Adventure & Travel Blog Lake District Lovers Sue Talbot Photography

Waterside & Lakeside Walks in the Lake District

derwentwater lake keswick

If you’re on the hunt for walks punctuated by glistening waters and thundering waterfalls, check out these waterside and lakeside walks in the Lake District. Walks by water can be incredibly soothing and a great boost for both mental and physical wellbeing. There are plenty of lake walks in the Lake District that include a variety of routes for beginners and more experienced walkers.

1. Tarn Hows Walk

The Tarn Hows circular walk is a 1.8-mile route suitable for walkers of all abilities. The shorter, linear walk along the lake is also accessible for wheelchair and pushchair users and is just 0.5 miles. En route there are benches and stopping points perfect for soaking up views of the Coniston Hills and Langdale Pikes. You can navigate the walk clockwise or anti-clockwise from Tarn Hows car park. Exit the car park and simply follow the path to the tarn. For those looking for a more challenging route, take a detour to Tarn Hows waterfall. Known as Tom Gill, this impressive waterfall rushes down through the Glen Mary Ravine.

2. Buttermere Walk

A walk around Buttermere is awash with views of beautiful peaks, wooded banks and, of course, the tranquil waters. As it’s so popular, a Buttermere lake walk is best avoided during busier times, especially if you prefer to bask alone in the views. The Buttermere circular walk is a moderate 4.7-mile route. Park at the National Trust Car Park at Buttermere and make your way towards the lake. During the walk you’ll be greeted by sensational views of High Stile, Red Pike, and Haystacks. As you leave Crag Wood, make your way through a rock tunnel to continue the route.

3. Ullswater Walk

Walks around Ullswater are perfect for the more seasoned hiker, especially if you intend to complete the 20-mile route of the Ullswater Way. This Ullswater lake walk takes you on a picturesque journey through farmland, across undulating banks and via village tearooms and cafes with views of peaks and woods along the way. If you don’t fancy walking the entire 20-miles, hop on a bus or boat and enjoy the scenery.

Ullswater lake

4. Blea Tarn Walk

Feast on epic views of the Langdale Pikes during this 1.8-mile Blea Tarn circular walk. This walk takes you through idyllic wooded areas with several seating areas where you can sit and take in the views. Continue out of the woodland where views of the Langdale Valley open up before you. The circular route includes a walk back to the start via the road, but you can retrace the path back if you prefer.

5. Derwentwater Walk

The clearly signposted Derwentwater circular walk is ideal for families with children or anyone wanting more relaxing lakeside walks in the Lake District. Surrounded by views of Walla Crag, Catbells, and the Jaws of Borrowdale, this is one of the most scenic lakeside walks in the Lake District. As you walk around Derwentwater, stop off at iconic spots such as Friars Crag and the Centenary Stone at Calfclose Bay, or take a short detour to Ashness Bridge. You might even come face to face with a red squirrel or two on your walk as they’re known to frequent the woodland. This 10-mile flat walk is suitable for all and is known for its varied flora and wildlife.


6. Wastwater Walk

Hugged on all sides by towering peaks, Wasdale Valley in the Western Lakes is one of the more remote areas and boasts one of the most beautful lakes in the national park.. A circular walk around Wastwater can be challenging as you’ll have to tackle the screes which can be difficult even in good weather. Alternatively, you can walk along the western side of Wastwater, through woodland and open fields. The dramatic scenery of the Wasdale Valley makes this one of the most awe-inspiring lakeside walks in the Lake District. 

wastwater lakeside walks in the lake district

7. Grasmere and Rydal Walk

The Grasmere and Rydal Water circular walk beginning at Pelter Bridge car park provides fantastic views, and access to caves, woods and the historic Dove Cottage. Begin your walk by following the tree-covered bridleway. You can either take the higher path or follow the lower path along the lakeside. I highly recommend walking up to the magnificent Rydal Cave before making your way down to the water’s edge. The walk continues along the shores of Grasmere where you can head into the village for a coffee or a spot of lunch. As you continue this circular walk around Grasmere and Rydal Water, you’ll also have the opportunity to visit Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount.

8. Ennerdale Walk

The Ennerdale water walk is often considered one of the most tranquil lakeside walks in the Lake District owing to its secluded location and the lack of roads nearby. The full 7.5-mile circular walk around Ennerdale is popular with more experienced walkers as there are some sections of scrambling required. However, you can take the shorter route, beginning at Bowness Knott car park and walking anti-clockwise along the gravel path until reaching Angler’s Crag. Here the terrain changes and it becomes a much steeper walk, so you might prefer to retrace your steps back to the car park. This walk introduces spectacular lakeside views and beautiful vistas along Ennerdale Valley in the Lake District.

ennerdale water

Thirlmere Walk

Often overlooked for more popular lakeside walks in the Lake District, the Thirlmere Reservoir walk offers beautiful scenery in all seasons. But a springtime walk around Thirlmere brings the most heavenly reflections on the water as the trees come into bloom and the fells start to change colour. There are several parking places and starting points for the Thirlmere circular walk which leads you on a discovery of the local nature. Stop off at one of the stony beaches to take in the fabulous views of Raven Crag and explore the quiet woodlands where you might spot red deer and squirrels.

thirlmere reservoir walk
Thirlmere Reservoir

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