Alfred Wainwright, like most of us visiting the Lake District, was an avid walker – but he was also the author and illustrator of multiple guidebooks detailing 214 of the best walks in Cumbria. His love of the Lakes began right here in Windermere, aged 23, and continued until his death over half a century later.
We’re choosing the best walks available on foot and by car from our accommodation. We have a range of walks with varying levels of difficulty and distance so we’re sure that you’ll find one that you’ll love.
1 - Orrest Head
Orrest Head is undoubtedly one of the most influential walks in the Lake District. Easily accessible on foot from the centre of Windermere, this walk has been instilling individuals with a keen sense of wanderlust for decades.
Orrest Head takes approximately forty minutes to ascend, which is a relatively short time as far as many of the walks in this list go, but beware that the route is very steep. Despite the incline, this walk is a popular one amongst families and dog walkers – its location in the heart of the Lakes means that the path is well maintained and you can always trust that someone will be around to advise if you need help re-orientating yourself.
Even better; this walk is easily accessible from our luxury self catering accommodation in Windermere.
2 - Langdale Peaks
There are a few Wainwright walks amongst the Langdale Peaks, and each and every one of them is a delight for a dedicated walker. Of particular note are any routes which will take you past the glorious Langdale tarn, a secret lake hidden away in the mountains that only the most diligent walkers can aspire to enjoy a picnic by.
You will regularly see families ambling along this route, but beware that this mountain is a great undertaking and will require a fairly fit parent to comfortably carry a small picnic and keep up with the child.
Best of all, the Sticklebarn Pub at the base of Langdale promises a great pick-me-up post-walk. Near the pub is a car park where you can leave your car while you complete the walk. The National Trust anticipates that the Stickle Tarn Trail will take you roughly two hours.
3 - Easedale Tarn
Another favourite amongst families hoping to explore the Lake District are the routes ascending above Grasmere, particularly towards Easedale Tarn. A day out in Grasmere will provide plenty of fun for any family or couple hoping to engage in rural Lake District culture. In Grasmere, you can get a little bit closer to William Wordsworth, sample some world-famous gingerbread, and walk the routes that inspired the romantic poets.
Easedale Tarn shares some similarities with Stickle Tarn in Langdale; both walks will direct you towards a mountain lake but Easedale is a notably easier climb, though the views are far less dramatic at the end.
TheLakeDistrict.org suspects that this walk is suitable for children over the age of five, though it is a fairly long walk so you may wish to choose a shorter route if you aren’t sure of your children’s limits. The walk is approximately 6 miles, there are plenty of car parks in Grasmere, and dogs must be kept on leads to protect local livestock.
4 – Gowbarrow and Aira Force near Ullswater
If you are looking to experience some of the Lake District’s most stunning scenery, you simply must visit Gowbarrow and Aira Force. During the walk you will be treated to views of a natural waterfall, take some time to fully take in the thunderous roar from the waterfall, before continuing on the trail passing through the densely packed woodland.
This walk sits at 4.5miles in total and should take between 2 and 3 hours to complete for most walkers. It’s worth noting that the pass can be quite challenging for less seasoned walkers but is perfectly suitable for keen beginners.
5 – Red Screes in Kirkstone Pass
Overlooking the top of Kirkstone Pass – Red Screes is a fantastic short walk that should definitely be on your list of Lake District walks. Whilst you’ll only be walking around three quarters of a mile – it’s worth noting that the ascent will be just over 1000 feet, so be ready for a somewhat challenging walk.
The walk should take around 45 minutes to complete, and whilst this may be a slightly more difficult trek than most, the views at the summit are well worth the effort.
6 – Old Man of Coniston
One of the most popular walks in the Lake Distrrict, the Old Man of Coniston circular walk takes you through Brown Pike, Buck Pike and Dow Crag as you make your way to the summit. Following a brief respite as the walk drops down to Goat’s Hawse – you will begin your ascent to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston. Once at the top, you will be treated to fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding area, and if you are lucky enough to visit on a clear day, you can see the Pennines in the North and the Isle of Man to the West.
Taking between 3 and a half and 4 hours to complete – the circular route sits at around 6.2 miles and can be completed relatively easily.
7 – Catbells in Keswick
Offering unrivalled views of the Newlands Valley and Western Fells, Catbells in Keswick is a fantastic option for any avid walkers looking for a more challenging walk. Starting out at Hawes End Landing Stage, the walk takes you through some of the Lake District’s most stunning countryside as you head for the summit of Catbells.
This 3.5 mile walk will take most people around 3 hours to complete, but the panoramic views of Keswick, Derwent Water and Borrowdale make this time well spent.
Never approach a walk or hike unprepared, we always advise reading up on the route before setting off. Our beautiful accommodation will be waiting to receive you and soothe your aches post-hike. Booking with us also gives you access to the Choices sauna and spa – the perfect way to end a hard day’s hike. This complimentary access extends to any family you have staying with us at Windermere Marina Village, children included. We’re sure that you’ll love to relax in sauna while your partner watches over the children in the heated indoor pool.
We hope that you visit us for a hike in the Lake District soon!