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Literary Walking in the Lake District

Literary Walking in the Lake District


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  • Holiday type
    Self-guided walking
  • Duration
    6 nights
  • Accommodation
  • Activity level
  • From $1679per person, tour only
  • Departures
    Daily Departures from 23 Sep '19 to 31 Oct '20
  • What your holiday price includes
  • 6 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of hotels
  • All breakfasts and 1 evening meal
  • Management by local hotelier
  • Route directions and maps
  • Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (if booking inclusive flights)
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Optional Upgrades
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels
  • Excellent choice for
  • Flora & fauna, art & history, solo travellers, couples, families, high peaks, lake & river routes

For 2020 departures our trip inclusions are changing - please contact us for full details

      from 18 reviews

Mr Goodwin says...
A lovely taste of different low level walks available in the area which makes us want to go back and do more on our own. Walking notes were excellent and ...
Read reviews »

Great Britain

Literary Walking in the Lake District

  • The vast, stirring landscape of Britain's iconic UNESCO World Heritage Lake District
  • Idyllic lakeside paths and quiet country lanes, with sections along the famous Cumbria Way
  • High fells, gushing streams and traditional Cumbrian stone villages, dotted along the shores of England's most beautiful lakes
  • Wordsworth's Grasmere, Beatrix Potter's Hawkshead, and Coniston: the inspiration for Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons
  • High-quality hotels serving excellent local fare

Jaw-dropping scenery, world-famous lakes and incredible literary connections - this 6-night holiday in the South Lakes has it all. The inspiration for writers like Wordsworth, Ransome and Potter, not to mention a plethora of other artists and poets, the Lake District is a place of incredible natural beauty; idyllic and exhilarating in equal measure. And, in 2017, it was awarded World Heritage status, with the committee praising the area's beauty, farming and the inspiration it had provided to artists and writers.

The walks on this holiday take you to some of the Lake District's most charming villages, where olde-worlde inns and speciality shops nestle against a backdrop of majestic fells, staggering mountains and shimmering waters. Your routes follow quiet country lanes and lakeside paths, dotted with babbling brooks, thundering waterfalls and shady forest. National Trust properties abound including Beatrix Potter's former farm, Hilltop, while gems like the award-winning Hawkshead Brewery offer the best kind of refreshment.

You'll stay in a 4 star country house hotel in Grasmere, a charming 17th century inn serving fine local ales in Hawkshead, and a waterside gem in Coniston - once frequented by Ruskin and Darwin - with a restaurant offering superb views of Coniston Old Man. Add an extra night in Bowness and you'll stay in the stunning Laura Ashley designed Belsfield hotel, in an enviable location overlooking Lake Windermere.

We're here to help

If you have any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Day-by-day itinerary

Walking information

The walking is on a mixture of tracks and paths with sections through open meadows, woodland and along country lanes. Some relatively short, ascents and descents but a head for height is not necessary.

We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 , or email usa@exodustravels.com

Day 1: Arrive in Windermere

Arrive in Windermere, on the shores of the largest natural lake in England. We'll transfer you by taxi to the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere.
You stay at the Wordsworth Hotel (breakfast and evening meal)

Day 2: Grasmere Circular Walk 13km/8mi/4hr

Welcome to Wordsworth country! After a gentle walk this morning around the meandering River Rothay, you'll leave the village along the shores of Grasmere Lake, passing St Oswald's Church - Wordsworth's final resting place - and Rydal Water, of which the poet wrote: 'Like a fair sister of the sky, Unruffled doth the blue lake lie, The Mountains looking on.' You'll visit majestic Rydal Hall and Gardens - Wordsworth's family home - and perhaps stop for a tasty pub lunch before following the old coffin road back to Grasmere; Nab Scar looms ominously above you and there are wonderful views across the water to Silver Howe. Back in Grasmere you can spend time at the Wordsworth Museum, Dove Cottage (where the poet lived with his sister from 1799) and the renowned Grasmere Gingerbread Shop!
You stay at the Wordsworth Hotel (breakfast included)

Day 3: Grasmere to Coniston 17km/11mi/5hr

It's all about stunning scenery today as you make your way to the village of Coniston. After a short climb through either Hammerscar Plantation - overlooked by Loughrigg Fell and with incredible views over Langdale - or the shaded paths of the National Trust's High Close Estate, you'll descend into the breathtaking Great Langdale Valley where you'll pick up the Cumbria Way walking trail. Here you'll find Elterwater, the smallest of the Lake District's 16 lakes and popular with huge Whooper Swans from Scandinavia! Follow the foaming River Brathay, enjoying spectacular views of the striking Langdale Pikes, and you'll reach charming Skelwith Bridge - a perfect spot for riverside refreshments. We recommend a visit to the cascading waterfalls of Skelwith Force and Colwith Force, and the picturesque fishing spot of Tarn Hows, en route to your elegant hotel.
You stay at the Lakeland House (breakfast included)

Day 4: Coniston Circular Walk 11km/7mi/4hr

Coniston has inspired many literary greats and it's not hard to see why. Heading south along the Cumbria Way you'll meet the shores of the pristine Coniston Water which served as the inspiration for Arthur Ransome's much-loved Swallows and Amazons. The majestic Old Man of Coniston - the local area's highest fell at 803m - dominates the village skyline and presides over your route. Heading away from the lake you'll find the old Viking village of Torver; the Church House Inn, which dates from 1378, is a great place to stop for a drink before making your way back to Coniston. This afternoon you could pay a visit to the Ruskin Museum, or head to the Black Bull, Coniston's compact, multi-award winning brewery. The bar here has hosted several famous names including Turner, Coleridge and more recently, Sir Anthony Hopkins!
You stay at the Lakeland House (breakfast included)

Day 5: Coniston to Hawkshead 12km/7.5mi/3.5hr

Today you'll visit Brantwood, the former home of Victorian writer, philosopher and artist John Ruskin. In a picturesque setting overlooking the lake, Brantwood is filled with fine paintings, beautiful furniture and a collection of Ruskin's personal treasures. After your visit, head into the peaceful Grizedale Forest, a shady gem located between the lakes of Coniston and Windermere. The forest offers superb lake and mountain views and - perhaps unusually - a number of sculptures hidden away in the trees! Grizedale extends across Monk Coniston Moor and your last stretch of today's walk takes you all the way to Hawkshead Moor, from where you'll descend into Hawkshead village. Your home for the next two nights is the superb, C17 Queens Head Inn which overlooks the cobbled village square.
You stay at the Queen's Head Inn (breakfast included)

Day 6: At Hawkshead 13km/8mi/4hr

The choice is yours today. Fans of Beatrix Potter will enjoy the National Trust's Beatrix Potter Gallery in the centre of Hawkshead, followed by a visit to Near Sawrey's Hilltop Farm, the former retreat of the world-famous children's author. Now in the hands of the National Trust, Hill Top is a delight to explore. Wander the 17th century rooms where you'll find Potter's original writing desk, and walk through the pretty cottage garden - the inspiration for many of Potter's tales! Another option is to head east, via pretty green meadows and the shimmering Blelham Tarn, to visit the National Trust's beautiful Wray Castle. Back in Hawkshead, be sure to reward yourself with one of the brewery's award-winning ales!
You stay at the Queen's Head Inn (breakfast included)

Day 7: Leave Hawkshead

Day 8: Optional extension in Bowness

We recommend adding extra nights to your holiday, to take advantage of our walk from Hawkshead to the popular lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere (12km/7.5mi/3.5hr). The route takes you through pretty meadows and woodland and up to Latterbarrow Fell (245m) from where you'll enjoy incredible views across Windermere to Bowness. Descending to the lakeside, you'll follow a waterside path along Windermere's tranquil western shore; catch a ferry across to Bowness and take some time to explore this ever-popular town, before retiring to your Laura Ashley-designed hotel overlooking Lake Windermere.
You stay at the Laura Ashley Belsfield Hotel (breakfast included)

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.

To find out more call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Find out more on the hotel website.
Read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Wordsworth Hotel, Grasmere

Swimming Pool IconHair dryer iconNEARBY:

In the centre of the popular waterside village of Grasmere, the historic 4 star Wordsworth Hotel is set in riverside gardens and features an award-winning restaurant, and an organic spa with an indoor swimming pool, a sauna and a jacuzzi. It also makes the ideal place for traditional afternoon tea, served in one of the beautifully appointed lounges or the conservatory.

Room upgrades: Grasmere village view room, Mountains & Garden view room, Junior Suite or Suite.
Village view rooms are located at the front of the hotel and offer views of Grasmere village. Mountain & Garden rooms are slightly larger and are located at the back of the building with views over the garden. Classic rooms are also available.

Find out more on the hotel website.
Read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Tweedies Bar & Lodge, Grasmere

Tweedies Bar and Lodge is a refurbished Georgian building with original features, located in the peaceful village of Grasmere. It is a family run business who pride themselves in creating a home from home experience. The Lodge itself has 16 rooms and is tucked discreetly away behind a wall of fir trees in the heart of Grasmere. The homely bedrooms and comfy lounge invites you to relax away from the bustle of modern life.

Find out more on the hotel website.
Read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Lakeland House, Coniston

Hair dryer iconNEARBY:

Nestled in the centre of Coniston village in the heart of the English Lake District is the family run Lakeland House. This cosy B&B is a distinctive red brick Victorian property featuring rooms which are individually decorated in a boutique style with, depending on the aspect, views of the village, fells or one of the Lake District's most famous peaks, Coniston Old Man.

Room upgrades: Superior Room or Suite.
Superior room is slightly larger with upgraded furniture and a king size bed.

Find out more on the hotel website.
Read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

The Waterhead, Coniston

Hair dryer iconNEARBY:

Situated on the shore of Coniston Water, and a 5 minute walk from the centre of Coniston, is the Waterhead Hotel. With a history dating back over a hundred years the Waterhead has previously hosted such guests as Charles Darwin and John Ruskin. The hotel features lawns running down to the lake and a restaurant offering a fine menu of local cuisine with spectacular mountain views. There is also a lounge bar offering local ales, snacks and afternoon tea.

Find out more on the hotel website.
Read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Queen's Head Inn, Hawkshead

Hair dryer iconNEARBY:

Situated in the centre of the village, the Queen's Head Inn has been welcoming visitors to the village of Hawkshead since 17th century. The inn has received an AA 4 star rating for its menu, and serves the finest local ingredients in a traditional country pub setting. Each bedroom has a modern tiled bathroom and a contemporary design, and some feature original beamed ceilings and a four-poster bed.

Room upgrades: Superior Room or Suite .
Superior rooms are larger and the suite is larger again with capacity for up to 4 people.

Extending your stay

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.

Find out more on the hotel website.
Read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Laura Ashley Belsfield Hotel, Bowness-on-Windermere

Swimming Pool IconHair dryer iconNEARBY:

Built in 1845, The Laura Ashley - Belsfield Hotel is a ten minute walk from the centre of Bowness and stands in 6 acres of gardens with incredible views over Lake Windermere. The hotel has an indoor pool, a small fitness club and a putting green in the grounds. There is a lounge for guests to relax in, and dining is available in the Belsfield Restaurant and Belsfield Brasserie, with drinks in the Lounge Bar and tea or coffee available in the Drawing Room and Library. The hotel has been awarded 4 Black AA Stars and 1 Rosette.


Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Windermere train station at any time (25 mins) and back to Windermere train station at any time (25 mins).

Call now to speak to our specialist team at 1-800-267-3347 or email us at usa@exodustravels.com for enquiries or to book your trip.


Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Mr Goodwin, 28/08/2019

A lovely taste of different low level walks available in the area which makes us want to go back and do more on our own. Walking notes were excellent and easy to follow despite being discouraged from doing so and lack of confidence in them provided at the briefing. Given how often it rains and n the Lakes some walks are a little unsuitable after seriously heavy prolonged rain and alternatives would be useful. But all in all a great trip with delightful views and interesting history.

Mrs Hayashida, 21/08/2019

We generally enjoyed good walking without any major issues. Our initial transfer to the hotel was not booked but we had a very good follow up from your local representative and staff. Also, one of the hotels was trying to charge room cost directly to us, but eventually they understood.

Mrs Papworth, 13/08/2019

Good value for money

Mr Hodgson, 26/07/2019

A memorable trip in a wonderfully scenic location

Mr Eccles, 25/07/2019

As a Literary Tour it was thoughtfully planned, apart from Day 6 when your Highlights suggests alternatives, but the walk sheet offers only a rather unneccesary trip to Wray Castle. Surely the walk to Beatrix Potter's High Top (returning via Moss Eccles Tarn) should have been the first choice. The National Trust is establishing an off-road path from Hawkeshead, which we took to Near Sawrey. And the extension to Day 7/Bowness was a downer. Being thrust into such a touristy place took us away from the empty countryside world of our walk.

Ms Willoughby, 08/06/2019

Morgan did a wonderful job looking after us! And headwater was so well organised-we really loved our holiday Thankyou; will definitely travel again with you!

Mr Corby, 07/06/2019

Superb locations, superb hotels and even better food. We will certainly return.

Mr Daugherty, 18/05/2019

An interesting programme with generally good accommodation. Service at hotels mostly good except for overcharging at Grasmere.

Mrs Stuart, 17/08/2018

An all-around enjoyable experience. Rep, Karen, was really welcoming, helpful and knowledgeable which was a great start. The Wordsworth Hotel was comfortable and spacious,with great facilities, food and service - a great start to our holiday. The Queens Head Inn was a great choice of accommodation and the room was perfect - a fabulous place to end our holiday as the upgrade was great. However The Lakeland was a disappointment as the room was supposed to be an upgrade but fell very short. No space or facilities. It was incredibly impersonal with poor service. The staff were more interested in their shop customers. We are still waiting on the toast!

The walks were well graded, with excellently detailed guidance notes. There was room for subjectivity at times but back up maps sorted that.

Transfers and parking was straightforward too.

Booking staff were very helpful, pleasant and patient. I would recommend Headwater Holidays as everything went so smoothly, the walks were most enjoyable with beautiful, not too remote routes that were also not too inhabited.

Mr Thomas, 15/08/2018

Great holiday , very relaxing , walks well written and organised , made our first trip to the Lake district memorable and we will be back.

Mr Ghosh, 13/08/2018

We spent a really good week in the Lake District walking from village to village. Having our luggage transported from place to place was a real luxury. We were a bit unsure about how our children would cope with the walking. But this proved to be no problem at all, and they were ahead of us most of the time. The one day that we hadn't done our studying of maps and walking instructions properly, we managed to get lost. So, do your homework before leaving the house! We all really loved the last stop on our trip: The Queen's Head Inn, Hawkshead. Great team running the place and the food was amazing! Would travel with Headwater again if we have the chance to do so.

Mr Dawson, 16/07/2018

Headwater have always provided very, very detailed walking guides and we can always rely on those notes - never a tree, a gate, or a stone out of place!

Mrs Cole, 05/07/2018

My friend and I booked our Literary Walking in the Lake District Holiday as a celebration of our 50th birthdays. From the moment I began inquiring via email to the moment we left on the train out of Windermere, we felt valued and respected. Our booking experience was great - Joanne answered all my questions clearly and patiently. Transfers from the train station went smoothly and our taxi drivers were great. Every accommodation was clean, comfortable and unique and all the food was wonderful. Our printed directions were amazingly detailed and accurate - we had no issues finding our way around and the maps were very helpful too. Karen Wigglesworth was very friendly and genuine. She gave us plenty of information and suggestions to make our holiday the best it could be. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would do it again in a heartbeat! If only we could book every year! We were also extraordinarily lucky with the weather - a heat wave the Lake District hadn't experienced in years! Beautiful scenery, uncrowded trails, varied terrain - it was all wonderful! Thank you for helping make our birthday celebration unforgettable!

Ms Kiss, 05/07/2018

The countryside and views were like out of a fairytale. Sheep grazing on the hills, beautiful cottages along the way and fragrant woods to walk through. This holiday is for anyone who needs to slow down and forget modern life. The quality of the food and beer offered at various pubs along the way made it even better!

Mrs Currie, 22/08/2017

Ideal location for walking. Beautiful scenery and excellent accommodation

Mrs Burridge, 24/06/2017

Walking enabled us to see parts of the Lake District we would never have seen in a car and the literary connections gave much added interest.

Mr Asteriades, 16/05/2017

Gentle walking in stunning countryside. We went in May which risked wet weather (we were very lucky to have great weather). The Lake District does get very busy in the summer, so we're very happy to have had a nice quiet holiday.

Mrs Madeiros, 19/08/2016

we loved it. you make the right choices. you care for detail. you are committed and reliable. you do all the hard work. we just turned up and paid. great!

Dates and prices

You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.

Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.

For 2020 departures our trip inclusions are changing - please contact us for full details.

This 6 night self-guided walking holiday includes:

Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of hotels

All breakfasts and 1 evening meal

Management by local hotelier

Route directions and maps

Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (if booking inclusive flights)

Luggage transfers between hotels

How to book:

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form.

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The prices quoted for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and we advise early booking to obtain the best prices. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

Holiday details

Minimum group sizes
No minimum group size, however transfers are subject to at least 1 people (in total) booked on each departure.

Please contact us for child prices.

Holiday type
Self-guided walking Managed locally by hotelier.

Daily Departures from 23rd Sep 2019 to 31st Oct 2020, for 6 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.

All breakfasts and 1 evening meal

Tailor-made travel

Tour only

Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Windermere train station at any time (25 mins) and back to Windermere train station at any time (25 mins).

How to book

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

Call now to speak to our specialist team at 1-800-267-3347 or email us at usa@exodustravels.com for enquiries or to book your trip.

Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Literary Walking in the Lake District. Simply complete the form below (fields marked * are mandatory) and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.

Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

We are ATOL registered We are an ABTA member
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