An introductory hiking tour through England’s most scenic National park.
A self-guided walking tour
2017 dates: mid-April to mid-October. Start any day.
Duration: 5 or 7 nights.
Grade: Easy; around 8 miles/4 hours per day; with extensions possible for those who wish to walk further, up to ‘Moderate’ grade. There are some steep gradients.
Tour prices: See “Tour prices” below.
Tour codes: V5 or V7.
Note for Beatrix Potter fans. Enthusiasts can visit both the celebrated writer’s former home at Hill Top near Hawkshead on Day 2 of this tour, and the Beatrix Potter Gallery at Hawkshead on day 2 or day 3.
V7: Night 1 Bowness-on-Windermere; 2 Hawkshead; 3 and 4 Coniston; 5 Great Langdale; 6 and 7 Grasmere.
V5: Night 1 Bowness, 2 Hawkshead, 3 Coniston, 4 Great Langdale, 5 Grasmere.
Meals included: Breakfast each morning. Other meals and picnics can be obtained locally without pre-booking.
Extra nights: These can be added on when booking. Second nights in Coniston and Grasmere are already included on the 7-night tour, with detailed descriptions of a range of walks and visits. Devotees of Beatrix Potter may wish to spend more time at Hawkshead, while Wordsworth fans will find plenty of interest in Grasmere. An extra day in Great Langdale provides access to the wildest and most mountainous part of the Lake District – a good base for experienced mountain-walkers.
Train station. Start and end of tour Windermere. It is usually necessary to change trains at Oxenholme main line station onto the Windermere branch line.
Airports. Most convenient airport is Manchester (MAN – 2 to 3 hours by train to/from Windermere, some direct trains). Other possible airports are Birmingham (BHX – c. 4 hours to Windermere), Edinburgh (EDI – c. 4 hours) Newcastle (NCL – c.4 hours), and London (LHR, LGW etc; c.5 hours from London Euston rail station).
Tour code V5:
5 nights, ES or private facilities most nights £490. SRS*: £105. STS**: £130.
Tour code V5E:
5 nights, ES or private facilities every night £540. SRS*: £130. STS**: £155.
Tour code V7:
7 nights, ES or private facilities most nights £590. SRS*: £130. STS**: £155.
Tour code V7E:
7 nights, ES or private facilities every night £650. SRS*: £160. STS**: £185.
- Extra nights: £55 per person per night (except at Great Langdale) ; single room £70 per person per night.
- Extra night at Great Langdale: V5, V7: £45; V5E, V7E: £75
- SRS* = single room supplement (applicable when 3 or 5 persons book together).
- STS** = solo traveller supplement (applicable when booking is for one person only).
Prices quoted are per person on basis of two people in double or twin-bedded rooms. Included in the price are bed and breakfast each night, with baggage transfers, maps and route directions. ‘ES’ (en suite) facilities means that there is a private bathroom with shower or tub and toilet within the main door of your room. ‘Private facilities’ means that the private bathroom may be outside the main door of your room. When the booking is made for a party of 3 or 5 customers, a single room supplement is payable. When the booking is made for a single traveller, a solo traveller supplement is payable. Note: normally a maximum of one single room per booking.
When the famous children’s writer Beatrix Potter became successful (and rich), she could afford to make her home anywhere she wanted. She chose Hill Top Farm near Hawkshead in the English Lake District. After her death the property, including not just the farmhouse (now open to the public) but much sheep and cattle pasture interspersed with lakes and woodland, was inherited by the National Trust.
Also associated with this mild and gentle part of Lakeland was William Wordsworth, who attended school at Hawkshead and lived most of his life near Grasmere.
Our carefully designed short tour starts on the shore of Windermere Lake and links Hill Top Farm and Grasmere in one continuous walk. On the way you pass at least 9 other lakes, including Tarn Hows, Coniston Water, Rydal Water and Grasmere. Coniston Water was the setting of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, while the 19th century thinker John Ruskin lived at Brantwood (house and garden now open to the public) on the shore of the lake.
From Coniston’s rugged Coppermines Valley you walk past Blea Tarn to the Great Langdale valley, overhung by the rock peaks of the Langdale Pikes and on to the classic English parkland landscape around Loughrigg Tarn, and Wordsworth’s own home at Dove Cottage, Grasmere (also open to the public).
This tour is suitable for those who are new to hiking tours. The maximum altitude when walking between overnight stops is only 300m/1000 feet, so low cloud is unlikely to cause problems when routefinding. For each day we describe additional walks and variations, as well as visits to points of interest such as houses and gardens. The 7 night tour is similar to the 5-night tour but with extra nights in Coniston and Grasmere. For each of these extra days we describe in detail a range of hikes/walks of different lengths and altitudes, including mountain-walking options from Coniston to the peak of Old Man of Coniston (803m/2635 feet) and from Grasmere to the peak of Helvellyn (950m/3118 feet).
This tour has more literary associations than any of our other tours, with William Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter all having lived and worked in this part of the Lake District. However for lively description of open-air adventure around Windermere and Coniston it is hard to better the children’s novels of Arthur Ransome, notably Swallowdale and Pigeon Post.
More images of this tour…How to Book
I liked all [the accommodation]. It was very pleasant that they were situated at the outskirts of villages…[the route] was mostly away from the trodden path, so that you were alone a lot of the time, without feeling too lost. The descriptions were very clear and written in a not too dry style, so that it felt as a silent companion.Ms L. Rijxman
Other Discerning Traveller hiking tours
Discerning Traveller offers a more demanding Lake District hiking tour or, for inland walking, take a look at our Cotswolds Villages tour.
A 7-night hiking tour for experienced mountain walkers. Explore the best of the more rugged and remote western half of the Lake District.
An easy grade hiking tour amongst classic parkland landscapes, old stone cottages and English country gardens.
Again, a BIG THANK-YOU to The Discerning Traveller for an excellent tour. We enjoyed it immensely. The weather held out, more or less, which made our walks very enjoyable. Our 4th and last day of walking was a beautiful day. Our lunch was a trail snack at the Skelwith Falls. The highlight of the day was the beautiful view of Grasmere Lake from Loughrigg Terrace. [At Grasmere] we had a luxurious and spacious room with a wonderful view. For supper, we decided to treat ourselves to a restaurant meal and dined at the Rowan Tree vegetarian restaurant. We enjoyed a delicious soup and supper and dessert. We would rate this facility as excellent (and we’re not even vegetarians!).Mr and Mrs. Ozem
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