The Cumbria Way walk is 73 mile low-level walk that is popular and satisfying for long-distance hikers. It is a south to north crossing of the Lake District National Park located in the Northwest of England. The Lake District is England’s most mountainous area, although it largely avoids upland areas where navigation would become a problem in poor weather. Walking is unquestionably the best way to see this celebrated landscape. It has been hailed over the years by the likes of poets, authors, and painters like Wordsworth, Tennyson, Arthur Ramson, Beatrix Potter, and Wainwright. With so much creative history here, the route is very much a classic!
The distances covered each day vary but for the first 5 or 6 days at least, there is ample time to pause and admire the unsurpassed scenery.
Why book with Tours of Exploration?
- We specialize in customized, personalized tours that can suit your needs, interests, and hobbies.
- We choose to work with local partners, not only to guarantee an immersive, culturally and naturally authentic experience; but also to economically support the area's local population. We carefully choose those we work with, to ensure that local wildlife conservation efforts are being valued.
- We believe in low volume and high service before, during and after your travels.
2023 Departure dates & costs
10 days, daily self-guided departures based on 2 or more persons from April 1 - October 21
Tour Cost: $ 1,300 USD /$ 1,605 CAD per person from Ulverston
Interested in our fully guided group walk? Ask about Coast to Coast walking or barge and walk trips in Scotland.
Cumbria Way highlights
- The English Lake District
- Walking from Ulverston to Carlisle
- Views across Lake Coniston and Derwentwater
- Langdale and Borrowdale, two of the prettiest Lakeland Valleys
- Pass the loneliest hostel in England
10 day Itinerary
an 8 day version is also available
Day 1: Join Ulverston (B,L,D)
- Make your own way to the start point in Ulverston. This is an historic market town close to the shores of Morecambe Bay. There are attractive cobbled streets with cafes and pubs, whilst murals depict the town's history and that of its famous son John Barrow. Another son was Stan Laurel and you can visit the Laurel and Hardy Museum.
- Accommodation: Church Walk House is a Grade II listed building and is in the heart of this historic market town.
Day 2: Ulverston to Lowick Bridge via Beacon Tarn (8 miles/13 km/4-5 hours) (B)
- Leaving Ulverston the way follows gently undulating farmland with views towards Morecambe Bay and the Barrow Memorial. Later there are enticing views of the superb mountains to come. There are frequent stiles and 'kissing gates' along the footpaths. Eventually you divert from the route to find your night stop in the quiet village of Lowick Green or Spark Bridge.
- Accommodation: The Red Lion Inn is a traditional British pub. All rooms are ensuite and have a simple modern feel to them.
Day 3 - 4: Lowick Bridge to Coniston (10 miles/16 km/5 hours) (B)
- The undulations get bigger as you pass hillside farms and ascend over a pass with views ahead to The Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam and other fells. Descend to Beacon Tarn with an option to ascend a small peak called Beacon Hill for better views. Descend to the shores of Coniston Water and a pleasant walk ensues along the western shores of the lake all the way up to Coniston Village. Once nestled in Coniston you have a full day to explore! You can tackle The Coniston Old Man or take a trip on the lake on the steamer; visit Grisedale forest or simply relax in this pleasant place.
- This is a classic Lakeland landscape and the setting for 'Swallows and Amazon's' and an inspiration for Beatrix Potter and John Rushkin.
- Accommodation: Lakeland House is situated in the centre of Coniston village. This boutique guesthouse is family run and your hosts will make you more than welcome. Coniston is a superb base for walks and two nights are spent here.
Day 5: Coniston to Langdale (12.5 miles/20 km/6 hours) (B)
- Leaving Coniston, you head up into the hills and woods passing the exquisite little lake at Tarn Hows and then flirt with the farms around the beautiful Little Langdale Valley, with a visit to a couple of waterfalls. Eventually you will enter the beautiful Langdale Valley via the stunning walk along Elterwater and then walking through the tiny villages of Elterwater and Chapel stile.
- There is a final quiet sheep track walk along the side of the valley before dropping down to one of the two iconic hotels cosseted by the famous 'Plkes' high above. This is Lake-land scenery at its best.
- IMPORTANT NOTE for night 5: New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Langdale does not normally accept 1 night bookings on a Friday or Saturday night so please bear this in mind when choosing your start date. It is sometimes possible to book you into Ambleside over a weekend for 1 night but this does involve a bus journey (not included in price).
Day 6: Langdale to Borrowdale (8 miles/12.8 km/4 hours) (B)
- Hike to the head of Langdale, along the Mickleden Valley - then over the Stake Pass (1600ft / 480m) between Bow Fell and the Pike of Stickle. In good visibility, you could decide to extend the walk by visiting one or more of the Langdale Pikes from the pass. However this will add at least 2 hours onto the walk. Then it’s down steeply into the remote Langstrath and then Greenup Valleys and onto Borrowdale, first passing Stonethwaite and then Rosthwaite.
- Accommodation: Tonight you will stay in a number of possible places in either Stonethwaite or Rosthwaite which is a couple of kms further on. A couple of the B&Bs do not have ensuite facilities tonight as they are listed buildings. You can upgrade to a number of hotels, just ask for details at time of booking.
Day 7: Borrowdale to Keswick (8.6 miles/14 km/4 hours) (B)
- A walk through the delightful woodlands of Borrowdale, a possible diversion can be made to the village of Grange for coffee before a walk along the shores of the island studded Derwentwater to Keswick, - a lively and attractive market town at the heart of the Lake District. On the way there is time for a sharp climb up to the ever popular Cat Bells (1479ft / 451m) or from Keswick you could visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle. If you want to climb Skiddaw, the mountain that towers over the town, you will need to stay an extra night.
- Accommodation: In the market town of Keswick that nestles beneath the giant Skiddaw by the shores of Derwentwater, you will stay at one of a number of comfortable B&Bs and Guest houses around the town. There is a large choice of places to eat.
Day 8: Keswick to Caldbeck (15 miles/24 km/7-8 hours) (B)
- Leave the fleshpots of Keswick for some remote walking across the fells, to the north of Skiddaw. On the way a short diversion to the peak of Latrigg presents one of the best views of the Lakes - it is unlikely that after this you will see that many people today.
- There are two possible routes the normal one via High Pike has two sections where the route is not so easy to follow on the ground and good visibility and some map reading ability is required. This is a couple of miles shorter than the ‘bad weather route’ which should be undertaken if there is any doubt about weather, visibility, or your abilities of navigation.
- You will be able to make the decision about the route at just before the half way stage of the walk, by the most remote youth hostel in Britain – Skiddaw House. From High Pike (658m / 2158ft), the last bastion of the Cumbrian mountains and the highest point on the Cumbria Way you gradually descend into the pretty old mill village of Caldbeck.
- Accommodation: Oddfellows Arms is an attractive old pub in the centre of Caldbeck.
Day 9: Caldbeck to Carlisle (15.5 miles/25 km/7 hours) (B)
- Another long day, but easier and more scenic as you follow the delightful Caldbeck and Caldew Rivers all the way into the City of Carlisle. It is a very different kind of day, with some woodland and pastoral undulations passing some interesting old farms and a castle.
- As you approach Carlisle the scenery becomes more suburban, but there are opportunities to visit both the cities castle and cathedral, before or after finishing in the Market Square; the official end of the Cumbria Way.
- Accommodation: For two nights we stay at Cornerways B&B it is centrally located and is a Grade II listed Victorian Town House. Nestled in a lovely tree lined road in a quiet conservation area. Only a 5 minute walk to many of the restaurants, bars, shops and the railway & bus station.
Day 10: Arrangements end after breakfast (B)
- Depart Carisle for your onward journey
Grading - Moderate level 3
Some long days and steep climbs and descents. Generally however undulating. Mixed weather can be expected. We would not recommend the route for first time walkers.
- 9 breakfasts
- 9 nights accommodation guesthouses and hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
- One piece of luggage per person transferred not exceeding 20 kg
- Information pack including route notes & maps
- Emergency hotline
- GPX Files
What’s Not Included:
- Lunch, Dinner, and Drinks
- Entrance Fees
- Travel Insurance
- Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
- Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls