#{ServerName}
A guide to Lake District mountain walks holiday cottages

A guide to Lake District mountain walks

Kim Brough 09 November 2022

The Lake District mountains form a vital part of the impressive landscape that makes up the national park. Although there’s no official figure about how many mountains there are in the Lake District, walker and author Alfred Wainwright named 214 in his pictorial guides. He’s certainly an authority on the fells, and nowadays “Wainwright bagging” is a popular activity that involves hiking all the peaks named across his seven books.

The Lake District is also home to the ten highest mountains in England, including famous names like Scafell Pike and Helvellyn. Perfect for a challenging hike, these are some of the best mountains to climb in the national park, though there are also plenty of easier fells to ascend if you prefer.

Browse our guides to some of our favourite mountain walks in the Lake District and find your perfect holiday cottage with views of these extraordinary masses.

Lake District cottages


Jump to:


Mountain walks by location

Northern Lake District Fells

Offering some of the best hikes in the Lake District, this area of the national park boasts some of the most famous names in Lakes hiking. Blencathra and Skiddaw - two popular mountains near Keswick - dominate the skyline around the town, while the Borrowdale Valley offers challenging walks to keep you on the fells for an entire day. If you’re after something gentler, diminutive favourites such as Catbells and Latrigg are a delight.

Skiddaw, Bassenthwaite

Skiddaw, Bassenthwaite

The massive hulk of Skiddaw towers over Bassenthwaite Lake and is one of the highest mountains in the Lake District. The main route up, though easy to follow, is still a challenging walk thanks to its sheer size.

Skiddaw walk

Blencathra, Keswick

Blencathra, Keswick

Rising above Keswick, this Lake District mountain - often referred to as Saddleback due to its shape - is iconic in the area.

Blencathra walk

Causey Pike, Newlands Valley

Causey Pike, Newlands Valley

The steep walk up Causey Pike is complemented by a gentle descent back into the picturesque valley.

Causey Pike walk

Castle Crag, Borrowdale

Castle Crag, Borrowdale

This Borrowdale hike takes in the river, lake views, pretty woodland, and even hermit caves!

Castle Crag walk

Latrigg, Keswick

Latrigg, Keswick

Small and easy to navigate, Latrigg is an easy walk that’s perfect for a stroll before supper.

Latrigg walk


Western Lake District Fells

Though less accessible than other areas of the Lake District, out in the west you’ll find some glorious mountain hikes. The fells here include the highest in England (Scafell Pike) and provide peaks with views over the national park as well as the sea towards Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Scafell Pike, Wasdale

Scafell Pike, Wasdale

Scafell Pike holds the accolade of the highest mountain in the Lake District (and England!), making it a must-do for any experienced hiker or Wainwright bagger.

Scafell Pike walk

Mellbreak, Crummock

Mellbreak, Crummock

Standing isolated amongst its surrounding fells and dropping into Crummock Water, Mellbreak is the backdrop of many beautiful lake photos.

Mellbreak walk

Pillar, Ennerdale

Pillar, Ennerdale

In the birthplace of British climbing, Pillar is an iconic route for both climbers and walkers with spectacular craggy scenery.

Pillar walk

Muncaster Fell, Ravenglass

Muncaster Fell, Ravenglass

Combine a visit to historic Muncaster Castle with this gorgeous walk over the surrounding landscape.

Muncaster Fell walk


Eastern Lake District Fells

The scenery begins to relax as you head east towards Ullswater and the Eden Valley. The dramatic tops of the central lakes ease into rolling hills as the Lake District mountains meet the lush Eden Valley. Gentler hikes and awe-inspiring ridge walks stand out in this area.

Helvellyn, Glenridding

Helvellyn, Glenridding

Voted one of the best mountains to climb in the Lake District, Helvellyn is most famous for its ridge walks across Striding Edge and Swirral Edge.

Helvellyn walk

Red Screes, Patterdale

Red Screes, Patterdale

Starting on the intimidating Kirkstone Pass, Red Screes is an easy-to-follow walk with a pub at the start and end!

Red Screes walk


Southern and Central Lake District Fells

The scene of inspiration to poets, artists and great thinkers, the mountains of the southern and central Lake District have been immortalised in words and art. Where the natural beauty combines with ancient industrial heritage, every upward climb promises fascination and interest.

The Langdale Pikes, Langdale

The Langdale Pikes, Langdale

This popular walk has incredible views, pretty tarns, scrambling routes, and a Neolithic axe ‘factory’!

The Langdale Pikes walk

The Old Man of Coniston, Coniston

The Old Man of Coniston, Coniston

One of the most popular routes around Coniston, the Old Man is a great walk that includes fascinating remains of the area’s industrial history.

The Old Man of Coniston walk

Pike o’ Blisco, Langdale

Pike o’ Blisco, Langdale

Get out in the wilds on this rough and ready route that is nonetheless a relatively short and easy hike.

Pike o' Blisco walk


Mountain walks by type

The giants

Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Scafell Pike - these are famous names that define the Lake District’s mountain scenery and boast the accolade of highest fells in the national park. Challenging and imposing, conquering these will truly make you feel on top of the world!

The Lake District is home to the 10 highest mountains in England. Here are our favourite walks up some of the tallest fells.

Scafell Pike, Wasdale

Scafell Pike, Wasdale

The biggest of the giants, Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England at a whopping 978m!

Scafell Pike walk

Helvellyn, Glenridding

Helvellyn, Glenridding

Coming in third on the list at 950 metres, Helvellyn is a challenging climb with some hair-raising ridges. Common access points also include Grasmere and Patterdale.

Helvellyn walk

Skiddaw, Bassenthwaite

Skiddaw, Bassenthwaite

As the oldest mountain in the Lake District, Skiddaw is the grandfather of the fells. Its gentle grassy slopes make this one of the easiest of the big mountains.

All the walking routes up Skiddaw

Pillar, Ennerdale

Pillar, Ennerdale

A classic mountain walk dominated by the famous Pillar Rock, this famous climbing route inspired some of the first rock climbers in Britain.

Pillar walk


Easy mountain walks

Not every Lake District hike has to be a dramatic challenge that takes your puff and leaves you exhausted. Gentler options are available and offer just as much beauty and interest. If you’re new to hiking, can’t manage longer walks, or fancy a gentle mountain wander, then these easy options will give you the views without too much effort.

Orrest Head

While mountain walks are never going to be as easy as their valley-bottom counterparts, the sheer number of mountains in the Lake District means there are some easier options that are perfect for families, short walks, or beginners.

Easy Lake District mountain walks

Easy Wainwright walks

An easy Wainwright walk

Start “bagging” with the easiest of Wainwright walks! We’re sure you’ll be ready to tackle the harder fells once you’ve completed these gentler hikes.

Easy Wainwright walks

Latrigg, Keswick

Latrigg, Keswick

Walk directly from Keswick, or park up near the peak. Either way, Latrigg is a pleasant walk that is ideal for beginners and provides a rewarding view over the town and two lakes, including the irrepressible Derwentwater.

Latrigg walk

Binsey, Bassenthwaite

Binsey, Bassenthwaite

Binsey is one of the easiest mountain walks in the Lake District. Its grassy slopes are easy to explore, with 360-degree views from the top that take in the Solway Coast, Skiddaw, and Ullock Pike. It’s also popular for sledging in the winter!

Binsey walk

Arnside Knott, Arnside

Arnside Knott, Arnside

A tiny hill that can be made even easier by a drive halfway to the top! Particularly spectacular at sunrise or sunset, it stands in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, overlooking the glittering waters of Morecambe Bay.

Arnside Knott walk

Bowscale Fell, Mungrisdale

Bowscale Fell, Mungrisdale

Popular with the Victorians, this family-friendly fell includes a pretty tarn and follows an old pony track. The tarn is said to be home to two fish survivors from the Ice Age! There’s a pleasant “there-and-back-again” option to the tarn or an enjoyable circular route to the summit.

Bowscale Fell walk

Wansfell Pike, Ambleside

Wansfell Pike, Ambleside

Starting and ending at The Old Post Office Tea Room, the route up follows an old Roman road. It’s a short and sweet trek that you can add to with a visit to St John’s Well and the National Trust’s Townend, a 17th-century yeoman farmhouse boasting lime-washed walls.

Wansfell Pike walk


Family-friendly mountain walks

From the youngest children to the oldest great-grandparents, these mountain walks offer gentle ascents, easy-to-follow routes, and plenty of interest. Little ones can experience their first taste of mountain air, while older children and teenagers can enjoy the amazing scenery with minimal effort.

Family-friendly Wainwrights

Family-friendly Wainwrights

Whatever your age, these Wainwright walks are perfect for a family, from the youngest in baby carriers to the oldest great-grandparents. 

10 family-friendly Wainwright walks

Family-friendly fell walks

Family-friendly fell walks

Help your little ones get into walking from a young age with these easy mountain walks, including spectacular Catbells and beautiful Orrest Head.

9 family-friendly fell walks


Ridge walks

Not for the faint-hearted, on these ridge walks, the mountain slope falls dramatically on either side of you. As a result, they’re best suited if you’re an experienced hiker. Take extra care on these walks and you’ll be rewarded with thrilling ascents and incredible memories.

The best ridge walks in the Lake District

The best ridge walks in the Lake District

It’s thrilling to be high up a mountain on a ridge that falls away on either side. Perfect for experienced hikers and thrill-seekers, these ridge walks will test your mettle!

Lake District ridge walks

Striding Edge, Helvellyn

Striding Edge, Helvellyn

The most famous ridge walk in the Lake District, Striding Edge on Helvellyn, is a forever favourite amongst visitors to the national park.

Striding Edge walk

Sharp Edge, Blencathra

Sharp Edge, Blencathra

Greeting visitors as they drive to Keswick along the A66, Sharp Edge is an imposing scramble that will take your breath away.

Sharp Edge walk


Lake District mountain walks FAQs

The highest mountain in the Lake District is Scafell Pike in Wasdale, at 978m. The 10 highest mountains in the Lake District are also the 10 highest mountains in England: 

  1. Scafell Pike (978m, 3,210ft) 
  2. Scafell (964m, 3,162ft) 
  3. Helvellyn (950m, 3,114ft) 
  4. Skiddaw (931m, 3,053ft) 
  5. Great End (910m, 2,986ft) 
  6. Bowfell (902m, 2,940ft) 
  7. Great Gable (899m, 2,960ft) 
  8. Pillar (892m, 2,926ft) 
  9. Nethermost Pike (891m, 2,923ft) 
  10. Catstye Cam (890m, 2,920ft)

Lake District mountain weather can be very different to the weather in the valley, especially on the higher fells. It’s not unusual to experience blistering sun, pouring rain and freezing hail all on the same walk! If you’re planning a walk in the mountains, make sure you’re fully prepared with supplies and clothing, and check the weather on Weatherline.

There are at least 200 peaks in the Lake District, though no one can really agree on the exact number! Author Alfred Wainwright named 214 mountains in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.

Wainwright describes 214 mountains in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, which is divided into seven separate books. The author includes multiple walking routes up each mountain, as well as hand-drawn sketches.

Helvellyn and Striding edge has been voted as one of the best mountain walks in the Lake District, but really, it depends on your preference! If you like an easy walk, Catbells and Orrest Head are excellent options. Those who prefer a challenge may want to take on the Fairfield Horseshoe or Glaramara.


Plan a Lake District holiday

Start exploring our Lake District holiday cottages collection and find the ideal place to stay while climbing these breathtaking mountains. 

Browse our Lake District cottages

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.

Like it? Share it...

Read more like this

Things to do in the Lake District for couples

If you're heading to the Lake District with your partner, here are some of the best things to experience as a couple.

A guide to Cumbria's Michelin-starred restaurants

The Lake District is a foodie paradise! Find cosy pubs and high-end restaurants with local treats to world cuisine.

A guide to the Lake District's lakes

Our guide to the 16 official lakes in the Lake District UK, each with their own character, scenery and attractions.
The Travel Chapter Limited trading as Sallys Cottages is an appointed representative of ITC Compliance Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (their registration number is 313486) and which is permitted to advise on and arrange general insurance contracts as an intermediary.
The Travel Chapter Limited trading as Sallys Cottages | The Travel Chapter Limited is registered in England and Wales. | Registered office Travel Chapter House Gammaton Road Bideford EX39 4DF Company No. 02431506 | VAT reg: 143053210.