Hiking in the Lake District

Hi there.

Looking for ideas for one day walks (15 to 20 km) in the Lake District)

Myself and Mrs S are signed up to a sponsored walk in the Alps this year (originally scheduled as a walk of the Great Wall of China, back in 2020, but kept being cancelled for some reason :thinking:). 45 to 50km over 3 consecutive days.

So for training, we are going to the Lake District for three days of walking. Looking to do between 15 and 20km a day for each of the three days.

Will be checking out Komoot etc for ideas, but just wondering if anyone on the forum has some good ideas for circular walking routes too. We will be based in between Windermere and Kendal, and will have van and bikes to get us around - so any Lake District location possible. Need to be circular routes rather than point-to-point.

Any advice (routes, kit and pubs :grinning:) gratefully appreciated.

I came across this site the other day whilst planning some walks in the Lakes and thought it was pretty good

Andrew’s Walks

Of course Komoot and all the other walking sites will have plenty of suggestions. On the pub side if you are around Keswick then the food in The Pheasant is pretty good, a 5 min walk out of town

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Ah, That website looks perfect (and inspirational) - many thanks

Hard to beat the Fairfield Horseshoe Ambleside (15kish) ending in the Golden Rule a Robinson’s house. A classic route hard but not too hard before heading into the high fells for some real training.


The Kentmere Horseshoe is a classic at around 20k and 600 metre mostly gradual climbing and descent with stunning views.

Take a look at the walklakes website for details of this and other graded walks.


Weather will dictate whether a high level or valley route is viable. Don’t bank on being able to keep a preplanned schedule if it’s inclement.
Just take decent maps and be flexible :wink:


Hi all. Thanks for these replies. Most grateful

Great langdale pikes is a favourite of mine…

Go up from the ndg, Grab a pint at the odg after you come down along the way back. You can extend by going up from chapel stile if not long enough for you.
On the otherside of the lakes you have High Street and harter fell

The haweswater hotel was a great walkers base for that side but its been taken over and is now more ‘boutique’ and less friendly to muddy boots.

An easier route, more countryside than fells, would be Tarn hows to hawkshead and back, with a diversion to black crag for a nice vista… many nice cafes/pubs in hawkshead to tempt you at the halfway rest.


Oops you’ve started something now. A +1 for the Langdale Pikes but it the weather changes just get down pdq as navigation can be tricky. I’d add Glenridding - Helvellyn - Dollywagon Pike circular (no need for Swirral or Striding Edge unless the whole party are very confident/agile). Finish up at the Travellers Rest in Glenridding - dead simple but all the better for it.


The Lakes are indeed a fabulous place for walking, (best in UK imho,poss biased as I live in the area). Too many walks to recommend as so many are great and some of the best have already been mentioned. Don’t rule out non-circular walks though, some areas have good local bus connections such as Langdale and Borrowdale so you can catch a bus to a start and walk back. Also some of the lakes have good boat routes so for example you could go to Glenridding on Ullswater, get a boat to Howtown and walk back. This is also possible on Derwent and Coniston though not really on Windermere. Boat operator websites should have some walk suggestions.

I assume you are experienced walkers, so know about safety. Re maps etc and for those who may not be experienced I’d advise the following

  1. Buy a OS explorer 1:25000 map of the area and always take it and a mechanical compass with you.

  2. Once you have the map download the UK “Ordinance Survey” app, set up a free account and enter the code which will be included on the map you have just bought. This will enable you to download a digital version of the OS map to your phone which will then also act as a GPS showing your exact position. This app will enable you to add routes in advance should you wish . PS there ia also the possibility to take out a one month (about £3) or annual subscription of maps for a limited time on the OS App/ website map should you prefer this, but that leaves you without a proper paper map. If you own the paper map you do not have to pay anything further.

  3. Download the “OS locate” app. This is an electronic compass which also displays your altitude and full OS map coordinates amongst other things.

  4. If going on a high, long ridge route, have an idea of alternate routes off in the event of bad weather etc.

Don’t forget to just stop and stare… you may be in training but like so many I bet you will just fall in love with the place……


I would strongly recommend the OS Maps app. For £3 per month or £24 per year you have access to all OS maps up to 1:25000 scale. I have used this on my phone for 4 years. You can find walks already loaded by others, then follow and/or download them as you wish. You can also record your own routes. It’s not perfect but it’s great to be able to see where you are at any time and to plan your next steps. You don’t really need to carry a paper map nowadays, although I normally do - just in case!


Yes, for safe walking in mountains such as the Lake District, a proper topographical map such as OS, not Google Maps, is highly advisable. And of course a compass and knowing how to use both. People have come a cropper without. OS is available on a phone, which has advantages - provided waterproof and with sufficient battery life for considerably longer than the planned trip.

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Thanks for all your replies everyone. Plenty there for me to research on. Awesome :grinning:

The Langdale Pikes is a nice walk, but there are thousands of people and climbing up the steps is a bit like a sanitised staircase. We went walking up on the Downs at Harting this afternoon and passed nobody. Why not just get on the South Downs Way north of Brighton and walk towards Winchester, staying in B&Bs? Less travelling, fewer people.

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No contest compared with The Lakes… OP going to the Lakes hence the question I’d guess. Besides many fantastic walks in the Lakes that still remain very quiet. Just avoid honey pots and high holidays


The Coledale round near Keswick is about the distance you’re thinking of. Did it about five years ago, fantastic day out, and no tricky bits (well at least not when we did it with great weather)


Our favourite warm-up walk is the Stickle Tarn up from the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in the Langdale valley. A newish path and if you do it in the off-season its possible to get up to the tarn with only yourselves and some Herdies for company. As HH suggests, its crazy crowded at in Summer/Bank holidays etc.

When we want a good work out, Coniston Old Man always delivers with wonderful views at the top - weather depending of course - but with good weather comes crowds…On a good day once you are up there you can stay up there and add bits on. Its pretty quiet on New Years Eve though you have to look hard through the low cloud to see the lake - it gets a bit Turneresque.


I think Mrs S is still in shock from when we cycled the SDW a few years ago. Trip to Lake District was the order of the day for this year.

But yes, definitely need to be alive to walks that might be a bit overpopulated.

If you want a tough, sustained climb that won’t be too busy (owing to its more remote location), try going straight up Kirk Fell from Wasdale Head. From there you could ascend Great Gable and admire the views over Wast Water and then descend straight down the nose of Great Gable. For a lower level walk you could try a circuit of Wast Water by tackling the screes on the far side. Both should be challenging. It would be easy to combine the two.


It may be up the other end of the County, but the figure of eight circuits of Buttermere and Crummock Water make a great full day.