Book with confidence for 2021

Lake District Tour
Self-guided trekking holiday

Key information Summer 2021

Start: Ambleside, England
End: Ambleside, England
Season dates: 2 May to 17 Sep 2021
Length: 6 days' walking
Typical walk: 17km, 640m ascent
Total distance: 99.5km or 62.5 miles
Highest altitude: 750m (978m for Scafell Pike alternative)
Grade: Red 3 for our main route (Walking grades)
Black 4 if including Striding Edge descent from Helvellyn
Black 3 if including Scafell Pike
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups

Walk a magnificent circuit of the Lake District National Park, England's largest National Park and home to the highest peak in England; Scafell Pike (978m). Our route links the charming valleys of Patterdale, Buttermere, Ennerdale, Wasdale and Langdale in a circular route over 6 days, showcasing the best of the Lake District. Walking from point to point is (we think) the best way to see the mountains. The Lake District is certainly one of the best areas for a walking holiday in England.

We have applied our many years of Lake District walking to create this fantastic 6-stage Tour. The route starts in Ambleside, a bustling outdoor town in the South Lakes. From Ambleside we set off North East to Patterdale with a chance to summit Helvellyn (950m) and then cross to Ullswater and the mountain town of Keswick in the North. From Keswick we cross to the quaint valley of Buttermere and then to the more remote valley of Wasdale. Finally, we cross to Great Langdale in a bold, high stage via Angle Tarn with the chance to climb Scafell Pike before dopping down to Langdale and returning to Ambleside.

We stay in comfy B&Bs, Inns and small hotels, making for a great week-long walking trip. The terrain covered on this Tour is varied and interesting and there really is something everyone!

Alternatively, if your group would like to hike with a guide, we can arrange a privately guided Coast to Coast trip for you. We welcome you to get in touch to ask for more details on this option.


Alternative trip options
Looking for something a little bit different?
logo Coast to Coast - for a longer walk in England
logo West Highland Way - for a super week long trip in Scotland
Make the trip shorter
It's very possible to opt for a shorter hike over just 4 days by starting in Keswick in the North and walking the 4 stages to Ambleside in the South. It's easy to catch a bus from Ambleside to Keswick so you can still start and finish your hike in Ambleside if you wish. Please do just ask us for more details.

Make the trip longer
Making your trip longer can be made posible by spending an additional night in Wasdale to allow a day to climb Scafell Pike. It's also possible to climb Scafell Pike as an alternative on our main route but it's a great day hike option if you're looking to extend your trip. We're also happy to add in additional nights along the trail to allow you to explore the Lake District further under your own steam. Please do just let us know when you book or ask us for details.

Add a Rest Day
Although we don't include a rest day as standard, if you'd like to add in a rest day, we'd recommend taking on in Keswick, or adding another night in Ambleside to explore these pretty towns. Please do just let us know if you'd like to add a rest day and we'd be happy to advise.

Hike with a guide
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and all arrangements taken care of. You're welcome to walk on any date within our season and we can adjust the hike to suit your needs. If your group would like a guide for your trip, please get in touch for more details.
Lake District Tour (Self-guided)
2 May to 17 September 2021
Hutty Classic Comfy
6 stages
(7 nights)
Please ask
GBP 680
Singles 175
70 per dog
Main Trip
GBP 790
Singles 210
70 per dog
Specialised schedules
4 stages
(5 nights)

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

Where we stay
Our classic Lake District Tour holiday stays in a lovely mix of guesthouses, inns and small hotels. Although a rural area, accommodation is plentiful and of a high standard. We place a lot of value on a friendly welcome and comfy place to rest in the evenings; always with a good pub within walking distance.

For a touch of luxury whilst you walk, our ‘Comfy’ option is a great option and would upgrade your accommodation on 4 nights; in Ambleside (2 nights), Glenridding and Keswick. Our comfier options tend to be Hotels rather than guesthouses and Inns. Please do ask if you would like more details.

We don't have any ready made 'Hutty' options for our Lake District Tour however it is possible on some nights to opt to stay in more basic accommodation or hostels. Please do ask us for details of your are interested in a more basic option.

Single Supplement
The single supplement covers the difference in cost between a single room and a double room on a per person basis.

Bring your dog
In common with most of our UK trips, we're delighted that you can walk with your dog! Our dog friendly itinerary allows you to have your dog stay with you in your room each night and walk along-side you each day. We ask for a small additional cost of GBP 10 per dog per night as charged by the hotels and Inns. Please just let us know when you book if you'd like to bring a dog.
Our approach to the Lake District
This trip is a full circuit of the Lake District visiting the main valleys of the National Park and crossing a number of great mountain passes. Designed to give a wonderful taste of what the Lake District has to offer, we also give options on Stage 1 and Stage 5 to claim some key summits; Helvellyn and Scafell Pike.

People at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's 2020 research on the Lake District Tour was be led by Rob Gale in July

The Terrain
Our Lakeland trip involve a broad mix of terrain from easy paths across fields to rocky paths across the massifs. Everything is within the context of hillwalking in the UK and is achieveable for a normal fit walker. 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 (particularly on the optional descent from Helvellyn via Striding Edge)! Around the Scafell area the going is particularly rocky and rough, with navigation required if the cloud is low.

Is it for me?
Exploring the Lakes is a treat for any walker who likes to spend time in the mountains (and valleys). The Lake District, although not as high as the mountains of the Alps, is dramatic and beautiful in it's own way. Many a walker and photographer has fallen in love with the Lakeland fells. The lush green valleys of the South contrast nicely to the bold hills of the North and East, the rockiness of the West.

With good solid paths for the majority of the route, the trail is achievable for most fit walkers and our alternatives offer a great challenge for those who want it. Although the route goes on known paths, marked on the map - the path (in small sections) is not always visible on the ground! In clear weather the route is obvious, but if the cloud is low then navigation will be needed to head in the right direction. These sections are generally short and soon link to the clear path on the far side of the col. It is for these sections that we ask each party has at least 1 person who is happy to navigate using map and compass, in low visibility. If you'd like to chat about the trail, please do just call or email us and we'd be delighted to help.

The trip is first and foremost a hike. There are no via ferrata or climbing sections on our route, and all walking is on rocky mountain paths, forest trails, field paths or country lanes. The optional alternative routes via Helvellyn or Scafell Pike are at the higher end of difficulty and technical walking ground with rougher ground, less well defined paths and drops to one or both sides.

We describe the difficulties of the trail and the alternatives on our routecards and you can always ask us to describe the route in more details if you would like. While your routecards make up the walking for the trip, you are of course free to walk wherever you choose, taking side trips or going by a different route of your own choice. Please note that if you follow your own route you will have left the holiday for the duration.
Striding Edge in the Lake District
Descent from Helvellyn via Striding Edge on Stage 1 alternative
   For an even more detailed read, please see our Lake District Tour Walking Guide
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 so easily accessible from London and Glasgow. 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 dog above Derwent Water in the Lake District
Bring your dog - Poppy enjoying herself above Derwent Water
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Detailed Routecards LDT1-6 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 4 topographical OS maps needed
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (8am until 8pm UK time)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

Let us carry your bags for you. Each morning simply leave your main bag with your host or at reception and just dake your day pack with your for the day. 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 and 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.

Booking form for the Lake District Tour

Your dates

Arrival day

First walking day

Departure day

Your party

Please add any more people in the Comments box below.
If you are adding to an existing booking, please give the main contact's details and just the new people. Thanks.

Number of people in your group

Main contact

Party member 2

Party member 3

Party member 4

Party member 5

Party member 6

Party member 7

Party member 8

Contact details

Address and post/zip code (For the delivery of your pack)

Email address

Telephone (Mobile)

Telephone (Home)

Party's details

Medical conditions relevant to a walking holiday?
(Please tell us in confidence. Thank you.)

Vegetarians, special diets or allergies?

Room types?


Please could we ask your dogs' type (breed or size?) Thanks

Baggage transfer

Baggage transfer?

Differences from the normal trip

Differences if any (extra nights, comfy or hutty mix, fewer rest days, etc.)?

Party's walking experience

Please may we ask for details of everyone's experience?
Especially helpful are names of trails, national parks, peaks or regular hikes. Thank you.

Main contact

Party member 2

Party member 3

Party member 4

Party member 5

Party member 6

Party member 7

Party member 8

Please add any more people in the Comments box below. Thanks.

Emergency contact

Please tell us about a friend or relative who we can contact in the event of emergency during your holiday.


Telephone number

Relationship to you

Comments or questions?

Please ask any questions or tell us anything else:

Optionally, to help us

Optionally, where did you first hear about us? We're always curious!

If a friend recommended us may we ask who it was? We might send a thank you!

Check and submit

We will reply to your booking form with a confirmation email giving the details of your balance and deposit amounts.
We'll send you instructions to pay your deposit by card, bank transfer, or cheque.
Your deposit will be 20% of the cost of your trip with a minimum of GBP 200 per person.
Your balance is due 8 weeks before your trip and we'll email you with a reminder.

Terms and Conditions
By submitting this form you confirm that you have read and agreed to Alpine Exploratory's Terms and Conditions (PDF).
In particular, as the main contact you confirm that:
+ Everyone in the group has read and agreed to the T&Cs.
+ Everyone in the group has the fitness and experience for the trip.
Please ask us if you have any questions. Thank you.

Got questions about the Lake District Tour?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Hannah W, Hannah G, or Nicky will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.


Lake District Tour enquiry form

Your name

Your email address

Optionally, where did you first hear about us? We're always curious!

Your intended arrival date on the Lake District Tour? (This helps us give you an idea of availability and doesn't need to be exact)

How many people will you be?

Any questions or preferences?

If you prefer, please feel welcome to email or call us. Thanks!

Contact Alpine Exploratory
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
Our times 9am to 5pm UK time
Monday to Friday
Australia 02 8319 2266
Canada 416-548-4819
Hong Kong 25 803 0282
New Zealand 04 889 4515
USA 646-757-1102

Open to the world
Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.

  Fleetwith Pike and Buttermere    Photos from the Lake District Tour


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