6 of the Best Lake District Winter Walks

Published: 2022-12-20 / Author: Oliver Pyper

6 of the Best Lake District Winter Walks

If you love wrapping up warm and exploring crisp, snow-flecked landscapes, you'll adore these Lake District Winter walks.

OK, we can't promise snow. But we can promise that you'll get your blood pumping and experience some of the most gorgeous scenery the Lake District has to offer.

Some even say the Lake District looks its best in Winter. Just wait until you see the Winter sun reflecting off Lake Windermere. It's one for the bucket list, believe us.

Pressed for time? Don't worry. These Lake District Winter walks are all within easy driving distance of The Ro. So after your wintry workout, you can hang up your walking boots and get cosy in one of our spacious lake-view rooms.

Like the sound of that? Let's go.

 

Brant Fell

Driving distance: no driving necessary.

Parking: leave your car parked at The Ro.

Walk length: allow two hours.

Difficulty: easy to moderate.

Dog friendly?: There are stiles and other dog obstacles on the route.

If you don't fancy driving, this walk is a good choice because it pretty much starts on our doorstep!

The trail takes you from the centre of Bowness up nearby Brant Fell. It's quite a steep climb, but it's certainly worth the effort. As you crest the peak, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the local landscape – including, of course, Lake Windermere. On a crisp, clear Winter's day, it's nothing short of breathtaking.

 

 

Orrest Head circular

Driving distance: one-and-a-half miles; around five minutes.

Parking: in Windermere.

Walk length: about an hour and a half.

Difficulty: easy to moderate.

Dog friendly?: Yes. There is fencing on most of the paths.

Here's another fairly easy walk with a big payoff. From the top of Orrest Head, you can drink up almost the whole length of Lake Windermere. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)

Keen walkers can tackle the entire circular route and still have time to explore Windermere village. If you have kids in tow, you might want to turn back after you reach the summit. This way, you'll enjoy the best that the walk has to offer and avoid those dreaded tantrums.

The trail is open all year round and is easy to spot – just look for the sign opposite Windermere railway station.

 

School Knott

Driving distance: just over a mile; around five minutes.

Parking: in Windermere.

Walk length: about an hour.

Difficulty: easy.

Dog friendly?: Be aware of dog obstacles like stiles and kissing gates.

The Orrest Head trail is very popular – even in the colder months. So if you're looking for a Lake District Winter walk that avoids the crowds, aim your boots up School Knott instead.

Sure, the views aren't quite as awe-inspiring, but this walk makes up for it with sheer variety. Over the course of this two-mile trek, you'll come across lonely lakes, pretty woodland trails and plenty of grassy, rippling hills.

It's a fairly easy walk, too, barring a few steep climbs up to the summit. You can tackle the whole thing in about an hour.

 

Red Screes and Middle Dodd from Ambleside

Driving distance: six-and-half miles; around 15 minutes.

Parking: in Ambleside.

Walk length: at least four hours.

Difficulty: moderate to difficult.

Dog friendly?: Exercise caution. There are dog obstacles and steep cliffs on the route.

Beginners beware. This is a tricky walk that will see you traversing tough terrain, sometimes without an obvious path to follow.

Take up the challenge, though, and you'll be richly rewarded. The trail promises breathtaking views of Kirkstone Pass and its surrounding peaks – not to mention the sheer satisfaction that comes with completing a challenging hike.

What makes this a good Lake District Winter walk? There's a mountain lake at the summit of Red Screes, which may be frozen over if the weather's cool enough. It can be very beautiful if the light's just right.

 

Gummer's How

Driving distance: seven-and-a-half miles; around 16 minutes.

Parking: Gummer's How car park.

Walk length: 30 minutes.

Difficulty: fairly easy.

Dog friendly?: There may be free-roaming cattle, so avoid this one if you're walking with dogs.

Got a spare morning? Here's a quick Lake District Winter walk that still guarantees excellent views and a hefty workout.

Gummer's How is a hill located near the southern end of Lake Windermere. It's relatively small (by Lake District standards, anyway) and can be conquered in just half an hour. Just be sure to wear sturdy boots and trousers – the terrain can be quite rough and muddy, especially in Winter.

The walk starts at Gummer's How picnic area, which is a short drive south from our hotel. 

 

Rydal Water circular walk

Driving distance: eight miles; around 17 minutes.

Parking: at Rydal Water car park.

Walk length: up to two hours.

Difficulty: easy.

Dog friendly?: Yes.

Most Lake District Winter walks require at least a little walking experience. But this route is easy enough for just about anyone – including families, dog walkers and absolute beginners.

This laid-back trail follows the contours of Rydal Water, one of the Lake District's smallest lakes. The views are spectacular – especially in Winter, when crisp sunlight casts shadows across the peaks of Nab Scar and Loughrigg Fell.

And there are plenty of local sights to enjoy if you're willing to wander, including the historic Nab Cottage and Rydal Cave – a huge, natural cavern set into the side of a hill.

One word of caution: like many Lake District Winter walks, the Rydal circular can get quite muddy, so come equipped with proper walking boots.

Are you planning a hiking holiday in the Lake District? You'll always be welcome at The Ro. Our four-star hotel is located in Bowness-in-Windermere, overlooking the famous lake. Make The Ro your home from home and you'll have the beauty of the lakes at your fingertips.