From Windermere to Ullswater: the most scenic walks in the Lake District

Come wind, rain or shine, there is nowhere quite as beautiful in England as the Lake District, where soaring peaks, rich green valleys, lush forests and an infinite number of glistening lakes make for the ultimate outdoor-lover’s paradise. From Windermere to Keswick, we pick out the most scenic walks this National Park has to offer.

Loughrigg Fell, Lake District. Image: iStock/alex_west

Loughrigg Fell, Windermere

For a hike that’s low in steep ascents but high in ultra-scenic views, try Loughrigg Fell in the Central Fells, in the heart of the Lake District. Starting off in the town of Ambleside for a circular six-and-a-half-mile walk or a journey northbound to Grasmere, you’ll pass a historic man-made quarry, amble past the River Rothay and along lush forested pathways, and stop to admire the sprawling fell views from the bluebell-filled Loughrigg Terrace – making this the ideal destination to explore in May.

Scafell Pike, Lake District. Image: iStock/Mike Andrew

Scafell Pike, Southern Fells

Seasoned hikers shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to ascend Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England at an elevation of 978 metres. Located in Cumbria and forming part of the Southern Fells, it’s a daunting but rewarding option for those seeking out particularly breath-taking vantage points. The terrain is steep and hard and the weather conditions may be harsh, but don’t shy away from reaching its summit – there you’ll be met with England’s highest war memorial, as well as endless vistas of the Lake District’s sloping, wild and untamed landscape.

Old Man of Coniston, Lake District. Image: iStock/WoutervandenBroek

Old Man of Coniston, Furness Fells

Set in the Furness Fells at an elevation of 803 metres, this mountain provides a tempting alternative to the daunting heights of Scafell Pike. Stretching out at just under four miles, the two-hour circular walk from the village of Coniston will take you past zig-zagging trails, old copper mining sites. Once you’ve reached the summit, the panoramas of the Scafell mountains, the Pennines and the Isle of Man are certainly worth writing home about.

Buttermere, Lake District. Image: iStock/DrewRawcliffe

Fleetwith Pike and Buttermere, Western Fells

Ascend Fleetwith Pike in the Western Fells for astounding views across Buttermere lake and village, the latter of which you’ll make your starting point for a long but unforgettable eight-and-a-half-mile walk. The vistas from this fell are far-reaching and striking, as you make your way through the quarry workings of the Honister Slate Mine and over the highest point of Honister Crag. For something a little easier on the legs, low-level walks are also available in the vicinity.

Derwentwater, Lake District. Image: iStock/ChrisHepburn

Derwentwater, Keswick

For something a little closer to the ground, opt to take a walk around the peaceful Derwentwater, south of Keswick in the borough of Allerdale. Take in the fells of Cat Bells, Friar’s Crag and the Borrowdale valley as you enjoy an invigorating 10-mile walk through ancient woodlands and along the lakeshore – keep your eyes peeled for adorable red squirrels, and look out for sculptures and memorials giving a glimpse of the lake’s history. Should your legs be feeling weary, you’ve the option to hop on a bus along the way, or you could always embark on a leisurely, 50-minute lake cruise.

Hallin Fell, Lake District. Image: iStock/Nick_Silverstein

Hallin Fell, Ullswater

Surrounded on three sides by the spectacularly scenic Ullswater, Hallin Fell in Penrith offers up marvellous views of the lake, valleys and sharp, rugged edges of the Helvellyn mountain range – itself a formidable challenge for experienced hikers. The circular walk from The Parish Church of Saint Peter Martindale is short at 40 minutes – perfect if you’re looking for a low-effort way to enjoy the spectacular panoramas that the Lake District National Park has to offer.

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