Walking is the best way to enjoy the Lake District but not all walks have to be tough! Here are brilliant easy Lake District walks and beginner Lake District walks around some of the most popular places to visit in the Lake District!
The Lake District is without a doubt one of the most beautiful regions in the UK, and as such is a popular spot for tourists during the summer months. Millions flock to the shores of the National Park’s 16 lakes each year and it is easy to see why.
The Lake District has something for everyone, whether you’re in need of some rest and relaxation in a stunning mountain setting, or you’re an experienced climber who wants to be up in the fells from dawn ‘til dusk.
Ultimately, walking is the best activity for anyone visiting the Lakes. With thousands of paths, tracks, and National Trails to choose from, there are a number of great walks in the Lake District for walkers of every ability.
Here, I’m going to share some of the best easy walks in the Lake District, including lakeside strolls, waterfall trails, easy circular Lake District walks and glorious ridge walks.
Easy Lake District Walks
This is a guest post written by Liv from Where’s Liv Travel Blog, you can also find her on Instagram at @wheresliv_!
Preparing for an Easy Walk in the Lake District
Lake District Map
Before you begin, I recommend getting the right maps for the area you’re visiting.
You’ll need the OS Explorer maps: OL4 for the Northwest Lakes (Keswick area), OL5 for the Northeast Lakes (Ullswater and Patterdale area), OL6 for the Southwest Lakes (Coniston area), and OL7 for the Southeast Lakes (Windermere).
For a Lake District map on your phone, I recommend downloading maps.me which shows footpaths much better than Google Maps. AllTrails is a good app to follow the exact route of these low level walks in the Lake District.
What To Wear for a Lake District Easy Walk
Even if you’re doing one of the flat walks in the Lake District or easy fell walks in the Lake District from the list below, you still want to wear appropriate clothing to help you in the walk.
Walking boots are the best footwear to wear but if you don’t have them, sports trainers are the next best thing to wear and will be ok for many of these short walks in the Lake District.
High heels, flip flops or fashion sandals where you’re feet slip should be avoided.
I remember seeing people wear sandals to do Orrest Head Walk a few summers ago because of the warm weather but they were slipping around in them a lot in the forest and it didn’t look comfy or safe.
The weather can change dramatically in the Lake District so bring and wear different layers and if it looks like it might rain, bring a waterproof jacket with a hood as it probably will rain a bit!
For extra walking tips for Beginners, check out my post A Beginners Guide to Hiking!
Map of Easy Lake District Walks
Below is a map of where all of the below easy walks in the Lake District are so you can plan what the best walk for you will be depending on where you are visiting in the Lake District.
Easy Walks in the Lake District
1. Cat Bells
The view from Cat Bells is what makes this my number one easy Lake District walk!
You may have seen photos of this iconic mountain overlooking lake Derwentwater and Keswick as it has a distinct camelback shape.
The incline is steep but short; you quickly get above the tree line and see beautiful views opening up on all sides.
The summit offers views across to the other side of Derwentwater on one side, and across to Robinson on the other.
This is one of the popular Lake District walks because it is one of the good beginner walks in the Lake District, and I recommend walking a bit further along the ridge to really take in the sights, and also find a quieter spot for a picnic, as the top of Cat Bells is usually quite busy.
Parking: Parking for the Cat Bells walks is roadside at Hawes End, or take bus 77A from Keswick to Hawes End (about 15 mins).
Time Needed: Give yourself 1.5 – 2 hours to complete this Lake District walk.
2. Silver Crag and Ullswater
Many people are looking for easy walks around Ullswater, and a walk around Ullswater from Patterdale is one of the most beautiful walks in the Lake District and one which, from years of experience, is much quieter and off the beaten track.
Parking: Park in Glenridding and walk along the winding roads to Patterdale, or park opposite The White Lion in Patterdale to begin your walk.
Head towards Patterdale School and take the track up to Side Farm.
Once through the farm, take a left and follow the track past the campsite in the direction of the lake. When you reach a fork in the road, head uphill to the right and loop around Silver Crag.
If you scramble to the top of this tiny peak, you will catch gorgeous views down to Ullswater.
Walk through the bracken and ferns down towards the lake and the views will open out even more before you rejoin the main path back towards Patterdale.
Time Needed: This walk only takes about 1.5 hours, so for a longer walk if you’re feeling ok after this and for a more scenic route, continue on the path heading away from the village, where you’ll find small ‘beaches’ to dip your toes in the (usually freezing) water!
There are many Ullswater activities that are worth doing as well as a Ullswater walk. A great activity for the shores of Ullswater is to take a rowing boat, or motorboat, out onto the lake from St Patrick’s Boat Hire. This is especially fun for families or couples and prices start from £14!
3. Aira Force
One of the main tourist attractions in the Eastern Lakes is Aira Force. It is an impressive series of waterfalls nestled in lush woodland on the shores of Lake Ullswater and was the inspiration for William Wordsworth and other classical writers of the 18th and 19th centuries.
There are many ways you can do the Aira Force walk, you can walk from Aira Force Car Park up the path to the waterfalls and back again in a circular route.
This isn’t a flat walk in the Peak District as the footpath does incline through the forest but the length from the car park to the waterfalls is not far at 2km and it is a good walk for children to do.
Time Needed: Walking this easy Lake District circular walk from Aira Falls car park to the falls and back will take about 1 hour.
Parking: Aira Force Car Park. Aira Force is part of the National Trust and parking costs £5 for 2 hours or £9 all day.
If you want to extend it slightly and head to the top of Gowbarrow Fell afterwards making it one of the easy fell walks in the Lake District.
In a much quieter area of the central Lake District lies the petite Elterwater, in the Langdale Valley.
For an easy walk in the Lake District and a flat walk in the Lake District, park in the sleepy village of Elterwater and enjoy a circular route following part of the Cumbria Way.
The great thing about this walk is you can decide how long you want it to be.
Follow the river and enjoy a pleasant stroll to Skelwith Falls, then continue on to Skelwith Bridge where you will find a lovely cafe for a light lunch before heading back along the shorter route.
Alternatively, you can take the slightly longer route (an extra mile or so) back through the woodland to Elterwater – both of these routes are well signed and make for a great couple of hours walk through lush lakeside greenery and one of the great Lake District easy circular walks.
Parking: Anywhere suitable for parking in the village of Elterwater.
5. Stickle Tarn
A slightly more strenuous hike takes you to Stickle Tarn from Great Langdale, a beautiful valley a short drive from Elterwater.
Parking: Parking at Stickle Ghyll car park or the New Dungeon Ghyll Pub is £5 for the day and gives you access to toilet facilities – and a pint after your walk!
Start the walk from Sticklebarn at the top end of the car park, where you will find a clear paved path.
The trail is about 2 miles and leads you up past small waterfalls and rock pools and over a footbridge.
From here the path starts to get steeper and requires a bit of a scramble in places which means you’ll need to use your hands to help get you up the rocks, so make sure you are wearing good walking shoes or boots and watch out for any slippery rocks when crossing the stream!
Looking up, it may look a bit daunting but once you’ve crested the top of the trail, Stickle Tarn will open out before you, and what a view it is and you’ll see why it’s worth pushing yourself a bit to do this Lake District hike and why it’s one of the best easy hikes in the Lake District!
Behind the tarn (the word for a small mountain lake) stand the imposing Landgale Pikes.
If tempted, you might follow the path right and climb to the top of Pavey Ark, where you will be treated to jaw-dropping views of Harrison Stickle to your right and the glistening tarn below you.
6. Grizedale Forest
If you prefer a flatter woodland walk, then make sure you head to Grizedale.
Situated between Coniston and Windermere, Grizedale Forest is a vast woodland in the heart of the Lakes and is perfect for anything from a couple of hours’ walk, to mountain biking the forest tracks, to taking the kids to Go Ape.
The area is cared for by Forestry England, so there are picnic areas, a play area, a visitor centre and facilities, making it a great and easy place to go with family or friends.
There are ten walking trails of various lengths, nine cycle trails, and some cool sculptures to find throughout the forest making it one of the best places for gentle walks in the Lake District and low level Lake District walks.
If you want to see the views on offer, head up to the smallest of Alfred Wainwright’s ‘official’ Lake District Fells, Carron Crag, in the middle of the forest and you might be lucky enough to see the Helvellyn mountain range in the distance.
Parking: Grizedale Forest Visitors Centre.
7. Latrigg, Keswick
Possibly the easiest and most accessible walk in the entire Lake District and of this list of Lake District easy walks which offers incredible views is Latrigg.
As you drive into Keswick on the A66 you won’t miss it, as it juts out on your right and the zigzagging path to the top is clear from miles away.
I love this walk for when you just want to stretch your legs after driving to the Lake District, as it’s just over 1 mile in total and takes about 1 hour.
The view of Keswick and Derwentwater is like a picture-perfect postcard, and you will be able to see Cat Bells’ humpback ridge behind the town, too.
Another top tip after you’ve climbed Latrigg: drive a few minutes down the road and visit Castlerigg Stone Circle, a mysterious man-made stone circle thought to be around 5,000 years old!
Parking: One of the car parks in Crosthwaite.
8. Wansfell Pike
Wansfell Pike is a great hike all year round and boasts beautiful views over the quaint little town of Ambleside.
The path is steep in parts but easy to navigate and passes Stockghyll Waterfall about halfway to the summit.
If you start in the centre of Ambleside, follow the tree-lined road to the falls; both Stockghyll and Wansfell will be clearly signed.
You will eventually see signs to ‘Troutbeck via Wansfell Pike’, so follow these to the top and then make your way back down.
The excellent signage on this 4-mile walk makes it one of the best walks for novice walkers in the Lake District.
The walk can also be done from Troutbeck on the other side, and is likely quieter than the Ambleside route, but doesn’t have the benefit of cafes and shops waiting for you when you’ve finished!
Popular with tourists during the holidays and on weekends, Ambleside is one of the loveliest towns to visit in the Lake District with plenty of outdoor gear shops, boutiques, cafes and things to do.
It’s also close to Kirkstone Pass which is a fantastic drive through the winding valley between Ambleside and Patterdale; it may have some sketchy parts but the views of the mountains looming above and all around you are incredible!
Parking: I recommend Rydal Road car park in Ambleside where there are toilet facilities
9. Orrest Head Walk
Windermere Lake is one of the most popular Lakes in the Lake District and a great and easy Windermere walk is up Orrest Head to see fantastic views of Lake Windermere below.
For the shortest walk up Orrest Head park in Windermere Town, head to The Orrest Head Bar and from here you will see signs for the Orrest Head Walk.
You’ll also see that the sign says the walk to the top is 20 minutes which I agree with.
The reason this is one of the easy Lake District walks is that the walk is mostly through a forest and through a few fields with a slow incline.
At the top, there are plenty of benches to rest on and you’ll definitely be glad you did this beginner Lake District walk because of the stunning view!
Parking: Windermere Car Park at Booths Windermere Supermarket.
Time Needed: Minimum 1 hour which is why it’s an easy walk near Windermere.
See my full post on how to do Orrest Walk!
10. Alcock Tarn
A visit to Grasmere must be on your Lake District itinerary as it is such a lovely village to visit with shops and tea rooms and it’s famous for the daffodil Garden for Wordsworth and Grasmere Gingerbread!
Many people are looking for Grasmere Walks and an easy Grasmere walk is to Alcock Tarn which is an easy circular walk in the Lake District with some inclines but they are not too intense.
Start at Grasmere Church Stile Shop, walk towards the Swan Hotel and look for the sign on the right to ‘Greenhead Gill and Alcock Tarn’ until you get all the way to the top where there are plenty of places to relax.
I hope you feel inspired by these easy walks in the Lake District for your upcoming or next trip.
The Lake District National Park is the perfect destination for anyone and everyone, whether you want to enjoy a short stroll around Elterwater, shopping in Keswick, eat at some of the best cafes in Ambleside or Grasmere, or strapping on your walking boots for an epic challenge up Scafell Pike.
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