Lake District for Softies


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$ 930 Per Person

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Product Description

Highlights and product description overview

  • On this 7 night easy-to-moderate grade tour you will start from Lake Windermere and walk past at least nine other lakes, including Coniston Water and Grasmere. You also have the opportunity (weather permitting) on the 7-night tour to climb the peaks of Old Man of Coniston and Helvellyn. You can visit the former homes of Beatrix Potter near Hawkshead and William Wordsworth at Grasmere (both open to the public).

Additional Information

Trek Duration

More Than Five days

Tour Languages


Trek Difficulty



The Discerning Traveller

Suitable For

< 18 year olds, 18-39 year olds, 40-49 year olds, 50-59 year olds, 60+ year olds, Families

Guiding Method



Coniston, Grasmere, Lake Windermere

Discerning Traveller

What is a self-guided hiking tour holiday? Briefly, this means a hiking holiday (or walking holiday, it’s the same thing) on which each day you walk on to a new place for your next overnight stop. For instance on a Discerning Traveller hiking tour, we book and pay for your accommodation each night with breakfast, move your main baggage onto the next night’s stop and provide you with route directions and hikers maps to enable you find your way on foot. You carry only a daypack containing such items as lunch, drinking water, waterproofs, and camera. Our hiking tours are self-guided (i.e. no leader or guide; our route notes and highlighted maps take the place of a leader); individual (i.e. you are not part of a group; our customers are mostly in parties of 2 to 4 people who have booked together, although we do also cater for single travellers on some routes); and with some exceptions you can start any day you choose within our season.

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Day 1: Arrival at Bowness

Our walk starts at Bowness-on-Windermere, a popular lakeside resort. If you have spare time after arrival on day 1 there are the following possibilities:
a) an afternoon or evening cruise on a lake ‘steamer’, either northwards along the lake to Ambleside or southwards to Newby Bridge. Recommended!
b) a 1 hour walk to the summit of Brantfell, a prominent hill 1 mile/1.5 km outside the town with a fine view over Lake Windermere and the surrounding countryside. Also recommended.
c) A visit to the beautiful Arts & Crafts House at Blackwell, overlooking Windermere 2.5km south of Bowness (open daily throughout our season).
There is a wide choice of places to eat out at on this – and subsequent – evenings.

Day 2: Bowness to Hawkshead

While your baggage goes on ahead (as on each day that you walk on to new accommodation), you start off along the lakeshore footpath to the ferry which takes you across to the west shore of the lake. You walk up through woods and across fields to Hill Top Farm in the hamlet of Near Sawrey; this was Beatrix Potter’s home for many years and is now in the care of the National Trust. In 2017 house open daily except Fridays, garden open daily. There is a nice pub in the hamlet where you can have lunch; alternatively you can continue the walk and picnic by one of the ‘tarns’ (local word for small lakes) such as Moss Eccles Tarn (recommended in good weather). Your afternoon walk continues past two other very pretty tarns (one with the intriguing name of Wise Een Tarn) and passes close to the summit and all-round viewpoint of Latterbarrow Hill, before descending to the delightful village of Hawkshead, where the poet William Wordsworth attended school. The parish church (beautiful interior with wall paintings and Elizabethan woodwork) and the former Grammar School are both worth a visit. 8 miles/12.5km/4.5 hours walking time excluding stops; add 1.5km/30 minutes if including Latterbarrow. Maximum altitude 244m/800 feet (Latterbarrow summit). The day can readily be shortened to half the length by taking the bus from Hill Top to Hawkshead; there is even a bus from the Windermere ferry to Hill Top, should the weather or your inclination rule out walking altogether – but we hope not!

Day 3: Hawkshead to Coniston

This is an easy walk, allowing time before departure from Hawkshead to visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery (in summer 2017 open daily 10am to 5pm.) where many of the writer’s original sketches are displayed in rotation. The walk leads up across farmland to the celebrated and undeniably beautiful Tarn Hows, the best-known of the Lake District tarns and something of a Mecca for visitors. However the car park is well-hidden and the tarn is totally uncommercialised. From Tarn Hows to Coniston you join the Cumbria Way long-distance trail. There are various opportunities to extend the day, including a boat trip on a Victorian steamboat across the lake to John Ruskin’s house at Brantwood or (strenuous and in places very rough underfoot) a walk through the rugged Coppermines valley to rock-girt Levers Water tarn. The children’s adventure writer Arthur Ransome set several of his Swallows and Amazons series of novels on and around Coniston Water lake, and much of the landscape he described is still recognisable. There is indeed easily enough to do in and near Coniston to fill an extra day. 6 miles/10km/3.5 hours walking time. Maximum altitude c.230m/750 feet (near Tarn Hows lake). Add 4 miles/6.5km/2.5 hours of more strenuous hiking if including extension to Levers Water and back to Coniston (see Day 4, option B).

Day 4: In Coniston

For your day in Coniston (only on the 7-night tour) we offer a choice of 4 different walks: options A and B are half- day walks and at least part of either of these could be included in the afternoon of Day 3. Options C and D are full-day walks.
Option A: Brantwood. Ferry (either the Gondola steamboat or the Coniston launch) from Coniston to Brantwood, then visit John Ruskin’s House and gardens. Circular walk from Brantwood to Crag Head viewpoint and back. Then ferry back to Coniston or walk back by road round the head of the lake. About 4 hours in total including ferry trip(s). Maximum altitude 220m/722 feet (Crag Head summit).
Option B: Coppermines Valley and Levers Water. An out- and back-walk in wild mountain surroundings with remnants of former copper and slate workings. About 3 hours walking. Maximum altitude c.400m/1300 feet (Levers Water lake).
Option C: Cumbria Way. Bus (not Sundays/bank holidays) to Water Yeat. Then walk back to Coniston along the Cumbria Way long-distance trail, over moorland and along the lakeshore footpath. About 5 hours walking. Maximum altitude 175m/575 feet (near Beacon Tarn). Can be done in any weather.
Option D: Old Man of Coniston peak (803m/2600feet). Only in clear weather. A real mountain-walking expedition, with magnificent views. About 6 hours walking..

Day 5: Coniston to Great Langdale

From Coniston you follow the Yewdale and Tilberthwaite valleys, with impressive remains of former mining and slate-quarrying activity. After traversing the slopes above Little Langdale Tarn you climb to Blea Tarn, in a wild setting between the Little Langdale and Great Langdale valleys. It is a steep descent to the next overnight stop near Dungeon Ghyll, close to the foot of the famous pair of rocky peaks known as the Langdale Pikes. For those with energy to spare there are possible extension walks to the wild and remote head of Great Langdale known as Mickleden, and to the gorge of Tilberthaite Gill. 8 miles/12.4km/4.5 hours walking time from Coniston to Great Langdale. Maximum altitude 224m/735 feet (near Blea Tarn). Add up to 2 hours if including the extensions.

Day 6: Great Langdale to Grasmere

You follow the Great Langdale Beck down past the villages of Chapel Stile and Elterwater (the name means ‘wildfowl lake’) and the waterfall of Skelwith Force. From Skelwith Bridge you leave Langdale and cross over a low ridge to Loughrigg Tarn, surrounded by green parkland. From nearby Loughrigg Terrace there is a classic view over Grasmere lake. Our way continues through oak woodland between the small valley lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water, then crosses White Moss Common to Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum at the hamlet of Town End on the edge of Grasmere village. 9.5 miles/15km/5.5 hours walking. Maximum altitude 163m/535 feet (Loughrigg Terrace).

Day 7: In Grasmere (7-night tour only)

We describe 3 separate walks, two at low level and the third at high level. Most visitors to Grasmere will also want to visit Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum.
Option A: Easedale Tarn. An easy and popular walk along well-made footpaths to a small lake in a wild mountain setting. About 3 hours. Maximum altitude 285m/935 feet (Easedale Tarn lake).
Option B: Rydal Water and Alcock Tarn. A circular walk round the valley lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water, with an opportunity to visit Wordsworth’s former house and garden at Rydal Mount (open daily). The walk is mostly easy and suitable for any weather conditions. The extension to Alcock Tarn is more strenuous but can be omitted. About 3 hours, or 4 hours if Alcock Tarn is included. Add I hour for a visit to Rydal Mount. Maximum altitude 370m/1214 feet (Alcock Tarn).
Option C: Helvellyn peak (950m/3116 feet). This is a full-day walk and requires good weather without low cloud. You walk from Grasmere to the summit of England’s most climbed mountain. Magnificent scenery all the way. Return the same way or take a shorter descent to the bus route by Thirlmere lake and return by bus. About 6.5 to 7.5 hours.

Day 8: Departure from Grasmere

When the time comes to leave there is a good bus service, including some open-top double-decker buses, from Grasmere via Rydal to Ambleside and the train station at Windermere. Or – now with your luggage to carry – you can use the local Grasmere taxi service.


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What's Included:

  • 7 nights bed and breakfast in B&Bs and small hotels. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated if we are informed when booking. Baggage transfers when moving on to new accommodation during the tour
  • Annotated hikers’ maps at 1.25,000 scale, showing location of each accommodation, the suggested hiking routes, and other information
  • Mountain safety advice
  • Printout of detailed directions in English
  • Info on local bus services
  • Practical information on other local services

What's Excluded:

  • Travel to the start point (Bowness-on-Windermere) and back from the end point (Grasmere)
  • Other meals than breakfast
  • Local ferry and bus journeys in connection with some of the walks

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Company Information

What is a self-guided hiking tour holiday? Briefly, this means a hiking holiday (or walking holiday, it’s the same thing) on which each day you walk on to a new place for your next overnight stop. For instance on a Discerning Traveller hiking...

Tour Details

  • Availability
    Available Daily
  • Booking Type
    Instant Booking
  • Duration
    8 Days
  • Guiding method
    Self Guided
  • Guide Language
  • Meeting/Starts Point
  • Maximum Altitude
    950 Meters
  • Trek Difficulty

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