(East Lakes Circuit) High Street from Haweswater
EAST LAKES CIRCUIT (SELF-GUIDED)   4 stages . 5 nights . Lake District   Booking

East Lakes Circuit
Self-guided trekking holiday

+ Bold days across the open hillsides of Eastern Lakeland
+ Unusual routes mixed with classic paths
+ Reach your next accommodation following our routecards

Latest news September 2019
Please ask us about a trip. We are now taking bookings for our 2020 season. Thank you!

This exhilarating circular trek takes you from the well-known and civilised scenes of Grasmere and Ambleside, quickly into the wilder terrain of the Eastern Lakes. Good tracks and stony paths lead up impressive hillsides, to passes giving vistas into new valleys.

Because we planned this route to strike far into these Eastern areas, necessarily the days are longer than on the other three Circuits. This daily distance is tempered slightly by the good terrain underfoot, but still the East circuit calls for strong experience and fitness.

Starting in Grasmere and visiting Kentmere, Longsleddale, Haweswater, Bampton, Ullswater, Glenridding and St John's in the Vale, finally the route drops South beside Thirlmere before a last climb to a point above Grasmere. Here the circuit is completed, back amid the bustle of this pretty Lakeland slate village.

Your accommodation is in our varied schedule of guesthouses and inns. We favour warm welcomes and handy locations, as well as good standards. Once there each evening, settle into your home for the night.


Map showing the route of Alpine Exploratory's East Lakes Circuit Self-Guided walking holiday


Alpine Exploratory
ELCsg East Lakes Circuit (Self-guided)
12 May to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
4 stages
(5 nights)

Please ask us
Singles 125
50 per dog
Singles 150
50 per dog
Baggage transfer Please ask us

Baggage transfer

Let us deliver your bag to each stop. Each morning simply leave your bag with your host.


We don't have set schedules or start dates - instead we can book your trip to suit you.

Alternative schedules
At 4 stages the East trek is a fast pace and it's tricky to make it faster. Equally at 5 stages there would be a lack of places to stay without taking a bus, so we suggest 4 stages as the ideal.

Rest days
Add a rest day in Grasmere, before or after the trek, to climb local fells.

Which Lakeland trek?

We offer four short treks in the Lakes (each 4 stages). By trekking the outer edge of these four, we make our Lake District Circuit (10 stages):

+ This East Lakes Circuit has longer distances than the others
+ The North Lakes Circuit is an all-rounder involving low passes
+ The West Lakes Circuit gives modest distances but difficult terrain
+ The South Lakes Circuit is the easiest of the treks and stays low
+ The Lake District Circuit is our fabulous loop of the Lakes.

The route

Our approach to the East Lakes Circuit
This is a bold exploration of the Eastern valleys of Lakeland, taking the walker into wild settings in the course of long days. Set off from Grasmere on paths around Loughrigg Fell, then through Ambleside and around Wansfell to Kentmere. Cross a further ridge to gain Longsleddale, at the head of which is the Gatescarth Pass to Haweswater and beyond it Bampton. Then pick up Ullswater to reach Glenridding in Patterdale. A final long stage takes you to Thirlmere and South to Grasmere, a high finish heralding the return to civilisation.

Our Lakeland trips involve a broad mix of terrain from easy paths across fields to steep rocky paths. Everything is within the context of hillwalking in the UK. A typical path is hard-packed earth (or mud if it has been raining!) with stonier sections and some drops to the side.

How to get there

Your holiday starts and ends in Grasmere. The nearest train station is Windermere from where it's a bus ride to Grasmere. Windermere is on the branch line from Oxenholme which is on the main London-Glasgow line. If flying, direct trains run from Manchester Airport to Windermere.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.

Key information Summer 2019

Trip name: East Lakes Circuit
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: ELCsg
Route: LDC Lake District Circuit
(See our background page on the LDC)
(Prefer the full trek, North, West or South?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 4 days' trekking
Start: Grasmere in Cumbria
End: Grasmere in Cumbria
Typical walk: 22km, 670m ascent
Total distance: 88km or 55 miles
Highest altitude: 750m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)

Prices Summer 2019

4 stages, per person:

ELCsg Classic
GBP 470 (singles 125, dog 50)
East Lakes Circuit (self-guided)

ELCsg Comfy
GBP 550 (singles 150, dog 50)
East Lakes Circuit (self-guided)

Research Summer 2019

People at Alpine Exploratory Alpine Exploratory's 2019 research on the Lake District Circuit will be led by:
Lucy Rushton in April

Recces 2019

Loughrigg Terrace above Grasmere and Rydal Water
Loughrigg Terrace (Photo gallery)

Alpine Exploratory's service

5 nights, staying in:
B&Bs and guesthouses (4)
Inn (1)

Accommodation and itinerary
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards ELC1-4 of the Exploratory system
Maps and local information

Season for self-guided treks
12 May to 15 September 2019
3 May to 18 September 2020
Trek on your ideal dates

Helm Crag from Dunmail Raise
Helm Crag (Photo gallery)

Find out more

About our walking holidays Our FAQs page covering equipment, weather, insurance and more about how our trips work

Walking guides Our LDC background page

Contact us or use this form:

Rough month?         
Any questions about the Lake District?

Ready to book?

Our booking form to get things started:


Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.
About us