views, the area has something for every taste and ability. Here are just a few ideas to get you started...

Family walks with views...

1. Latrigg, Keswick (1.5 miles)

Views from Latrigg over Keswick and Derwenwater
Latrigg has stunning views over Keswick, Derwentwater and the Borrowdale Valley and can be accessed just a mile from Keswick itself. It gives a huge return for relatively little effort. See our blog post on Latrigg for more on the route.

Take a look at our properties in the Keswick area. An accessible walk for everyone...

2. Orrest Head, Windermere (3 miles)

Viewpoint at Orrest Head above Windermere
If you're looking for fantastic views without the effort of a full mountain walk, Orrest Head is the one for you. Starting off at the Windermere Tourist Information Centre, the route takes in a steady climb to the top, woodland paths, and half a mile on a quiet road, before returning you to your starting point. There are seats at the summit, which is just 784ft above sea level but takes in the Lake District's highest peaks and much of Windermere. You can even see as far as the waters of Morecambe Bay.

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3. Tarn Hows, near Coniston (2 miles)

Tarn Hows, near Coniston, in autumn
Tarn Hows was preserved by Beatrix Potter and the National Trust as part of the wider Monk Coniston Estate, and is the perfect spot for a family picnic. The trail circles the man-made tarns and at less than two miles long can also be undertaken using a Tramper Mobility scooter for those who are less physically able (call to book). There is a small car park and toilets are on site.

Lakeside walks with boat rides...  

4. Coniston Water

Coniston Water in autumn
There are lots of opportunities in the Lake District to combine a tranquil lakeside walk with a boat ride to complete the circuit. This can often turn a very long walk into a more manageable one suitable for all the family. In Coniston, you could try out the lakeshore walk from The Bluebird Café along the west side of Coniston Water to Torver Jetty or Sunny Bank Jetty and then catch the Coniston Launch back. But that's just one of many combinations, so check out the website and get creative!

You can try out similar boat and walking combinations on Windermere, Ullswater and Derwentwater.

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Dog friendly ambles...

5. Friar's Crag, Keswick (0.8 miles, 2.4 miles for extended route)

Friar's Crag, Derwentwater, near Keswick
This short and level but atmospheric walk can be taken from the car park by the Theatre By the Lake or the heart of Keswick itself, and in no time you come upon the most spectacular views across Derwentwater from Friar's Crag. If you're feeling a little more energetic, the route can be extended to create a circuit back to the original path through Cockshott Wood. The National Trust recommends Friar's Crag as a great point for stargazing after watching one of its fabulous sunsets - you can find their guide online.

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Historic routes...

6. Loweswater and Holme Force Waterfall

Holme Force Waterfall, Loweswater
Loweswater is in the far north west of the Lake District and so remains much quieter than the rest of the Lakes during the busy summer season. This walk begins from Maggie's Bridge car park (room for 6-8 cars) and passes traditional Cumbrian farm buildings before joining part of the Corpse Road between Buttermere and Lamplugh Church. The rest of the route takes you through woodland past Holme Force Waterfall (well worth seeing) and along the edge of Loweswater, before taking you back to your starting point.

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7. Cinderdale and Crummock Water

Sun on Crummock Water and fells
Crummock Water is situated between Buttermere and Loweswater, and there is a gentle circuit that can be taken on the east side of the water with lovely views of the surrounding countryside. In medieval times, Cinderdale was the site of furnaces called bloomeries, where iron ore was once smelted, and you can still spot iron slag from the process today. Look out for the post-medieval sheep fold which was rebuilt in recent years by the National Trust.

Take a look at our cottages near Buttermere and Crummock Water.

Walks with waterfalls...

8. Aira Force, Ullswater (1.5 miles)

Aira Force, Ullswater
This peaceful walk uphill through ancient woodland leads to a beautiful 65ft waterfall which you can view from bridges above and below. The pathways are rugged and stony in places so aren't suitable for pushchairs, but the walk can be combined with any number of longer routes in the area and around Ullswater itself. The National Trust has a tearoom at Aira Force and in 2015 Ullswater Steamers opened a new pier nearby to provide even better access by boat.

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9. Stanley Ghyll Force, Eskdale

Stanley Ghyll Force, Eskdale
For an experience that could almost be described as tropical due to its abundance of moss and ferns, another intriguing waterfall walk is to Stanley Ghyll Force. The longest waterfall in the Lake District, it is set in a deep, wooded gorge in Eskdale. The walk follows the river through woodland until its end near the waterfall!

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A bit of a climb...

10. Gummer's How, Windermere (1.5 miles)

Gummer's How, Windermere
At the foot of Windermere (the lake), this walk is steep and the path narrow and rocky in parts, so it does need care. Your effort is however rewarded with panoramic views across the Lakes and beyond. The walk starts from the car park below and the best route to take is not the direct one but the path which circles the fell and is therefore less steep.

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Note for all walks: If you plan to try any of the walks listed here, do remember that these are summary descriptions only and that you should always find a map and full route description before setting off. Remember to wear appropriate footwear and clothing, and to take plenty of food and drinking water too.

Wherever you're planning to start your Lake District getaway, Sally's Cottages has the perfect property for you - find yours by using our online search facility. For more inspiration on things to see in the area, with some further handy walking ideas, take a look at our 10 best kept secrets in the Lake District.