Follow in the footsteps of Wordsworth and Wainwright and go exploring the wonderful Lake District. There are plenty of active adventures to be had in Cumbria’s high fells and limpid lakes - here’s how to go boating, biking, hiking and more.
Much-loved Catbells is sometimes called the ‘family fell’ because its 451 summit is the perfect hike for mountain lovers of all ages. The 3.5 mile route to climb it takes around three hours and quickly rewards walkers as they ascend with panoramic views across glassy Derwentwater to Keswick and to far-off Skiddaw and Blencathra mountain ranges. Then there’s a short, simple scramble at the top to reach the summit, where you might see paragliders taking off on calm days.
Follow Countryfile Magazine’s walking route to reach the top.
Paddle across Lake Windemere
Get up close with iconic Lake Windermere by paddling right across it, Swallows and Amazons style. This huge body of water is 10.5 mile long and one mile wide, so there’s of plenty of room to explore in a rowing boat, a kayak or a canoe. Paddle along tree-lined shores, go for a dip, come ashore on little beaches or stop for a cream tea in Bowness. Don’t forget to pack a picnic for a day on the water that’s straight out of a storybook.
Book it: Brockhole on Windemere rent rowing boats from £18, kayaks from £15 and canoes from £20.
Explore by bike
Bring your wheels - the undulating roads and hidden forests of the Lakes are brilliant when explored by bike. Keen road cyclists can tackle the infamous 33% incline and hairpin bens of Hardknott Pass, and mountain bikers should head for Whinlatter Forest and Grizedale Forest to find miles of challenging trails criss-crossing the woods. If you want to tour the Lakes on two wheels at a gentler pace you can also transport your bike on the Windemere ferry and the Windemere bike boat.
Book it: Coniston Boat Hire offer bike hire from £15 for adult bikes and £5 for children’s bikes.
Brush up on winter skills on Helvellyn
The Lakes aren’t just for summer adventures – their snow-clad mountains are also the perfect place to learn mountaineering skills in winter. The Lake District National Park offer day-long taster courses on Helvellyn mountain from December to April, and you’ll be taught by the Fell Top Assessors who summit the mountain daily in the winter. During the day you’ll learn the basics of staying safe on winter hikes as you hike 15km through the fells.
Book it: A day-long winter skills taster in the Lake District National Park costs £100 per person.
Via ferrata in Honister Slate Mine
Looking for a different way to see the lakes? How about climbing high into the hills using a series of iron rungs and ladders and following an old Victorian miner’s path? Via ferrata is the perfect way to get high in the Lakes without needing climbing experience. At Honister Slate mine you’ll follow a route onto the beautiful fell of Fleetwith Pike at 648 metres, which offers panoramic views across the Lakes to Buttermere, Crummock and Loweswater. Those with a head for heights can even walk across the narrow Infiniti bridge, a hair-raising 2,000ft above the valley floor.
Book it: Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine costs £40 per person and participants must be over 10.