Walking Holidays in England - UK - England - The Cumbria Way - Lakes & Valleys

Holiday Highlights
  • Discover the diversity and wild beauty of these Lake District
  • Walk alongside the shores of Coniston and Derwentwater with striking views of the surrounding fells
  • Featuring charming market towns and idyllic Lakeland villages

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From its glittering lakes to its mountainous peaks, the Lake District is home to some of the United Kingdom’s most breath-taking landscapes. Described by Cumbrian-born poet Wordsworth as ‘The loveliest spot that man hath found’, and it is not hard to see why. Located in the north-west of England and within the county of Cumbria, the Lake District has been attracting visitors since the 18th century, inspiring both the Picturesque and Romantic movements. Such movements recognised not only the natural splendour of the landscape, but developed ideas surrounding the value of the landscape in inspiring and restoring the human spirit. This appreciation of the Lake Districts landscape resulted in the development of recreational activities as a means of enjoying these surroundings.

A playground for walkers, the Lake District National Park is England’s largest, and features its highest peak, Scafell Pike (978m). The Lake Districts mountains or ‘fells’ are part of what makes this landscape so enchanting. Wainwrights make up 214 of these peaks, which were described by Alfred Wainwright in his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. Summitting all of these Wainwrights has become a popular activity among walkers and our trek gives you the option to bag up to 3 of these peaks.

Thirteen glaciated valleys make up the Lake District, each with their own unique characteristics but predominantly featuring a body of water, the abundance of which led to the area being known as the Lake District. There is in fact only one official lake in the Lake District, the rest are known as waters with smaller lakes regarded as tarns or meres. The influence of human activity has also played an important role in shaping the landscape we see today. Agriculture plays a vital role in the Lake District and the stone-walled fields and rugged farm buildings set against the dramatic natural backdrop makes for a spectacularly unique landscape. This harmonious combination of features has been recognised, with the Lake District National Park achieving UNESCO status in 2017.

The 73-mile Cumbria Way winds its way through the heart of the Lake District, from Ulverston in the south to Carlisle in the north. This largely low-level route passes through the scenic valleys of Langdale and Borrowdale and alongside the shores of Coniston and Derwentwater with striking views of the surrounding fells. Our trek has been selected to showcase the very best of this magnificent landscape, with rest days in Coniston and Great Langdale giving you more time to explore the awe-inspiring scenery.

Our walking route lies entirely within the boundaries of the Lake District National Park, taking you from the start of the Cumbria Way in ancient market town of Ulverston, to the remote village of Caldbeck, situated in the northern fells. From fertile farmland to craggy peaks and heather covered moorland, discover the diversity and wild beauty of these Lake District landscapes. Charming market towns and idyllic Lakeland villages make the perfect base, providing high quality accommodation and true Cumbrian hospitality. 

Day 1: Arrive at the attractive market town of Ulverston. Birthplace of the comedian Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy fame), its cobbled streets and historic buildings are well worth an afternoon to explore.

Overnight Ulverston

Day 2: Ulverston to Coniston

Leaving Ulverston the route crosses pasturelands and country lanes to reach Gawthwaite. You have now entered the Lake District National Park and will soon get your first glimpse of Coniston Water. Craggy moorland brings you to Beacon Tarn and continues along the western shoreline of Coniston Water and into the tranquil village of Coniston.

Ascent: 413m Descent: 413m Distance: 15 miles Time: 6hrs

Overnight Coniston

Day 3: Walks from Coniston

Today you have a choice of circular walks from Coniston:

The Brantwood Trail

Take the gondola from Coniston Pier and cruise across to the western shores at Parkamoor jetty. From here your walk begins, taking you through delightful woodland and open fells. Continue past the Brantwood Estate, with an option to visit should you wish. Former home of John Ruskin, one of the great visionaries of the 19th century, the Brantwood Estate offers a fascinating insight into the world of John Ruskin. Re-board the gondola to return to your starting point at Coniston Pier.

Please note tickets for the South Lake Cruise are not included and will be charged locally. Tickets are approximately £10 per person.

Ascent: 268m Descent: 270m Distance: 6 miles Time: 4hrs 


Coniston Old Man

This walk takes in lots of industrial heritage, starting at the village of Coniston you climb through the Coppermines Valley and along the miners track, remnants of the areas slate mining activity. Continue to the summit of Coniston Old Man, an excellent vantage point on a clear day. Descend via Goats Water before returning to the village.

Ascent: 809m Descent: 809m Distance: 9 miles Time: 5hrs 

Overnight Coniston

Day 4: Coniston to Great Langdale

Today’s walk starts with a gentle climb from Coniston following Yewdale Beck.  Enjoy stunning views across the Yewdale crags and follow the waters of the striking Tarn Hows. A slight detour takes in the Colwith Force and Skelwith Force waterfalls. Following the River Brathay, you soon reach Elter Water with views towards the magnificent Langdale Pikes. Passing through the village of Elterwater, the route enters the U-shaped valley of Great Langdale. The rugged summits of the Langdale Pikes becoming increasingly impressive as you pass beneath them.

Ascent: 327m Descent: 280m Distance: 10 ½ miles Time: 4.5hrs

Overnight Great Langdale

Day 5: From Great Langdale

Today you have a choice of circular walks from Great Langdale:

Great & Little Langdale 

This walk offers continuous views of the marvellous Langdale Pikes. Starting at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel you cross Great Langdale before climbing to Blea Tarn. Continue to Little Langdale and over Slater Bridge, here you can divert to Cathedral Cave, an impressive network of disused quarries. The final leg is over the shoulder of Lingmoor Fell.

Ascent: 359m Descent: 359m Distance: 8 ½ miles Time: 4.5hrs


The Langdale Pikes

Starting at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, climb alongside Stickle Gill to Stickle Tarn. Following a path that leads towards the summit of Harrison Stickle, the most prominent of the Langdale Pikes. Climb to the summit of Pike of Stickle, which you will cross beneath tomorrow. From here you will descend over Loft Crag back to your start point at the hotel.

Ascent: 648m Descent: 648m Distance: 5 miles Time: 4.5hrs

Overnight Great Langdale

Day 6: Great Langdale to Keswick

A real taste of mountain walking is in store today and your efforts are well rewarded by the impressive Lakeland scenery. Ascend to the glacial valley of Mickleden, passing the screes of Langdale’s Pike of Stickle. Following Mickelden Beck, the path reaches Langdale Combe followed by a steep climb to Stake Pass. The Stake Pass watershed marks the flow of water northwards into the Solway Firth and southwards into Morcombe Bay. From here, the path descends into the remote Langstrath valley leading to the verdant landscapes of Borrowdale. Following the river Derwent, the trail eventually reaches the shoreline of Derwent Water. Across the lake you will see your end in sight, surrounded by the imposing peaks of Skiddaw and Blencathra. Following the western shore through woodland you reach the market town of Keswick. 

Ascent: 478m Descent: 499m Distance: 17 miles Time: 8hrs

Overnight Keswick

Day 7: Keswick to Caldbeck

Leaving behind the mountains of the Lake District, you follow the trail across the heather clad slopes of Lonscale Fell, you soon reach the moorlands of the Glenderaterra valley, nestled between the mountains of Skiddaw and Blencathra. Ascend to the summit of High Pike (658m), from here you can enjoy views of the Solway First and Scottish borderlands to the north. Descend the north slopes of the fell towards Nether Row. Continue through rolling pasturelands to the picturesque village of Caldbeck. Short transfer from Caldbeck to Keswick.

Ascent: 725m Descent: 651m Distance: 15 miles Time: 7.5hrs


Grange to Keswick via Walla Crag

To start this walk, you take a bus from Keswick to the Borrowdale village of Grange although you may be able to utilise instead the ferry service on Derwentwater to a jetty near the southern end of the lake. After some easy walking, either from Grange or from the jetty, the route ascends the fells to the east of Derwentwater, passing the popular beauty spot of Ashness Bridge and providing spectacular views to the west and north. To end you will pass over the summit of Walla Crag before descending into Keswick.

Ascent: 407 Descent: 416 Distance: 7 ½ miles Time: 3.5hrs

Overnight Keswick

Day 8: Transfer from your hotel in Keswick to Penrith Train Station. 

Walk Grading

Challenging with some long days and overall moderate ascent and descent. Some days offer a choice of walks, ranging from moderate to moderate to challenging.

Total for standard week ignoring variations: - Ascent 4410m, Descent 4320m, 116 miles.


Our Cumbria Way trek is offered on a self-guided basis. We provide full walking notes and all the relevant maps and backup support you may need.

Baggage Transfer

Throughout this trek your luggage (1 bag per person) is transported from hotel to hotel so it will not be necessary to carry more than a light pack containing items you will need during the day.

England - Cumbria Way

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On this trek, the accommodations are comfortable and of high quality, all rooms have a private bathroom.


Availability Information

We recommend travelling in April, May, June, September and early October. Spring is best for wildflowers, while Autumn offers vivid red and orange colours. Summer is also good with warmer weather and longer days. The main towns and villages can be very busy during this time, meaning availability at accommodation is limited. Make sure you book early if you wish to travel in the summer months. 

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