Tour of the Lake District

Tour of the Lake District - Route

This is our suggested route for walking the Tour of the Lake District. See our Itineraries & Prices page for various other itinerary options.

Day 1: Arrive in Windermere
Travel to the bustling town of Windermere, last stop on the Lakes Railway Line. Windermere has been the main arrival point for visitors to the Lake District since Victorian times.

Day 2: Windermere to Coniston (17.5 miles / 28 km)
Leaving Windermere, a gentle start to your walk will contour through forest and pasture above England’s largest lake, to the compact town of Ambleside. Beyond Ambleside you’ll climb Loughrigg Fell and enjoy one of the best views in the central Lake District, before passing the entrance to the famous Langdale Valley at Elterwater. End the day at Coniston village by Coniston Water - inspiration for Swallows and Amazons.

Day 3: Coniston to Eskdale (11 miles / 18 km)
Today you’ll leave the busy central Lakes and head into the quieter Western Fells. Skirt the shoulder of one of England’s most iconic mountains, The Old Man of Coniston, then drop into the wild and almost deserted Duddon Valley. From here, a gradual climb takes you up and over into the green and beautiful valley of Eskdale, dominated at its head by Scafell Pike - the highest mountain in England.

Day 4: Eskdale to Nether Wasdale (7.5 miles / 12 km)
A short day begins amongst the quiet and picturesque villages of Boot and Eskdale Green, with valley and riverside walking. Follow the route of ‘Ratty’ - a narrow-gauge steam railway originally built to service the Victorian mine at Eskdale, but now maintained for visitors. End today at the mouth of the Wasdale Valley in the village of Nether Wasdale - fortunately blessed with its own microbrewery.

Day 5: Nether Wasdale to Buttermere (11 miles / 18 km)
From Nether Wasdale you’ll head straight up the Wasdale Valley - its dramatic head looming gradually closer, made up of iconic mountains such as Great Gable and Scafell Pike. After passing the historic Wasdale Head Inn, a sustained climb takes you up and over into the unspoilt and undeveloped Ennerdale Valley. A second ascent over Scarth Gap brings you to the beautiful, tree-lined shore of Lake Buttermere, and into Buttermere village.

Day 6: Buttermere to Keswick (9.5 miles /15 km)
Today sees a gradual return to the busier half of the Lake District, but via rarely-trodden paths. Head out of Buttermere and climb up the valley alongside Sail Beck, then down into the pastoral Newlands Valley. Peaceful riverside walking takes you to the village of Portinscale, and then a short stretch into the bustling town of Keswick.

Day 7: Keswick to Grasmere (15.5 miles / 25 km)
The route swings south into Borrowdale - one of the most stunning of the Lakeland valleys. Picture-perfect villages nestle in the green and pleasant valley, surrounded on all sides by dramatic peaks. From Borrowdale you’ll strike uphill onto the High Fells, crossing the Greenup Edge pass at 600m. End the day in charming Grasmere, home of Wordsworth’s Cottage and Sarah Nelson's famous Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

Day 8: Grasmere to Patterdale (8 miles / 13 km)
From Grasmere there is a lot more climbing to do. The route crosses over the Helvellyn range - either over the pass at Grisedale Tarn (570m), or for the more adventurous, via the summit of Helvellyn, England’s 3rd highest mountain. The route drops down to Patterdale on the shore of Ullswater.

Day 9: Patterdale to Windermere (13 miles / 21 km)
Completing the loop, your final day takes you back to Windermere via some satisfying back roads. Follow the Goldrill Beck to the charming hamlet of Hartsop, before heading into the hills once more for a few final miles of wilderness. Pass by the villages of Town Head and Troutbeck before traversing the fields above Windermere. Orrest Head provides a fitting viewpoint to look back on the Lakeland Fells that you’ve circumnavigated, before heading down into Windermere and returning to bustling civilisation.

Day 10: Onward travel