With so many spectacular trails in the the Lake District to choose from, just where do you start? Georgina Sykes takes us through five of the best beginner hikes for stunning views, amazing photo opportunities, picnic spots and even pub lunch stops.
The Lake District National Park is one of the UK’s most stunning natural regions. Home to England’s highest mountain and deepest lake, the Lake District has so much to offer for the lover of all things outdoors. Even though experiencing all four seasons within one day is not uncommon, stunning views and beautiful landscapes make the wind and hail all worth it. And what’s the best way to enjoy the landscape (and embrace the weather)? With a good old fashioned hike! Here are five easy (ish) hikes to get you started.
1. Castle Head
For quite little effort there’s loads of reward with Castle Head. The two mile amble from the bustling town of Keswick is best done as a late afternoon stroll, with just one short stretch of uphill to the summit. The view from the top is over the beautiful Derwentwater, perfect on a sunny summers evening.
A walk around Buttermere is such a great way to fill an afternoon. An easy four-mile stroll on the well-marked path around the lake should take around two to three hours, with lots of amazing photo opportunities and potential picnic spots as you go. And if you’re not feeling like packing your own, have a pub lunch at the Bridge Hotel or the Fish Inn, both in Buttermere village.
The hike up Latterbarrow is totally worth it for the tip top view of Windermere from the summit. Standing by the Latterbarrow beacon there is a full 360 view of lakes, mountains, fields, villages, the whole shabbang. This trail isn’t too difficult, and follows well marked paths with a little bit of time spent on the road. The four-mile walk starts and ends in the village of Hawkshead, which has plenty of cafes for your post-hike tea and cake.
4. Rydal and Grasmere
The best thing about this hike is the lunch stop in Grasmere, the home of the amazing world famous Grasmere gingerbread. Bars of biscuity-cakey-gingerbready goodness are on offer in a tiny shop just by the church, and after stocking up there are plenty of cafés to grab lunch and refuel. Whether you lunch before or after the hike is up to you, but if you buy your gingerbread before setting out you have the perfect hiking snack. Not forgetting the hike itself, well-marked paths take you on the five mile round trip up to Alock Tarn and back by the lake shores.
5. Cat Bells
Cat Bells is definitely for the more adventurous Lake District novice, but is still not too hard and not too long. With amazing views of Derwentwater and back towards the town of Keswick, the hike has quite a lot of ascent but it’s totally worth it. Hiking boots are an essential for this one, and expect it to take around three to four hours to cover the four miles.