I’ve been blessed by the Lake District in Cumbria, UK and its staggering scenery on three separate visits in my lifetime. On none of those occasions, however, did I lace up expensive hiking boots and climb to the highest peaks to observe its beauty from the skies.
No doubt the views would be magical from famous summits like Scafell Pike and Skiddaw, but it’s easy to soak in the area’s best scenery without an elaborate uphill mission not for the faint-hearted.
Below I’ve listed five of the best Lake District views with easy access points. What’s more, all of the photos were taken by me, so you know the list is bonafide and totally legit (hooray!).
1) Lakeside at Derwent Water.
Let’s kick off with one of the easiest. Surrounded by parking areas and footpaths, Derwent Water is one of the hottest scenes for the casual scenery enthusiast.
On the lake’s east side, along with B5289, a National Trust car park can be found with designated pathways leading around the water’s edge. This is one of Derwent Water’s most popular photography destinations.
2) Strolling around Buttermere.
Arguably the greatest trail for the casual scenery hunter is found enveloping the Buttermere lake.
Boasting stunning mountains, woodland, valleys and a gorgeous lake - all visible from the same viewpoint, it is impossible for nature lovers to emerge from Buttermere disappointed. The photo featured above is one of my favourite to-date, as it perfectly encapsulates what to expect from a visit to Buttermere.
The level path around the lake is as ordinary as it comes in terms of struggle, with no surprising uphill gradients or tricky steps.
Accessing the path is as easy as walking it. A clear and wide tarmac route stems from The Fish Inn (just off the B5289) all the way to the lakeside, which takes less than 10 minutes to cover. Free and paid parking is available in the surrounding areas, both roadside and dedicated parking areas.
3) The hills of Ullswater.
Stepping things up a little now, literally. Stretching to nearly a mile wide, Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District. So there’s plenty of water to soak up, but can you see all of it from a reasonable height?
Of course! The summit of Hallin Fell, pictured above and marked with a stone pillar, offers up a tasty view along one of the lake’s largest stretches of water, with Pooley Bridge in-sight. We parked at The Parish Church of Saint Peter near Howtown and climbed up the hill using man-made footpaths.
Reaching the summit took less than 30 minutes, but be aware that it can get steep in parts. It is however perfectly easy to accomplish for the casual walker.
4) Aira Force Waterfall, Ullswater
Breathtaking mountains teamed with an enormous lake isn’t the only tantalising trick up Ullswater’s sleeve. Tucked away in the lake’s northern hills off the A592, just south of Dockray, rests a simply awe-inspiring and yet menacingly powerful waterfall, appropriately titled Aira Force.
Accessible via the Aira Force and Gowbarrow Trail, the path up to the mighty waterfall is wrapped in harmonic woodland and travels alongside a peaceful stream. Aira Force dwarfs much of its surroundings, standing at a whopping 70 feet, with safe access all around it. For more information on how to visit her majesty, visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/aira-force-and-ullswater/trails/aira-force-and-gowbarrow-trail
5) Ascending to Helvellyn, Thirlmere
The final recommendation comes courtesy of Thirlmere, its beautiful reservoir and the surrounding mountains. A forged trail along the east side of the reservoir leads up to the Helvellyn summit.
The walk up to Helvellyn’s trig point begins on the east side of Thirlmere at the Swirl’s pay and display car park, just off the A591. From here a designated path made up of largely pebbles and small rocks leads up the hillside, eventually reaching grassy hills with large slabs to step on.
The trek up the hill is moderate, but achievable even for patients with the worst cases of ambulophobia (a fear of walking - I had to look it up). The walk to the trig point takes approximately 90 minutes at a casual pace, with spectacular views of mountain-tops and the sweeping valleys hugging the reservoir along the way.