Top 10 Hikes in the Lake District

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With its high peaks, beautiful lakes and dramatic scenery, the Lake District is a popular destination for hikers. Home to England’s deepest natural lakes and four of its highest mountains, there’s plenty of choice of hikes whether you are an experienced hiker or just starting out.

With such a vast array of brilliant fells, it’s difficult to shortlist the best hikes in the Lakelands but we have selected ten of our favourites for you to explore.

Castle Crag

Distance: 4 miles

Height: 951 feet above sea level

Average total time: 3 hours

Ideal for beginners and families with older children, this is the only fell less than 1000ft above sea level that was included in the famous Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells by Alfred Wainwright. It is easy to see why it was included when you take in the views of Derwent Water and surrounding fells from the summit. 

For more details on the route, click here.


Distance: 3.5 miles

Height: 1,481 feet above sea level

Average total time: 4 hours

Catbells is one of the most popular hikes in the Lake District. Many people like to take the boat from Keswick as an enjoyable start to the hike. It is well suited to those of moderate ability as it is a straightforward route and it is one of the shorter fell walks available in the area, but it does feature a steep section towards the ascent and there’s some scrambling required over a short rocky patch. It is well worth the effort because of the stunning views available of this part of the Lakes. As you climb, you can see Derwent Water and the fell Skiddaw in the distance.

To find out more about the route and details of the boat journey, click here.

Orrest Head

Distance: 2.2 miles

Height: 784 feet above sea level

Average total time: 1.5 hours

Orrest Head is well-known for being the place where Alfred Wainwright first experienced walking in the Lake District. It is another relatively short hike, challenging in parts but includes a well-signed route that is accessible for most people using pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The viewpoint at the top offers a beautiful panoramic view where you can take in the sights of the Irish Sea, Lake Windermere and Scafell Pike. 

For more details on this hike, please click here.

Top 10 Hikes in the Lake District

Silver How

Distance: 3 miles

Height: 1,296 feet above sea level

Average total time: 3 to 4 hours

Another of our short hikes, this is a lovely after-dinner walk to undertake on a long summer’s day. At the beginning of the route, you pass by Allan Bank, the former temporary home to William Wordsworth and now a National Trust property. The views at the summit are beautiful on a fine evening, particularly near sunset when the surrounding higher fells are aglow. 

Click here for some more information on the routes to Silver How.

Aira Force

Distance: 1 mile

Average total time: 1 hour

This is a lovely short walk for beginners and young families, though please do note that the route is not accessible for pushchairs. Aira Force is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Lake District and it is definitely worth a trip to see it. The waterfall and the surrounding landscaped grounds are owned and maintained by the National Trust. It was after a walk around this part of Ullswater that Wordsworth wrote his renowned poem Daffodils.

For more information on this walk, please click here.


Distance: 4.7 miles

Height: 1,939 feet above sea level

Average total time: 4 hours

Alfred Wainwright was quoted as saying that Haystacks was “the best fell-top of all” and loved it so much that he requested his ashes to be scattered here. It’s easy to see why this was his favourite hike as the views along the route and at the summit are simply breathtaking. It is recommended for those with moderate ability as the hike is very steep in places and some scrambling over rocky terrain is required. 

For more information on this hiking route as well as some recommended detours, click here.

Grisedale Pike

Distance: 7 miles

Height: 2,593 feet above sea level

Average total time: 6 hours

This hiking route is well-marked and easy to follow, and it offers some stunning views of Coledale Valley and Keswick right from the off. Because this route is exposed to the elements, it is best undertaken on a calm, clear day otherwise the winds can feel brutal, and you risk being pushed off-balance. Under the right weather conditions though, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable hike. It gets steeper and rockier the closer you get to the summit, so it is recommended for those with high fitness levels. Once you have reached the summit, you can enjoy panoramic views. You can clearly see Scotland in the distance, as well as some of the Lake District’s higher peaks such as Scafell Pike. 

For more information on navigating this hike, click here


Distance: 6.5 miles

Height: 2,791 feet above sea level

Average total time: 7 hours

A challenging hike, this is one for adults with high levels of fitness. It’s worth setting out early in the morning to ensure you have plenty of time to complete the hike in daylight hours. Grasmoor is the highest peak in the group of hills around it and the hike can be steep at times, particularly as you near the summit. Once you have reached the top, you’ll be rewarded with some lovely views of Rannerdale Farm, Crummock Water, Buttermere and many surrounding fells.

Click here for more information to plan your route.

Old Man of Coniston

Distance: 6 miles

Height: 2,632 feet above sea level

Average total time: 5 hours

A fairly long walk with some steep climbs and rocky terrain, the Old Man of Coniston is popular with experienced hikers in the Lake District. At 803 metres above sea level, it is one of the tallest peaks in the Lake District so you can expect fabulous views of the surrounding fells and lakes. You’ll also see plenty of abandoned mine entrances along your route as the area was heavily mined in the 19th century. On a cloudless day, you can see as far out as the Isle of Man once you reach the summit.

To find out more about hiking up the Old Man of Coniston, please click here.

Scafell Pike

Distance: Between 6.2 and 9.3 miles depending on the chosen route

Height: 3,209 feet above sea level

Average total time: 4 to 7 hours

No list of Lake District hikes would feel complete without including this one. Well-known as England’s highest mountain, one-third of the Three Peaks challenge and home to England’s highest war memorial, thousands of hikers take on Scafell Pike every year. We would only recommend this walk to those with high fitness levels and lots of experience as it is a challenging hike no matter which route you select. It is worth the effort, both for the sense of achievement and for the outstanding views of the surrounding natural beauty.

For more information about Scafell Pike and how to plan your route, please click here.


Whether you just fancy a day trip or whether you want to take a walking holiday, the Lake District is certainly worth considering if you are a keen hiker. The scenery is simply stunning and there are routes available for all levels of fitness and ability. It was a challenge selecting only ten of our favourites, but we hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

The distances we have quoted may vary if you choose to follow a different route than we have referenced in this post. One of the beauties of walking in the Lake District is that there are often many different routes to follow to reach the summit of a fell. The time it takes may also vary depending on your fitness level and whether you take many detours or breaks.

Whilst planning your hike, please do ensure to wear suitable clothing and don’t forget to warm up effectively before setting off to prevent injuries.

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