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8 of the Best Walks in and Around Windermere

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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.

8 Top Walks around Windermere

Windermere is a walker’s paradise with dozens of trails to choose from some of the best relaxing walks include;


Loughrigg Tarn

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.


Tarn Hows

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.


Orrest Head

Perfect if your squeezed for time this 2.5 miles short 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.


School Knott

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

  • Sturdy walking boots - these will provide ankle support and protection against the terrain and weather.
  • Mobile phone - to help with directions and to call someone in case of emergency.
  • Torch - Top tip ( a head torch will keep your hands free)
  • Suncream - The sun can be really powerful even in the winter
  • Sunglasses - these protect against the sun in summer and the brightness of the snow in winter
  • First aid kit - Essential for accidents (cuts, sprains etc)
  • Blister relief - Even the best walking boots can rub when worn for long periods
  • Bottled water - to keep you hydrated
  • High energy. Protein snacks - Kendal Mint Cake and protein bars offer a burst of energy when tired
  • Waterproof clothing - The weather in the Lake District can be unpredictable
  • Map and compass - Even if you have a mobile phone you may have no signal.
  • Whistle - in case you need to be rescued in poor visibility
  • Hat - Did you know a great deal of body heat is lost via your head?
  • Warm clothing - The temperature drops quickly especially in the fells

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

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

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 makes it one of the most popular walks around Windermere.

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.

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.

Where to Stay

Some great properties to rent can be found on the following pages, The Lakes is one of our top hot tub locations so check out these below:

Final Thoughts

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.