The Lake District really does have something for everyone when it comes to walking - including those with little legs! Here's our pick of some of the most family-friendly fell walks you might want to try out during your time in the Lakes!
Please note: If you plan to walk any of the routes mentioned in this post, remember that these are summary descriptions only and you should always get hold of a full route description and map before setting off. Always wear appropriate footwear and clothing, even on shorter walks, and take plenty of food and drinking water too! A walk that is suitable for one child might be completely inappropriate for another, so you should always use your own judgement when selecting a route, to ensure everyone has a fun and safe day out!
1. Orrest Head, Windermere (circuit 3 miles)
Orrest Head is a fantastic introduction to the fells, and was writer Alfred Wainwright's first taste of the Lake District! This charming circular walk starts next to the Windermere Hotel, near the railway station, and takes in a surfaced lane to begin with, after which you take a path through the woods, and a series of steps to the summit. Here you'll be rewarded with stunning views over Windermere, and you'll find a plaque to help younger ones identify the other fells!
You can either head back the same way, or complete the circuit on a peaceful route through fields, along a lane, and back through woodland to your starting point. Drop by Windermere afterwards for refreshments and treats in one of its many welcoming cafes!
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2. Latrigg, Keswick (1.2 miles)
Finding great views really shouldn't be this easy, but Latrigg offers a short and relatively accessible route, and even a bench at the top!
The best starting point for this walk is the car park at the head of Gale Road outside Keswick, and as you make your way up the path to the summit, the whole family will really appreciate the sight of the larger fells all around! The path is steep in places and sometimes uneven, but after a fairly short distance, you are rewarded with outstanding views across Keswick and Derwentwater! Then simply return to the car park along the same path.
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3. Gummer's How, near Newby Bridge (1.5 miles, 1052 ft)
Gummer's How stands tall above the southern tip of Windermere, and if you park at the Forestry Commission car park, about a mile off the A592 up on the Fell Foot Brow road, you're already halfway there! This walk starts out gently, passing fields and woodland, and quickly turns into a steep stony ascent, with some short rocky scrambles thrown in.
Gummer's How is a wonderful and challenging introduction to the fells, with views as far south as Morecambe Bay, and north to the Langdales, Fairfield, and Dunmail Raise. Kids will love to see how tiny the Windermere 'steamers' look from above!
4. Force Crag Mine, above Braithwaite (5 miles)
The historic Coledale mine track is a great way to experience dramatic views of the fells while remaining on an easy-to-follow route and a solid, if rough, surface. The walk starts from the small quarry car park above Braithwaite, and the track climbs steadily into Coledale, with great views back over the village below. At the top of the track, you'll eventually come across the remains of the Force Crag Mine processing mill, which closed in 1991. Be especially careful to supervise children if wandering close to the mill site itself.
Mining here dates back as far as the 1500s, and the mill opens for tours on just five dates each year - check out the National Trust website for details.
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5. Loughrigg Terrace, Rydal
Park at the White Moss car park near Rydal Water, where you have a choice of stunning routes to choose from. If you have younger children, you may be content to take the path over the ornate footbridge and up through woodland, and then turn right onto Loughrigg Terrace, where there are benches overlooking Grasmere. In the other direction, you can head along to Rydal Caves for a few photos, too!
Back near the car park, there's a lovely picnic spot overlooking the River Rothay, with loos conveniently located nearby. Older children will also enjoy the full walk to the summit of Loughrigg, and you can plan to take in all these locations en route.
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6. Catbells, Derwentwater (3.5 miles, 1150 ft)
One of the Lake District's best-known fells, Catbells has simply spectacular views, but can also be quite challenging, with some steep scrambles thrown in. A popular route begins at the Hawes End car park, which is best reached by taking a Keswick Launch to the Hawes End jetty - a real treat for kids, and a welcome rest for the driver, as parking here can be difficult.
Once on Catbells heading south, you can turn left at Hause Gate and descend on a path to the wooded area of Manesty, before returning on a lower path north to catch a return launch.
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7. Muncaster Fell, Ravenglass and Eskdale (6 miles, 730 ft)
We particularly love the walk over Muncaster Fell because it combines so well with a trip on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway - a memorable part of a day out for any child! One great route is from Ravenglass to the Irton Road station, which is approximately six miles in length and follows the ridge of the fell, with splendid scenery all around. Don't forget to get an intermediate station timetable, and to check times carefully if planning to catch a return train later in the day.
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8. Easedale Tarn (circuit just over 5 miles)
This satisfying tarn walk starts in the village of Grasmere, and follows a mostly gradual route up into the hills. The tarn makes the perfect spot for a leisurely picnic - just remember to take extra clothing as it can be surprisingly chilly when sitting here!
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9. Blea Tarn (1.8 miles)
Although Blea Tarn is close to both a road and a car park, it is in fact a mountain tarn, and a perfect taste of the fells for younger children. From the car park, cross the road and head through the gate opposite, following the path down towards the tarn. Turning right behind the tarn, you then head through woodland and out onto the open fell beyond. Follow the main path uphill towards the road and you'll witness fabulous views back down to the Little Langdale valley and Coniston fells, and later Great Langdale. It's recommended that you return the way you came, rather than on the road.
We hope you've found plenty of fabulous walking inspiration by reading this post, and do remember to send us your photos over on Facebook and Twitter! If you haven't yet booked your next break in the Lakes, you can search for your ideal cottage in the perfect location using our online search facility!
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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.