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The best family walks in the Northern Lake District this August

Family walks in the North Lakes- OS4 & OS5

· Nature,Hiking,Outdoors,Family

We’re not going to spout the same old stuff about August being the perfect time of year to visit the Lake District! Every time of year in the Lakes is wonderful in its own special way. We will however state that August is one of the most popular for walkers. There are more days of guaranteed good weather; the water is warmer for swimming, and the kids are off school.

So, if you’re thinking about coming to the Lakes with the family this August, you’re probably already planning your hikes; a spot of wild swimming perhaps, or some family days out exploring. Let’s get you started...

Here are our top 5 Summer walks with the family, using the OL4 & OL5 Northwestern and Northeastern maps:

Great How, Thirlmere

With views out across Lake Thirlmere and the Helvellyn ridge, Great How is a mild, premonitory wooded walk, and a great, short climb for young families.

Route: Following an easy path from the side of Dale Head Hall, Lakeside Hotel, you will walk along the side of Thirlmere until you come across a dirt path that climbs to the top of Great How, with fabulous views across the Lake to Ravens Crag. The path is fairly steep, but manageable and short, for young legs. The top offers stunning views of Thirlmere, Blencathra and Helvellyn, that make the climb even more 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.

Highest Elevation: 333mtr­­

Length: 2 miles

OS Explorer Map number: OL5 – North Eastern area

overlooking thirlmere

Cat Bells

Prominently hugging the shores of Derwent Water, the Cat Bells ridge walk is one of the North Lakes’ most popular for families and newbie walkers. With stunning views over Derwent Water, across to Keswick and down into the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’.

Route: There are numerous ways to summit 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, following along the lakeside, before joining the steep but direct path leading to the summit of Cat Bells. Be sure to visit the Lingholme Kitchen and Walled Garden for a cup of tea or bite to eat on your return- a popular spot for Dale Head Hall guests.


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

Highest Elevation: 451mtr

Length: between 3 and 5 miles dependent on route.

OS Explorer Map number: OL4 – North Western area

catbells path

Ashness bridge to Watendlath, via Surprise View

A wonderful, strolling walk for a Summer’s day with the family, that takes in one of the most famous views in the Lake District- Surprise View. Ashness bridge too, is one of the oldest and most photographed bridges in the Lakes.

Route: You can either start from Ashness bridge, or drive on up a bit further, parking at Surprise View to begin your walk. Surprise View is certainly the main attraction, with the best views across Derwent Water and up to the Jaws of Borrowdale. You get a great view of Cat Bells from the opposite side of the lake here too. Continue along the road to Watendlath- a steep climb, but worth the cup of tea and delicious cakes served at the Caffle House Tea-room in Watendlath. Head back the way you came, or make a longer detour via Rosthwaite, for a much needed pint and bite to eat at the Riverside Bar there.


Difficulty for kids: Easy-Medium -dependent on route choice. Some steep road walking involved.

Highest Elevation: 263mtr

Length: 2.3 miles from Ashness Bridge to Watendlath

OS Explorer Map number: OL4 – North Western area

surprise view, borrowdale, lake district

Rosthwaite to Watendlath Circular

A slightly more trying take on the previous route, this circular walk begins and ends in the pretty little village of Rosthwaite, in Borrowdale. Perfect for a full family day out, with options for dinner at the Riverside Bar in Rosthwaite at the end.

Route: Beginning in Rosthwaite, there is plenty of parking in the village (bring some change along, as it is paid parking), or make the most of the bus, direct from Keswick. Heading over a small stone bridge on the East side of the village and heading left along the clearly marked path; immediately begin to climb, following signs for Watendlath. This is the hardest part of the walk; with around 30 mins of steady climbing path ahead. It’s worth it though, as it’s all downhill from here. Head down into Watendlath for your first pit-stop, with its pretty tarn and teashop. Once you’re ready to move on, head along the road back down into Borrowdale, and follow the roadside paths back into Rosthwaite, where dinner awaits you and your weary wee explorers.


Difficulty for kids: Medium-Hard -dependent on age. Some steep, but wide and well trodden paths. A long, full day route for younger walkers.

Highest Elevation: 325 mtr

Length: 8.6 miles total circular (Bus can be taken back to Rosthwaite from Borrowdale road, to shorten walking time if needed)

OS Explorer Map number: OL4 – North Western area

watendlath tarn

More details, and a video of this walk can be found on the Walking with the taxi driver website!

High Rigg from Legburthwaite Circular - St John’s in the Vale

We will let our friends at Walking With The Taxi Driver demonstrate this beautiful North Lakes walk for you:


Difficulty for kids: Medium-Hard dependent on age - a long walk with several ups and downs.

Elevation: 348 mtr

Length: 5 miles

OS Explorer Map number: OL5 – North Eastern area & OL4 – North Western

More details, and a video of this walk can be found on the Walking with the taxi driver website!

Latrigg, Keswick

Latrigg is a great fell for children to climb, with views over Keswick from the summit. It also overlooks Derwentwater and the surrounding fells, offering a stunning vista for a fell with such low elevation. With its easy location, families can take a half-day walk, and be back down in time for a yummy Keswickian dinner- or even lunch if you're early risers.

Route: This route will take you from the town centre, through Fitz Park, following the path beside the river. At the far end of the park, exit on the road toward a bridleway which is signposted for Skiddaw. The steepest part of your walk is at the beginning but doesn’t last long. Keep to the path as it opens up and ignore any turnings off the main route. Latrigg is clearly signposted. There is a limited mobility car park closer to the summit also.


Difficulty for kids: Easy-Medium dependant on age – a nice family stroll with some easy climbs

Elevation: 368 mtr

Length: 3 miles

OS Explorer Map number: OL4 – North Western area

view from latrigg

Read more about the History of Keswick HERE

Read more about things to do with the kids HERE