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Overview

Walking Holidays
7 - 9 Nights
80 miles / 129 km
  • Prices from: £635 per person
  • Start: Ilkley, Yorkshire
  • Finish: Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
  • Availability: Any start date from April to October
  • Grading: Easy to Moderate
  • Way-marked: Yes

Dales Way Highlights

Idyllic Yorkshire Dales
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Enjoy hiking through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, home to green rolling hills, wild moors, peaceful valleys and quaint villages. The breathtaking scenery is a walker’s paradise.

Lake Windermere
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Experience the beauty of Lake Windermere in the Lake District National Park. Enjoy a cruise on the lake or a scenic picnic by its banks.

Picturesque villages
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Explore the charming town of Yorkshire and Cumbria. Sedbergh, known as England’s ‘book town’ full of wonderful second-hand bookstores, and delightful Wharfedale and Dentdale.

Lake District National Park
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Explore the incredible Lake District National Park and enjoy the rolling hills and panorama vistas.

Country inns
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Experience the warmth and hospitality of the wonderful 16th and 17th century country inns dotted along the route. There will be plenty of opportunities for a rest stop and pint of local ale.

Riverside rambling
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Follow the flowing rivers through the heart of Yorkshire, as the path borders the Rivers Wharfe and Dee.

A Delightful Walking Route Through Two National Parks

The Dales Way is one of the finest long-distance walking routes in the British Isles. This beautiful 80-mile walk across the Yorkshire Dales begins in the delightful market town of Ilkley. It ends in the Lake District on the shores of Lake Windermere, after its journey across two scenic national parks.

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The Yorkshire Dales are idyllic green valleys. Picturesque villages and hamlets consisting of little more than a pub and post office abound and above the Dales are open rolling moorlands rising to 600 metres or more. It is an internationally renowned National Park with a characteristic landscape of limestone dry stone-walls and isolated barns, with meandering rivers and ancient villages dotted through steep-sided valleys.

Along the Dales Way, you will pass through pretty villages and interesting places in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales—through beautiful Wharfedale and past the medieval ruins of Bolton Abbey, along the Strid ravine and through the picturesque villages of Burnsall, Grassington and Kettlewell.

Cross the Pennines into peaceful Dentdale before arriving in the majestic Lake District as a grand finale. The route ends at Bowness on the shores of Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake and Cumbria’s most popular tourist destination.

Dales Way Route Map

Recommended Itinerary

Our most popular itinerary is DW2 which covers the route in 7 days / 8 nights.

Travel to Ilkley for your first night’s accommodation
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Arrive in Ilkley, a pleasant market town and spend the evening at your first night’s accommodation.

Day 1: Ilkley to Burnsall (13 miles / 21 km)
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The Dales Way begins in Ilkley which sits on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Your route follows the River Wharfe upstream from the lowland scenery of Lower Wharfedale to the hilly surroundings of the Dales. En-route you pass the Augustinian priory, Bolton Abbey – an impressive 12th century ruin situated in lovely parkland.

Continue through magnificent Strid Wood, where the River Wharfe can be dramatic, and on to Burnsall, idyllically situated by the river.

Day 2: Burnsall to Kettlewell (11 miles / 17 km)
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From Burnsall the route carries on along the Wharfedale valley passing through the wonderful town of Grassington, the last town before Sedbergh. Between Grassington and Kettlewell the route leaves the valley and climbs onto high ground, where you cross some fine examples of the famous limestone pavements. The views across the Dale are some of the best of the Dales Way and take in the great rock mass of Kilnsey Crag, popular with rock gymnasts.

The Wharfe is rejoined at Kettlewell, one of the honey-pot villages of the Dales. Kettlewell and Grassington provide everything that you could wish for en route, including shops, friendly country pubs and quaint village tearooms.

Day 3: Kettlewell to Ribblehead (17 miles / 27 km)
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The path follows the river gently upstream past the villages of Starbotton, Buckden and Hubberholme. The next section is beautiful and when you reach the copper beech you are approaching Hubberholme. 

The route climbs to the wilder country of the Pennines and an altitude of 450m is reached at Cam Houses providing dramatic views of the Yorkshire Three Peaks (Whernside, Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough). Descend into gentler Dentdale and across the Pennine Way towards Ribblehead and its famous viaduct.

Day 4: Ribblehead to Dent (10 miles / 16 km)
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From Ribblehead you begin to see evidence of the Lake District as you head towards Dent Head Viaduct, a very impressive Victorian structure despite being dwarfed from a distance by the Pennines. Moor fell-sides soon lead to the gentler countryside of the River Dee and Dentdale where you follow riverside paths downstream to the narrow cobbled streets of Dent.

Day 5: Dent to Sedbergh (6 miles / 10 km)
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The Dales Way leaves picturesque Dent and follows the River Dee towards the pleasant town of Sedbergh, a small market town nestling under the steep Howgill fells. Sedbergh is ‘England’s book town’ and is full of wonderful second-hand book stores. On emerging from Gap Wood the view opens up over the Lakeland Fells and you get the sense of leaving Yorkshire behind and entering the Lake District.

Day 6: Sedbergh to Burneside (16 miles / 25.5 km)
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After Sedbergh the character of the Dales Way changes again as it passes through the gently rolling landscape of the Eden Valley. It is no longer the Dales’ landscape you have been used to, but this delightful area of small hills and sheep farms between the two National Parks has its own charms. A short trip from Burneside is the Lakeside town of Kendal, with lots of shops, pubs and restaurants.

Day 7: Burneside to Bowness-on-Windermere (10 miles / 16 km)
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On the final day of your Dales Way walk you will enjoy a pleasant day’s hiking which will bring you into the Lake District National Park and the end of the route on the shores of Lake Windermere – the largest lake in England.

When you arrive into Bowness go for a cruise on or visit the The World of Beatrix Potter in the town.  In the evening there is a great selection of bars and restaurants where you can celebrate the completion of your Dales Way walk.

Onward travel
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After breakfast, you will start your journey home after a wonderful walking holiday on the Dales Way.

What’s Included?

Your Dales Way walking holiday includes:

  • Carefully selected accommodation along the route and trail transfers when applicable
  • En-suite or private bathroom facilities whenever possible
  • Daily door-to-door baggage transfers
  • Comprehensive information pack, kit list, guidebook and map (one set per room)
  • Personalised itinerary with details of your accommodation, route and recommendations for lunch and dinner
  • Traditional English breakfast
  • 24-hour emergency contact number
  • Full financial protection

Your walking holiday doesn't include:

  • Travel insurance
  • Transport to and from the start and end of the walk
  • Lunches and evening meals

Itineraries & Prices

We offer 3 suggested itineraries for walking the Dales Way.

Our most popular itinerary is DW2 which covers the route in 7 days.

Tour code
Itinerary
Average miles infoAverage miles per day
Difficulty infoLevel of difficulty
Price per person
DW1
6 Days / 7 Nights
14 miles per day
Moderate
From £635
Average miles infoAverage miles per day 14 miles per day
Tour code: DW1
Difficulty infoLevel of difficulty Moderate

6 Days / 7 Nights (DW1)

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this package. Transfers are included when you are staying away from the trail.

Additional nights can be added at any stage along the walk and we would be delighted to adjust it for you.

All of our prices are per person based on two people sharing a room. Our packages include all accommodation, baggage transfers and full information pack.

Single room supplements

Single rooms are available at a supplement which covers the additional costs of a single room or single occupancy of a twin or double room.

  • Premium: £60 per night
  • Standard: £35 per night
Arrive Travel to Ilkley for your first night's accommodation
1
Day 1 Ilkley to Burnsall 13 miles / 21 km
2
Day 2 Burnsall to Kettlewell 11 miles / 17 km
3
Day 3 Kettlewell to Ribblehead 17 miles / 27 km
4
Day 4 Ribblehead to Sedbergh 16 miles / 26 km
5
Day 5 Sedburgh to Burneside (overnight Kendal) 16 miles / 25.5 km
6
Day 6 Burneside to Bowness-on-Windermere 10 miles / 16 km
Depart Onward travel from Bowness-on-Windermere

Prices

Premium
Best available Guest Houses, Inns & Hotels
£920 per person

Carefully selected guest houses, inns and hotels throughout your walk, which will be the best available in each location. As premium accommodation is in short supply on this trail, please note that some establishments will be of a higher standard than others. En-suite facilities or private bathroom guaranteed.

Standard
Good quality B&Bs, Guest Houses & Hotels
£635 per person

Good quality and comfortable B&Bs, guest houses and some hotels located as close to the trail as possible. We will prioritise en-suite facilities or a private bathroom, although in remote areas with limited accommodation this may not always be possible.

DW2
7 Days / 8 Nights
12 miles per day
Moderate
From £715
Average miles infoAverage miles per day 12 miles per day
Tour code: DW2
Difficulty infoLevel of difficulty Moderate

7 Days / 8 Nights (DW2)

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this package. Transfers are included when you are staying away from the trail.

Additional nights can be added at any stage along the walk and we would be delighted to adjust it for you.

All of our prices are per person based on two people sharing a room. Our packages include all accommodation, baggage transfers and full information pack.

Single room supplements

Single rooms are available at a supplement which covers the additional costs of a single room or single occupancy of a twin or double room.

  • Premium: £60 per night
  • Standard: £35 per night
Arrive Travel to Ilkley for your first night's accommodation
1
Day 1 Ilkley to Burnsall 13 miles / 21 km
2
Day 2 Burnsall to Kettlewell 11 miles / 17 km
3
Day 3 Kettlewell to Ribblehead 17 miles / 27 km
4
Day 4 Ribblehead to Dent 10 miles / 16 km
5
Day 5 Dent to Sedbergh 6 miles / 10 km
6
Day 6 Sedburgh to Burneside (overnight Kendal) 16 miles / 25.5 km
7
Day 7 Burneside to Bowness-on-Windermere 10 miles / 16 km
Depart Onward travel from Bowness-on-Windermere

Prices

Premium
Best available Guest Houses, Inns & Hotels
£1005 per person

Carefully selected guest houses, inns and hotels throughout your walk, which will be the best available in each location. As premium accommodation is in short supply on this trail, please note that some establishments will be of a higher standard than others. En-suite facilities or private bathroom guaranteed.

Standard
Good quality B&Bs, Guest Houses & Hotels
£715 per person

Good quality and comfortable B&Bs, guest houses and some hotels located as close to the trail as possible. We will prioritise en-suite facilities or a private bathroom, although in remote areas with limited accommodation this may not always be possible.

DW3
8 Days / 9 Nights
10 miles per day
Easy
From £815
Average miles infoAverage miles per day 10 miles per day
Tour code: DW3
Difficulty infoLevel of difficulty Easy

8 Days / 9 Nights (DW3)

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this package. Transfers are included when you are staying away from the trail.

Additional nights can be added at any stage along the walk and we would be delighted to adjust it for you.

All of our prices are per person based on two people sharing a room. Our packages include all accommodation, baggage transfers and full information pack.

Single room supplements

Single rooms are available at a supplement which covers the additional costs of a single room or single occupancy of a twin or double room.

  • Premium: £60 per night
  • Standard: £35 per night
Arrive Travel to Ilkley for your first night's accommodation
1
Day 1 Ilkley to Barden 9 miles / 14 km
2
Day 2 Barden to Grassington 7 miles / 11 km
3
Day 3 Grassington to Buckden 10 miles / 16 km
4
Day 4 Buckden to Ribblehead 11 miles / 17km
5
Day 5 Ribbledhead to Dent 10 miles / 16 km
6
Day 6 Dent to Sedbergh 6 miles / 10 km
7
Day 7 Sedbergh to Burneside (overnight Kendal) 16 miles / 25.5 km
8
Day 8 Burneside to Bowness-on-Windermere 10 miles / 16 km
Depart Onward travel from Bowness-on-Windermere

Prices

Premium
Best available Guest Houses, Inns & Hotels
£1120 per person

Carefully selected guest houses, inns and hotels throughout your walk, which will be the best available in each location. As premium accommodation is in short supply on this trail, please note that some establishments will be of a higher standard than others. En-suite facilities or private bathroom guaranteed.

Standard
Good quality B&Bs, Guest Houses & Hotels
£815 per person

Good quality and comfortable B&Bs, guest houses and some hotels located as close to the trail as possible. We will prioritise en-suite facilities or a private bathroom, although in remote areas with limited accommodation this may not always be possible.

Dales Way Accommodation

All of the accommodation that we reserve for you has been personally selected by our expert team to ensure it meets our exacting standards. We regularly review our extensive database.

We will always prioritise accommodation as close to the walking trail as possible. Occasionally, your accommodation may be located a short distance from the trail, or you may need to spend more than one night in the same place, in which case we will provide return transfers.

Travel Information

As an environmentally conscious tour operator, we actively encourage the use of public transport by providing clients with a detailed breakdown of travel options in their information packs. The following information may help with your pre-trip planning.

Getting to Ilkely
By Air

Nearest Airports: Manchester and Leeds/Bradford Airport

There is a regular rail service between Manchester airport and Ilkley via Leeds (journey time 2 hours). There are also frequent bus services from Leeds/Bradford Airport to Ilkley (journey time 45 min).

By Public Transport

Nearest Railway Station: Ilkley

From Leeds train station, you can take a train to Ilkley (journey time 30 min). There is also a fast and frequent service from London Kings Cross to Ilkley via Leeds (journey time 3 hours 30 min).

Leeds is also accessible by National Express coaches, and from there frequent buses depart for Ilkley (journey time 1 hour).

By Car

Long term car parking provision at Ilkley is limited, so we recommend that you travel by public transport.

If you plan to travel by car, it may be possible to park in Ilkley for the duration of your holiday. We can advise you about parking options when you make your enquiry.

 

Departing Bowness-on-Windermere
By Air

Nearest Airports: Manchester and Leeds / Bradford

There are regular train services from Windermere towards Manchester Airport (journey time 2 hours) and Leeds Airport (journey time 3 hours).

By Public Transport

Nearest Railway Station: Windermere 

Regular train services operate from Windermere to Oxenholme, and from here there are connecting trains  to London Kings Cross (journey time 3 hours 20 min) and to London Euston, and North to Scotland on the West Coast mainline.

National Express coach services serve Windermere.

As the bus and train services can be very busy, we recommend booking in advance.

By Car

Long term car parking provision at Bowness is limited, so we recommend that you travel by public transport.

If you plan to travel by car, we can advise you about parking options when you make your enquiry.

Additional Days

We would be delighted to arrange additional accommodation for you along the Dales Way.

You may wish to plan a rest day or have an additional night at any of the locations along the route which offer activities or sightseeing opportunities – we’ve made some suggestions below. Please request this when you make an enquiry.

Kettlewell
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Enjoy a day in this attractive village, with its miners’ cottages lining the banks of the stream. It has a church, shops and no less than three inns reflecting its former importance as a river crossing on the old Wharfedale coach road

Sedbergh
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  • Spend a day in this very pleasant market town, known as ‘England’s Book Town’ due to its abundance of second-hand book shops
  • Hike in the beautiful Howgills Fells which surround the town
Bowness-on-Windermere
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  • Explore Bowness, Cumbria’s most popular tourist destination
  • Discover the Southern Lake District
  • Enjoy a cruise on Lake Windermere
  • Visit the World of Beatrix Potter

Make an enquiry

Dales Way

Need something more tailored?
Contact us via email:
enquiries@absoluteescapes.com

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