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The Lake District

Literary inspiration on a grand scale
 
Bag up to three Wainwright fells on this self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday. The walks also take in iconic lakes such as Windermere and Coniston, and places that have inspired great artists and writers – Wordsworth’s beloved Grasmere, and scenery which formed the backdrop to Swallows and Amazons – finishing each day at a high-quality hotel.
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the Lake District

The rugged fells of the Lake District rise to heights not reached anywhere else in England, commanding views over the ‘waters’ and meres, the moor-clad hills and the whitewashed villages that are as close to a bird’s-eye perspective as we humans can hope to gain. In collusion with the seasons, and particularly the weather and the light, the landscapes, chameleon-like, can change in appearance and character in a matter of minutes, yet remain as impressive – and humbling – under dark clouds or a shroud of mist as under bright sunshine. Is it any wonder that the showcase of natural beauty that is the Lake District has inspired so many writers, poets and artists?
As an introduction to walking in the Lake District, and to Britain’s second national park in general (the Lake District was given protected status just a few weeks after the Peak District was declared Britain’s first national park), this rewarding holiday is ideal. At times demanding (you’ll need to be sure-footed), often thrilling, never boring, not only does it feature several iconic lakes and fells (including Windermere, England’s longest lake; Coniston Water, where Donald Campbell broke the water speed record four times; and up to three of the 214 fells detailed in Alfred Wainwright’s seven-volume pictorial guide to the Lake District), but it also offers the chance to visit places associated with some of the most illustrious cultural figures to have been inspired by the Cumbrian scenery.

JMW Turner sketched and painted both Windermere and Coniston Water, while aspects of these two lakes and their surroundings can be seen clearly in Arthur Ransome’s descriptions of the setting of Swallows and Amazons. Beatrix Potter found inspiration for some of her stories at her beloved Hill Top, a farm in the hills above Coniston, and it was while living in Grasmere – ‘the loveliest spot that man hath found’ – that William Wordsworth wrote some of his best-loved works.

To top it all off, we have found high-quality accommodation, making this a holiday that combines great walking with plenty of culture and high levels of comfort.
 

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We are accepting bookings for English holidays. Our flexible booking arrangements, commitment to safety and financial protection mean that you can book with confidence.

What we’re doing so you can book and travel with confidence >
 
Images courtesy of Andrew's Walks (© AW) & visitlakedistrict.com (© VLD)
 

Gallery

 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights. Similarly, given the nature of the terrain, you can choose your walking route each day – our detailed route notes usually include at least a couple of options. On the one hand, there are easier, lower-level alternatives to the high routes, if you are feeling less energetic and/or the weather is poor. On the other hand, there are some options which are more demanding than we’d normally suggest for a grade 2 holiday but which are perfect if you’re blessed with good weather and would relish the occasional extra challenge and the satisfaction of reaching a panoramic viewpoint or iconic peak.

Pay locally for bus journeys.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    You should always be prepared for wet weather, whichever month you are travelling.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 6 7 9 11 14 16 18 18 16 13 9 7
    mm 154 119 108 90 93 94 103 113 97 130 123 151
  • Arrival in Windermere
    Depending on when you arrive, you may have time for a boat cruise around the lake, a great introduction to the marvellous scenery.

    Night 1: at Merewood Country House Hotel or, if you choose to upgrade, Cragwood Country House Hotel (the first of 2 nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Circular route from Windermere: 14km/9miles, 6hrs; 735m ascent/descent
    After an initial ascent, you join a path which contours the hillside, offering beautiful views up and down Windermere as you head towards bustling Ambleside, at the head of the lake. Take some time to explore this iconic Lakeland town – it is home to Bridge House, the first National Trust information centre – then continue your walk, soon passing Stockghyll Force, a 21-metre-high waterfall. From here, you start your ascent of Wansfell Pike (482 metres). There are superb views back over Ambleside as you rise along the well-laid path, but the best is yet to come: at the top you are rewarded with a 360-degree panorama encompassing both Windermere and Grasmere, your ultimate destination on this holiday. If you’d like to bag a Wainwright fell today, you can detour to nearby Baystones (487 metres). When you are ready, you descend to Troutbeck, an archetypal Lakeland village whose tranquillity contrasts with the bustle of Ambleside, and from here loop around the fell before a final descent to your hotel.

    For an easier day, you could simply walk to Ambleside and then return by boat; follow an out-and-back route along the valley to Troutbeck; or take a half-day cruise on Windermere.
    Windermere viewed from Wansfell Pike © AW
    Circular route from Windermere: 14km
  • Windermere to Coniston: 8km/5miles, 3hrs; 225m ascent / 210m descent
    Today’s walk starts in a suitably scenic manner, with a 40-minute boat ride across Windermere to its quieter western shore, where you’ll find Wray Castle, a Victorian neo-gothic castle where Beatrix Potter once holidayed that is now managed by the National Trust. There’s time for a visit if you so wish, after which you walk alongside the lake, with views across to Wansfell Pike, before turning away from the water and rising through forest to a viewpoint. On the upper part of the fell there are two out-and-back detours: one takes you down to placid Moss Eccles Tarn (adding 4.3km to your walk), while the second rises to the summit of Latterbarrow (adding 2.7km to your walk). Whether you choose one, both or neither of the detours, the route finishes with a descent into Hawkshead, a picturesque village famed for the collection of original Beatrix Potter artwork housed in its gallery, and the school which Wordsworth attended. To reach Coniston, you take the bus for the last leg; the bus stops right outside The Coniston Inn, your base for the next two nights.
    The route from Windermere to Coniston
    Windermere to Coniston: up to 15km
  • Choice of routes from Coniston: 13.5km/8.5miles, 6.5hrs; or 10km/6miles, 4hrs

    Old Man of Coniston: 13.5km/8.5miles, 6.5hrs, 795m ascent/descent
    If you are feeling energetic and are keen to bag another Wainwright, the obvious place to head today is to the Old Man of Coniston. The name of this 803-metre fell is something of a misnomer – rather than having a link or resemblance to a person, it is thought to come from the Celtic alt maen, which translates as ‘high stones’. Whatever the story behind the name, its rocky peak is an iconic one to bag. Rather than following the majority of walkers up and down the well-established route, we suggest a circuit, past the small tarn of Goat’s Water, up to the summit and down via Low Water and some abandoned copper mines.

    Tarn Hows: 10km/6miles, 4hrs; 325m ascent/descent
    Walking to Tarn Hows makes for an easier, but equally scenic day – sheltered on most sides by coniferous woodland, the tarn is one of those special places that is beautiful in any weather. You ascend steadily through woodland to the tarn, then circumnavigate its waters before returning to Coniston via Tom Gills Falls, another alluring spot at which to linger for a while.

    Beatrix Potter Gallery & Brantwood House
    If you prefer a day off from walking, you could take the bus to Hawkshead to visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery if you didn’t have time to do so on Day 2. Other options are to take a boat trip around the lake; explore Brantwood House (accessible by boat from your hotel), former home of John Ruskin; or visit the museum in Coniston itself, which tells the story of the famous people associated with the lake.
    The walk to the Old Man of Coniston © AW
    Tarn Hows
    Old Man of Coniston: 13.5km
    Tarn Hows: 10km
  • Coniston to Grasmere: 16km/10miles, 6.5hrs; or 9.5km/6miles, 3.5hrs

    Via Cathedral Quarry: 16km/10miles, 6.5hrs; 605m ascent/585m descent
    The longer of the two routes leads directly from the inn. The bulk of the ascent is accomplished in the first 3km, rewarding you with a quiet and stunning traverse across the mountainside via a hanging valley, with a view that encompasses the rest of the route – you can even see the hillside where Alcock Tarn sits above Grasmere. After descending to Tilberthwaite and walking through a verdant landscape gradually being reclaimed from the old mining industry, you then have the chance to visit impressive Cathedral Quarry, an apt name given its size. You can access the cavernous lower chamber via a tunnel, or look down into the open upper quarry from a viewing platform. To continue, you cross a grade-II-listed bridge made of slate, then traverse the shoulder of Lingmore Fell to reach the village of Elterwater in Great Langdale. This is one of the region’s quieter valleys, yet the views are of classic Lakeland scenery, with rugged peaks all around you. Another ascent takes you to Huntingstile Crag, from where you descend to Grasmere.

    Via Skelwith Bridge: 9.5km/6miles, 3.5hrs; 230m ascent/descent
    For the shorter walk, you start by catching the bus north-eastwards. At the village of Skelwith Bridge, you take a path that follows the River Brathay past the small but powerful Skelwith Force, soon joining the Cumbrian Way to the lake and village of Elterwater, where your route merges with that of the longer option.

    Your destination in Grasmere is the Rothay Garden Hotel, where you spend your final two nights. 
    Cathedral Quarry
    Slaters Bridge
    Via Cathedral Quarry: 16km
    Via Skelwith Bridge: 9.5km
  • Choice of routes from Grasmere: 13.5km/8.5miles, 5.5hrs; or 7.5km/5miles, 3hrs

    Alcock Tarn & Loughrigg Terrace: up to 13.5km/8.5miles, 5.5hrs; 500m ascent/descent
    For classic views over Grasmere village and lake – as well as panoramas extending over Windermere, where your holiday began, if you don’t mind a steep ascent to and descent from Alcock Tarn – we recommend this walk. It starts by rising below Butter Crag towards Alcock Tarn, although you can omit the tarn (and the demanding ascent/descent) by taking the shortcut. There are then two options for the return to Grasmere: one short, one long. The former takes the direct route, giving you the chance to visit Wordsworth’s former home, Dove Cottage, where he penned some of his most famous poems. The latter follows the Coffin Route – so named as it was the path along which bodies were carried for burial in Grasmere – to Rydal. Here, you circumnavigate the eponymous lake, passing Rydal Cave to reach Loughrigg Terrace, a natural balcony overlooking Grasmere’s waters which is particularly pretty in May, when the bluebells are in bloom. After drinking in the views, you descend to the water’s edge and return to the village for a final night at the Rothay Garden Hotel.

    Easedale Tarn: 7.5km/5miles, 3hrs; 235m ascent/descent
    For a shorter day, head instead to Easedale Tarn. Set in a bowl formed by treeless, rock-strewn hills, it makes a pleasant spot for a picnic, and the walk is short enough to be combined with a visit to Dove Cottage on your return to Grasmere. On the other hand, if you’d like to finish your break by bagging another Wainwright, you can extend the walk by detouring to Helm Crag (additional 3km and 300m ascent/descent), with its distinctive rocky pinnacle, a fitting spot from which to admire the dramatic scenery one last time.
    The Coffin Route
    Dove Cottage
    Alcock Tarn and Loughrigg Terrace: up to 13.5km
    Easedale Tarn: up to 10.5km
 

Accommodation

You stay in high-quality country inns, finishing in style at a 4-star retreat in Grasmere.

We offer an upgrade option in Windermere. Please indicate your preference at the time of booking.
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 6 nights: 25 August 2021 - 31 October 2021 & 01 March 2022 - 31 October 2022

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    25 Aug - 25 Sep 2021 £1095 £690
    26 - 30 Sep 2021 £1025 £625
    1 - 25 Oct 2021 £945 £550
    1 - 27 Mar 2022 £845 £455
    28 Mar - 25 Apr 2022 £940 £555
    26 Apr - 26 May 2022 £995 £600
    27 May - 25 Sep 2022 £1060 £660
    26 - 30 Sep 2022 £995 £590
    1 - 25 Oct 2022 £945 £555
    3rd & 4th person discount -£10
    Single traveller supplement £10
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    Included travel: transfer Grasmere-Windermere to collect car OR from/to Windermere railway station

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • 6 nights, staying at Cragwood Country House Hotel: 25 August 2021 - 31 October 2021 & 01 March 2022 - 31 October 2022

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    25 Aug - 25 Sep 2021 £1145 £725
    26 - 30 Sep 2021 £1070 £675
    1 - 25 Oct 2021 £995 £595
    1 - 27 Mar 2022 £895 £475
    28 Mar - 25 Apr 2022 £995 £570
    26 Apr - 26 May 2022 £1080 £630
    27 May - 25 Sep 2022 £1125 £680
    26 - 30 Sep 2022 £1045 £615
    1 - 25 Oct 2022 £995 £570
    3rd & 4th person discount -£10
    Single traveller supplement £10
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    Included travel: transfer Grasmere-Windermere to collect car OR from/to Windermere railway station

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Merewood Country House Hotel, near Windermere
    '4-poster with lake view': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    '4-poster with lake view': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £14
    'Lake view': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    'Lake view': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £14
    The Coniston Inn, Coniston
    'Lake or mountain view': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    'Lake or mountain view': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £14
    'Superior with lake or mountain view': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £28
    'Superior with lake or mountain view': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £28
    Rothay Garden Hotel, Grasmere
    'Classic Superior': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    'Classic Superior': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £14
    Deluxe: 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £35
    Deluxe: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £35
    'Deluxe Superior': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £45
    'Deluxe Superior': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £45
    Luxury double with balcony: 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £60
    Luxury double with balcony: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £60

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    The Coniston Inn, Coniston (B&B) Double room Single room
    25 Aug - 30 Sep 2021 £130 £245
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2021 £100 £185
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £80 £145
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2022 £100 £185
    01 May - 30 Sep 2022 £115 £215
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £100 £185
    Rothay Garden Hotel, Grasmere (B&B) Double room Single room
    25 Aug - 30 Sep 2021 £135 £255
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2021 £110 £205
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £95 £175
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2022 £105 £195
    01 May - 31 May 2022 £110 £210
    01 Jun - 30 Sep 2022 £135 £255
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £110 £205
  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Cragwood Country House Hotel, near Windermere
    '4-poster with lake view': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    '4-poster with lake view': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £14
    'Lake view': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    'Lake view': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £14
    The Coniston Inn, Coniston
    'Lake or mountain view': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    'Lake or mountain view': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £14
    'Superior with lake or mountain view': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £28
    'Superior with lake or mountain view': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £28
    Rothay Garden Hotel, Grasmere
    'Classic Superior': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    'Classic Superior': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £14
    Deluxe: 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £35
    Deluxe: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £35
    'Deluxe Superior': 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £45
    'Deluxe Superior': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £45
    Luxury double with balcony: 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £60
    Luxury double with balcony: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £60

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    The Coniston Inn, Coniston (B&B) Double room Single room
    25 Aug - 30 Sep 2021 £130 £245
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2021 £100 £185
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £80 £145
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2022 £100 £185
    01 May - 30 Sep 2022 £115 £215
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £100 £185
    Rothay Garden Hotel, Grasmere (B&B) Double room Single room
    25 Aug - 30 Sep 2021 £135 £255
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2021 £110 £205
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2022 £95 £175
    01 Apr - 01 Apr 2022 £105 £195
    01 May - 31 May 2022 £110 £210
    01 Jun - 30 Sep 2022 £135 £255
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2022 £110 £205
  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - via Windermere

    Outward route Price per person Latest train
    arrival time
    taxi Windermere station to hotel (0h10) included flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest train
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Windermere station (0h45) included flexible

    Connecting travel options - via Oxenholme

    Outward route Price per person Latest train
    arrival time
    taxi Oxenholme station to hotel (0h30) £15 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest train
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Oxenholme station (1h) £25 flexible
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 4 dinners
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • taxi to collect car, or from/to Windermere station
  • boat ride across Windermere on day 2
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • If your holiday plans go awry because of Coronavirus, rest assured that we’ll do right by you. Since the start of the pandemic, our flexible booking policy and prompt issuing of refunds to customers who prefer not to defer their holiday have earned us high praise in the national press.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – walking holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety, not least taking tests before and after your holiday for many destinations.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
    Entry requirements for non-UK destinations & for re-entering the UK >
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • Yes, absolutely. Over the years, we have arranged a great many holidays in the UK for customers living in the USA, Canada, Australia and beyond.

    If you've never travelled with us before, it's worth reading the web pages which explain how we can cater for customers who live outside the UK. The main thing to bear in mind is that our tour operator's licence doesn't allow us to book flights that originate outside the UK, and nor are we able to book rail travel in the UK, so we can't make travel arrangements for you, other than pre-arranging taxis between the local railway station and the accommodation – see the ‘prices & travel’ section for the options available.

    For practical information about travelling to the UK, see the 'what do I need to know about travelling to England, Scotland and Wales?' question.
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to take out our recommended travel insurance policy (if you live outside the UK you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
  • Unfortunately not. The Inntravel team includes many dog owners, but the extra considerations – such as whether taxi firms accept dogs for transfers to the start of walks, whether routes cross private land on which dogs are not allowed, and proximity to a vet’s – would add another layer of complexity to what are already quite complex holidays.
  • As a minimum, you will need a passport to enter the UK; requirements vary according to your nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. You’ll need to check requirements on the website of your own country’s government or that of the British government. Our essential travel information page provides links to websites where you can find out about the applicable requirements, along with general official travel advice.
     
    English is the most widely spoken of several official languages; in Wales, for example, Welsh has equal status. The currency is the British pound (Scotland issues its own bank notes, but Bank of England notes can be used in Scotland and vice versa). The UK follows Greenwich Mean Time during autumn and winter, but switches to British Summer Time (GMT + 1) from late March until late October.
Last fetch time is : 10/21/2021 1:59:35 PM