Top 10 Lakeside Walks


Here at Sally's Cottages, we think there's something truly magical about taking a walk by water, so for this post we're sharing some of our very own favourite lakeside walks (although strictly, there is only one true lake in the Lake District and the rest are 'meres' or 'waters')! And why not make a sunny day out by water extra special by packing an indulgent picnic to enjoy, too?

Safety Note: The following walking suggestions are intended as summary descriptions only, so always get hold of a full route description and the relevant Ordnance Survey map (and a compass if you plan to go far) before you set off. Even on low level walks, always wear suitable and sturdy footwear, and don't forget to take warm, dry clothing and plenty of food and water too, to make sure your outdoor adventure is a safe and enjoyable one!

1. A circuit of Buttermere

Buttermere in the Lake DistrictWhen the rest of the Lake District is crowded during the holidays, the north-western lakes tend to remain calm and quiet. Buttermere, in particular, is a huge favourite with photographers, was recently voted as having one of the best views in Britain, and is family-friendly too! The National Trust recommend you allow around three hours to walk the four and a half-mile circuit of Buttermere, and you can park in Buttermere Village itself. Do bear in mind that there is a 600-metre walk on the road towards the south end of the lake. Children will love the 100-foot-long Hassness Tunnel on the eastern shore, which was created out of the rock so that its 19th century owner could walk around the water unhindered!

Take a look at our cottages around Buttermere and nearby Crummock Water.

2. Windermere western shore

Windermere Western Shore in the Lake DistrictWindermere is often considered to be one of the busiest of the Lake District's stretches of water, but the peaceful western shore will help you see this area in a whole new light! The western shore walk is approximately four miles long, beginning at Wray Castle and ending at Claife Viewing Station, where you'll find the charming Courtyard Café. Nearby Ferry House is directly opposite Bowness-on-Windermere, and you can return to the eastern shore on the ferry. Windermere Lake Cruises offer a handy Walker's Ticket, which starts out at Ambleside or Bowness-on-Windermere, drops you off at Wray, and returns you to your starting point later in the day.

View our range of cottages in and around Windermere.

3. Friar's Crag, Keswick

Friar's Crag in Keswick, the Lake DistrictIf you're after a gentle stroll rather than an energetic hike, the views from Friar's Crag make this short walk, high above the lake, a must! Starting at the Theatre by the Lake, Friar's Crag is just a fifteen-minute walk south and has stunning views along Derwentwater to the dramatic 'Jaws of Borrowdale'. You can also extend the walk to take in a wander along neighbouring Strandshag Bay, and make this a circular walk by returning through Cockshot Wood.

Enjoy walks straight from your door with a cottage in Keswick town.

4. Derwentwater Walk

Derwentwater in the Lake DistrictIf you'd like something a bit more challenging, check out the Derwentwater Walk, a fabulous 10-mile waymarked walk around Derwentwater. You don't need to complete the whole 10 miles, though - you can have lots of fun hopping on and off the Keswick Launch to explore the areas that appeal to you most, and why not enjoy a leisurely picnic on the beaches at Brandelhow? Pick up a Derwentwater Walk leaflet at Keswick Tourist Information - and don't forget a Keswick Launch timetable too!

View our properties in and around Keswick.

5. Pooley Bridge to Gale Bay, Ullswater

Pooley Bridge in the Lake DistrictAgain, if you're looking to take a refreshing short stroll and capture some lakeside snaps, this short route from Pooley Bridge is perfect! Start out at the lakeside car park at Pooley Bridge, and follow the footpath along the lakeside to Gale Bay for half a mile. Then simply return to Pooley Bridge along the same route.

Take a look at our cottages around Ullswater.

6. Aira Force to Glenridding, and Glenridding to Howton, The Ullswater Way

Aira Force in the Lake DistrictIf you're after an energetic day out walking around Ullswater, the Ullswater Way provides 20 miles of waymarked pathways, which can be broken up with trips on board the Ullswater 'Steamers' or the local bus services. It can be walked in either direction from any drop-off point, and Glenridding, Glencoyne, Patterdale and Pooley Bridge are all great starting points if you need to park the car. Glencoyne is especially handy for a lakeside picnic near a car park!

If it's a true lakeside walk you're after, bear in mind that the Ullswater Way directs you away from the lake itself between Aira Force and Pooley Bridge. Popular routes with great views over the lake include Aira Force to Glenridding (3 miles) and Glenridding to Howton (six and a half miles).

View our delightful range of cottages around Glenridding and Patterdale or Ullswater.

7. A circuit of Rydal Water

Rydal Water in the Lake District

A complete circuit of Rydal Water is approximately 3.7 miles, and starts out at the White Moss car parks on the A591 between Rydal and Grasmere. Although the route doesn't go along the lake edge itself, there's lots of interest here, including two sets of caves (note: stones do fall from the cave roofs, so it's best to admire the caves from outside) and fabulous views across Rydal Water from Loughrigg Terrace. The walk also joins the Ambleside-Grasmere Coffin Route at Rydal Hall and William Wordsworth's former home, Rydal Mount.

View our cottages in the Grasmere and Rydal area.

8. A circular walk around Loweswater

Loweswater in the Lake DistrictIf you're after a peaceful and secluded walk along a tree-lined shore, Loweswater in the far north-western Lake District is the place to find it. Starting from the National Trust's small Maggie's Bridge car park, the walk is particularly beautiful when heading around the lake clockwise, following the lakeshore through Holme Wood. On reaching Hudson Place, you can either return back along the same path, or complete the four-mile circuit by walking along the road on the opposite side of the lake.

Visit our properties in the Loweswater area.

9. Boat ride and walk along Coniston Water

Coniston Water in the Lake DistrictOne of the best ways to appreciate the landscape around Coniston is from Coniston Water itself, so you might like to combine a walk along lakeshore footpaths or the country lanes here with a trip on a Coniston Launch. One option is to catch the Coniston Launch at Coniston Jetty to either of the Sunny Bank or Torver jetties. From here you can then take the walk back along the road and lakeside footpath to your starting point.

View our cottages in and around Coniston.

10. A circuit of Ennerdale Water

Ennerdale Water in the Lake DistrictFor a lakeside walk in the most tranquil of locations, it doesn't get any better than the six and a half-mile walk around Ennerdale Water. This isn't a way-marked route, but it is possible to walk freely around most of the lakeshore. The walk takes in forest roads, tracks, narrow and rocky footpaths (which are frequently very wet), and a steep climb and short exposed scramble over Angler's Crag. Your reward? Superb views across one of the Lake District's least visited lakes!

Take a look at our fantastic range of cottages in the Ennerdale area.


Whatever your walking tastes and ability, we hope we've been able to inspire you with some of our ideas for lakeside walks in this post. If you haven't yet booked your next visit to the Lake District, you can find your ideal cottage in the perfect location by visiting our online search facility.

For further walking ideas, you may like to take a look at our other recent posts: