For obvious reasons, staycations have flourished amongst the British population in the past 12 months, with one survey suggesting that 83% of holidaymakers were intending to stay in the country in 2021, instead of travelling abroad for their next holiday.
Pandemic aside, the UK has plenty of reasons to opt against hopping on the next plane out of Heathrow, one of which is the splendour of the Lake District.
Cumbria’s National Park is a one-stop shop for outdoor adventure, with it’s 16 lakes, hundreds of fells and plethora of activities to get stuck into.
In particular, the Lakes are a haven for hiking or running, whether you’re a regular rambler or are looking to open up your adventurous side more.
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Why choose the Lake District?
The obvious reason to visit the Lake District, whether you are up for a spot of fell running or not, is the spectacular scenery the area has to offer.
From seeing the sun rising up from behind the fells in the morning, to the tranquil waters of Ullswater, Coniston Water and the like, and the countless pretty towns and villages across the region, mother nature has done a pretty good job with the Lake District.
There’s something for everyone
Similarly, when it comes to running and hiking in the Lake District, visitors are spoilt with hundreds of trails available, truly providing something for everyone.
Hardened fell dwellers can tackle peaks in excess of 900m, such as the highest point in England, Scafell Pike, or the equally imposing Helvellyn, while those with limited experience have countless relaxed strolls at their disposal.
You don’t have to do it alone
Taking a running or hiking holiday in the UK’s largest National Park might leave you feeling lost as to where to explore, but thankfully there are plenty of organised events if you want running buddies to explore with.
Lakeland Trails have 5km, 10km and 15km events around some of the Lake District’s most popular spots, as well as the daunting 100km Ultra with it’s iconic midnight start.
Example hikes and runs in the Lake District
There are literally hundreds of routes to consider when planning a hiking holiday in the Lake District, but we’ve picked out three different options for varying levels of fitness to get you started.
A good starter route that can be done as a hike, or at pace with a lakeside run, this loop around Grasmere lake and through the town takes in around 6km of well-marked tracks and roads.
Largely flat, the only ascent hikers have to tackle is the climb up Red Bank, more often the foe of cyclists, the road which hits an ascent of 16% comes at walkers and runners soon after leaving the picturesque town.
Once you reach the banks of the river, the track follows the water’s edge on a fairly level loop until you reach the road between Grasmere and Ambleside and return back to town.
A nice way to spend an hour or two in the morning, this is one for the beginners or runners looking to limber up before a big one later in the week.
Conquering England’s highest peak will be on the to-do list for a lot of visitors to the Lake District, and this challenging route provides that opportunity while also exploring a quieter corner of the region.
The 978m peak is the main draw to this western area of the district, but there is plenty to enjoy on a 11.6km circular walk from Wasdale Head.
Stunning views across the valley of Wast Water, a spot of scrambling when you approach the peak of Scafell Pike, plus the kudos of conquering the mountain itself are a reward for the hard miles underfoot.
The Old Man of Coniston
A fell runner’s dream, the Old Man of Coniston was named by UK Hill Walking as one of the top destinations to run in the Lake District.
Underfoot conditions vary depending on your chosen route to the peak, but whichever way you choose to climb the fell, be prepared for a windy reception once you reach the top.
The waterfalls of Levers Water Beck, the challenging option of Dow Crag and the views over Coniston Water make this area one to appreciate on a visit to the Lake District.
Things to remember on a Lake District break
We fully endorse exploring the Lake District on your next running or hiking adventure, but there are a few things that are worth bearing in mind;
• It can be busy – the Lake District is a popular destination, so despite it’s wild interior, don’t expect to have the place to yourself unless you really go off-grid. Towns like Ambleside, Bowness and Keswick can get very busy at peak times. Going in the Autumn will help, but still expect to have company.
• Tell someone your plans – You’ll rarely be alone in the usual haunts, but it’s worth letting someone know where you’re going if you’re planning an excursion into the fells, in case of emergencies.
• Plan for all occasions – It might be a bit of a pain taking lots of kit with you on each run, but you’ll be grateful for a waterproof jacket when a seemingly dry day turns into a downpour atop one of the fells at short notice. Safety equipment for emergencies is also worth packing.
• There is so much to explore – There’s no getting away from the fact that the likes of Windermere and Ullswater are stunning places to visit, but the Lake District’s big guns attract the bulk of the crowds. Expand your horizons and opt for a less heralded corner of the National Park.
If you’re inspired to go hiking in the Lake District, make sure you take out the right cover. Our Hiking Insurance will protect you should anything go wrong.