Remarkably, the National Park contains every scrap of England’s land over 3,000 feet, including its highest mountain, Scafell Pike. Packed within the Park’s 885 square miles are numerous peaks and fells, over 400 lakes and tarns, around 50 dales, six National Nature Reserves, and more than 100 Sites of Special Scientific Interest — all publicly accessible on over 1,800 miles of footpaths and other rights of way. It’s no surprise then, that the Lake District attracts an estimated 15 million visitors a year.
“[The Lake District is] a sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy.”
William Wordsworth, Guide through the District of the Lakes, 1810
Best circular walks in the Lake District
The Lake District National Park’s boundaries are all within Cumbria. As well as hosting England’s highest mountain – Scafell, the Lake District National Park contains both its longest lake — Windermere, and its deepest lake — Wastwater. It’s also a walkers’ paradise, with walks to suit every age and ability, from short easy circuits around pretty lakes and tarns to tougher day walks in the mountains, fells and ridges. There are pub walks, fell walks, lakeside walks, walks to tarns, history walks, woodland walks, walks to viewpoints and literary walks. These are some of the best walks in the Lake District.
Walks from Lake District towns and villages
Northern Eye Book’s popular ‘Top 10 Walks’ series gives walkers more than 80 of the best, tried-and-tested circular walks to choose from, all beautifully laid out, written by outdoor experts and illustrated with excellent Lake District photographs.
Many of the walks start and finish in the Lake District’s main towns and villages, including Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere, Keswick, Kendal and Penrith.
There are great walks too from popular Lakeland villages including Hawkshead, Coniston, Grasmere, Glenridding, Langdale, Troutbeck, Grizedale, Gosforth, Oxenholme, Nether Wasdale, Loweswater, Braithwaite, Applethwaite, Threlkeld, Staveley Bridge, Lindale and Pooley Bridge.
Top ten themed walks
The ‘Top 10 Walks’ series also picks the best and most popular walks around each of the Lake District’s main lakes, too: Windermere, Derwentwater, Ullswater, Coniston, Buttermere, Loweswater, Crummock Water, Grasmere, Rydal Water, Thirlmere, Bassenthwaite Lake, Wastwater and remote Ennerdale.
There are popular fell walks on Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Scafell Pike, Great Gable, Bowfell, the Coniston Old Man, Catbells, Castle Crag, High Rigg, Helm Crag and Haystacks, among others.
There are walks to the Lake District’s loveliest tarns, including: Tarn Hows, Levers Water, Blea Tarn,Red Tarn, Angle Tarn, Bowscale Tarn, Stony and Eel Tarns and Wainwright’s favourite tarn — Innominate Tarn
Walks to Waterfalls will take you on short circular walks to the ten best waterfalls, cataracts, spouts and forces in the Lake District. They range from the mighty Aira Force and Scale Force to Holme Force, Lodore Falls and Skelwith and Colwith Forces.
Favourite Lake District pub walks include walks around the Sun Inn at Coniston, Queen’s Head at Hawkshead, Three Shires Inn in Little Langdale, Mortal Man at Troutbeck, Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel at Great Langdale, Tweedies Bar at Grasmere, Strands Inn at Nether Wasdale, Kirkstile Inn at Loweswater and the Dog & Gun at Keswick.
Other themes for walks include the top ten woodland walks in the Lake District, literary walks in the Lake District and historical walks in the Lake District.