The area around Windermere is a walker’s paradise, whether you want to amble around the shores of the lake or head to the higher fells where you will feel on top of the world.
These truly relaxing Windermere walks offer some of the best scenery and should be on every visitors’ list of things to do.
How difficult is the terrain?
While there are some challenging walks in the lakes suitable for experienced hikers there are also trails suitable for families with children and dogs. Some have the added bonus of welcoming country pubs along the way if you need some refreshment. Remember even easy walks can become more difficult in the winter and some of the harder walks are quite remote.
Different types of walks
You will want to do your research and discover which walks offer the best option for your requirements. There are lots of pleasant walks in the Windermere vicinity. For example:
Brant Fell Walk, which starts in Bowness-on-Windermere is a pleasant 2.1 mile walk which is relatively easy although steep. There are some obstacles/stiles and sheer drops so it is not recommended for younger children or dogs. Alternatively, the walk to Tarn Hows is a family favourite offering a pleasant stroll of 2.6 miles, suitable for almost everyone.
Here is a map of Windermere
Walks around Windermere
Windermere is a walker’s paradise with dozens of trails to choose from some of the best relaxing walks include;
An easy stroll and definitely one of the most scenic walks close to Windermere. At less than 2 miles it only takes 1-2 hours to complete and offers fabulous views of the Langdale Pikes
Ambleside, Loughrigg Fell, Loughrigg Tarn and Skelwith Bridge
This 3.4 mile walk starts with a climb from Ambleside to Loughrigg Fell and once that is completed you will be pleased to learn the trail is pleasant with incredible views you can even reward yourself with a well-deserved pint when you get to Skelworth Bridge
West Shore Walk
This stunning walk is suitable for everyone even those with limited mobility, the start point can be reached by ferry and it then hugs the shoreline. There are no hills and the route can be as short or long as you want with endless photo opportunities throughout.
Hawkshead to Windermere
This popular walk from the lovely village of Hawkshead to Lake Windermere takes 2-3 hours and is ideal on a sunny afternoon, the route is well sign-posted and ends at the ferry station. The views are out of this world and it a fantastic walk for beginners and families.
Popular with families, this lovely walk takes 1-2 hours. You will travel through tranquil woodland, see picturesque waterfalls and experience superb views of the tarn.
Perfect if you short for time this 2.5 miles long walk can be completed in a little over an hour. You start from the Windermere Hotel and follow the route which winds its way to the summit through lush, meadows. When you emerge at the viewpoint the views of Windermere will take your breath away making it the perfect spot to watch the sun go down.
Brant Fell Walk
This walk starts in the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere and climbs steeply above the village at the summit you will find a viewpoint with fabulous views across Windermere to Grizedale Forest.
If you are wanting a relatively easy circular walk, School Knott is ideal. Starting on the A591, this route takes you across the railway line then up a grassy hillside with views of the Langdale Pikes and Lake Windermere.
Essential equipment for walking
Below are several essential items to pack if you are considering walking in the Lake District for both safety and comfort. If you are wild camping this list will be considerably shorter.
See our ultimate guide to wild camping in the lakes here
Walks from Windermere village
Sheriff’s Walk - Across the road from the Windermere hotel is the magical woodland walk that takes around 40 minutes, with bubbling streams, a cascading waterfall and stunning vistas
Bowness Bay – This walk has something for everyone, explore the excellent, shops of Bowness before heading to the Bowness Bay and the shores of Lake Windermere where you can feed the ducks, enjoy an ice-cream or take a leisurely lake cruise.
Millerground - Start in the centre of Bowness at the roundabout and head onto the A592 which is signposted for Ambleside. After 1 mile you will come across a small car park, where you can leave your vehicle and head into the woods for a splendid hours walk follow the path towards the lakeshore and marvel at the outstanding views.
National trust walks in Windermere
The Champion Tree Trail
This lovely relaxing 45-minute circular route through Skelghyll Woods will give you the opportunity to view some of the tallest trees in the country. There are picnic benches dotted along the route and at the end of your hike you can explore Stagshaw Gardens.
Ambleside to Troutbeck returning via Wansfell
A slightly more challenging hike this discovery walk starts from the centre of Ambleside and takes between 4-5 hours to complete. Heading to Troutbeck via lanes, tracks, fields and woodland the views. The return trip via Wansfell Pike is more challenging but the jaw-dropping views are worth the effort.
Walks with a view in Windermere
Black Fell - One of the most scenic walks in the Lake District, although this is a long hike of around 7 miles, the breathtaking views and magical scenery from start to finish make it one of the most popular Windermere walks
Todd Crag - Don’t forget your camera; just a short walk from the park in Ambleside the ascent which rises above the village is not difficult, in fact local children often include it in their fell training. The view down to Lake Windermere is quite simply a sight to behold and you can also enjoy a picnic by pretty Lily Tarn.
Windermere walks with pubs
Windermere lies in the heart of the Lake District so the good news is; you are never far away from a welcoming country inn, perfect after a relaxing walk. Some great walks with pubs include;
Claife Heights - This circular walk starts on the western shore of the lake and passes several peaceful tarns as well as providing spectacular views of Beatrix Potter Country and Windermere. The hotel at Far Sawrey along the way has a delightful beer garden and is the perfect spot for lunch or a drink.
Troutbeck Valley - Many of the idyllic walks from Windermere take in the stunning Troutbeck Valley where you can enjoy a warm welcome and a laid-back pint at the ancient Mortal Man Inn, overlooking the glorious fells this historic hostelry is a must on a warm summer’s day.
The Red Screes - Overlooking the Kirkstone Pass this steep ascent starts from the Kirkstone pass Inn which is ideal after a walk for a cup of tea, pint of locally brewed ale or bite to eat.
Whether you are new to rambling, an experienced hiker or looking for a family day out while visiting Windermere, there are walks suitable for all ages and abilities. All offer sensational views and you are never far from a pub or cafe or picnic spot where you can rest your tired feet. So, pack those hiking boots and head to Windermere for some amazing walks.