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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Oliver Berry

This 4.5-mile circular walk around Lake Buttermere, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, starts and ends in pretty Buttermere village, and takes in wonderful views of the craggy peaks of Littledale Edge, Dale’s Head and Mellbreak, skirting the shores of beautiful Lake Buttermere. Ideal if you want to be surrounded by mountain scenery without actually having to do any climbing.

Halfway around at the southern tip, you’ll pass the ‘Sentinels’, the Lake District’s most photographed trees. Also look out for the ‘lone tree’, another highly-photographable feature.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 2 hours

Getting there & doing it

One popular starting point is the National Trust car park in Buttermere village. Walking Britain has a map and directions if you need it, but it’s straightforward – just follow the lake!

When to do it

Walking is superb all year round. Summer (usually) brings good weather but crowds. Winter offers invigorating walking conditions and fewer crowds, but be prepared for snow on the Fells.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Forest Side Hotel

Grasmere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[18.8 miles]

One of the very best of the Lake District’s boutique hotels, a reinvented country mansion, brimming with wit, style and invention. In prime position for exploring the Lakes..

Official star rating:

Brimstone Hotel & Spa

Great Langdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[19.1 miles]

The Lakeland version of a deluxe ski lodge, offering supremely plush rooms, a lavish spa and a very private location on a Langdale estate. It’s also adults-only – making this an ideal place for couples looking for a place to pamper themselves.

Official star rating:

Daffodil Hotel

Grasmere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[19.3 miles]

A large, lakeside hotel not far from Grasmere, with a variety of rooms to suit all kinds of visitors – families, couples, walkers and weekend breakers will all find a happy home here.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Lake District

Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)

Imposing mountains, wild landscapes, tranquil lakes and picturesque towns combine to make the Lake District uniquely beautiful, and one of the best places in Britain for walking, climbing, boating and biking.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Underground tours of Honister Mine

Keswick, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[5.9 miles]

Venture underground into the dark mines under Honister Pass to discover the history of Lakeland slate mining – and, if you’re feeling brave, tackle an underground climbing expedition.

Best for ages: 3+ | £18

Walk up Scafell Pike

Wasdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[10.6 miles]

Climb up to the highest point in England for a memorable view of the Wasdale fells – and a special sense of achievement. But don’t expect to be on your own if the weather’s fine

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | Full day

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Keswick, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[13.2 miles]

The most dramatic stone circle in all of England, standing on a lonely hilltop near Keswick for the last 3,000 years, and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre fells.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free

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Dove Cottage (& Wordsworth Museum)

Grasmere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[19.3 miles]

Take a guided tour around Wordsworth’s charming cottage near Grasmere to get a fascinatingly personal insight into the poet’s life and times – and don’t miss the brilliant museum next door.

Best for ages: 180+ | £12

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Visitors in the garden in June at Wordsworth House, Cumbria, the birthplace and childhood home of romantic poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy.

Wordsworth House and Garden

Cockermouth, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[14.8 miles]

Wordsworth’s childhood home in Cockermouth is now owned by the National Trust, and offers an absorbing glimpse of the poet’s early life, with costumed guides on hand to help illustrate the story.

Best for ages: 18+ | £8 | 3 hours

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Close up of 3 small glasses containing whisky

The Lakes Distillery

Cockermouth, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[15.1 miles]

One of the only distilleries in England that makes its own whisky, this boutique spirits maker also produces its own gin and vodka. Tours explore the alchemical art of distilling and offer the chance to taste the latest batches.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free | 3 hours

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Pedestrians outside the gift shop and cafe in the Main Street in the centre of Grasmere Village

Grasmere Village

Ambleside, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[18.5 miles]

The region’s most picturesque and charming village. Grasmere is set on the shores of its eponymous lake and cradled by green fields and fells. William Wordsworth is buried in the churchyard of St Oswald’s – you can see the poet’s tombstone.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | 3 hours

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Round-ups that include this experience

24 Unforgettable short walks (< 1 day)

Multiple countries

From traversing sand dunes, to walking on glaciers, through canyons, up mountains and along ancient city walls, here’s our round-up of the world’s best walks. Each walk can be tackled in a day or less with a moderate level of fitness and no technical ability.

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