Guided Walking Tour of Hadrian's Wall, the Lake District & Scotland
At a Glance
Venture into the countryside with this fully guided walking tour of Scotland and Northern England
Beginning in the Lake District, leave the tourist trails behind as you hike through the stunning Buttermere valley and climb some of the most spectacular fells in England’s largest National Park. Visit historic Northumberland, walking in the footsteps of Vikings and exploring the Roman ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. Finally, end the week in the bustling Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Walk the Royal Mile, hike up Arthur’s Seat and tour the iconic Edinburgh Castle.
Fuelled by fantastic cuisine, staying each night in handpicked hotels and welcoming local pubs and with a friendly guide to show you the way, Active England promises an unforgettable walking adventure. Longer walks and guided hikes up higher fells are of course available, for guests eager to take on more challenging terrain. Please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
Arriving into Penrith railway station, our expert local guide will lead you straight onto an introductory walk through the Lake District. Hiking via the towering peaks of Blencathra and Skiddaw, we make our way toward the beautiful Derwentwater, often described as ‘Queen of the Lakes’ for the way it’s cradled by the surrounding fells, and the bustling market town of Keswick.
Today’s itinerary takes us toward the Western Lakes, walking first into the tranquil woodland of the Buttermere valley. Famous for its glorious setting among the northern fells, we walk past Crummock Water and of course Buttermere itself, before winding through Honister Pass to the summit of Haystacks, one of the Lake District’s most popular fells. From here, we hike back to Keswick for a pint of local ale and a well-deserved rest.
Leaving the Lake District behind, we transfer north to the awe-inspiring Hadrian’s Wall. With boots on the ground, we hike along this 2,000-year-old World Heritage Site to Vindolanda, an enormous Roman garrison and one of England’s most significant archaeological locations. We then end our day with a visit to the most famous tree in England, the Sycamore Gap, before settling down at Grade II Listed, luxury Georgian hotel, The Collingwood Arms.
With a full day to explore Northumberland, we set out to explore to some of the region’s most magnificent castles, starting with a hike to Lindisfarne. Situated on a tidal estuary overlooking the dramatic coastline, this historic location is famously the ancient site of England’s first Christian settlements. From here, we continue to the Anglo-Saxon stronghold of Bamburgh. A spectacular castle steeped in Viking history, this is a must-see landmark for fans of the cult series, The Last Kingdom.
Crossing the border into Scotland, today we embark on the famous ‘4 Abbeys’ route. Setting out from Coldstream, a scenic town on the banks of the River Tweed, this popular circuit links the four main abbeys in the wild Scottish Borders. It’s a walk that takes us down calm country roads and hiking over a few steep but rewarding hills, before arriving in the picturesque border town of Melrose. We settle here for the night, checking in to the welcoming Burts Hotel.
For our last full day, we explore Scotland’s magnificent capital city of Edinburgh. With our Active England guide leading the way, we’ll soak up the unique atmosphere of this lively city, exploring iconic local landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat and the Royal Mile, before celebrating the end of our tour with a final evening together.
After a relaxed breakfast, our guide will lead you to Edinburgh Waverley railway station, where we’ll say our farewells and provide any help you might need with your onward travel arrangements.
Borrowdale Gates Hotel
Originally a magnificent private residence, the Borrowdale Gates Hotel maintains the lovely, homely atmosphere of a genuine country house. Set in its own 3 acres of wooded grounds at the head of Derwentwater facing south into the Jaws of Borrowdale, it’s no surprise that Alfred Wainwright described it as the “loveliest square mile in Lakeland”.
The Collingwood Arms
A Grade II listed, luxury Georgian hotel set in glorious surroundings with views overlooking the River Tweed has been welcoming visitors for 200 years. Guests are greeted in front of an open log fire, while the library offers a homely and restful retreat. The hotel bar upholds the Borders reputation for great hospitality, warm oak, antique leather and a relaxed atmosphere for friends, old and new.
Experience the warmth of hospitality in true Scottish style at Burts Hotel, Melrose. The 18th century hotel is situated in the heart of Melrose’s picturesque market square. The listed building has been sympathetically restored and extended to retain its original charm, yet provide all the refinements of a modern first-class hotel: good food, fine wines and local ales.
A boutique hotel in Leith, perfectly placed on the area's bustling waterfront. Relax in the elegant cocktail bar or on the waterfront terrace. Enjoy a divine dinner at Chez Mal Brasserie.
What our guides say...
This trip has an abundance of history and heritage and stunning scenery.
- All accommodation as indicated on the itinerary
- All breakfasts and x2 dinners (excluding dinner drinks)
- Walking poles
- GPS routes, provided via RideWithGPS (app available for Apple or Android)
- All special events, iconic points of interests, expert guests and entrance fees
- All transportation from rendezvous to farewell locations
- All baggage transportation
- All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service
- Services of a professional local guide
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 moderate, meaning it’s appropriate for guests who enjoy a good walk and can handle an incline or two. We cover varied terrain, enjoying some rolling hills and 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. Rewarding views are guaranteed!
We’ll provide walking poles if required.
Pick-up location: Penrith railway station. Our 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 from Penrith, a direct 4-hour train journey out of London.
End-of-tour location: Edinburgh Waverley railway station, a direct 4.5-hour train journey from London Kings Cross. Alternatively, there are air options from Edinburgh to various other destinations in the UK, as well as direct air routes to North America.
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.
Where is Northumberland?
Northumberland is a county in North East England, and lies on the England-Scotland border. It is home to one of the most picturesque and untouched stretches of coastline in the United Kingdom along with rolling hills and gentle mountains.
What is the best way to get to the North?
The best way to travel up North is by train, approximately a 4 hour direct journey from London Paddington to The Lake District (Penrith) and Northumberland (Newcastle Train Station).
All of our self-guided trips begin from the Lake District. 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. You can also fly into Manchester and transfer to the start of the tour from there.
Alternatively we can arrange a private transfer for you from London – the drive is approximately 5 hours.
How hilly is the North?
The North of England is hillier than many of the other regions of England. However the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales have 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?
Have you considered spending a few extra days in London before or after your trip? Get in contact with the team if you’d like to explore our 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.