Great walks in Grasmere

Penny wood on the shore or Grasmere lake
Take a wander along the lakeshore National Trust / Christine Shaw

From relaxing lake-shore strolls to fell-top expeditions, when it comes to walking we're spoiled for choice here in Grasmere. Here are a few of our favourite walks to get you started.

Helm Crag

Approx 3.5 miles (6km)

Helm Crag, or the 'Lion and the Lamb' as it is more commonly known, is possibly the best known of all the Lakeland fells. Although not the biggest, it is definitely one of the most interesting.

Despite its challenging appearance with its steep, craggy sides and bristling summit this walk is the perfect introduction to hiking in the Lake District, requiring moderate effort and offering awesome views. The ascent is moderately steep with well laid paths until you reach the summit which is strewn with shattered and jagged rocks. From a distance these form a striking resemblance to the iconic 'Lion and Lamb'.

This walk is very doable in a morning or afternoon, but is well worth a full-day excursion complete with a picnic and camera.


Approx 5 miles (8km)

Loughrigg is one of Wainwright’s ‘midget mountains’ - more a sprawling hump than a mountain. Yet it's an absolute must for anyone on their first visit to this part of the Lake District.

We think the best approach is via Red Bank Hill which takes you through ancient woodland and then out onto the open fell side for a fairly steep but short ascent. There’s a rocky knoll about halfway up - a perfect place to stop for a breather while you take in the views.

The gently undulating hill top begs to be explored, but take care - the network of paths can be confusing particularly if it’s misty. Stunning 360-degree views from the summit offer a feast for the eyes and give a tempting taster of the surrounding landscape for those that want to explore further.

Brackenfell & Alcock Tarn

Approx 3 miles (5km)

This is a great circular walk starting and finishing in Grasmere village. The well maintained paths wind and gently climb uphill through the woods of Brackenfell before zig-zagging up the side of Grey Crag and leading you on to Alcock Tarn.

On a fine day the views throughout this walk are fantastic, especially from Alcock Tarn which offers views of Windermere to the south, a skyline silhouette of Helm Crag to the North West and views of Grasmere below.

Alcock Tarn lies 1,000 feet above Grasmere village. Originally a natural tarn, it was enlarged in the late 19th-century by means of a small stone and earth dam to create a trout lake. There are plenty of grassy areas around the tarn making it perfect for a picnic and a spot of minnow catching. So grab your net, get your socks off, roll up your trousers and catch yourself some minnows.

See detailed steps and map for this walk

Silver How

Approx 2.8 miles (4.5km)

Silver How forms part of the Blea Rigg ridge - the backbone that bisects Grasmere from Langdale Valley. This is a relatively easy walk which delivers all the charm and natural beauty that you might expect in Grasmere.

The walk has plenty of interest to offer, including Allan Bank, a Georgian villa perched on the hillside which was once home to William Wordsworth.

A short detour to Wray Gill is well worth a little extra effort if you have the time. The ascent is not difficult and the pathways are well maintained making this a great option for the whole family, young and old. Once up you will be rewarded with stunning views of the vale of Grasmere and at some points Langdale Valley as well. The summit is grassy and open with plenty of space for a picnic if you have the time.

Easedale Tarn

Approx 5 miles (8km)

The walk from Grasmere to Easedale Tarn is a great trip out for even the littlest legs!

A moderately easy ascent takes you through meadows and farmland before you head upwards, following the course of Sour Milk Gyhll, past the frothy white cascades of the waterfall and onwards until you reach the tarn.

Easedale tarn is beautiful, surrounded by towering fells that rise steeply from the crater-like valley. The tarn has an isolated, tranquil feel making it perfect for a picnic and a bit of paddle in the summer.

If you’re looking for a longer, more strenuous outing, Easedale Tarn offers access to more lofty summits including Sergeant Man with its breathtaking views of the Langdale Pikes, or Blea Rigg, a ridge walk that links Easedale Tarn to Stickle Tarn. These walks are suitable for experienced walkers who have allowed plenty of time.

Grasmere Lakeshore

Approx 4 miles (6.5km)

This lovely lake sits to the south of Grasmere village, once a favourite of William Wordsworth who was inspired by its natural beauty. The lake remains a real favourite of visitors to the Lake District.

The walk, along a moderately level lakeshore path, is a great option for all the family, with plenty of fun to be had along the way. Take a picnic if you have the time and be sure to look out for the hollow tree - a great spot for hide and seek.

There’s plenty of wildfowl to spot as you go and don’t forget to head to Penny Rock Beach to test your skimming skills before you head back to the village through Deer Bolts woods.

High Close Garden

Approx 4 miles (6.5km)

A short walk from the hustle and bustle of Grasmere village lies High Close Garden - its 11 acres of tranquillity offering a peaceful haven.

This woodland walk is truly enchanting. Wander around and sit on one of the many stone 'Courting seats' set into the walls or stop at the bottom of the path for a picnic where the views open up across Loughrigg Tarn and Elterwater.

Originally planted in the 1860s, there were once nine gardeners and a full time path sweeper to tend this lovely place. Now most of the work is carried out by National Trust Rangers and volunteers, who are slowly bringing this beautiful garden back to life.

Dora's Field

This delightful semi-open woodland, renowned for fine displays of bluebells and daffodils, was once owned by William Wordsworth. He acquired the land to build a house on - which was thankfully never developed.

Wordsworth’s daughter Dora sadly died in 1847 and William, together with his wife, sister and gardener, planted hundreds of daffodils as a memorial to Dora.

A relaxing wander around Dora’s Field is a lovely way to lose half an hour on a warm spring day in Rydal.

Grasmere & Rydal Water

Approx 5.3 miles (8.5km)

Rydal Water is one of the smallest lakes in the Lake District. However, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in sheer beauty as it sits glistening at the foot of Loughrigg Fell.

The best way to enjoy this lake is to combine it with a circular walk from Grasmere village taking in Grasmere Lake along the way. There is a well-maintained low-level path that skirts the shores of Rydal Water providing great walks with plenty of opportunities for picnics, paddling and skimming rocks along the way. The pebbly beaches and relative shallowness of this lake make it a favourite for wild swimming in the summertime.

For more information, maps and advice regarding these walks pop in to our shop in Grasmere.