Whether it’s the Dales Way, the Wainwright walks or the paths that surround Windermere, the Lake District is a walker’s paradise. From avid hikers to those who prefer to enjoy a circular route with a pub at the end, this National Park has something for everyone. Plus. with the local train stations of Oxenholme and Kendal, walkers don’t even need to worry about getting to the Lake District’s trails. With both stations located close to hundreds of walking routes, you can easily lose yourself in the park’s stunning countryside.To help you set out on the right foot during your short break to the Lakes, we’ve put together some of our favourite routes to inspire your next hike.
Kentmere Circular Walk
Also known as the Kentmere Horseshoe walk, this route starts in Kentmere village, north of Kendal and takes in nearly 13 miles of fells and pikes. Steadily inclining up through the rolling hills of Garburn Pass, the walk turns into a climb as it heads towards Yoke fell, the first notable ‘Wainwright’ of the hike.
Such fells are named Wainwrights after writer and explorer Alfred Wainwright, who noted 214 features in his seven-volume pictorial guide to the Lakes. This route takes you over Yoke and up past Ill Bell and Froswick, a great spot to look out over Kentmere Reservoir before heading up to the peak (and perfect lunch stop) Thornthwaite Beacon.
From here, the route declines and takes you over Mardale Ill Bell and Harter Fell, where you can take in some beautiful views (and rest the legs) looking out towards Haweswater. Moving south towards Kentmere Pike, it’s important to keep an eye on the map as you move along rocky ridges to Shipman Knotts and back down towards Kentmere village
Thirlmere Way: Kendal to Windermere
The entire Thirlmere Way runs for 130 miles. Starting from the two flooded valleys of the same name, the route (and a two-metre wide aqueduct) runs down into Manchester, where the water supplies a major source for the city.
This section of the Way runs for nearly 12 miles and takes you from the centre of Kendal and follows the River Kent northwards, taking in several small villages that grew as a result of the riches the river brought to the area.
Popular with bird watchers and lovers of wildflowers, the walk takes you along the riverside and into the beautiful village of Staveley, where you can stop for a quick bite to eat. Here, the route joins the Dales Way and heads down towards Windermere, where it emerges at a quiet, stunning viewpoint of the lake.
For a shorter, more relaxed walk, the four-mile path from the Strickland Arms in Sizergh and into the Woodland Trust forest. In the spring, there are plenty of daffodils and other wildflowers to enjoy, along with local wildlife such as yellow brimstone butterflies.
Following the path along to Helsington Church, it’s possible to spot Scafell Pike on clearer days, as well as enjoying views of Coniston Fells. From here, the track heads back down into the historic grounds of Sizergh Castle, with its limestone rock garden, ferns and medieval tower.
Kendal Ten Bridge Walk
So named after the ten bridges that follow the route, this five-mile stroll follows the river Kent and through some of the historical highlights of Kendal. Starting at Abbot Hall, the route passes the local museum and art gallery and takes you to the riverside, where you pass the Nether and Miller Bridges.
The walk then takes you across Stramongate and Victoria Bridge, both of which date back to Kendal’s heyday in the wool trade, and out of the town. Reaching the Dockwray Bridge, the route then circles back down the river to Mint Bridge. Here, it turns and heads past Kendal Castle, where you can catch a view of Whinfell Ridge and other Lakeland fells before heading back to Abbot Hall.
Sizergh Levens and Hincaster Circular
If you’re looking for a walk with plenty of history, then this is the one for you. Around eight miles long, the route takes you from the National Trust estate of Sizergh Castle, which was owned by the Strickland family for more than 700 years towards Hincaster Tunnel.
Labelled as an Ancient Monument, this section of the Lancaster Canal was opened in 1819 to send fuel to Wakefield Gunpowder Works, although it’s now cut off by a junction of the M6 motorway. This walk also takes in the grounds of Levens Hall, which have gardens famous for their 18th-century design by french landscape gardener Guillaume Beaumont.
The hall also has a park where you may be able to spot some rare wildlife and enjoy a riverside footpath that takes you all the way back into Sizergh.
Getting to the Lake District
One of the best bits about walking is that you get to take in all the best views. So why not start your scenery spotting on your journey to the Lakes? By booking your train tickets in advance, you can head to the rural stations of Kendal and Oxenholme from any major UK city.
In just under three hours, you can travel from London Euston to Oxenholme, taking in the beautiful countryside of the Lake District as you plan your holiday hiking adventures, or afternoon Wainwright walks.