The Most Colourful Autumn Walks in the Lake District

by Sue Talbot

Autumn is a magical season in the Lake District, renowned for its stunning landscapes, vibrant foliage and crisp mountain air. The region’s picturesque trails let you immerse yourself in nature’s beauty, with each step revealing new wonders. 

Whinlatter Forest

This forested mountain park is a paradise for nature lovers. In autumn, the forest transforms into a kaleidoscope of colours, with the vibrant hues of the changing leaves creating a stunning tapestry.

You’ll find a range of trails for all abilities, from gentle strolls to more challenging hikes. One of the highlights is the Whinlatter Wild Play Trail, a family-friendly route that winds through the forest. There are also plenty of viewpoints for enjoying panoramas of Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake.

Sunlit Uplands by Paul Albertella. The view from Whinlatter Forest on a crisp autumn day, with conifer trees in the foreground and the sunlit shapes of Skiddaw, Latrigg and Dale Head in the background.

Sunlit Uplands: Skiddaw, Latrigg and Dale Head from Whinlatter Forest by Paul Albertella. Shared cropped under a Creative Commons licence.

Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows is a hidden gem nestled among the Coniston fells and the Langdale Pikes. This circular walk provides tranquil views of the tarn surrounded by lush woodlands and golden meadows, and in autumn, the fiery foliage forms beautiful reflections on the water. The easy, level path around the tarn makes it accessible to all, making it a great choice for a leisurely autumn stroll.

Tarn Hows by Phil Barton. Views over the water of Tarn Hows in the Lake District. The trees on the surrounding hills are yellowing in autumn, with splindly silver birches in the foreground.

Tarn Hows by Phil Barton. Sharped cropped under a Creative Commons licence.

The vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow that adorn the trees in autumn also make this walk popular with photographers.

Hope Park Gardens

Nestled between Derwentwater and the market town of Keswick, Hope Park is a haven of tranquillity and beauty. As autumn descends, the park transforms into a magical wonderland, with its landscaped gardens ablaze with Japanese maples and a wide variety of other trees and plants.

Japanese Maple in Autumn by Mary. A close up of the fine-tipped leaves of a Japanese maple, fully orange and red in autumn.

Japanese Maple in Autumn by Mary. Shared under a Creative Commons licence.

Walking through the park’s winding paths, you’re treated to stunning views of the lake and the surrounding fells. And you’ll also get to meet the bronze statue of Max the Miracle Dog, the most famous dog in the Lake District.

Sizergh Castle and Gardens

Sizergh Castle and Gardens near Kendal are wrapped inside a 1,600-acre estate of ancient woodland, pastures and orchards and offer a more historic and cultural autumn walk. The castle’s imposing façade and beautiful gardens provide a striking backdrop for a relaxing stroll where you can spot a variety of wildlife.

Sizergh Castle sits surrounded by its gardens, with large numbers of Japanese Maple in full autumn red.

In autumn, the gardens come alive with exotic rowans, fruits and berries and Japanese maples. Make sure you wander around the mirror lake to capture some spectacular views of the castle.

Blea Tarn

Tucked away in the Langdale Valley, Blea Tarn is an idyllic spot that epitomises the rugged charm of the Lake District. The tranquil waters of the tarn reflect the surrounding Langdale Pikes, creating one of the most photographed scenes in the national park.

The three pronounced rocky humps of the Langdale Pikes dominate this photograph, with their stony shape reflected in the calm water of Blea Tarn below.

In autumn, the golden hues of bracken, heather and larch trees that line the shores add a comforting warmth and richness to the landscape. The walk around Blea Tarn may be relatively short but it sure packs a punch with its incredible views.

Aira Force and Gowbarrow Park Trail

No autumn walk in the Lake District would be complete without a trip to Aira Force and Gowbarrow Park. The magnificent Aira Force waterfall thunders down a series of cascades, which is even more dramatic in autumn after heavy rainfall and when the surrounding trees are filled with colour.

Aira Force, an enormously tall waterfall in the Lake District, tumbles down a sheer, mounded rock face from beneath an arched stone packhorse bridge. Greenery encroaches on either side.
Views from Gowbarrow Fell over Ullswater, a glittering expanse of blue water beneath rocky Lake District fells.

Follow the trail through dense woodland, pausing at the open glades to inhale the wonderful views over Ullswater and keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels as they munch on the nuts from the trees and feeding stations.

Sue Talbot

Adventure Travel Blogger

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.

Read more blogs by Sue Talbot

Originally published 21/06/24

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