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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 24 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Oliver Berry

The lofty hills and glacial valleys of the Lakes lured walkers long before Alfred Wainwright published his seminal walking guides in the 1950s. Wainwright’s books opened up the region to a much wider audience, and his 214 ‘official fells’ represent the ultimate challenge for hikers and serious walkers.

But there are plenty of easier options; gentle strolls, family trails and networks of pub walks that offer the chance to pair an outdoor activity with great places for lunch.

Recommendations

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Walk around Lake Buttermere

Buttermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
Walk around Lake Buttermere

Spectacular scenery and a tranquil waterside location combine on this 4.5-mile circular walk around Buttermere Lake. The best walk in the Lake District.

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 2 hours

Walk Castle Crag & Borrowdale

Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)

Soft morning light illuminates the Jaws of Borrowdale mountains, reflected in the calm waters of Derwent Water in the English Lake District.

A short but challenging 4-mile circular walk taking in impressive volcanic landscapes around Borrowdale, and includes the climb up Castle Crag – a 2,000-year-old hill fort.

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 3 hours

Walk Catbells on Derwentwater

Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)

Panoramic view of Derwentwater in the Lake District with warm morning light illuminating Catbells.

A short, 3-hour hike with big views, this small summit on the shores of lovely Derwentwater is the ideal fell for beginners, or anyone looking for a fell hike that doesn’t require too much exertion.

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 3 hours

Walk the Langdale Pikes

Great Langdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)

Landscape view of the Pikes in Autumn

A classic fell walk that allows you to tick off up to six summits and affords a grand panorama over Great Langdale.

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 4-5 hours

Walk up Scafell Pike

Wasdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
Peak of Scafell Pike

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+

Duration: Full day

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 3 hours

Getting there & doing it

Experienced walkers can tackle most routes on their own, but if you’re looking to do any of the more challenging routes, it’s essential to be properly prepared. On the most challenging routes, consider hiring a local guide, or joining an organised group hike. There are information centres at Bowness-on-Windermere, Ullswater (at Glenridding) and Keswick, and the tourist office runs regular guided walks that anyone can join.

On any of the more challenging routes, a detailed map is essential: the Ordnance Survey Explorer maps or Harvey Superwalker maps (both at 1:25,000 scale) are the ones to go for. A mobile phone is important too in case of emergencies – but don’t rely on them for maps and route-finding.

The weather in the Lakes is constantly changeable – particularly if you’re walking the peaks. Check the weather forecast carefully before setting out.

 

When to do it

Walking is superb all year round. Summer (usually) brings good weather but crowds.

Winter offers invigorating walking conditions, fewer crowds and welcoming log fires to come home to – but on the higher fells, snow and ice make them for experienced winter walkers only.

The tourist office’s guided walks run April to October.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Lake District

Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)

beautiful landscape in the Lake District

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.