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Thirlmere

Hiking around Thirlmere

Hiking

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Photo: Tom

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The Lake District is the sort of region that makes hikers go misty-eyed. Walks around Thirlmere are a perfect example of this area’s phenomenal geography thanks to the imposing presence of Helvellyn, the densely forested shores and the lake itself. 

Once a natural lake and now a vast reservoir, you’ll soon discover the captivating beauty of the area on your hikes around Thirlmere. Just south of Keswick and in the glorious centre of the Lake District, you can explore lakeside trails, climb up high for staggering views and walk some of the best ridges in the country. 

With a large selection of paths, you’ll find routes suitable for blowing your children’s minds, others ideal for challenging treks and even waterfall loops. Whatever your hiking goals are, you can achieve them in Thirlmere. Unless you want boring. Thirlmere doesn’t do boring. 


Top 20 best walks and hikes around Thirlmere

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    1
    Difficult
    05:46
    9.46 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,900 ft
    2,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    2
    Intermediate
    03:25
    4.92 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,350 ft
    2,350 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
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  • 3
    Difficult
    06:06
    9.38 mi
    1.5 mph
    3,450 ft
    3,450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    4
    Difficult
    05:41
    8.74 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,825 ft
    2,825 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    5
    Difficult
    04:56
    7.94 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,950 ft
    2,950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    6
    Intermediate
    02:49
    6.10 mi
    2.2 mph
    725 ft
    725 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    7
    Intermediate
    04:34
    10.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    8
    Difficult
    05:57
    7.41 mi
    1.2 mph
    3,175 ft
    3,175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    9
    Intermediate
    04:35
    10.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    825 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    02:55
    5.91 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,000 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    11
    Easy
    01:05
    1.43 mi
    1.3 mph
    800 ft
    800 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    12
    Difficult
    05:30
    10.7 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,975 ft
    1,975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    13
    Intermediate
    01:58
    4.27 mi
    2.2 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    14
    Difficult
    06:26
    11.3 mi
    1.8 mph
    3,400 ft
    3,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    15
    Intermediate
    01:58
    4.24 mi
    2.2 mph
    525 ft
    500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    04:10
    6.96 mi
    1.7 mph
    2,375 ft
    2,375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    17
    Difficult
    05:18
    9.17 mi
    1.7 mph
    2,800 ft
    2,800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    18
    Difficult
    07:59
    13.9 mi
    1.7 mph
    3,575 ft
    3,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    19
    Difficult
    07:33
    11.5 mi
    1.5 mph
    4,825 ft
    4,825 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    20
    Intermediate
    02:31
    4.89 mi
    1.9 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View

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Hunting for the best views

You don’t have to go very far to get outstanding views on your walks in the Thirlmere area. This north to south-running lake is surrounded by impressive hills and the most popular peak is Helvellyn. 

The third-tallest mountain in England at 3,117 feet (950 m), Helvellyn captures ramblers’ imaginations with its extraordinary ridges and offers the best hiking trails near Thirlmere. Striding Edge and Swirral Edge are sharp ridgelines that bring your attention into the present moment, placing each foot carefully. When you walk up here, you’ll be treading in the footsteps of Coleridge and Wordsworth. 

To the south of Thirlmere, you can explore the many trails in the hills here, from Seat Saddle and Fairfield to St Sunday Crag. Grassy with steep sections, these fells offer exquisite views that keep getting better the higher you climb. 

Armboth Fell, High Tove and High Seat on the west side of the lake are all lower but still impressive fells to hike with the wonderful Dob Gill waterfall crashing down in the south. 

Walking in the woods

Hikes in Thirlmere’s mountainous neighbours are outstanding but sometimes all you want is a blissful hike in dense forests. Both sides of the lake have thick coniferous forests with sprawling trails through them. 

See the extraordinary Giant Tree to the north west of the lake. This silver fir towers above its neighbouring trees and was planted in 1821. You can also explore the trails on the wooded slopes of Armboth Fell around Launchy Gill. Here you’ll find a waterfall cascading through the woods and the Tottling Stone, a boulder conspicuously perched and looking as though you could push it right over (you can’t, thankfully). 

Strolling from summer to spring

The Lake District couldn’t be more different from summer to winter but one thing is always the same; it is always stunning. Walks around Thirlmere in late spring are alive with bird song and summer brings evening sunshine that will, quite frankly, knock your socks off. 

Autumn and winter have their own charm even though the weather is considerably more changeable. Snow is a frequent winter visitor to the Lake District and the mountains and ridges become more dangerous, requiring winter mountaineering experience and equipment. 

With evergreen forests, winter hikes around Thirlmere have a flair of the magical about them and as long as you’re well-prepared, it’s a fantastic place to walk no matter what the season.

Thirlmere's best walks and hikes on the map

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