Lake District Walking Tour
At a Glance
Venture into the majestic Lake District on this 8-day, 7-night self-guided circuit of England's largest National Park
You’ll hike up towering fells, wind through hidden valleys and experience first-hand some of our most stunning natural landscapes.
Explore the market town of Keswick and marvel at the mirror-like surface of Buttermere. Soak up the unique atmosphere that inspired the legendary Wainwright and the beloved Beatrix Potter. Feast on fantastic local cuisine, visit traditional country pubs, and settle down each day in the comfort of a handpicked hotel.
Walking at your own pace, and with all the support you might need for the perfect self-guided tour, Active England promises an unforgettable adventure into the heart of the Lakes. Longer walks and guided hikes up higher fells are available for guests eager to take on more challenging terrain. Please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
For the first leg of your tour, you’ll journey to the picturesque town of Ambleside. Arriving into Windermere railway station, a quick public bus ride will take you the remaining four miles, where our friendly local guides will provide a thorough introductory briefing. Once you have your bearings, the afternoon is yours to explore at your leisure. A popular tourist destination with a lively atmosphere, Ambleside has an abundance of charming shops, cafes and restaurants. Alternatively, take the chance to catch a relaxing ferry onto the still waters of Lake Windermere.
Setting out into the Lakes, today’s itinerary takes you to the iconic village of Coniston. Resting at the foot of one of Alfred Wainwright’s favourite fells, as well as by the western shore of the beautiful Coniston Water, it’s a popular retreat for fellow walkers. Along the way, your route also provides an opportunity to visit Hill Top, home and inspiration of the famous author, Beatrix Potter.
Today’s walk takes you further west, from Coniston to the sleepy village of Boot. Nestled in the scenic Eskdale valley, you’ll hike here via Hardknott Pass, a single-track road famous for being one of the steepest and windiest in the Lakes. Rest assured, you’ll be well-rewarded for your climb with spectacular views across the Scafell range, before dropping down into Eskdale.
Leaving Boot behind, your itinerary takes you north toward Buttermere. Today’s is a particularly scenic route, with Buttermere not only regarded as one of the most stunning Lake District valleys, but one of the best views in all of the UK. Along the way, you’ll trace the dramatic shores of Wastwater, the deepest lake in England, and also visit Wasdale Head, the starting point for those braving England’s tallest mountain, Scafell Pike.
For the next leg of your tour, you’ll see Buttermere in all its glory. Famous for its setting among the northern fells, marvel as you go at Haystacks, where Wainwright’s ashes are buried, and Great Gable, with its iconic pyramid-like shape. You’ll end today’s walk in the bustling market town of Keswick. With plenty of excellent local places here to eat and drink, as well as beautiful views of the glittering Derwentwater, this is, without doubt, a favourite destination for fell walkers. After a relaxed dinner, you’ll turn in for the evening at the cosy George Hotel in the centre of town.
Setting out from Keswick, today you’ll walk to the unspoiled village of Patterdale. Another popular hub for walkers, you’ll make your way here via Helvellyn. Officially voted England’s favourite walk, you’ll have chance to either climb all the way to the summit or hike around the lower slopes. Whichever you choose, the landscape is guaranteed to be phenomenal. Arriving into Patterdale at the end of the afternoon, rest your weary legs with a drink beside the beautiful Ullswater, England’s second-largest lake.
For the final leg of your Lake District tour, you’ll complete your circuit by walking back to Ambleside. Taking this last day to breathe in the towering fells and calm waters adorning some of England’s most beautiful landscapes, cross the finish line and enjoy a celebratory dinner in one of Ambleside’s many outstanding local restaurants.
With the tour coming to an end, our Active England guides will transfer you back to Windermere railway station for your onward travel.
This Bed & Breakfast with countryside views is set within the heart of Ambleside and offers a full English breakfast every morning. All the rooms have tea/coffee making facilities and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels.
Set in the heart of the Lake District National Park and surrounded by stunning fells, Chestnut Villa was built in 1850 as a coaching inn. Each room offers a beautiful view of the surrounding fells and has a smart TV and tea/coffee making facilities so you can relax in this tranquil haven with a warm welcome.
The George Hotel
The George Hotel is in the centre of Keswick and is one of the oldest Inns in the Lake District. Built in 1655 it is full of wonderful character with exposed beams & sashed windows. The dining room offers legendary pub classics, with delightfully fresh modern twists. An anthology of expertly crafted cask ales adorn the bar, juggling with expertly distilled gins and plenty of wine.
What our guides say...
High fells, hidden valleys and some of the most stunning landscapes in the UK, all explored at your own pace.
- All accommodation as indicated on the itinerary
- All breakfasts
- GPS routes, provided via RideWithGPS (app available for Apple or Android)
- All baggage transportation
We have handpicked the best family run, independent and country hotels, pubs and guest houses. Cosy and with informal dining, these country hotels are friendly and relaxed, with great menus with locally sourced food and ales. Our handpicked accommodation is 3* with the option to upgrade to 4* for an additional cost.
This tour is rated hard, meaning it’s appropriate for guests who enjoy a reasonably challenging walk and can handle a few inclines. We cover varied terrain, with a few steeper walks which are slightly more demanding. Your holiday, however, will be tailored by your guide to suit your individual preferences. Daily distances range from 4-10 miles, with varying elevation gain on different days. Rewarding views are guaranteed!
We’ll provide walking poles if required.
Pick-up location: Ambleside. Our walking holidays are designed to be completely stress-free, with the start of our tours sitting within easy reach of London, Bristol or the Midlands. This tour begins in Ambleside, an approximately 4-hour train journey from London to Windermere and then a 15-minute ride via public bus. Cars can also be left at Windermere on in long-stay parking facilities in Ambleside itself.
End-of-tour location: On the final morning of your tour, our local Active England guides will transfer you from Ambleside to Windermere railway station for your onward travel.
Where is the Lake District?
The Lake District is in the North West of England, with rugged mountains (fells), dramatic lakes (meres) and deep valleys formed by Ice Age glaciers. It contains England’s highest mountain, and deepest lake, and is both a National Park and a World Heritage Site, in recognition of its natural wild beauty and cultural significance, having inspired generations of poets, writers and artists.
What is the best way to get to the Lake District?
The best way to travel to the Lake District is by train, approximately a 4 hour direct journey from London Paddington to Penrith.
You can also fly into Manchester and transfer to the start of the tour from there. We can also arrange pre and post accommodation at a range of different locations so you can arrive relaxed, refreshed and ready to start your tour.
Alternatively we can arrange a private transfer for you from London – the drive is approximately 5 hours.
How hilly is the Lake District?
The North of England is hillier than many of the other regions of England. However the Lake District has a variety of routes which makes the regions great walking country and suitable for those who are moderately fit and active. There are many hills, fells and moors but the incredible views from the top more than make up from the ascents! However, you will be able to miss out some of the steeper inclines – or add in some hillier walks for those looking to stretch their legs. There are routes for everyone and we can tailor your tour to your specific preferences.
Want to extend your trip?
For pre-tour or post-tour options, why not check out our London trips and add a few days in the capital city.
What’s the Number?
Nearly everything has a carbon footprint. Together with ecollective, we’ve measured the carbon impact of not only every tour we operate but our entire business. We’ve taken into account greenhouse gas emissions across the business including office, travel, website, vehicles, accommodation, activities, food, suppliers…
What does the number mean?
We’re going to improve this by measuring and reducing our footprint each year. That means working with our suppliers to make changes that have a more positive impact on us and the planet. What does this look like in reality?
- Redesign trips to reduce our carbon impact
- Working closely with all our suppliers across England to join us on our decarbonisation journey
- Switching up our vehicle fleet to electric
- Investing in projects that permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere for any emissions that remain.
We’ve got a long way to go but we’re on our way to net-zero
We’re committed to reducing our impact on the planet and working towards a sustainable future. We’ve taken ownership of our carbon footprint and are on a mission to reduce our emissions year on year.