Helvellyn and your need to know guide on the Wainwright


Wainwright Number:

Eastern Lakes

OS Map:
Explorer map OL5

Helvellyn is 950m high or 3117ft tall. It is the third-highest Wainwright in the Lake District and one of the most popular of Fells to climb too. 

This Wainwright is located in the Eastern Fells of the Lake District. From the summit of Helvellyn, you will see across the whole of the Lakes, it really does offer one of the best views available. 

You can head up to Helvellyn from Thirlmere. This is perhaps the easiest of routes to the top. It follows a clear path up the side of the Helvellyn Fells range depending on your start point. But will come out on the open flat plateau of Helvellyn without any difficulty. 

You will need Explorer map OL5 to hike to the top of Helvellyn.

Some of the Wainwrights that are located close to Helvellyn are Catstye Cam, Dollywaggon Pike, and Nethermost Pike to name a few.

At the top of Helvellyn is a small cairn a crosswind shelter to protect you from all angles in windy conditions at the top of the Wainwright. 

Here's our guide on Helvellyn for you to check out. Have a read throughout the page. Or find what it is you're after in the contents just below and give it a click to be located to that point.

If there's anything else you'd like to know on the third-highest Wainwright then let us know through our Contact page, as we might be able to help you and more people out there too. Whether this is on Helvellyn itself or the whole of the Helvellyn Fells.

Facts about Helvellyn

So here are some interesting facts about Helvellyn that are well worth knowing about. Some might come as a little bit of a surprise, but it shows how much the Lake District has to offer even from the history of the Lakes. And the stories that you make while walking this fell, might one day be a fact others want to hear about too. 

In 1926 a small plane landed briefly on the top of the third highest Wainwright. It takes a bit of believing that a plane can land on a mountain top like Helvellyn before taking back off again. But the summit plateau of Helvellyn is long and flat which made it just possible. Take a look at the article here for more information regarding this epic success that the two pilots had.

They had already had two previous attempts at landing on Helvellyn but had to turn back due to poor weather conditions. But this one time they succeeded on their surprise landing, as they hadn’t told anyone about this attempt beforehand. It was only thanks to one lucky walker on the top of Helvellyn at the time. He was witness to the whole thing on his hike on top of the fell. Quite a remarkable tale to tell.

Swirral Edge and Red Tarn from to summit of Helvellyn, one of the 214 Wainwrights
Swirral Edge and Red Tarn from to summit of Helvellyn

Helvellyn has two famous edges or ridges on your route up from Patterdale. These are Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. Both of which are exciting ridges to climb up on your way to the third-highest Wainwright. But they shouldn’t be taken too lightly as people have lost their lives on these ridges.

Charles Gough was one of the first recorded people to die from falling from Striding Edge in 1805. One of the two iconic ridges to reach the summit of Helvellyn. His dog Foxie was found alive three months later, still by her late owner's side. In the time since his fall, Foxie had given birth to a pup which shortly died after she was found. The local paper reported that the dog Foxie only survived from ‘eating him (Charles Gough) to a perfect skeleton’. What a way to go on Helvellyn.

During the months of December through to April, three fell-top walkers are hired to climb Helvellyn every day to report back on weather conditions. This is to keep all members of the public safe if they choose to hike the fell in the winter months.

The team also provide winter crash courses on safety and winter walking on the fells in the Lake District. So if you are looking to get a little expert help and gain confidence in walking the Wainwrights in winter. Then check them out and take a hike up Helvellyn with them this winter.

Helvellyn tends to remain one of the snowiest of the fells in the Lake District. It generally keeps its snow-capped summit long after the likes of Scafell Pike have said goodbye to the winter weather. This is due to the fact it has a large east-facing headwall, sheltering this Wainwright from the suns warming rays.

How high is this mountain? (m/ft)

Helvellyn is 950m tall or 3117ft. It is the third-highest fell in the Lake District. The tallest Wainwright is Scafell Pike. You can read more about this fell by clicking the link through to our information page on the tallest mountain in England. The second highest Wainwright is Scafell. This lies next to Scafell Pike in the southern region of the Lake District.

Helvellyn though is one of the most popular due to its celebrity profile which hikers can’t get enough of. There is excitement all around this mountain and one which I can vouch for too.

It really is a super mountain to climb and spoken in true words of the great Alfred Wainwright:

“The smooth slopes curving up from the west break abruptly along the ridge, wherein complete contrast, a shattered cliff of crag and scree falls away precipitously eastwards: here are the most dramatic scenes Helvellyn has to offer.

This is what draws hikers to Helvellyn. And when you see Striding Edge and Swirral Edge for yourself, you'll understand the craze about them too. They really are in a league of their own in the Lake District. And as you read through our page you'll see the different routes to get to the top of Helvellyn via these ridges too. 

Where is Helvellyn located?

Helvellyn is located in the Eastern Fells in the Lake District. From the top of the fell, you can see across the whole of the Lake District. It holds one of the best views over the whole of Cumbria and from personal experience. I can very much vouch for this fact. You can read more about Helvellyn and its location in Alfred Wainwrights book number one of his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. 

It is located between Thirlmere on the west of the Wainwright, and Ullswater on the east of the fell. This is what makes these two places great starting points to climb Helvellyn. You can read more about these paths leading up to Helvellyn in our routes section in this page.

The surrounding fells in this area alongside Helvellyn include the likes of Catstye Cam at 890m, Dollywaggon Pike at 858, and Raise (Helvellyn) 883m. Take a look at our walk up the Helvellyn Fells to find out more about making the most of a full day out in the Lake District conquering this fell and many more. 

You can get to Helvellyn from following the A591 down from Keswick. This will take you down to the starting point near to Thirlmere. Besides that to reach Ullswater and the village of Glenridding. You can follow the A592 down from Penrith. Or follow this road north from Bowness-On-Windermere. 

The grid reference for Helvellyn is NY 34246 15110. And the starting postcode for this Wainwright will depend on your starting point. We've got a list of the best places to park for your Helvellen climb below too, to help you out a little more. 

So how hard is Helvellyn to climb?

With the right gear and average fitness levels, anyone can climb Helvellyn relatively easily. On a good day weather-wise, and temperature-wise anyone can choose a starting point and head up to the third highest Wainwright in the Lake District. It’s all about pacing yourself to your ability and fitness levels.

You’ll see some people overtaking you on the fells as they charge themselves quickly at the beginning. But don’t let this phase you or push you back at all. Everyone has their own capabilities and when you’re walking on any mountain in the Lakes including Helvellyn. It isn’t about racing to the top. It’s about enjoying the journey up there. Take in the views, the experience, and Helvellyn has plenty of them to offer.

What does need to be said is that if you are heading up Helvellyn via Striding Edge or Swirral Edge then you should take extra care while on the ridges themselves. Again in good conditions, they shouldn’t pose too much of a threat. Although there have been casualties on Striding Edge, even in the last few years. So just be careful and if you don’t feel as though you can cross Striding Edge or Swirral Edge on the way up Helvellyn. Then just don’t do it.

If in doubt seek expert advice before taking on the ridges to look after yourself. However, if you are heading up Helvellyn via Thirlmere on the west side of the fell then you should be just fine as long as you take your time. There are no ridges this way up. It’s rather a different story altogether. You see the grassy side of Helvellyn from the west and the steep banks that lead up to the summit. This route isn’t particularly hard. But it is a good few hours walk from either direction to the top of Helvellyn.


On our Helvellyn walk from Thirlmere, and see the stunning views across the whole of the Lake Diststict. 

Is Helvellyn dangerous?

So this is one of the big questions that get asked about for Helvellyn. Is it dangerous to climb? Well no on the whole because as long as you are careful there shouldn’t be too much of a problem heading up.

However, when walking in the Lake District it’s clear to say that things can change very quickly. This could be the weather for example and before you know it you could be in a very different day on the fells. The two main worries are that of Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. Mainly the first of these two ridges on Helvellyn as some have lost their lives walking across this ridge to get to the summit of Helvellyn. Or on their way back down.

If you read our facts about Helvellyn you’d already know that Charles Gough was one of the first to lose his life. This was through falling off of from Striding Edge. But there are many more who have done the same. Each year the whole of the Lake District sees fatalities from walkers on the mountains here. And occasionally it is from a fall off of Striding Edge. This isn’t to scare you from walking across Striding Edge to get to the summit of Helvellyn, but it’s clear that you should know your limits.

If the weather is bad on Helvellyn in the Lakes. Or you don’t feel confident then please for the sake of you and the mountain rescue team. Just don’t cross over if you feel out of your depth. It is not the mountain that is dangerous. But the skills from you, along with the weather. This is what can cause a recipe for disaster. And this isn’t just in the winter months alone. It can be dangerous at any time of the year, on Helvellyn especially.

The weather on the Helvellyn Fells

The weather on and around the Helvellyn Fells can change rapidly, just like anywhere else in the Lake District. However, with you being on the third tallest mountain in the Lake District and England. You might find yourself further away from civilization than in other places in the Lakes.

Helvellyn really is a remote area, and if you were to get into any form of trouble on the mountain. You'd be looking at around an hour or more before anyone could get to you. The routes up and down Helvellyn make it difficult for rescue teams to head up quickly if they needed to get to you. So it's even more important to make sure you think about your own safety first at all times. 

Our advice would be to always check the weather on Helvellyn before you head out on your Lake District mountain walk. And also for the likes of the other big and sometimes tougher fells in the Cumbria. You might think this is aimed at winter conditions. But in actual fact, you can get caught up in bad weather at any time of the year up Helvellyn Fells.

Helvellyn takes a couple of hours to climb for the shorter and easier routes up to the top. So this is a lot of time for the weather to change on the fells. What can seem like a clear day one minute. Can very quickly change into a whiteout within minutes.

Helvellyn weather in the Summer

In the summer months, you should always be prepared to take plenty of water with you on your walk up Helvellyn. The heat of climbing a big fell in the Lakes in the heat of the day throughout summer can take it out on you. So don’t risk getting the likes of sun-stroke while out walking on Helvellyn. Always take plenty of water and then take extra on top, just in case you run into an unforeseen situation. Even take along some hydration tablets for an extra boost when you need them. 

When you're on top of the summit plateau of the Helvellyn Fells, you're very much open to the elements around you. There really is no hiding from the wind, rain, or heat of the sun on Helvellyn or surrounding mountains in the Lakes on your walk up or back down. 

The weather on Helvellyn can be just as bad in the summer as in the winter. You will still get plenty of days of rain, low cloud, and gale-force winds even in the middle of summer. So take care, and expect any of these to creep up even if they don’t forecast for it. The Lake District makes up its own weather each day. And with there being little shelter on Helvellyn you really do feel the brunt of it when you're up there. 

View from the third tallest Wainwright in the Lake District
View from the third tallest Wainwright in the Lake District (Helvellyn)

Helvellyn weather in the winter

In the winter months, obviously, the snow and ice will be a huge challenge. Even though there may not be snow on the low lying fells and Wainwrights in the Lakes. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be any as you head higher up onto the likes of Helvellyn. The temperatures will drop significantly and so snowfall and ice on the top of Helvellyn is something that is regular in the winter months. So make sure you are well equipped with crampons, ice axe, extra clothing etc. If you need lessons on how to use this sort of equipment check the link in the facts section

"There are a few days in any year when no visitor calls at the wall shelter on the summit to eat his sandwiches."

Alfred Wainwright

Another weather condition that can be disorientating when on Helvellyn and the higher Wainwrights is getting a whiteout from the snowfall or blizzard. Or zero visibility from low lying cloud cover. Because of this, you should know how to use a compass and be able to read a map too. Don’t head out into these conditions up Helvellyn if you don’t know how to use the basic equipment. You may get into trouble on part of the route up Helvellyn or along the Striding Edge, or Swirral Edge. And no one wants to have to call out the mountain rescue team. 

It really is a matter of using your initiative and if you don’t feel confident then don’t head out. There’s always other days in the Lake District to climb Helvellyn. You can challenge yourself but don’t be an idiot on the fells. Check the weather and plan your visit and route up the Helvellyn Fells accordingly.

As we like to say there is always another day on the mountains in Cumbria, but there's not another one of you. 

How long does it take to climb the Wainwright?

On average it can take between two and three hours to climb to the summit of Helvellyn. Generally on the way back down it is a shorter amount of time. Although this is not always the case. As with everything in the Lake District, it is very much weather dependant. And being on a Helvellyn Fells walk is no different. Something that might take a few hours, could easily double in time if the weather got bad or indeed worse whilst you were out climbing the Wainwright.

If you are like us and like to take in the views as you go, then it could take you longer to climb Helvellyn. I remember us sat at the summit on a summers day just watching the world go by for half an hour or so just taking in the beauty around us. It really is one of the best views in the whole of the Lakes from the top of Helvellyn. We couldn’t see a single man-made structure insight as we looked around. But more about that in the views from the top of Helvellyn section of this page.

Depending on the route that you take up Helvellyn will change your walking time. Although from either side of the Wainwright it isn’t too much difference in time scale. In addition to this though, you might want to bag a few more Wainwrights along your walk just like we did. There are the likes of Catstye Cam just to the northeast of Helvellyn itself. And is only about a fifteen-minute walk from the summit of Helvellyn via Swirral Edge.

There are the other Helvellyn Fells along the south of the summit plateau leading off to Nethermost Pike, Dollywaggon Pike, and Seat Sandal just on the end of the fells walk. These can all be linked into a round trip via Thirlmere. It follows the same route that we took one summers day in the Lake District. You can take a look at our Helvellyn Fells walk below if you’d like to read more.


On our Helvellyn walk from Thirlmere, and see the stunning views across the whole of the Lake Diststict. 

What routes can you take up Helvellyn?

There are a few routes that you can take up to the top of Helvellyn. These are written about a little more below to give you an idea of the time each route will take to the top of the fell. As well as where the routes start from and the other Wainwrights you can walk at the same time.

Walking up Helvellyn from Thirlmere

The hike up to Helvellyn from Thirlmere isn’t the most popular route. But it still does get a fair bit of traffic from the base of the fell from this way up. One of the great things about hiking to the top of Helvellyn this way is that you can choose whether to bag a few more Wainwrights along the way, or not at all.

This is a steep incline up the side of the fell from the start of your walk, and a steep decline on the way back down too. Once on the top of the Helvellyn Fells, it's very much a more gentle walk over the plateau. 

There are a few places to stop and park up along the side of Thirlmere and further down the A591. From here it is a three to four-hour route up to Helvellyn and back down again. If you choose to do a circular route as we did on the day, it will take you a few more hours on top. So if you’re hiking this way to Helvellyn in the winter, make sure that you leave yourself enough daylight hours when you set off if you are taking on a circular route from Thirlmere.

You can head up to Helvellyn in the Lake District from the north-west of the fell. Or from the south-east too. Each way has mostly good paths, and as I have said you can walk up and down the same path, or make a round trip too. If you decide to head up and down the same way, then you don’t need to worry about walking alongside the road. It isn’t bad walking by any means, but when you want a half-day in the Lake District walking to the third highest mountain in England. The last thing you want is to end your walk alongside the A591.

For us, we headed up the south-west of Helvellyn itself into a col near to Grisedale Tarn. Then we took a right-hand turn to hike up to Seat Sandal. Before backing up on ourselves and heading up Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike, and then onto Helvellyn itself. To get back down off of the Wainwright, we retraced our steps almost to Nethermost Pike but headed down a clear path this way. When we reached the edge of the A591, there was only around a ten-minute walk hearing the traffic which wasn’t too bad. You can check out more of our walk below too.

The views via the walk from Thirlmere though are super nice overlooking Grasmere to the south and the surrounding fells in the heart of the Lakes. 

Helvellyn Fell from Glenridding

The route from Glenridding to Helvellyn is by far the most popular choice of paths up the third-highest Wainwright. It takes around the same amount of time as the route from Thirlmere. Which is around four to five hours. And this will take you in a small circular route up Striding Edge, and then back down via Swirral Edge. This way you get the whole Helvellyn experience.

The route is much easier on the incline as you leave Glenridding. Although there are some steeper sections. It is mostly moderate walking which makes for a great hike to this exceptional mountain in the Lake District. You get to see some great views on your way up, and once you get to the famous ‘hole in the wall’, you know you’re nearing Helvellyn.

The hike up to Helvellyn from Glenridding is a good one, and there is little in the way of difficulty along the way. That is until you reach the base of Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. With Red Tarn sat perfectly in the centre. From here you can choose which way to head up, and then circle back on the opposite ridge coming down. But the most popular is to head up Striding Edge and then down Swirral Edge. Although the choice is yours entirely.

These two ridges are dangerous and so take your time. And only attempt them if you feel confident to do so should be your priority. Don’t go further if you feel uncertain. Or if the weather conditions have taken a turn for the worse. For first-timers heading up Striding Edge on Helvellyn, it’s best to pick a calm warm day, where there is little wind as this can knock your balance.

There are two memorials on Striding Edge, one at the beginning, and one at the end. Both remember two men who lost their lives on the ridge. So it’s a subtle reminder to anyone crossing Striding Edge to take care. Even an experienced hiker can be caught out in the most extreme weather conditions on Helvellyn.

However, the walk itself and the views from the ridges are seriously stunning. You feel truly alive when walking this route. And if you want to stop off at Catstye Cam on the way back down to Glenridding after Swirral Edge, then you can do. It will only add on around ten to twenty minutes onto your walking time. And it’s worth a stop off to get the views looking back to Helvellyn too.

Are the paths good climbing up the Fell?

The routes for hiking up Helvellyn are all pretty well-trodden. So finding the paths to stay on track shouldn’t be too difficult. However, in poor weather conditions, it can be quite disorientating and so having a map and compass with you should be essential. But this is true of walking any of the Wainwrights in the Lake District. The weather on Helvellyn as I have mentioned can be very rapidly changing and so be prepared for all weathers to hit you in one day. And then you won’t be left lost on the larger Wainwrights in the Lake District.

On a clear day however you will find that you can see the paths far ahead of you as you climb up the side of the fell to the summit of Helvellyn. Whether to hike from Glenridding or from Thirlmere, the paths are both clear as you get higher up. So there shouldn’t be too much trouble locating them and heading in the right way.

On top of this, Helvellyn does stand out like a sore thumb in the Lakes District, so as long as you can keep the ridges of the eastside insight, or follow the plateau from Thirlmere once you’re on top of the Helvellyn Fells. Then you should be fine on your walk here.

The paths themselves are mostly stone paths which make for good walking. There are a few steps here and there but nothing of much to worry about. And if you come to Helvellyn from the north especially you might be walking on some grassy banks. There are plenty of them around as you head up to the Wainwright via the other Helvellyn Fells. So overall the paths are good for walking up Helvellyn.

Striding Edge and Swirral Edge are the only two complications on the route up to Helvellyn. These are the routes to the top, but cannot be classed as paths. They are ridges on the mountain-side, that can be walked with care and a small amount on scrambling may be required too. You can read more about the ridges of Striding Edge and Swirral edge here

Best parking for the third-highest Wainwright in the Lake District

Depending on your start point for climbing the fell, there are many places to park to get started. If you are choosing your route from Glenridding, then parking in Patterdale is a good option and there is a large car park and a few smaller ones to choose from. They are pay and display. But if you’re out all day then it’s worth it.

As well as this, coming up from Thirlmere you can find lay-by parking at different spots down the length of the reservoir. And there are small car parks again which you can pay to stay at for the day. I’d advise getting there early especially in the summer months. This is because the car parks can fill up very quickly.

Glenridding parking for Helvellyn

There is a car park at Glenridding which is a National Trust car park. This will cost you £8.00 for the day which is worth having if you’re planning a good days walk up to Helvellyn and back again. It saves you rushing around and proceeds from the car park at Glenridding does stay with the National Trust to help keep the Lake District beautiful for years to come.

The postcode for this Glenridding National Trust car park is CA11 0PD. They have plenty of car parking spaces, and there are electrical parking bays to so that you can charge your electric car while you stay. On top of this, they do have public facilities close by and the car park here at Glenridding is right next to the Ullswater Steamers. So if you fancied looking into this for another check it out here. It’s well worth a trip on the Steamers around Ullswater and is rather relaxing after a good hike up to the Helvellyn Fells and back again too.

Patterdale car parks

There are a few smaller car parks in the little village of Patterdale. But these are again pay and display. You also have a little further to walk to begin your hike up to Helvellyn from these. So I would recommend parking at Glenridding if you can. There is free parking in the village but this is mostly for an hour or two with the displayed card in your window.

Car parks at Thirlmere for your hike up to Helvellyn

There are a few places to park if you want to begin your hike up to Helvellyn from Thirlmere. The one that we have used before is the lay-by which is situated just off of the dual carriageway on the A591. This is a free place to park and begin your walk to Helvellyn. And is particularly good if you want to make the most of the surrounding Wainwright fells at the same time. These include Dollywaggon Pike and Nethermost Pike too. Check out our walk here for all the information on your Helvellyn Fells walk from our own experience.

Another pull in spot is at the northern end of Thirlmere Water and this is a pay and display car park called Swirls car park. The postcode for this car park is CA12 4TW. You can only pay with coins as they don’t take card payment. So if you’re planning to park here make sure that you have enough change whilst here in the Lake District. There are limited spaces. But it doesn’t get overly busy in this car park for Helvellyn. So it might be a good option for you. You can take a path leading south-east to head to Helvellyn via the northern side of the Wainwright.

Whythburn car park

The third car park down the side of Thirlmere is also a pay and display car park. It is run by United Utilities and is called Wythburn car park. It is located just off of the A591 as well. The path from the car park here would take you directly up towards Nethermost Pike and towards Helvellyn itself. It’s a good walk and a steep one too but the paths are good for this way up to the third tallest fell in the Lakes.

Crosswind shelter at the top of Helvellyn Wainwright in the Lake District
Crosswind shelter at the top of Helvellyn in the Lake District

What is at the summit of Helvellyn?

The top or summit of Helvellyn is a rather broad plateau which can seem a little strange considering the climb to get there. At the true summit is a small loose cairn to mark the top. There is also a crosswind shelter so that you can escape the wind from any direction all year round. And when the wind blows strong on the top of Helvellyn you’ll be happy for the shelter that it does bring too.

There is little else in the way of structures at the top of the third highest Wainwright in the Lake District. Except for two memorials on the way up via Striding Edge. There is one at the start of the ridge, and the second nearing the end of Striding Edge. Both marking those who have lost their lives on Helvellyn, and a reminder to the dangers which the mountain can hold.

As I said though, the top or summit of Helvellyn is rather flat and from here you can see all across the heart of the Lakes. The views are simply to my own personal opinion, one of the best in the Lake District. And from the top of the fell, you can see the routes heading off in the north, south and east to continue walking more Wainwrights for the day or simply head back the way that you came up to the top of Helvellyn.

When you’re on the summit of Helvellyn you’ll notice the dramatic change or difference between the east side of the mountain and the west side. To the east are the rides of Swirral Edge and Striding Edge. With Red Tarn sitting proud and bold in the centre of them. And then towards the west side, you’ll see the Fellside is much softer and more mound-like, as opposed to the harsh ridges of the east.

It makes the mountain of Helvellyn even more remarkable, as you can feel as though you’re on two completely different Wainwrights all at the same time. The plateau of the Helvellyn summit stretches south towards Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike. And from the top here, these two other Wainwrights don’t look far in distance and this is true too. So if you have a little spare time on the top of Helvellyn and want to see the views looking back to the great mountain itself. Have a short wander to Nethermost Pike where you’ll get a great view looking towards Helvellyn with Striding Edge in view too.

What are the views from the top of Helvellyn?

The views from the top of Helvellyn are some of the best in the Lake District. And I can very much vouch for this. It was one of the few summits which really took my breath away and not from the weather conditions or the heavy breathing on the way up.

The views really are truly spectacular and with the mountain being pretty central in the Lakes, it means you can literally map out the whole of the Lake District from the summit of Helvellyn. On a clear day, there really is nothing quite like it and it’s a memory that will last with me certainly longer than most of the others.

Although this is not to take away from any of the other Wainwrights, because each of them holds fond memories for us. They all have their own characteristics and the laughs and struggles as we walked up to them. But Helvellyn really takes the views in the Lakes to a whole new level and one that is hard to be beaten.

“There is some quality about Helvellyn which endears it in the memory of most people who have stood on its breezy top. Although it can be a grim place indeed on a wild night. It is, as a rule, a very friendly giant. If it did not inspire affection would its devotees return to it so often?”  Alfred Wainwright

Views from the north of Helvellyn

From the top of Helvellyn looking north, you’ll be able to see Catstye Cam at the end of Swirral Edge. From Helvellyn itself, it is a short walk to this other Wainwright summit and if you’re doing a round route from Glenridding. I’d definitely recommend heading to Catstye Cam while you’re here. The views looking back to Helvellyn are stunning with both Swirral Edge and Striding Edge in view. It gives you the dramatic backdrop that a mountain like this truly deserves.

Alongside this, on a clear day behind Swirral Edge, you’ll be able to see Great Dodd. This is sat next to Stybarrow Dodd and Souther Fell. As you more you gaze towards the northeast you’ll see Ullswater just in the background. Glimmering in the sunlight on a nice summers day. Or winters day for that matter in the Lake District. And then further to the northeast is Place Fell. And many a fond memory has been made on this Wainwright walk for us, to it to holds something a little special. And has to be worth the mention. Check out our subscription below so that you can see the full list of Wainwrights to tick off in a PDF emailed straight to you.

Views looking out from the east of the third-highest Wainwright in the Lake District

So the main point that will take your attention looking out from the east of Helvellyn is Striding Edge itself. Only when you’re up and close to the ridge do you see the beauty which it holds. On most days you can stand from the summit of Helvellyn and take some time out watching the other hikers make their way up along Striding Edge to get to the same spot that you’re stood at.

Looking further back from Striding Edge though, you’ll be able to see from the top of Helvellyn, the likes of High Street in the far east. This is another great Wainwright to climb and another good full day out on the fells in the Lake District. It’s a cracker of a walk and when we’ve blogged on our walk around this area, we’ll let you know too. So you can take a look for yourself.

Heading a little more south-east is the wind shelter and beyond that in the backdrop of the Lakes is Ill Bell and Yoke. Again these are in the far east of the Lake District, and I might sound a little biased but the walk around the area here too, is one not to be missed.

Views looking south from Helvellyn summit

Looking true south you’ll see Nethermost Pike which I have already spoken a little about. From the top of Helvellyn, it is only a short walk away and heads towards one of the main paths back down towards Thirlmere. Slightly to the south-east is Fairfield and you’ll be able to see another one or two Wainwrights in the Fairfield Horseshoe too from here. Check out our information page on Fairfield to learn more about this magnificent full day walk in the Lake District. One that will push you on any day, during any weather in the Lakes.

A little towards the south-west is the likes of Old Man Coniston, Wetherlam, and Brim Fell. The north face of Wetherlam looks very daunting to climb up to reach the summit of the Wainwright, but it is entirely possible with care and by taking your time too.

Then true south-west you should be able to see Crinkle Crags and the Langdale Pike Fells in the Lakes. They all have such character to them and in one day's walk, you can have a really good walk on the tops of these fells. And really lose yourself in the southern Lake District.

Looking West from the top

So finally let's take a look at the views you’d be able to see looking west from Helvellyn summit top. Dale Head would be pretty centre to true west looking out into this direction. To the right of this is Maiden Moor, Robinson, and Hindscarth. All part of the Newlands Horseshoe in the north-west of the Lake District.

As you head further north-west Grisdale Pike comes into view and is a recognisable shaped Wainwright in the Lake District. So from here, you can start to map out the other fells around you. Further, towards the north, you then start to take in the views of the Skiddaw range of fells looking out from Helvellyn. They look like a true family group together and again there are some great routes and paths to these fells to. You can take a look at our misty walk up Skiddaw here if you’d like to know more about an example of this.

Which OS map do you need to climb the third highest Wainwright in the Lake District?

The ordinance survey map that you will need to climb to the top of Helvellyn is OL5 which covers the northeastern Lakes. Again with all of the Wainwrights, I would recommend buying them all and then you will never be without the one that you want.

I know for us it makes our lives so much easier. So if you decide to start your route up Helvellyn from any direction or starting point. You know you'll be able to head out on the day with the right maps and equipment. You can also use Alfred Wainwrights book number one in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells. It gives you a good insight into Helvellyn and gives a personal touch that only Wainwright himself can give on the mountain. 

Where to stay around Helvellyn

When staying in the Lake District there are so many places to stay. The great thing about the National Park is that where ever you begin your stay from. The rest of the Lakes is accessible within no more than an hours drive most of the time. But if you’re looking to stay somewhere closer for your walk up to Helvellyn. Then there are still plenty of options to choose from. This all depends on your starting point but you can decide between camping, B&Bs, hotels, or a hostel to stay near to Helvellyn.

So let’s take a look at some of those options for you to give you the best advice possible. To start with camping is always a great thing to do in the Lake District. Wild camping is an option for the walk to Helvellyn, or why not pitch your tent on the top of the Wainwright too. You can wake up to a sunrise on Helvellyn with no one else around you. It can’t get much more adventurous and peaceful than that.

But if you don’t fancy wild camping on Helvellyn but still want to enjoy the camping experience here are some of the options to you listed in location area as well.


On our Helvellyn walk from Thirlmere, and see the stunning views across the whole of the Lake Diststict. 

Campsites around Helvellyn

Campsites around Thirlmere for Helvellyn

Thirlspot Farm camping

This campsite is located along the side of Thirlmere just off of the A591 for if you are wanting to begin your Helvellyn hike from the west side of the Wainwright. The postcode for the campsite is CA12 4TN. It is perfectly located for your walk up to not just Helvellyn but also for Skiddaw, Blencathra, and the like of the Fairfield horseshoe too. This is because it sits halfway between Keswick and Grasmere.

Thirspot Farm campsite is open from March to mid-November and checking the availability in advance is well recommended. This saves you the disappointment on your stay near to Helvellyn.

They have spots for tents as well as hook up points for campervans and motorhomes only. They have the basic facilities that you would expect on a campsite with free hot and cold water. Check out their site here for more information.

High Bridge End caravan and camping site

Located just a little further north of the first campsite. The postcode for the High Bridge End caravan and camping site is CA12 4TG. This campsite has great reviews and for your hike up to Helvellyn, so you wouldn’t do wrong to stay here. They have 100 pitches for tents, caravan, and motorhomes, some of which include electric hookups too. They are open between March and November just as most campsites are. But this is because the main tourist season ends here in the Lakes before the harsh winters arrive.

They are dog friendly and there is Keswick just up the road should you need anything further for your stay in the Lake District. It’s an ideal location and we’d advice to give them a call before you make a booking with them, and before planning your trip up the Helvellyn fells. 

Campsites around Glenridding for Helvellyn

Gillside farm Ullswater

This campsite is run by a family of full-time farmers. So you will be staying on their land on the farm too. This is a great chance to really feel part of the Lake District culture. The campsite itself is located at the foot of the main Glenridding path leading up to Helvellyn. So you really can’t get a more on route location if you tried.

Gillside farm offers tent pitches as well as caravans. And if you’re looking for a more permanent structure over your head at night, they do have a bunkhouse too. It has two rooms which sleep seven and thirteen guests. And with all accommodation, you have plenty of hot and cold water for your stay too. They also have a breakfast van over the weekends, So you can get your bacon bap for an energy boost for your hike up to Helvellyn and beyond. Take a look here for more information on this farm for camping near to Helvellyn.

YHA Helvellyn

Although this isn’t a campsite, it is well worth a mention as it makes for a great alternative. And better still is located higher up the fell on your way to Helvellyn too. The postcode for this youth hostel is CA11 0QR. It is perfect for those who want a full packed adventure time away because you’re out there with the wilderness on your doorstep. It’s worth saying though that if you want a quiet stay then this too could be perfect for you. There is very little else around you here, except for the Wainwright fells and hills in the Lake District.

They do have shared rooms as well as private rooms for single campers for Helvellyn too. And they have meals available as well as a licenced bar. So if you want to be out in the Helvellyn fells all day and then get back to a warm meal. Then look no further than the YHA Helvellyn stop off.

Hazel and Zoe, true freedom seekers on Helvellyn summit
The true freedom seekers we are on Helvellyn

Hotels and B&Bs around the third highest Wainwright in the Lake District (Helvellyn)

There are plenty of hotels and BnBs around Helvellyn. If you’re starting from the west side of the Wainwright, the two ideal villages and towns to stop at are Grasmere and Keswick. Both have plenty of accommodation for your stay near Helvellyn. And they do provide the local amenities that you might need whilst in the Lakes too. They have pubs and bars for food, as well as local grocery shops too.

If you are starting your Helvellyn hike from Glenridding on the east side of the fell. Then both Glenridding and Patterdale have accommodation. There are again pubs, inns, and grocery stores to get all your snacks and goodies for when hiking up Helvellyn and taking on Striding Edge.

There may even be some places to stay that is asked might supply you with a packed lunch for your days hiking the Helvellyn fells and surrounding area in the Lake District. So it’s well worth asking the question to save you sorting out food while on the go.

True Freedom Seekers
Thank you for taking the time to read our page. We hope you have enjoyed the information which we have for you. Please feel free to reach out to us about anything regarding the Lake District. Or leave a comment below. Happy Wainwright bagging.

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