Best Winter Walks in the Lake District

by Sue Talbot

The Lake District National Park plays host to some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK, and if you love to embrace the crisp winter weather, there are plenty of Lakeland walks that let you take in the views without scaling the icy fells. There’s nothing more invigorating than getting all wrapped up and exploring the landscapes when the sky above is blue and the peaks are dusted in snow.


Suitable for walkers of all skill levels all year round, Derwentwater offers a beautiful lakeside walk along the shore, through woodland and below dramatic fells. The entire lap of Derwentwater is 10 miles long, but if you don’t want to walk that far, you can explore various sections of the route or even hop on a boat to one of the nearby villages.


The eastern shore is particularly picturesque, with lots of surprises along the way. Starting out from Keswick, head through Hope Park to Friar’s Crag, a popular photo spot that looks across the lake; the Centenary Stone; Calfclose Bay with its idyllic beach; Ashness Bridge; and finally, Surprise View, another vantage point that overlooks Derwentwater.

New Dungeon Ghyll to Blea Tarn

This is a great walk if you want to immerse yourself in the epic views of the Langdale Pikes.

Starting out from the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, you follow the road through Great Langdale towards the National Trust campsite. On your right you’re overlooked by some of the most iconic peaks of the Langdales, such as Pavey Ark, Pike of Blisco, Harrison Stickle, Bowfell and Lingmoor.


As you take the path that winds through the campsite, there’s a short and relatively easy ascent up Side Pike. Nearing the summit (you don’t need to climb to the top as you’ll skirt past it on the right), views of Blea Tarn begin to emerge. Don’t forget to look back for those phenomenal views of the Langdale Pikes before you descend.

Continue along the path that fringes the western side of the tarn, briefly passing through the woodland, before reaching the southern tip, where you’re greeted with a stunning view of Blea Tarn and the imposing Langdale backdrop.

Tarn Hows

The 2-mile circular route around Tarn Hows is a gentle walk that can be enjoyed in any season. In winter, when the surrounding trees are laden in snow and icy reflections form on the water, it’s especially idyllic. There’s lots of wildlife to look out for and you’ll likely bump into a few Herdwick sheep in their thick winter coats, too.

The view out across the water at Tarn Hows, a beautiful place to walk in the Lake District in winter.
Tarn Hows as viewed from above: glassy water surrouned by lush greenery.

Piercing the horizon, you’ll see the distinctive peaks of the Langdales, Helvellyn and the Eastern Fells. It’s worth taking a short detour down to Tom Gill waterfall, which is signposted near to the start of the route as you walk clockwise around the tarn. The falls are especially impressive following heavy downpours.

Kentmere Valley

Tucked away in a lesser-visited part of the Lake District, Kentmere Valley lies in the shadows of the rugged peaks that make up Kentmere Horseshoe. A tarmac track winds along the river, among the fells and past gushing waterfalls where you can stop and inhale the pure tranquillity of nature. The area is also well known for its magnificent wildlife, and you might even spot some birds of prey on your walk.

As you continue along the road towards Kentmere Reservoir, the scenery becomes even more dramatic, and you can watch the powerful force of the overflow as it thunders down the rocks.


Sue Talbot is an adventure travel blogger and iPhone photographer who’s often found hiking up the Lakeland fells or swimming in fairy pools. Her outdoor adventures and photographs can be found on her blog, Lifehop, and also her Lake District Lovers Facebook page.

Originally published 04/01/23

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