Top 5 Walks in the Lake District

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The Lake District is one of the most celebrated areas of countryside in the UK; beloved by authors like Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin, celebrated as a World Heritage Site, and visited by millions of tourists and walkers every year. It is home to stunning scenery, peaceful tarns, towering mountains and a host of wonderful hiking and walking opportunities. Just remember, hiking in the Lakes can be dangerous due to mountainous climbs and sudden changes of weather – so we’ve included a mixture of challenging and easier walks to suit any walker.

Glenridding-Helvellyn Circular

For dramatic scenery, stunning views and a real sense of achievement, head to Helvellyn. This striking mountain is one of the most popular climbs in the Lakes, and with good reason. The imposingly steep ascent from Glenridding, a small village situated next to Ullswater lake, takes you up towards the still and serene waters of Red Tarn before the path heads out along the famous Striding Edge - a sheer ridge of rock that requires some fun scrambling and offers dramatic views - before reaching the summit of Helvellyn. The way back from the top of the mountain takes you along Swirral Edge on the other side of Red Tarn to circle back to Glenridding.

Although only around 8 miles, this is a challenging walk involving steep climbs across areas which can be dangerous in bad weather. But if you're a confident hiker and you’re up for the challenge, the stunning views from the top of Helvellyn over Red Tarn and across the sublime countryside of the Lakes make it well worth the aching legs.

Image Credit: alh1 via Flickr

Borger Dalr, Borrowdale

Starting and ending in Grange Village this is a 4 mile walk up Castle Crag. Described as "the finest square mile in Lakeland" by famous fell-walker and writer Alfred Wainwright, Borger Dalr offers spectacular views of the Lakes. This is a short but steep route packed with historic and geologic interest. Lovers of history will enjoy seeing the remains of Furness Abbey and exploring Castle Crag - site of a 2,000 year old hill fort. Meanwhile, you’ll discover an ancient volcanic landscape littered with rocks shaped by an ancient Glacier - not to mention the gorgeous views from the top of Castle Crag.

Image Credit: josephp14 via Flickr

Old Man of Coniston Circular

The Old Man of Coniston is an impressive hill which towers over Coniston village and Coniston Water. Begin in the village before taking a 6 mile loop up and around the surrounding fells, passing the beautiful blue Low Water Tarn on your way to the top of the Old Man and Goat's Water on your way back to the village. This reasonably tough climb is made harder by some loose scree and boulders, but the gorgeous views of hidden tarns and windswept mountains will keep your spirits up.

Image Credit: Triker Sticks via Flickr

Bowness-on-Windermere to Hawkshead

Wending through classic Lakes scenery, this is a lovely 13 mile walk across generally easy terrain. If you don’t fancy trying the whole route, you can shorten the hike and finish at Hill Top.

Begin your hike by tracing the side of beautiful lake Windermere before jumping on the ferry to cross to the other side. From here, you'll pass open countryside and woodland before reaching Hill Top, the pretty cottage that once belonged to Beatrix Potter and which is now owned by the National Trust. Fans of Potter will see inspiration for her books in the countryside and wildlife all around. She was an important local landowner and dedicated conservationist, and gave 4,000 acres of countryside to the National Trust when she died. From Hill Top, carry on around Esthwaite Water and head up to Hawkshead village where the walk ends and you can enjoy a well-earned pint at one of the village’s pretty rural pubs.

Image Credit: Peter Reed via Flickr

Buttermere Circular

An easy and unintimidating walk, this circular route is perfect for families and anyone who finds hiking tough. Looping around lake Buttermere, the 4 mile trail avoids the mountains that make many Lake District hikes such a struggle, but still offers beautiful views of the surrounding green heights reflected in the tranquil waters of the lake. Begin and end your walk at the village of Buttermere where you will find a handful of options for a pre or post- walk drink, including some quaint tea rooms and pubs.

Image Credit: Colin Gregory via Flickr