The Cumbria Way is a linear long distance footpath in Cumbria, passing through the towns of Coniston and Keswick. It also passes through the Langdale and Borrowdale valleys.
See what's planned
- A 74 mile linear trail, starting in Ulverston in south Cumbria, walking north to journeys end at the historic city of Carlisle
- Walk the long distance path over 6 days, with daily distances of about 12 miles
- Cross the low southern fells for views of Morecombe Bay before reaching Coniston Water
- Views along The Cumbria Way vary from dramatic scenery to rural charm
- Pass through the popular towns of Coniston and Keswick, and through the Langdale and Borrowdale valleys
Starting in Ulverston market square, the Cumbria Way heads northwards to the great border city of Carlisle with daily walking distances of about 12 miles.
We first cross the low southern fells with great views back to Morecambe Bay to reach Coniston Water at the end of our first day. Watched over by Coniston Old Man, we'll then ascend to Tarn Hows, passing Skelwith Force and into Elterwater.
From Dungeon Ghyll in Great Langdale we take the old packhorse route over Stake Pass, then descend into Borrowdale with spectacular rocky crags surrounding us. We'll amble along the shore of Derwent Water before skirting the eastern flanks of Skiddaw and heading into the grandeur of the wild northern fells.
On the final day's walk we follow the River Caldew through wooded pastures and out of the Lake District National Park towards Carlisle. Completing this 74 mile classic walk, we return to Hassness Country House after a week of great hiking and spectacular scenery.
- Accommodation and all meals except for dinner on Tuesday (which can be taken in one of Buttermere’s village pubs)
- All transport necessary for the walking programme
- Services of a dedicated tour leader
What's not included?
- Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
- Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
- Discretionary tips
- Optional excursions
- Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)
This is a Grade 5 moderate holiday which includes full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent. The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding but equally rewarding. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' for more information.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
Hassness Country House
We wish you a very warm welcome to Hassness Country House. Your hosts Debbie and Laurie will be there to welcome you and ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible. Your holiday starts upon arrival at Hassness Country House in Buttermere where you are welcome to arrive from 3pm. Your evening meal will be served at 7pm. If you anticipate arriving after this time, we kindly request that you telephone Hassness Country House to confirm your expected arrival time.
Ulverston to the borders of Coniston Water
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Hassness Country House
The Cumbria Way starts at Ulverston. This is the birthplace of Stan Laurel (Arthur Stanley Jefferson) of Laurel and Hardy fame. From the market square of Ulverston we follow the wooded banks of Gilligan’s Beck then pass across the low southern fells. Just a short hill walk, before commencing the trail, will lead to a splendid stone monument built to commemorate Sir John Barrow. From here, there are (on a clear day) remarkable views to the West across to Morecombe Bay and to the Northwest, the Lakeland fells that the trail follows.
The day’s trail starts with footpaths through fertile farm land, then leading on to views of the Lake District mountains with the famous “Old Man of Coniston” ahead. Lake Coniston is where Donal Campbell’s effort to achieve the World boat speed record in Bluebird will be remembered.
Tarn Hows & Elterwater
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Hassness Country House
Starting with a three mile (5 Km) tree lined path alongside Coniston Water, passing the National Trust owned “Coniston Hall” with its incongruous large chimneys and built in the 1500s. On the opposite side of Coniston Water is Brentwood House – lived in by John Ruskin, the Victorian artist and philosopher. Continuing with the trail it passes through Tarn Hows, an estate bought by Beatrix Potter who subsequently bequeathed the area to the National Trust with the intention of retaining the area for public access. Just before we complete our trail for the day we pass the beauty spot of Elterwater with views of the next day’s hike to Langdale Pikes.
Dungeon Ghyll to Great Langdale
Hassness Country House
Passing Dungeon Ghyll, we follow the old packhorse route over Stake Pass then descend to Langstrath and Stonewaite Becks down into Borrowdale. Today the area is devoid of industry but up until the 1940s, copper mining took place and remnants of those mines will be seen on our route.
For a change in scenery, the path follows a trail through the splendid High Hows Wood and alongside Castle Crag with the nearby River Derwent. Our hike is completed at the hamlet of Grange.
Derwentwater to Mosedale
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Hassness Country House
We begin by walking along the shores of Derwentwater then climb the eastern flanks of Skiddaw. Derwentwater footpath provides another opportunity to enjoy the splendour of the Lakes. We take the eastern route of the Cumbria Way to Mosedale by Grainsgill Beck.
The nearby areas of Seathwaite and Borrowdale carved by glaciers during the ice age and creating deep valleys now provide graphite – used for pencil making.
After Keswick the trail leads through Lonscale Fell, past Skiddaw House; now a Youth Hostel but originally a remote hunting lodge. We look up at Skiddaw, the fourth highest mountain in England, whilst our path carries on to the Carrock mining area where we will be transported back to Hassness Country House.
Ascend High Pike
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Hassness Country House
Walk in the grandeur of the northern fells before ascending to the summit of High Pike-the most northerly of the Lakeland peaks, then descend to Caldbeck village.
Returning to the Carrock mining area we walk past disused mine structures within an area designated as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). Here the ore of tungsten (used in light bulbs) used to be mined along with a reputed 23 different ores. With a trail rising to High Pike at 658m this allows for fine views and the last of the Cumbrian Fells, before moving on through the village of Caldbeck where the path follows the River Caldew towards Sebergham.
Sebergham to Carlisle
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Hassness Country House
After our time in the Cumbrian Fells we take the last section of mainly level paths alongside the River Caldew into Carlisle. The River Caldew passes through the village of Dalston where we take a lunch stop before following a cycle route into Carlisle. Subject to our arrival time in Carlisle, there could be an opportunity to visit the large sandstone castle built to defend against Scottish incursion and the resplendent Cathedral of the City.
The Cumbria Way route is completed at the Carlisle City information centre where an essential purchase is to buy a certificate recording the hike achievement.
After a hearty breakfast, Debbie and Laurie wave you goodbye when you'll leave with memories from your Lake District experience. Check out is by 10am. We hope you enjoyed your stay and we look forward to welcoming you again soon.
Walks & Excursions
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator.
We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by
us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price,
non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or
additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Your Travel Details
To reach Hassness Country House…
By car: from Preston (M6) leave the motorway at junction 40 to join the A66 to just beyond Keswick and continue on the minor road following Newlands Valley via Stair and Keskadale to Buttermere. Reaching the edge of Buttermere village, turn left on to the B5289 and continue for approximately 1¼ miles and Hassness estate is on the right. Please note this route is not suitable for nervous drivers.
Alternatively take the B5289 from Keswick via Grange, Borrowdale and Gatesgarth direct to Hassness Country House and the estate will be on your left.
By rail and coach: the nearest railway station to Hassness is Penrith. You will need to take a bus from Penrith railway station to Keswick bus station. Once here a taxi (check the price first) or 50 minute bus ride will take you to Hassness Country House.
There are several buses a day from Keswick to Hassness (just beyond Buttermere Village towards the Honister Pass) usually departing from about 09.20. Please check the timetables before departing. The journey takes about an hour. Alternatively, a taxi should cost about £20 but we do advise you to get a quote before you travel. Unfortunately Hassness is not reachable by public bus in the winter months (from November to Easter).
Alternatively, you could stay overnight in Penrith or Keswick – they’re only half an hour apart (although Keswick is probably the nicer base). Contact Keswick Tourist Information Centre for hotel and guesthouse information (www.keswick.org).
Travel information contact details:
- UK rail information: www.nationalrail.co.uk
- Local bus services between Penrith and Keswick (Services X4 or X5):
- Local bus services between Keswick and Buttermere (Services 77 or 77A): Tel: 0870 608 2608
- Keswick Tourist Information Office: www.visitcumbria.com/
- Davies taxies - Tel: 017687 72676
- Keswick Taxis - Tel: 017687 75585
You may also wish to look at the following website for advice on the best way to travel to the accommodation: www.rome2rio.com
- The AA and RAC both offer free and detailed on-line route planning facilities on their websites which may help you find our hotels. Details can be found at: www.theaa.co.uk or www.rac.co.uk
Meeting your tour leader: Please aim to be in the lounge at 6.30pm - half an hour before dinner - for an introduction to your tour leader, an outline of the planned programme for your holiday and the chance to get together with your holiday companions.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas
Passport Information for United Kingdom
Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.
Cereal and cooked breakfast available every morning, cakes in the afternoon and a three-course evening meal are provided every day (excluding Tuesdays when there is a cold buffet breakfast and dinner can be taken in one of Buttermere’s village pubs). Substantial picnic lunches are also provided on each of your walking days. Hassness is equipped with a bar with reasonably priced wine, beer and spirits.
Free tea and coffee are always available to enjoy in the spacious lounge overlooking the lake. There is also a guests’ kitchen with a large fridge for storage should you need it.
Footwear & Kit List
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
- Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
- Lightweight quick-drying trousers
- Walking T-shirt/shirts
- Walking socks
- Fleece or jumper
- Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
- Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
- Swimwear (if appropriate)
- Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
- Day sack liner
- Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
- Basic first aid kit
- Walking poles (should you find them useful)
- Sit mat
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
National Trust & English Heritage
If you’re a member of either of these organisations don’t forget to bring your membership cards as this holiday may include sites relevant to these memberships or you may wish to visit any local sites on a free day should they be nearby.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
- Holiday money
- Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
- Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
- Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
- Holiday booking confirmation document
- Travel insurance details (if applicable)
- Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is
filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter
such as a Water-to-go bottle available from
Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go
for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website
at www.watertogo.eu and
enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the
discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us
to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:
Staying Healthy On Holiday
We would like to take this opportunity to update you on the latest Coronavirus information. If you have returned from either of the following countries, or any of the affected areas in the two-weeks prior to your stay at Hassness Country House and you are showing any flu-like symptoms, please contact us to discuss;
Whilst at Hassness Country House, please ensure you use the antiseptic handwash provided by the front door as a precaution. If you are concerned, please refer to the ABTA Coronavirus advice for customers. https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Health Advice for United Kingdom
No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.
Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information
on security and local laws for travellers, together with current
passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware.
Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible
precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays
of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches.
Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day,
and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations.
Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence
of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups
not only gives you an up close and personal experience of
your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate
environment. We feel that the most important starting point
to protect the environment is to be out in it.
For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able
to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives.
Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose
aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries
we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long
term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less
developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way.
See our website for more information and details of some of the
projects we support.
Staying In Touch
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature
of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change
to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and
your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your
attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Ramblers Walking Holidays
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
- 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday
- 9.15am to Midday on Saturdays
- 9.15am to 3pm on Saturdays in January & February only
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent.
The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground.
Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding.
Discover more about our walking grades