Hike through the heart of England's Lakeland
|Location||Cumbria, Northwest England|
|Accommodations||Hotels, Small Inns|
|Group size||5 - 8|
Jun 12, 2023 - Jun 22, 2023
|Single Supp Cost||
English romantic poet William Wordsworth was so captivated by the Lake District, in 1820 he wrote a guidebook in hopes of enticing more travelers to the area. Alfred Wainwright, creator of the iconic Coast to Coast hike, was so passionate about the area he documented 214 Lakeland Fell hiking routes in seven volumes of pictorial guides. And, in 2017, due in great part to Beatrix Potter’s early efforts to protect and preserve the area’s landscapes and traditions, the Lake District was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Encompassed within the Lake District National Park’s 912 square miles are inspiring landscapes of glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains, and lush green fields checkered with dry stone fences. Delightful villages of homes built of local slate are linked together by an endless network of footpaths leading along spectacular ridges and up to every summit.
During this 11-day trip, we’ll hike inn-to-inn through the heart of the Lake District National Park. Beginning in the charming village of Ambleside we’ll follow in the footsteps of walkers who, for generations have rambled these landscapes with Wainwright’s guidebooks in hand. Each day we’ll aim to summit at least one “Wainwright” as we immerse ourselves in the wild ruggedness of the upper fells and gentler pastures of surrounding valleys. Along the way, we’ll absorb some of Lakeland’s rich culture and heritage.
This is a new trip for us this year and we can think of no one better to introduce you to these icon landscapes than International Mountain Leader Di Brooksbank. Di’s expert leadership, depth of experience, and local knowledge along with her boundless enthusiasm for grounding walkers in the world around them are sure to make this an unforgettable trip.
Day 1: Rendezvous at Manchester Airport and transfer to Ambleside
Rendezvous at 11:00 am at Manchester Airport. Group transfer to our hotel in Ambleside. This is about a 2-hour drive. Ambleside is one of the main towns in the Lake District with a plethora of outdoor equipment shops, cafes, and small grocery shops. We can spend the afternoon exploring the local area including the remains of Galava Roman fort on the shores of Windermere or enjoy a ferry ride around the lake. Welcome dinner.
Day 2: Circular hike over Wansfell to Troutbeck
Today we head uphill, east of Ambleside, to the summit of Wansfell, with wonderful views down the 10.5-mile length of Windermere, England’s largest lake. We then continue east descending Nanny Lane to the village of Troutbeck, once the home of Beatrix Potter. A village of ancient inns, it’s also the site of a 14th-century church with impressive stained-glass windows by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. We return to Ambleside on a lower lane through Skelghyll Wood.
Wainwright climbed: Wansfell 1597’
Day 3: Ambleside to Coniston
After a short transfer, we’ll hike along the River Brathay to the green pastures of Elterwater. Continuing to Little Langdale with its charming Slater’s Bridge and dramatic Cathedral Cave, a disused slate mine, our route then meanders past farms built of the Lakeland slate and through rough pastures to reach Black Fell. One of the lowest hills included by Wainwright, it still offers far-reaching views of the surrounding lakes and fells. Descending to the south we’ll pass Tarn Hows, a pretty lake surrounded by woodland, on our way to our hotel on the shores of Coniston Water.
Wainwright climbed: Black Fell 1056’
Day 4: Coniston to Great Langdale via the Coniston Fells
Today’s hike is strenuous, on rough terrain, giving a tremendous sense of achievement. Our day begins with a walk through the village of Coniston before heading up the Coppermines Valley, where the scars of industry are still visible. From here we head up past Low Water, a high mountain lake, to summit the Old Man of Coniston. Now we stay high along the ridge of the Coniston Fells for almost 3 miles before descending to Wrynose Pass. From the pass, we take the road down to Blea Moss before taking a contouring path by Blea Tarn to Great Langdale and down to our hotel for the night, The Old Dungeon Ghyll.
Wainwrights climbed: Coniston Old Man 2633’, Brim Fell 2611’, Swirl How 2630’, Great Carrs 2575’
Day 5: Great Langdale to Grasmere via the Langdale Pikes
Wainwright wrote: “No mountain profile in Lakeland arrests and excites the attention more than that of the Langdale Pikes.” A short hike along the Langdale valley brings us to Stickle Ghyll. We follow the stream up, steeply with rock steps in places, to arrive at Stickle Tarn, set under the dramatic cirque of cliffs known as Pavey Ark. Swinging west around the tarn we climb Harrison Stickle, the highest of the Langdale Pikes. From here the terrain is much gentler as we follow the high ground north then east to Sergeant Man, before descending to our hotel on the edge of Grasmere village via Easdale Tarn.
Wainwrights climbed: Harrison Stickle 2403’, Thunacar Knott 2351’, Sergeant Man 2414’
Day 6: Grasmere and Rydal circular walk
A shorter hike today leaves us time to explore Wordsworth’s legacy in the village. We head south through Grasmere village then head up through woodland to reach the open fell-side. A popular path now takes us to the summit of Loughrigg Fell with 360o views of our journey through the Lake District. Descending to the northeast we pass Loughrigg cave on our way to the shore of Rydal Water. We return over White Moss Common descending just near Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage before returning to Grasmere Village.
Wainwright climbed: Loughrigg Fell 1101’
Day 7: Grasmere to Glenridding via the Fairfield ridge
Our morning transfer takes us back to Rydal where we’ll start our climb onto the Fairfield ridge. The initial climb up Nab Scar is strenuous but the gradient soon moderates as we gain the ridge heading north to the summit of Fairfield. We descend over Hart Crag then take the long curving ridge of Hartsop above How descending to the Patterdale valley then heading north to our hotel in Glenridding.
Wainwrights climbed: Nab Scar 1450’, Heron Pike 2003’, Great Rigg 2513’, Fairfield 2863’, Hart Crag 2698’, Hartsop above How 1870’
Day 8: Glenridding to Thirlspot via Helvellyn
Our route today takes us up Helvellyn– the third-highest mountain in the Lake District. Following the Greenside Road, we’ll pass by old mineworkings before climbing steadily on good paths to Red Tarn surrounded by the crags of Helvellyn. We’ll then take the northern route up Swirral Edge with some mild scrambling towards the top to arrive at the summit plateau. Our descent takes us north over Little Man and a rocky ridge to White Side before heading northwest down grassy slopes to Thirlspot and our Inn for the night.
Wainwrights climbed: Helvellyn 3118’, White Side 2832’
Day 9: Thirlspot to Derwentwater via Blencathra
A short morning transfer brings us to Scales. From here a steady path takes us up Scales Fell to the summit of Blencathra. We’ll follow the summit ridge before descending the broad slopes of Blease Fell to the Greta valley and the enigmatic stone circle at Castlerigg. We then continue over Walla Crag before descending to the shore of Derwentwater
Wainwrights climbed: Blencathra 2847’, Walla Crag 1234’
Day 10: Circular walk to Catbells and Maiden Moor
We take the ferry across Derwentwater to start our hike at the foot of the Catbells ridge. The path climbs steeply and becomes a little rocky towards the summit, then descends to the hause (saddle) where our route continues along the ridge south over Maiden Moor before descending to Borrowdale and our return path to Lodore via a short diversion to Castle Crag.
Wainwrights climbed: Catbells 1481’, Maiden Moor 1887’, High Spy 2143’, Castle Crag 985’
Day 11: Depart
Group Transfer to Penrith Railway Station, arriving at approximately 10:30 am. From Penrith, there are direct trains to Manchester Airport, London Euston, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.
Single rooms are limited. If you are traveling solo and wish to have a single room, there is a single supplement charge. Please let us know at the time of registration if you would like a single.
If you are traveling solo and would like to share a room, we will do our best to match you with a roommate. If there is no one with whom you can share, a “forced” single fee of $300 will apply.
Airfare, lunches, optional/individual transfers between inns or individual excursions, items not on set dinner menus, beverages, insurance, tips to guides, items of a personal nature.
This hike has luggage transfer each day. You will only need to carry a small day pack with the clothing and accessories you will need for the day. We recommend that you keep your luggage to a size you can easily manage yourself, given our accommodations may have narrow hallways and no elevator. See our sample packing list.
While this trip includes luggage transfer, it is not vehicle supported. Participants should be in a physical condition appropriate to the strenuousness of this hike. It is, however, possible to skip a day of hiking and take a taxi to the next hotel. This extra cost is not included in the price of the trip.
Most evenings will be spent in or near small villages or hamlets where there may be limited choices of accommodations. Our accommodations will run the gamut from small, simple guesthouses to very comfortable country inns and hotels. All rooms will be double occupancy with private bathrooms when possible. Breakfasts and dinners are served at the hotels or nearby restaurants or pubs. Lunches are picnic-style along the trail, with the occasional stop at a pub or tea room.
It is easiest to fly to Manchester, England. However, there are frequent trains from London; just be sure to allow for extra travel time.
Manchester Airport at 11:00 am on Day 1 for a group transfer to our hotel near Ambleside.
Group transfer to the Penrith train station. We will arrive at the train station at about 10:30 am. From Penrith, there are direct trains to Manchester Airport, London Euston, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Anyone who has walked our England Coast-to-Coast and gotten a taste of Lake District would appreciate spreading more time wandering its craggy fells and lush valleys of Lakeland. The Lake Districts encompasses England's highest peaks and offers some of the most dynamic hiking in the country. This would be a great trip for those who like the idea of take on a mix of moderate and more challenging hikes ending each day in the comfort of a local inn.
If you would like to register for this trip or would like to receive more information such as a detailed itinerary (including elevation gains, loss, and distance), please contact us. We're also happy to provide a list of past participants willing to share honest insights into our guided trips in England.
A deposit of $500 along with your completed registration forms will reserve a space on your requested trip. We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express card as well as personal checks. To make a deposit, you may either follow one of the “Reserve a Trip” links below, give us a call at 1-888-845-5781, or include your payment information in the area provided when completing your registration forms.
The balance is due 75 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 75 days prior to departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as personal checks.
As confirmation of receipt of your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive packet of information pertaining to your trip, an invoice for final payment and additional information including release agreement form, medical information form, travel information, and packing list. Upon receipt of final payment and no later than 30 days prior to your trip start, you will receive trip rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most trips.
Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.