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Grasmere

Hiking around Grasmere

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Photo: cathredfern (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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‘The loveliest spot that man hath ever found,’ extolled William Wordsworth of this quintessential Lake District spot. Hugely fond of walks around Grasmere, the poet chose to spend most of his adult life living and rambling here. It’s easy to see why: the hiking, scenery, lakes, hills and mountains are all achingly delightful.

Experience a plethora of beautiful afternoon strolls in the village’s picturesque surroundings or, if you’re after an adventure on the high fells, there are many fantastic routes that commence here. Rydal Water and Grasmere, whilst smaller than some in the national park, are scenic gems for lakeside loops. Cherished by generations of walkers, their wooded banks, calm shores and tranquil paths are sure to enthral.

Discover the more strenuous hikes around Grasmere. Modest, yet exciting hills hem in the homesteads and lakes, whilst hidden behind are ridges that ascend gently to some of the higher fells in the district.


Top 20 best walks and hikes around Grasmere

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    1
    Intermediate
    03:51
    8.65 mi
    2.3 mph
    800 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    2
    Intermediate
    02:09
    4.89 mi
    2.3 mph
    400 ft
    400 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    02:57
    6.25 mi
    2.1 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    4
    Difficult
    02:40
    5.04 mi
    1.9 mph
    900 ft
    900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    5
    Intermediate
    02:41
    6.05 mi
    2.2 mph
    550 ft
    550 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    6
    Easy
    01:24
    3.15 mi
    2.3 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    7
    Difficult
    06:26
    11.8 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,975 ft
    2,975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    8
    Intermediate
    04:27
    8.47 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,875 ft
    1,875 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    9
    Difficult
    04:56
    9.67 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,775 ft
    1,775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    03:31
    7.09 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    11
    Difficult
    03:55
    7.25 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,550 ft
    1,550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    12
    Intermediate
    01:30
    3.35 mi
    2.2 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    13
    Intermediate
    04:29
    8.90 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    14
    Intermediate
    04:13
    8.40 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,575 ft
    1,575 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    15
    Intermediate
    01:26
    2.78 mi
    1.9 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    04:50
    8.49 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,525 ft
    2,525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    17
    Intermediate
    03:18
    6.25 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,400 ft
    1,400 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    18
    Intermediate
    02:07
    3.85 mi
    1.8 mph
    950 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    19
    Difficult
    02:04
    3.45 mi
    1.7 mph
    850 ft
    850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    20
    Difficult
    05:30
    10.0 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,350 ft
    2,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View

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More Information

Where the feared became the inspiring

A change in the way people perceived mountains gradually occurred during the late 18th century. Before this time, mountainous landscapes were seen as ugly and fearful, as places to be reviled. The likes of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Burns and Scott were about to change all of that. A movement inspired by these artistic pioneers saw mountains instead thought of as sublime places of raw beauty, as places to explore and experience. The English Lake District was at the centre of this shift and, due to Wordsworth, Grasmere was at the very heart of it.

Today, walks in Grasmere are a perfect introduction to Lakeland walking, with archetypal lakeside scenery, quaint villages and green hills topped with rocky ramparts. Circular, or indeed figure-of-eight, routes around Rydal Water and Grasmere are wonderful, blending woodland, grassland and lakeside paths that all boast splendid mountain views.

Modest hills and brooding peaks

To really appreciate the romantic power of this landscape, the allure that Wordsworth found so irresistible, you have to get up amongst its fells. Whilst an adventure onto the hulking Fairfield range is excellent, perhaps the best hiking trails around Grasmere explore the uniquely characterful, smaller hills that surround the village.

Looming over the village, Helm Crag is a superb objective and curiously the one peak that legendary guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright did not actually summit. This was because of the airy scramble to top of the rocky outcrop that adorns its 1,329-foot (405 m) zenith, which has also earned the fell the famous moniker ‘the Lion and the Lamb’ due to its appearance from the valley.

The centre of a hub around which several valleys splay outwards, Loughrigg Fell is an adventure much greater than its 1,099 feet (335 m) would suggest. With stunning views in all directions, ease of access, dark caves and wonderful tarns all to explore, this is one little hill that packs an almighty punch.

How to avoid peak Gras Vegas

Hikes in Grasmere are popular. Its sublime beauty comes at a cost during peak season, earning it the nickname ‘Gras Vegas’. School holidays and weekends are when the accessible routes here are busiest, so think carefully about when to plan a visit. If a weekend in August is unavoidable, hit the trails early or late in the day.


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