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Family walks in the North Lakes

4 great walks for families with kids in the Lake District

· Nature,Outdoors,Hiking,Family

The Lake District is probably best known for its amazing walks (as well as its lakes of course); and while it’s definitely the place to be in England for serious fell walkers and runners; the Lake District is also a fantastic playground for young families wanting to introduce their kids to the beauty of the great outdoors. There is so much variety in places to walk, that children of all ages can get out and enjoy the Lake District.

Here are a few of our favourite walks for families:

kids hiking

Great How, Thirlmere

With views out across Lake Thirlmere and the Helvellyn ridge, Great How is a mild, mostly wooded walk, and a great first peak for young explorers.

Route: Following an easy path from the side of Dale Head Hall, Lakeside Hotel, you will follow along the side of Thirlmere until the path starts to climb, showing you views ahead of Great How, and across the Lake to Ravens Crag. The path splits at the base of Great How to begin a fairly steep, but manageable route to the top- where stunning views of Thirlmere, Blencathra and Helvellyn make the climb more than worthwhile. It is then up to you whether to continue your walk across the dam and up to Ravens Crag, or to head back for a cup of tea at Dale Head Hall.


Difficulty for kids: Medium. Steep in places, but an easy to follow path.

Elevation: 333mtr

Length: 2 miles

OS Explorer Map number: OL5 – North Eastern area

thirlmere lake


A nice, relaxing flat walk around Buttermere is a must for families staying in the North Lakes. The lakeside path takes in spectacular views of the surrounding Fells; Robinson; Hindscarth; Red Pike and Fleetwith Pike amongst others- as well as rolling fields and plenty of farm-life to interest the kids. There are plenty of options for stops on the way around, and the walk ends back in Buttermere where you can enjoy a lovely lunch with the fam.

Route: This walk starts and ends in either Buttermere, or at Gatesgarth farm, with an easy to follow, visible path the entire way. If you’re next to the lake, you’re in the right place.


Difficulty for kids: Easy, with lots of space to roam and explore- although the full circuit takes around one and a half hours.

Elevation: 100mtr

Length: 4.5 miles

OS Explorer Map number: OL4 – North Western area


Derwent Water

Following on with another fantastic Lake-side walk; Derwent water is perfect for either a short stroll with the family, or a longer romp all the way around. With the option of hiring a row boat on the Keswick shoreline, or grabbing an ice cream and mooching around Fitz Park, Keswick and Derwent Water is a great choice for younger families with pushchairs.

Route: Park at the Lakeside parking in Keswick and head toward the shoreline, where you with find a way-marked, wide path for strolling along. This path does eventually narrow out as it heads towards Borrowdale, and if your plan is to walk all the way around the Lake, it does become far less pushchair friendly further along. If you do decide to walk the full circuit, try stopping at Grange for a pub lunch, before carrying on to the other side of the Lake… and keep your eyes peeled for Red Squirrels!


Difficulty for kids: Easy-Medium- Depending on the route you choose. The full walk is quite long for little legs.

Elevation: 75mtr

Length: between 1-10 miles dependant on route.

OS Explorer Map number: OL4 – North Western area

Download a map HERE

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Cat Bells

Sitting prominently above the shores of Derwent Water, this ridge walk is one of the North Lakes most popular for families and first-time walkers. With stunning views over Derwent Water, across to Keswick and up toward the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’, this walk has no end of family photo ops!

Route: There are many routes up Cat Bells; so dependent on the age and ability of your group you can choose the best for you. The most family friendly route is to park at Hawes End car park and follow the path from there, along the lakeside and then joining the steep but direct climb to the summit from there. A visit to the Lingholme Kitchen and Walled Garden for a cup of tea or a late lunch on your return is an absolute must!


Difficulty for kids: Medium-Hard -Under 10s will struggle. Some steep, scrambly ascents in places.

Elevation: 451mtr

Length: between 3 and 5 miles dependent on route.

OS Explorer Map number: OL4 – North Western area

Cat Bells walk