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Bucket list experience:

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

The Langdale Pikes is a classic Lake District ‘round’, a multi-hill loop hike that allows keen ‘peak baggers’ to tick off several summits in a single walk.

The main route climbs up past the waterfall of Dungeon Ghyll Waterfall, then loops across the ‘Pikes’ – which can, depending on your chosen route, take in between three and six summits: Pike of Stickle, Pavey Ark, Loft Crag and Harrison Stickle, Thunacar Knott and Thorn Crag. The route then loops back down via Dungeon Ghyll, or you can add on an optional descent via Martcrag Moor.

It offers wonderful views over the valley of Great Langdale, and is also a stiff workout – there’s plenty of ascent involved, and depending on your route, some airy drops too, but there are few walks in Lakeland that offer such drama and diversity of scenery.

Don't miss

Stop for a post-hike pint at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, (locally known as the ODG), one of the most iconic Lakeland inns – and much loved by many famous walkers and climbers.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 4-5 hours

Getting there & doing it

The main route starts in Great Langdale next to the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. There’s a large car-park, but it fills up quickly on busy days, so arrive early if you want to bag a spot. Occasionally extra parking is available in a nearby field.

It’s a well-trodden trail, but you’re on pretty high ground here, with a maximum height of 736m on top of Harrison Stickle. The paths between the Pikes can occasionally be indistinct – so a map and compass definitely comes in handy. Walk Lakes has a useful route description and map, or you can download a fun hand-drawn map and PDF guide sheet produced by the New Dungeon Ghyll.

Allow 4-5 hours depending on route (around 6 miles). As always, sturdy boots, wet weather gear and plenty of food and water are essential.

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.

If you’re an inexperienced walker, it’s best avoided in bad weather as cloud and fog can make route finding very tricky.

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

Brimstone Hotel & Spa

Great Langdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[3.5 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)[4.7 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:

Forest Side Hotel

Grasmere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[5.1 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:

The Samling

Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[9.7 miles]

A charming, cosy boutique hotel, perched on a private hillside on a 67-acre estate, with an excellent restaurant and grandstand views across Lake Windermere.

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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Overview >

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

Dove Cottage (& Wordsworth Museum)

Grasmere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[4.8 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

Rydal Mount

Rydal, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[7 miles]

Wordsworth’s grand family home between Ambleside and Grasmere is an essential stop: it’s full of memorabilia, and offers an intriguing glimpse of the Wordsworth family’s daily life in the Lakes.

Best for ages: 18+ | £5

Walk up Scafell Pike

Wasdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[7.9 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

Underground tours of Honister Mine

Keswick, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[9.9 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

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

Exterior fo the small shop in Grasmere

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

Ambleside, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[4.4 miles]

Sarah Nelson’s gingerbread is an institution in Grasmere: it’s been made to the same recipe since 1854. It’s wonderfully quaint – the frilly outfits worn by the shop staff are something from a bygone age.

Best for ages: 4+ | Free | 3 hours

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

Grasmere Village

Ambleside, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[4.5 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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Overview >
Lady staring at a painting by Beatrix Potter, at the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, Cumbria. Beatrix Potter's original artwork on display in a 17th-century house.

Beatrix Potter Gallery

Hawkshead, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[10.1 miles]

This small gallery in Hawkshead is located in the old office of Beatrix Potter’s husband, solicitor William Heelis. It holds regular exhibitions of her work, including her beautiful botanical paintings.

Best for ages: 10+ | £7 | 3 hours

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Overview >