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The walking trails of the Lake District National Park attract thousands of people every year. The views are unrivalled in England, and it's an utterly beautiful area of the country to explore and get to know. Many people who holiday here return year after year. This large region hides many secrets and gorgeous beauty spots from mountains, forest parks and some of England's largest and deepest lakes.
There are many short and easy walks in the Lake District National Park for those that don't want an overly strenuous workout. You can enjoy equally beautiful sights on an easy circular walk along level sealed roads and tracks too. For those with elderly dogs, puppies or young children, we have included some easy low level walks, walks for beginners and undemanding hikes too. Whatever you look for on your short walks, read on for inspiration.
Why not stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages in the Lake District National Park? No matter where you're planning to stay, we have the perfect property for you. From large converted farmhouses to lakeside cottages and apartments for romantic couples, visit our collection of Lake District cottages today.
- Difficulty: Moderate hike
- Distance: 2.5 miles (2 hours)
- Terrain: Rough paths, steep stone pitched steps and forestry tracks
You can find a lovely trail at Latterbarrow starting in Hawkshead that takes you across the fields, followed by a short steep climb to the top, which gives you amazing views in every direction. The summit is also crowned by a stone memorial, so you’ll know if you are heading in the right direction.
Stay in: Bracken Cottage, Hawkshead | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs
- Difficulty: Easy circular walk
- Distance: 1.5 miles (0.75 hours)
- Terrain: Waymarked path but due to cattle can be very muddy (keep dogs on the lead). At least one rock stile.
Seek out Gummer’s How, close to the National Trust’s Fell Foot Park. This walk is from the south-east end of Lake Windermere and can either be a short steep climb or it can be extended to create a 5-mile circular route through the forest and open fellside. The short walk from the Gummer’s How picnic area is just 0.5 miles long making it a great walk to try with kids. See supersonic jet planes soar along the lake below - it's wild.
Stay in: Thirlmere 16, Windermere | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs
- Difficulty: Moderate uphill hike
- Distance: 3.5 miles (2 hours)
- Terrain: Narrow stone path
The walk to Carron Crag is along the eastern shore of Coniston Water, near Brantwood, and it leads you up through the forest to the rocky crag, which is the highest point between Windermere and Coniston as well as in Grizedale Forest. The views of Fairfield Horseshoe and the Langdale and Coniston Fells are well worth the 5-mile walk. Departing from the Dodgson Wood car park, the route takes in the Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag with amazing views out over Grizedale Forest and beyond.
Stay at: The Kennels, near Grizedale | Sleeps: 5 guests plus 2 dogs
- Difficulty: Moderate mountain walk
- Distance: 8 miles (3.5 hours)
- Terrain: Rough stone tracks
The trek to Black Fell is quite close to the famous beauty spot of Tarn Hows, and it can be approached from a variety of directions, offering spectacular views in every direction. You may also enjoy this trail as a mountain bike route with a view to reward the effort of the climb. You can take in amazing views at both the start and finish if you begin at Tarn Hows, and also climb the nearby Holme Fell if you’re after even more great views from the top.
Stay at: Bobbin Mill, near Tarn Hows | Sleeps: 5 guests plus 3 dogs
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate
- Distance: 3.5 miles (1.5 hours)
- Terrain: A little bit of pavement walking to leave Ambleside, then grass paths through bracken, with a little stone pitching in places. The return section is along a stone track.
Todd Crag is a short walk from the park in Ambleside and rises above the village quickly – local children do the ascent and back in under 20 minutes as part of their fell running training, but most take a little longer to complete the journey! The view down Lake Windermere to the south is simply stunning. This is part of a shoulder of hills that extend from Ambleside and close by you can also explore Lily Tarn, a pretty little lake.
Stay at: Brae Cottage, Ambleside | Sleeps: 2 guests plus 2 dogs
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 0.5 miles (0.75 hours)
- Terrain: Sealed pathway. Suitable for most prams and wheelchairs.
We recommend a walk up to Jenkin Crag, which starts from Ambleside and takes you south towards Troutbeck. This rocky outcrop is hidden from the main path (although signposted) and is a truly magical location for perfect for watching the sun setting over The Langdales. From Ambleside you’ll wander through the ancient woodlands of Skelghyll Wood, often decorated with bluebells, before climbing the rocks of Jenkin Crag and admiring the views out over Lake Windermere.
Stay at: North Cottage, Ambleside | Sleeps: 2 guests
- Difficulty: Easy flat walk for beginners
- Distance: 1 mile (1 hour)
- Terrain: Paved along the shoreline. Suitable for most prams and wheelchairs. The Roman Bath House is in a grassy enclosure.
Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park, is also a lesser-known holiday destination with astounding beauty. There is a lovely walk out along the waterfront and up the river delta to the remains of an ancient Roman Bath House. It is one of the most intact above ground Roman structures in the British Isles. You can enjoy stunning sunsets and views across Solway Firth to some tall Scottish Munros on a clear day. An exceptional secret spot on the Lake District map.
Stay at: Upper Orchard Cabin, near Ulverston | Sleeps: 4 guests
- Difficulty: Strenuous hike
- Distance: 8 miles
- Terrain: Scree and rock trail
This challenging yet short hike around one of the Lake District's remotest and starkly attractive lakes is well worth the effort. Wast Water is the deepest of all the lakes in the National Park: 3 miles long, half a mile wide and 260 feet deep, there is a scree-laden circuit around the outside, which can be arduous at times but wear the right kit and take provisions, you should be OK. Views are staggering as it is surrounded by the mountains of Red Pike, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Scafell Pike. Scuba divers love this lake too for deep diving. For even more unforgettable walks across the Lake District, take a look at our complete guide to walking in the Lake District.
Stay at: The Woodsman Cabin, near Ulverston | Sleeps: 6 guests
Plan the perfect Lake District walking holiday
Alongside our favourite short walks in the Lake District featured in this guide, we've also put together some of our favourite mountain walks, dog walks, accessible walks and more in our ultimate walking guide.
If you are planning a walking holiday in the Lake District, stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages. We have cottages in the towns and villages especially suitable for young families with children, and also welcome dogs at many of our properties. So, if you are looking for a break packed with easy walks in the Lake District or a series of short hikes, we have the perfect backdrop for you. Visit our collection of holiday cottages in the Lake District National Park for inspiration today.