(Lake District Circuit) Ullswater from Howtown
LAKE DISTRICT CIRCUIT (SELF-GUIDED)   10 stages . 11 nights . Lake District   Booking

Lake District Circuit
Self-guided trekking holiday

+ Cover the major areas in a huge tour of the Lakes
+ Rocky peaks, charming valleys and hidden, tranquil spots
+ Trek each day to your next place to stay

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

Complete a notable, magnificent circuit of the whole of Lakeland, in the process visiting most of the major valleys and seeing most of the famous lakes. Moving from point to point is a satisfying way to see this charming area.

The terrain in a circuit of the Lake District is bound to be varied. Our emphasis is on good mountain paths, some stony and hard to distinguish, but generally simple enough to follow. On lower-level sections, paths are sometimes forest tracks or country lanes. The highest peaks of the area, including Scafell Pike which is the high point of England, can be climbed on detours from our normal route for those who wish.

Our usual circuit starts in Ambleside, the bustling centre for the South Lakes and easily reached. We set off East to remote valleys, then cross to the Northern hills around Keswick. The Western sections come next with their rocky steps and exhilarating views. Finally the peace of the Southern district gives a new perspective on the whole trip, distant hills rising above the woods and tarns.

Your accommodation is in our varied schedule, mainly in small Lakeland hotels plus one hostel in Ennerdale. For this hostel, no extra kit is needed, breakfast is included as per each other morning, and dinner is available.


Map showing the route of Alpine Exploratory's Lake District Circuit Self-Guided walking holiday


Alpine Exploratory
LDCsg Lake District Circuit (Self-guided)
12 May to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
10 stages
(11 nights)

Please ask us
Singles 275
110 per dog
Singles 330
110 per dog
12 stages
1 rest day
(14 nights)
Please ask us
Singles 350
140 per dog
Singles 420
140 per dog
Specialised schedules
9 stages
(10 nights)

Please ask us
Singles 250
100 per dog
Singles 300
100 per dog
Baggage transfer Please ask us

Baggage transfer

Let us deliver your bag to each stop on the Lake District Circuit. 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
Our 10-stage trek is a good pace; from the bare 12 stages it combines two in order to give a more even pacing. One option is to take 12 stages. Another is to walk faster, combing two stages to give 9 days.

Rest days
Add a rest day in Keswick, roughly half-way, to recuperate and to see more of the Lakes. Or, take a second night at Wasdale to climb Great Gable or Scafell Pike.

Start and finish from Keswick
Our preference is Keswick over Ambleside, of these two Lakeland base towns, and Keswick is more convenient if coming from the North.

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):

+ The 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
+ This Lake District Circuit is our fabulous loop of the Lakes.

The route

Our approach to the Lake District Circuit
This is a full circuit of the Lake District. Starting from Ambleside in the South, your route takes to the East, North, West and South areas of the district in turn. This means setting off to cross ridges to Kentmere, then exploring open spaces to Bampton on the edge of the Eastern fells, before cutting back along Ullswater and then Thirlmere towards Keswick. Set off again to Buttermere and wild Ennerdale. Next Wasdale is a highlight across another rough pass. The roughest day underfoot comes to Langdale, and here difficulties ease and your last stages offer contemplation � in distant views � of the hills explored, as you trace the final tranquil steps back to Ambleside.

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. Around the Scafell area the going is particularly rocky and rough, with navigation at a premium if the cloud is low.

How to get there

Your holiday starts and ends in Ambleside. The nearest train station is Windermere from where it's a bus ride to Ambleside. 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.

Happy Clients

"We are very happy with the trip and can highly recommend it to friends."

Anne and Arne, Nairobi
(Lake District Circuit)

Key information Summer 2019

Trip name: Lake District Circuit
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: LDCsg
Route: LDC Lake District Circuit
(See our background page on the LDC)
(Prefer East, North, West or South?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 10 days' trekking
Start: Ambleside in Cumbria
End: Ambleside in Cumbria
Typical walk: 15km, 500m ascent
Total distance: 150km or 94 miles
Highest altitude: 750m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)

Prices Summer 2019

10 stages, per person:

LDCsg Classic
GBP 1,020 (singles 275, dog 110)
Lake District Circuit (self-guided)

LDCsg Comfy
GBP 1,120 (singles 330, dog 110)
Lake District 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

The head of Buttermere from the route to Ennerdale
Buttermere (Photo gallery)

Alpine Exploratory's service

11 nights, staying in:
Small hotels (4)
Gueshouses/B&Bs (5)
Inn (1)
Hostel (1)

Accommodation and itinerary
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards ELC1-4, NLC1-4, WLC1-4 and SLC1-4 of the Exploratory system
Maps and local information

Season for self-guided treks
12 May to 15 September 2018
3 May to 18 September 2020
Trek on your ideal dates

Tarn Hows, a small wooded lake
Tarn Hows (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?         
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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