(Lake District Tour) Ullswater from Howtown
LAKE DISTRICT TOUR   6 stages . 7 nights . Lake District   Booking

Lake District Tour
Self-guided trekking holiday


+ Cover the major areas in a week's tour of the Lakes
+ Rocky peaks, charming valleys and tranquil spots
+ Trek each day to your next guesthouse, inn or hotel

Latest news October 2019
Our 2020 dates and prices are up! Availability is great at this early point. Please ask us about a trip - thank you.

Walk a magnificent circuit of Lakeland. Our route visits most of the major valleys, linking Patterdale, Buttermere, Ennerdale, Wasdale and Langdale. Walking from point to point is a satisfying way to see this National Park, bringing a new hamlet, village or small town at the end of each stage.

We have applied our years of Lake District walking to create the 6-stage Tour. Start in Ambleside, the bustling centre for the South Lakes. Set off North East to Patterdale and Ullswater, then cross to Keswick firmly in the North. The linked Western sections come next as we cross to Buttermere, then in one day to Ennerdale and Wasdale. Now cross to Great Langdale in a bold, high stage via Angle Tarn. Finally, Langdale gives a new perspective on the trip, distant hills rising above the woods.

The terrain in a circuit of the Lake District is bound to be varied. Our emphasis is on good mountain paths that cross passes into the next valley. Some paths are stony and hard to distinguish, for example across the Scafell massif, while on the lower-level sections including Langdale we walk on field paths, woodland tracks or country lanes. There is the chance to climb two high peaks of the area, Scafell Pike and Helvellyn, on detours from our main route.


Map


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

Prices


Alpine Exploratory
LDTsg Lake District Tour (Self-guided)
3 May to 18 September 2020
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
6 stages
(7 nights)

Please ask 680
Singles 175
70 per dog
790
Singles 210
70 per dog
Specialised schedules
4 stages
(5 nights)

Please ask 540
Singles 125
50 per dog
630
Singles 150
50 per dog
6 stages
1 rest day
(8 nights)
Please ask 750
Singles 200
80 per dog
870
Singles 240
80 per dog
Options
Baggage transfer 70

Itinerary

Here is our normal schedule of 6 stages.


Arrival day: Arrival in Ambleside
Your trip begins with arrival in Ambleside, the holiday centre of the South Lakes and a major outdoor base. Explore the restaurants and back-street pubs.
Guesthouse in Ambleside

Stage 1: Ambleside to Glenridding
Red3 grade, 22km with 845m ascent, 755m descent
An all-round Lakeland walk, this stage begins with the popular walk beside Rydal Water and Grasmere. We follow the classic Loughrigg Terrace route. Beyond Grasmere the character changes to a steady ascent of the open hillside, crossing Grisedale Hause. Later we roll down the valley to Glenridding in Patterdale, on the shore of Ullswater. (An option today is the ascent of Helvellyn (950m) and descent of the narrow Striding Edge. This makes the day 25.5km with 1265m ascent and 1175m descent at Black4 grade.)
B&B in Glenridding

Stage 2: Glenridding to Keswick
Red3 grade, 20.5km with 790m ascent, 775m descent
We make a second substantial Lakeland crossing today, from Patterdale over the Sticks Pass (750m). Once down near Thirlmere our main route then takes to fields for a gentler second half. We pass the well-sited Castlerigg stone circle before dropping to Keswick, main base for the Northern lakes and popular with tourists and walkers. (We describe an alternative from Thirlmere to Rosthwaite, that takes you into the heart of beautiful Borrowdale. This makes the day 22.5km with 1150m ascent and 1145m descent. Then take the bus from Rosthwaite to Keswick.)
Guesthouse in Keswick

Stage 3: Keswick to Buttermere
Red3 grade, 17.5km with 720m ascent, 700m descent
The defining section of this walk is the crossing from the Newlands valley to Buttermere over the pass separating Sail and Ard Crags. Before this we climb one of the best-loved Lakeland hills, Cat Bells above Derwent Water. We stay in Buttermere, a gentle haven after a varied cross-country walk, the village sited between Crummock Water and the lake Buttermere.
Small hotel in Buttermere

Stage 4: Buttermere to Wasdale Head
Red3 grade, 12km with 645m ascent, 680m descent
Today's two passes (Scarth Gap Pass and Black Sail Pass) are similar in needing short, steep ascents and in giving quick views into the next valley. We cross into Ennerdale and pass the Black Sail hut. Our aim is Wasdale Head and its inn, famous as an early base for Lakeland mountaineering on nearby Great Gable and Scafell Pike.
Inn at Wasdale Head

Stage 5: Wasdale Head to Great Langdale
Red3 grade, 13.5km with 690m ascent, 670m descent
A grand crossing today through the heart of the Lakes! We link footpaths to Sty Head Tarn and Sprinkling Tarn, crossing the side of the Scafell massif. At the other side of this high ground we find Angle Tarn, then drop into Great Langdale. (It is possible to climb Scafell Pike, highest point in England, during this stage. Our suggestion is to leave the route near Allen Crags for a detour to Scafell Pike that makes the day 21.5km with 1,030m ascent and 1,010m descent, at Black3 grade.)
Inn in Great Langdale

Stage 6: Great Langdale to Ambleside
Blue2 grade, 14km with 140m ascent, 175m descent
Link the circuit by walking the length of Great Langdale. The walking is relatively flat, with the odd minor and worthwhile climb, and the mountainous views are excellent. Pass two delightful villages Chapel Stile and Elterwater, both offering pub lunches. We take a different route into Ambleside via Skelwith Bridge and over the side of Loughrigg, reaching Rothay Park again. (Loughrigg Terrace is a possibility by diverting.) Congratulations! (We suggest a detour to Stickle Tarn (470m) in the Langdale Pikes, that makes the day 18km with 520m ascent and 555m descent at Red2 grade.)
Guesthouse in Ambleside

Departure day: Departure from Ambleside
Depart after breakfast from Ambleside; in fact this is a great point from which to take buses across the Lakes or trains via Oxenholme to Manchester or London. We love to advise on onward travel.


On any of our treks, please add a second night at Wasdale Head in order to climb Scafell Pike (978m) which is England's highest mountain. Or, make the ascent during Stage 5 (as noted above).


Scafell Pike ascent from Wasdale Head
Black3 grade, 12km with 970m ascent, 970m descent
For those staying at Wasdale Head a second night, our out-and-back route to Scafell Pike goes up the Lingmell Beck and onto the stony open summit slopes. Scafell Pike (978m) is a worthy peak, often popular. In bad weather the summit area needs careful route-finding.


Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.


Baggage transfer

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

We offer baggage transfer as an additional service knowing that some trekkers prefer to carry their kit for the week, and in fact there is not too much to carry in the Lakes. Your hotels and B&Bs supply towels and shampoo. It's possible to trek with quite a light pack even allowing for the necessary waterproofs, warm layer including hat and gloves, and food and water for the day.


Options

As well as the alternative paths (above) that can be chosen on the day, there are some variants to our Lake District Tour that we would plan in advance:

Trek 4 stages
If you'd like to spend 4 days in the Lakes then we can readily recommend the Keswick to Ambleside stages. Joining at Keswick, you might travel through the Lakes if coming from the South and would gain the sense of scale. As a base, Keswick is super fun. Then start with Stage 3 to Buttermere, a good all-round Lakeland walk. (Our 5-night trip.)

Stay in Rosthwaite instead of Keswick
If the Rosthwaite alternative on Stage 2 appeals then you might also like to spend the night there. To stay in Borrowdale is more rural than Keswick. The next day, take a morning bus to Keswick and start Stage 3. (No change to the price.)

Stay an extra night at Wasdale Head
Spending two nights in Wasdale lets you climb Scafell Pike as a day walk, returning to base afterwards. Then pick up the trek with the normal Stage 5. (Our 8-night trip.)


The route

Our approach to the Lake District
This Tour is a full circuit of the Lake District. Inevitably in one week we cannot see every corner of Lakeland which is a particularly dense and intricate area of hills. Starting from Ambleside in the South, your route takes you slightly to the East at Patterdale on the shore of Ullswater. Cross back to Keswick, the tourist centre of the North Lakes. Head South West to the hamlet of Buttermere and then enter the highest hills. The remote valley of Wasdale is a highlight across another rough pass. The roughest day underfoot comes next as we cross the Scafell massif to Great Langdale. Here difficulties ease and your last stage offers contemplation of the hills explored as you follow the tranquil course of Langdale to Ambleside.

Terrain
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! We also find 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.


Key information Summer 2020

Trip name: Lake District Tour
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: LDTsg
Route: The Lake District (Walking guide)
(Prefer our Guided trip?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 6 days' trekking
Start: Ambleside in Cumbria
End: Ambleside in Cumbria
Typical walk: 17km, 640m ascent
Total distance: 99.5km or 62.5 miles
Highest altitude: 750m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)

A note on grading
Our main route is at Red3 grade and involves rough and rocky Lakeland passes. For extra challenge, two harder variants are described:

Routecard LDT1 offers the ascent of Helvellyn (950m) and descent of Striding Edge (Black4).

Routecard LDT5 gives the ascent of Scafell Pike (978m). This can be made either as a variant in the course of the stage or (by adding a night) as a daywalk from Wasdale Head (Black3).



Prices Summer 2020

6 stages, per person:

LDTsg Classic
GBP 680 (singles 175, dog 70)
Book
Lake District Tour (self-guided)



Research Summer 2020

People at Alpine Exploratory People at Alpine Exploratory Alpine Exploratory's 2019 research on the Lake District Tour was led by:
Lucy Rushton in April
Pete Ellis in April

Recces 2020

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


Alpine Exploratory's service

Accommodation
7 nights, staying in:
Small hotels (1)
Gueshouses/B&Bs (4)
Inns (2)

Included
Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards LDT1-6 of the Exploratory system
Maps and local information

Season for self-guided treks
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 LDT 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:

Booking




Lake District Tour (Guided)

Our guided version of the same
Lake District Tour


Our guided Lake District Tour

Why guided?
Tackle our 6-stage Tour in a group led by one of Alpine Exploratory's leaders. Your leader plans the day's walk and takes care of navigation.

Scheduled or private?
Join our scheduled departure or ask us about a private trip with your group of family or friends. A private trip can be on your choice of dates within our season, and allows some adjustments to numbers of stages and the type of accommodation.

A note on grading
Our main route is at Red3 grade and involves rough and rocky Lakeland passes. Our scheduled guided groups would not normally tackle the alternative ascents of Helvellyn or Scafell Pike, unless trekkers left the group for these independent detours or unless the group happened all to want to include them. A private guided trip, however, can be planned to take in these summits at the leader's discretion. Please see the self-guided section above for more about these variants.


Prices


Alpine Exploratory
LDTg Lake District Tour (Guided)
3 May to 18 September 2020
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Scheduled guided trips
6 stages
(7 nights)

Private guided only 1,180
Singles 175
Main LDT
Private guided only
Private guided trips
4 stages
(5 nights)

Please ask 840
Singles 125
930
Singles 150
6 stages
(7 nights)

Please ask
1,180
Singles 175
1,290
Singles 210
6 stages
1 rest day
(7 nights)
Please ask 1,350
Singles 225
1,470
Singles 240
Options
Baggage transfer 70


Key information Summer 2020

Trip name: Lake District Tour
Guided or self-guided? Guided
Trip code: LDTg
Route: The Lake District (Walking guide)
Group size: 4 to 8 people
Length: 6 days' trekking
Start: Ambleside in Cumbria
End: Ambleside in Cumbria
Typical walk: 17km, 640m ascent
Total distance: 99.5km or 62.5 miles
Highest altitude: 750m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)



Dates Summer 2020

Scheduled trips 2020
Please join our guided trip:

LDTg1 9 to 16 May 2020
Guided by leader to be announced
Book (Spaces)
Leaders at Alpine Exploratory

Private trips 2020
Please join us any time in our season from
3 May to 18 September 2020



Alpine Exploratory's service

Accommodation
7 nights, staying in:
Small hotels (1)
Gueshouses/B&Bs (4)
Inns (2)

Included
Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts
Guided trekking with your IML



Find out more

Contact us or use this form:


Rough month?         
Any questions about the Lake District?

Ready to book?

Our booking form to get things started:

Booking




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