Lake District Easy Hiking Trails

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Guest Post: Easy hikes – Lake District


"Zoe Dawes"

by Zoe Dawes

There is no lovelier place in the world than the Lake District in the beautiful county of Cumbria, NW UK. It is most famous for its lovely lakes and impressive mountain scenery, home to England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike (3210 feet) and England’s largest lake, Windermere (10.5 miles long).

There are fast-flowing rivers, deep forests, rolling hills, as well as picturesque villages and ancient monuments. It has inspired artists, writers, poets and musicians to produce some of the most creative works in the country.

Visitors come from all over the world to see where Wordsworth wrote his famous poem, ‘Daffodils’ and where Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit raided Mr McGregor’s vegetable patch.

"Cat Bells from Friars Lake District"

Cat Bells

It’s a perfect place to take an easy hike with walks to suit all ages and abilities.

I’ve chosen TWO quite easy hikes – one in the South Lakes and one in the North Lakes. They are ideal for first time hill walkers, children and those for whom the journey is as important as the destination.

PLEASE NOTE – do get a map or a book with proper instructions for these walks.  There are numerous books, DVDs, websites and resources to help the visitor find the perfect route.

Be Prepared

"The Lake District Cumbria UK"

Autumn Lake Windermere mists

Cumbria and the Lake District are renowned for the ‘changeable climate’!  You will need to dress comfortably for possibly all kinds of weather – rain / hail / snow / wind – if you’re lucky, maybe even sunshine. Do check the weather before you set out and take appropriate precautions.  You can set off in glorious sunshine and find that fog or rain descends on you very quickly.

For easy hiking in the Lake District, wearcomfortable hiking boots, waterproof jacket and a hat if it is at all likely to be cold. Take plenty of water and things to eat.

Kendal Mint Cake is the sugar bar that mountaineers all over the world include in their backpack.

Rydal Water

"The Riydal in the Lake District UK"

Rydal in the Lake District

You can get to this walk by bus or car. I like to start from the car park near the little stone bridge across the river Rothay on the left as you come from Ambleside, just before Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s home.

There is an easy trail that goes up past some old miners’ cottages to a little seat overlooking the lake and the fells all around. On a good day the reflections are magical.

"Rydal Cave one of Lake District easy hiking trails in the UK"

Rydal Cave

Take the left hand path, you will come to old caverns and Rydal Cave with stepping stones over crystal clear water.

You can sit on a rocky outcrop, Wordsworth’s Seat, where the poet used to get his inspiration. Go on up to the left and the rocky point there gives you another great view across the water.

Follow the trail through the bracken and back down to the shore. Turning left, you can feed the resident swans and ducks as you admire the perfect scene before you.


Derwentwater and Cat Bells

"Derwentwater Lake District Cumbria UK"

Derwentwater Autumn

You can get a bus to Keswick and walk through the town to Derwentwater or park by the Theatre By The Lake.

First, walk down past the lake to the end of the little headland.  Lovely Friars Crag was the place that inspired Canon Rawnsley to raise subscriptions to save it for the nation – the start of the National Trust Lake District.

The view at the end takes in Derwentwater, the Jaws of Borrowdale and the fells all around, including Cat Bells.  Ruskin said it was the 5th finest in Europe … It’s delightful at any time of year.

Go back to ferry jetty and get a boat across the lake to Brandlehow Bay for a walk up Cat Bells.  Walk through the wood, past the quarry and across the fellside. You will find a memorial to the writer Hugh Walpole who lived nearby.

"Catbells Northern Ascent, Lake District easy hiking trails in the UK"

Catbells Northern Ascent, LakeDistrict

This walk climbs up to Mart Bield, the top of Cat Bells, where you have views from the top looking out towards Crag Hill, Caunsey Pike and the pretty Newlands Valley.  Cat Bells name could come from Bield, Norse for ‘den’ – so possibly ‘den of the wild cat’.) All around, there are mine workings. Story has it that these mines had not only lead and copper but also traces of gold.

You can return the way you came or walk down the slopes and rocky outcrops down towards Hawes End and catch the ferry back from Victoria Point to your starting point.

"Brandlehow Landing stage one of the Lake District easy hiking trails in the UK"

Brandlehow Landing stage


Zoë Dawes has lived and travelled all over the world and now takes people on personal tours of the Lake District and North West England, sharing her quirky perspective on the area. She loves meeting people from all over the world and welcomes contact via her website

11 comments to Lake District Easy Hiking Trails

  • Ray Perry

    On a recent trip to Australia and New Zealand, we constantly heard yes I’ve been to the Lake District. Windermere was always the answer. Its not the Lake District, try the Western Lakes for real isolated beauty and glorious scenery, devoid of the crowds of the southern Lakes. Ahidden gem awaits you.

  • I hope you will undertake an easy hike when you go there again. I’m sure Zoë Dawes could help you plan an itinerary. Thanks for your comment, Sharron.

  • Sharron

    I stumbled upon the lake district by accident years ago after the bus /subway bombings changed our plans. I plan on returning with my husband as soon as possible. It is indeed a most lovely place. If only I could live there.

  • So delighted this article is getting such a positive response. I love this part of the world and any time of the year is good to visit, as long as you are prepared for VERY changeable weather … My favourite times are Autumn (late September to end of October) for the colours & light, and spring (Mid March to end May) for famous daffodils and the riot of growth & energy that that season brings.

    There are lots of inspiring places to wander about lonely as a cloud or with friends. Perfect for gentle strolls or something more strenuous. Plus top quality hotels, B&Bs, campsites & self-catering to stay in.

    If you would like to know more – or have your own Quirky Traveller guide to share your trip with you, do drop me a line via

    Travel quirkiliciously!

  • we need to come visit!! it sounds SO very lovely.

  • Dena

    The Lake District is without doubt one of England’s treasures. I give it a plug every time Spanish friends here are planning to visit the UK! Please don’t just go to London I plead! Go North! Very few have ever heard of the Lakes. I don’t know if that is lack of advertising abroad or their lack of imagination!

    Nice post Zoe.Hope it tempts people!

  • Inka, a hike in the Lake District would be the perfect start!

  • I’ve said it before: I’m not into hiking, but…after following this blog and seeing what I miss by not doing so, I’m just about to give it a try.Where should I start?

  • We’ve lived in Turkey for 7 years now and, whenever people ask us what we miss about England, our only ever answer is the Lake District. We genuinely do pine for a hike (and a thirst quench) in the Langdales, Buttermere or anywhere else in the Lakes.

    Many thanks for transporting us back there Zoë!

  • It is indeed one of the most beautiful counties in the UK. Thanks, Zoe, for this great contribution. I for one have always wanted to hike in the Lake District. I’ve visited years ago and found it the most pleasant corner in the UK. Will certainly try to find the time next year to do one or two hikes.

  • Kendal Cottages

    Hear, hear!

    One of the most beautiful corners of England, without a doubt. And with walking opportunities to suit all abilities, whether it be a gentle amble around Rydal or one of the more challenging peaks or ridges such as Striding Edge.

    Alred Wainwright wrote many fantastic walking guides on the area, and these are still popular today. The likes of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter and many other artists and authors also appreciated the area’s beauty.

    If you’ve not been, make sure you visit soon! :)

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