I can’t believe it’s been nearly 5 months since my last trip to the Lake District! The Lake District National Park is one of my favorite places in all of England. And I realized I still haven’t written about one of my favorite hikes—up to the top of Helvellyn!
Helvellyn is one of the most popular peaks in the Lake District. At 3117 feet (950 meters), it’s also one of the highest in the country! It is the third-highest point in both the Lake District, and in England! It’s also a Wainwright, a term given to the fells described by Alfred Wainwright in his famous guides to the Lake District.
In comparison, Scafell Pike (also in the Lake District) is the highest peak in England at 3209 feet (978 meters). Helvellyn sits in a picturesque area, between the lakes of Thirlmere and Ullswater, and not far from the nearby Lake District town of Keswick.
Helveylln was recently named #1 of Britain’s Top 100 Favorite Walks! This was a TV program that aired last month and featured the best walks in the country. I can’t say I’m surprised to see Helvellyn come out on top!
There are loads of different ways to go up to the top of Helvellyn. One of the most popular is Striding Edge, which is a difficult, challenging scramble from the villages of Glenridding or Patterdale. You can see the rocky edge that forms the path in the above photo!
I went up Helvellyn from the Thirlmere car park, right off the A591. This is another popular spot for beginning the journey up. Luckily, the car park was free when I went in September! (I considered it a birthday present.) There is also more free parking in lay-bys along the road. The scenery from this route was spectacular!
It is a tough climb up. I am a generally fit person, but I did take plenty of breaks for photos and rests. It was especially hard finally reaching the top of the main ridge, and then seeing the summit marker is still ages away!
Getting to the top of the summit was such a good feeling!
I went down Helvellyn on another fairly popular route, near Birk Side and Comb Crags, and passing a few waterfalls. All of it was marked on my Ordinance Survey map!
Once back closer to the ground, I took an easy, well-paved trail in the woods back to the car park, which followed the road (the A591).
The views over Thirlmere on this path were simply stunning!
All in all, the walk took about 5-6 hours. This was with plenty of photo stops, as well as a nice flapjack/snack break at the summit!
The views on this Helvellyn walk are simply amazing. Every time I visit the Lake District, I am still astounded at just how beautiful this little corner of England is. It is breathtaking.
The views over Thirlmere to the west, over to Ullswater in the east, and to Skiddaw in the north are amazing from the summit of Helvellyn. On a clear day, you can even see Scotland! I do highly recommend checking the weather before committing to the hike though. The weather is notoriously fickle at the top of Helvellyn, and some locals told me that the cloud cover often meant that you could reach the top and see nothing but clouds.
As with all hikes, I can’t emphasize the importance of appropriate gear. Make sure you have good hiking boots, plenty of layers (which includes a rain jacket and waterproof pants), and a hat and gloves. It was so windy at the top, I was glad I brought both my proper winter hat and mittens! And of course, be prepared: pack plenty of water and snacks.
My walk up Helvellyn was physically hard at times, but so worth it for the views! This really is an incredible hike, and I already can’t wait for my next trip to the Lakes!
Interested in another hike in the Lake District National Park? Check out my post on Hiking the Old Man of Coniston!
What are your favorite places to hike? Have you ever visited the Lake District?