Buttermere Lake Walk

The Best Buttermere Lake Walk – An Ultimate Guide

This Buttermere Lake Walk is one of the Lake District’s most picturesque and accessible trails. In this guide, I share everything you need to know about walking Buttermere Lake, including where to park and what to expect, plus things to look out for on the route.

The Lake District is every walking enthusiast’s dream. Regardless of your fitness levels or capabilities, there are countless trails and routes to suit every level of adventurer.

We recently spent 3-days in the Lake District and conquered some fairly challenging hikes. But this undemanding walk around Buttermere Lake remains one of the highlights.

It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding fells such as Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike, plenty of isolated areas to swim or have a picnic, and a variety of scenery and terrain.

If you’re looking for an idyllic walk that’s fun for all the family, this one is for you. But keep reading, as I have some important information to share with you first.

Let’s get to it – here’s our ultimate guide to the best Buttermere Lake Walk.

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Table of Contents

Buttermere Lake Walk FAQs

Before I share the best walking route for Buttermere Lake, let’s cover some key information that will be useful to know before you begin.

Buttermere Lake Walk Distance

To complete a circular walk of Buttermere Lake, the total distance is approximately 4.5 miles (7.2 km).

Buttermere Lake Walking Trail
The Buttermere Lake Trail is one of the most picturesque in the area!

Buttermere Lake Walk Difficulty

One of the best things about this Buttermere Lake walk is that it’s accessible for all the family. Regardless of whether they are old, young, or have four legs, all can appreciate what the route has to offer.

To navigate the shoreline trail takes minimal effort. The terrain is flat with no dramatic ascents but still provides terrific vistas of the surrounding scenery. 

Of course, you could make your hike more challenging by including one or more of the surrounding fells. But for the purpose of this article, we will be talking specifically about the Buttermere Lake trail.

How Long to Walk Buttermere Lake

Naturally, this will vary from person to person and depends on several factors. But on average, it takes around 1.5 – 2 hours to complete a circular walk of Buttermere Lake.

But there’s no need to rush. There are plenty of places to stop and take a rest, which I recommend so you can sit back and enjoy the tranquillity.

Walking in Buttermere

Parking at Buttermere Lake

If you’re travelling by car, there are several pay & display car parks in Buttermere village and a couple near Gatesgarth farm on the opposite side of the lake.

Prices vary, but at the time of writing, the cheapest was by Gatesgarth Farm, where it is £4 to park for the entire day. There are also various National Trust car parks in the area.

Alternatively, you may look at staying nearby, in which case you can compare hotels here. Or use the Map below to see all your options​:

Dog Sign Buttermere

Buttermere Lake Dog Walking

If you’re looking for suitable places to walk your dog, Buttermere Lake is more than ideal.

The terrain is flat and easy to navigate, and the refreshing lake water provides hydration and a fun place to cool off.

But please, keep your dog on a lead. Dozens of sheep roam freely around Buttermere Lake, and some have been killed because of irresponsible owners. 

Food & Drink in Buttermere

Buttermere is a small and charming village with very few amenities around. There are, however, two cafes where you can get food and refreshments and one pub that also serves food.

Buttermere Lakeside

Buttermere Lake Walking Route

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Walking Time: 1.5 – 2 Hours
Difficulty: Fairly Easy
Starting Point: Sykes Farm Tea Room – Buttermere Village
View Map

Our favourite Buttermere Lake walking route begins at Sykes Farm Tea Room in Buttermere village. This is strategic since the tea room is the perfect place to stop for refreshments after your walk!

Alternatively, you can start at the opposite end of the lake near Gatesgarth Farm. It doesn’t really matter as it’s a circular route, but either way, I recommend stopping off at Sykes Farm.

From the tea room, it’s around a 10-minute walk to get to the shoreline. I recommend walking clockwise around the lake for what I believe to be the best views, but again it doesn’t matter.

The trail hugs the lake for almost the entire walk, weaving in and out of the woodland and providing dramatic views of the adjacent fells. 

View of Haystacks
View of Haystacks from Buttermere Lake.

There are plenty of photo-worthy moments, so I suggest keeping your camera handy.

The views only intensify the further south you go, dominated by the intimidating Fleetwith Pike ridge. To look at it, you would think it is insurmountable to climb.

But we know that is not true since we went on to climb it the next day. No easy feat, but highly recommended for more able and experienced hikers.

Neighbouring Fleetwith Pike is Haystacks – Alfred Wainwright’s favourite peak and where his wife scattered his ashes in 1991.

“One can forget even a raging toothache on Haystacks.” – Alfred Wainwright

Walking Trail Buttermere Lake

As you reach the lake’s southern end, you will need to walk on the road for around half a mile or so. It’s not far, but take care as there is no path.

Once you reach Gatesgarth farm, you’ll find a footpath on the right-hand side that leads you to the western shoreline.

Enjoy more pleasant scenery as you head back toward the village and perhaps find a spot to relax a while and take a dip.

One thing to look out for on the approach to Buttermere village is Scale Force waterfall. It can dry up during the warmer months, but it’s still worth seeing.

End your Buttermere Lake Walk with tea and cake or an ice cream at Sykes Farm Tea Room. This place is incredibly charming, and everything is made fresh on the neighbouring farm. 

Buttermere Lake Walk Map

Buttermere Lake Circular Walk Map
A Map of the Buttermere Lake Circular Walk

Enjoy this Buttermere Lake Walk

Well, that’s it – that’s everything you need to know about walking Buttermere Lake. I hope you’ve found this information helpful.

Check out our Lake District series for more travel tips and advice. We talk about our experience camping near Buttermere Lake and share an ultimate guide to hiking Fleetwith Pike.

If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please do get in touch! Otherwise, we wish you a fantastic hike.

If you enjoyed our free guide, you could support us by buying us a coffee! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we share more travel advice and inspiration. Charlotte & Natalie x


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We’re Charlotte & Natalie, a British lesbian couple with a passion for travel and adventure.

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