10 of the best small hills to climb in the Lake District 

The Lake District is famous for its hills – from England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, to the towering grandeur of Helvellyn. But sometimes, time, weather, or mobility doesn’t allow for a big hill walk, and the Lake District also has plenty of small hills that can still pack a punch for views without the longer miles.

I’ve put together a selection of my favourite small hills I’ve enjoyed over the years since I moved here- the ones I climbed with friends who don’t usually enjoy walking up hills, the hills I take friends with younger kids to and the ones I return to time and time again just for the joy of walking in the hills. 

1. Latrigg


Located just north of Keswick, this is one of my favourite small hills in the Lake District. You can choose to walk directly from the centre of town towards the outskirts and up Spooney Green Lane to a relatively easy path underfoot. There is a short steep section, and then you wind around the hillside before you are rewarded with panoramic views over Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite, Skiddaw, Blencathra and the surrounding northern fells. 

The beauty of Latrigg is that you can also drive up to just below the summit (although there is limited parking), where there is a more undulating path, which is perfect for buggies and those with more limited mobility.

Height:  368m      

Location: Near Keswick       

Accessible by public transport? Yes, by bus to Keswick from Penrith/Carlisle/ Central and Eastern Lake District

Find more detailed walk instructions here

2. Ravens Crag


Set on the northern fringes of Thirlmere Reservoir, just off the main road between Grasmere and Keswick; Ravens Crag is a short, steep climb that starts from the roadside. The walk is partially through woodland before opening out to a wooden platform viewing point that gives sweeping views towards the Helvellyn range.

Height:  461m

Location:  Near Thirlmere Reservoir between Grasmere and Keswick

Accessible by public transport? 555 bus between Lancaster and Keswick, alighting at the northern end of Thirlmere.

Find more detailed walk instructions here

3. Latterbarrow

Starting from the village of Hawkshead, this walk winds through a country lane in the central Lake District before turning off into rough open land with a short, steep climb towards the iconic beacon, which can be seen from the other side of Windermere on clear days. The views at the top are some of the finest in the Lake District for the relative amount of climbing, affording sweeping views over Windermere and across to the Langdale Pikes and Coniston Fells.

You can also choose to ascend or do a circular route of Latterbarrow from the nearby Wray Castle on the western shore of Windermere.

Height:   245m

Location: Near Hawkshead

Accessible by public transport? 505 to Hawkshead from Windermere/Ambleside, then a 20-30mins walk to the start of the walk

Find more detailed walk instructions here

4. Loughrigg

Set in the heart of the central fells just outside of Ambleside, the most popular route starts through the lovely Rothay Park before a short, sharp ascent up a paved path that opens out onto the open undulating hillside where you can choose a number of paths to take you to the trig point.

There are various routes you can choose to climb Loughrigg, such as a quieter path that starts from Clappersgate just outside Ambleside, plus various options to extend the walk to nearby attractions such as Rydal Caves, Rydal Water or along the terrace path to Grasmere. 

Height: 335m

Location:  Near Ambleside

Accessible by public transport? Lots of bus options from Ambleside, including the main 555 bus that runs from north to south through the Lake District

Find more detailed walk instructions here

5. Burnbank Fell 

Set on the shores of Loweswater in the quieter north-west region of the Lake District, the route begins through the lovely Holme Woods (which are full of bluebells in spring) before opening out to an easy path that winds up the hillside before a short, steep grassy section to the summit.

This walk is definitely more about the journey than the summit, as the terrace path has stunning views over Loweswater and the steep high fells around Buttermere.

Reward your efforts with a drink at the nearby Kirkstile Inn, one of the finest pubs in the Lake District.

Height: 475m

Location: Near Loweswater

Accessible by public transport? Limited – the 77/77A bus runs to Lorton in summer, but it makes for a 30-40mins walk to the start of the hike.

Find more detailed walk instructions here

6. High Rigg

Another great spot for a quieter walk away from the main crowds, High Rigg is set just off the main A591 road that links Keswick and Ambleside. A mostly grassy scramble up the summit affords views over to the Skiddaw range, Blencathra and down the valley towards the Helvellyn range.

There are also options to extend the walk to the neighbouring Low Rigg or make a longer circular walk from Keswick via the Stone Circle and the underrated Tewit Tarn. 

Height:  357m

Location: 3 miles southwest of Keswick

Accessible by public transport? The 555 stops at Legburthwaite on the A591 close to the main paths ascending High Rigg.

Find more detailed walk instructions here

7. Little Mell Fell

If you park at The Hause (space for around 5-6 cars), this makes for an easy, short, sharp and grassy climb of only 120m (driving up the road has done most of the work for you!). Perfect for kids or those who are a bit reluctant about hill walking, you’ll find a 360-degree view over towards Blencathra and across the northern section of Ullswater.

Height:  505m

Location: Between Glenridding and Pooley Bridge in the Ullswater area 

Accessible by public transport? The 508 stops near Watermillock but it’s a steep, longer walk up winding roads.

Find more detailed walk instructions here

8. Black Crag

In the heart of the central Lake District, Black Crag is a great small hill to combine with a walk around the gently undulating Tarn Hows. From the shores, the path climbs reasonably gently up to the district trig point, where you are treated to a view of the Langdale Pikes and Coniston fells.

For a longer loop, you can also combine this with the neighbouring small hill of Holme Fell for a cracking day walk of around 8 miles.

Height: 323m

Location:  Close to Coniston and Tarn Hows in the Central/Eastern Lake District

Accessible by public transport? Limited – Take the 505 from Ambleside and alight at Hawkshead Hill. It’s around a 30-minute walk to Tarn Hows, where you can access the path up the Black Crag.

Find more detailed walk instructions here

9. Orrest Head

A lovely, accessible walk from the edge of Windermere town centre, the short path starts in a small woodland before opening out onto the open hillside with sweeping views of Windermere.

A young Alfred Wainwright climbed Orrest Head on his first trip to the Lake District and fell head over heels in love with the area; it transformed his life and eventually inspired him to write his famous Pictorial Guides to the Lake District that are still routinely followed by hillwalkers completing the 214 Wainwright hills of the Lake District.

Height: 238m

Location: Windermere

Accessible by public transport? This walk is perfect for those on public transport as it starts 4 minutes from the main public transport hub of the bus and train station in Windermere, with wide-reaching connections to Kendal and many parts of the Lake District.

Find more detailed walk instructions here

10. Hallin Fell

On the northern fringes of Ullswater, Hallin Fell is a popular walk for families and those wanting a little taste of the Lake District hills. You can drive around to Martinedale and make the short, sharp walk up to the towering trig point or go for the fun option of catching the Ullswater steamer from Pooley Bridge or Glennridding for a slightly longer walk from Howtown.

Height:  388m

Location: Howtown, close to Pooley Bridge on the shores of Ullswater

Accessible by public transport? 508 bus to Pooley Bridge or Glenridding and then the Ullswater Steamer to Howtown

Find more detailed walk instructions here

Looking for more walks in the Lake District?

Easy Walks in the Lake District: A circular walk of Buttermere

Tiny Walks in the Lake District: Ambleside to Low Sweden Bridge

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