Local Walks 3- Claife Viewing Station to Hawkshead via Esthwaite Water

This is a longer walk than the previous two which takes you all the way to the pretty village of Hawkshead, passing by Beatrix Potter’s house and along lots of lovely country lanes. A large proportion of this route is on tarmac roads or footpaths but there are parts that are steep and very wooded/ overgrown or on country paths. This walk should take about 3 hours.

Leave the hotel from the front entrance and head down towards the lake, turning left at the tourist information centre and follow the signs for the ferry. The ferry will take you approx. 15 minutes to reach the other side of the lake at which point you should follow the road round until you reach a gate on your right. Go through the gate and follow the path, keeping the lake on your right. When you come out of the gate on the other side turn left into a little courtyard where you will pass Joey’s café-a nice place to stop for a drink and some cake! Keep going up the hill until you arrive at the Claife viewing station- an old Victorian viewing platform which gives you excellent views over the lake through the stained glass panels. You can find out more about the Claife viewing station here.

After you arrive at the viewing station, you have two options:

Depending on access, as sometimes this route can be blocked by trees, you can carry on along the steep path as it winds up through the wood and then flattens out at the top, where you will follow the path through a fairly overgrown path- but keep pushing through! And you will come through a gate at the end. If you have had enough here you can turn right and descend to the Lake shore and then follow the path along the lake back to the ferry, but if you want to continue you should turn left here and follow the path straight along until you come to a gate- carry on through and follow this path until you come out into the village of Far Sawrey. From here you want to take a left after the Cuckoo Brow Inn and follow the road into Near Sawrey, where you will pass Beatrix Potter’s house Hill Top. Carry on along the road and you will be able to see Esthwaite Water. Keeping the lake on your left follow the path- it dips in and out of road walking and footpath here- and eventually you will come into the village of Hawkshead!

Alternatively, you can head back down to the road from the viewing station and make your way to Far Sawrey along the road. This should take about 20-25 minutes and varies between walking on the road and little footpaths. Follow the path back down from the viewing station the way you came, past Joey’s café and when you come out of the courtyard turn right along the road. Walk down until you can see the lake and then turn right again, and follow this road as it curves around, keeping the lake on your left. After about 10 minutes you’ll come to a sign for Far Sawrey. Carry on on the same road for another 10-15 minutes and you will come into Far Sawrey, where you can carry on following the route we detail above!

Once you get to Hawkshead there are plenty of pubs and cafes to go to here for a much needed drink after your walk! To get back you can catch the 505 from Hawkshead to either Ambleside or Windemere depending on the time and then the 599 back to the hotel. Bus timetables can be found here. Or if you’re feeling up for it you can retrace your footsteps and walk back the way you came!


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