United Kingdom : Lake District

Literary Walking in the Lake District

Trip code: W06LD 4.8 (32 reviews)

Self-guided walking

6 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 1+
Leisurely plus

25.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

SUMMARY

  • 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

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 6 nights accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Briefing at the start of your holiday
  • Headwater navigation app
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Arrival and departure transfers from Windermere railway station

TRIP DESCRIPTION

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 Lake District Self Guided walking tours 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.

Your accommodation includes a 4 star country house hotel in Grasmere and a charming 17th century inn serving fine local ales in Hawkshead. There's also the option to add an extra night in the bustling village of Bowness, in an enviable location on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Terrain

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.

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DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

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 Wordsworth Hotel.

hotel details

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Wordsworth Hotel, Grasmere

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
AmEx
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Safe
Tea/coffee


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.

Day 2: Grasmere Circular Walk (13km/8.1mi)

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!

elevation

You stay at Wordsworth Hotel.

hotel details



Wordsworth Hotel, Grasmere

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
AmEx
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Safe
Tea/coffee


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.

Day 3: Grasmere to Coniston (17km/10.6mi)

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.

elevation

You stay at The Coniston Inn.

hotel details



The Coniston Inn, Coniston

HOTEL WEBSITE      

Mastercard
Visa
AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Safe
Tea/coffee


Situated on the shores of Coniston Water, and a 5 minute walk from the centre of Coniston, is the Coniston Inn. With a history dating back over a hundred years, it 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.

Day 4: Coniston Circular Walk (11km/6.8mi)

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!

elevation

You stay at The Coniston Inn.

hotel details



The Coniston Inn, Coniston

HOTEL WEBSITE      

Mastercard
Visa
AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Safe
Tea/coffee


Situated on the shores of Coniston Water, and a 5 minute walk from the centre of Coniston, is the Coniston Inn. With a history dating back over a hundred years, it 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.

Day 5: Coniston to Hawkshead (12km/7.5mi)

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.

elevation

You stay at The Queen’s Head.

hotel details



The Queen’s Head, Hawkshead

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Cash machine
Mastercard
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Safe
Tea/coffee


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.

Day 6: At Hawkshead (13km/8.1mi)

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!

elevation

You stay at The Queen’s Head.

hotel details



The Queen’s Head, Hawkshead

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Cash machine
Mastercard
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Safe
Tea/coffee


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.

Day 7: Leave Hawkshead or optional extension to Bowness-on-Windermere

After breakfast, depart from Hawkshead or continue on to Windermere.

We recommend adding an extra night or two 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 hotel, just a few minutes walk from Lake Windermere.

elevation

Extending your holiday

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra hotel nights we recommend: The Angel Inn, Bowness-on-Windermere.

hotel details



The Angel Inn, Bowness-on-Windermere

TRIP ADVISOR

Shops
Bank
Cash machine
Mastercard
Visa
AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Safe
Tea/coffee


In central Bowness, and just a few minutes from the shores of Lake Windermere, the Angel Inn sits in lovely gardens with plenty of sitting areas for guests to enjoy one of the inn's fine ales in a lovely setting, with views down to the village and over to the surrounding fells. Rooms are split between the main building and the annexe, and all are prettily decorated with large sash windows. The pub at the inn is wonderfully cosy, with a good selection of Cumbrian ales, whilst the kitchen serves up a seasonal menu with some delicious Cumbrian classic dishes.

Room upgrades: Superior and Lake view superior rooms
Superior rooms are much larger than the standard rooms. Superior lake view rooms come with a view over Lake Windermere

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These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £366.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £366.

OPTIONAL UPGRADES
  • Alternative flights, including regional departures
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels
TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

This holiday does not include any flights or rail

Standard transfers
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).

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we're open until 10pm today) or email sales@headwater.com

Should you require overnight airport accommodation, airport parking or even a uniformed chauffeur to take your car from your departure terminal and park it for you, we can arrange this for you through Holiday Extras. You can book airport parking, airport hotels and executive lounges through their website or contact us for further details. Early booking is recommended to obtain the best availability and prices.

REVIEWS

We thoroughly enjoyed our hike in the Lake District. The initial briefing with Ian Jones particularly helpful- delightful man. Looking forward to another trip in the future

Jerry Ouderkirk, 27 Sep 2023

 

Overall we enjoyed our trip despite a couple of days of very wet weather. It is the Lake District after all. The forestry work on the way to the Far Sawrey ferry cut off the route and we had to detour through the bushes and walk along very muddy. Again not something Headwater has control over.

However, the cafe at the Yew Tree Farm hasn’t been a cafe for about 10 years



Rosemary Morris, 22 Sep 2023

 

It did what it said on the tin. Easy walks of suitable distance and effort. saw all literary locations but we did need to do our own route to see Beatrix Potter's house which was a meaningful ommision from the itinerary.

Mr De Maria, 1 Sep 2022

 

The itinerary notes were outstanding, truly impressed.

Mr Ekker, 7 Jul 2022

 

All in all a fabulous holiday, my only criticism is that some of the notes were not very clear at times. Having said that I would definitely travel with you again.

Mrs KENT, 16 Sep 2021

 

A wonderful opportunity to see the real lake district away from the roads and crowds. The walks and views were sublime and came with a glorious sense of isolation with the traditional countryside and sheep as a reminder of traditional farming through the centuries. Every walk gave way to such fabulous photo opportunities and we were blessed with warm september sunshine so we could see for miles.

LOVELL, 10 Sep 2021

 

We've used Headwater many times in mainland Europe but this was our first experience in the UK - for obvious reasons this year! As always we found the experience second to none, really enjoyed the walking and the excellent choices of accommodation. The rep's briefing was really helpful and the maps, gradings and alternative walks all worked really well. Thank you!

Mr ARMSTRONG, 8 Sep 2021

 

Had a lovely break and really enjoyed all the walks. My first time doing self-guided but no problems and easy to follow routes. Enjoyed house visits but logistics of booking them was quite challenging as had to pre-book specific time slots. Fortunately they were flexible and helpful when needed. Only real problem I had was that some places were closed on the day that I was due to visit which was disappointing. I found everyone very friendly and welcoming which was really nice when travelling alone. I was lucky to have very good weather which helped too!

Ms SANDFORD, 5 Sep 2021

 

Excellent holiday - shame about the torrential rain for part of it!

All pick ups and transfers were smooth.

the accommodation was good/excellent.

The trip was described as leisurely but there were very rocky ascents and descents at times - I wish I had brought a stick.

We would have appreciated some notes as to the walk from Hawkshead to Hill Top Farm.

Ms VAN VELSEN, 6 Aug 2021

 

If you are looking for history, Wordsworth, Ruskin, Cunliffe as well as beautiful scenic lakes and fells this is for you. Staying in the beautiful Grasmere, Coniston with its lake and the world famous Bluebird cafe and finally to the quintessential village of Hawkshead. Taking a Gondola ride on Coniston, the peace and quiet of Grizedale forest and spectacular views towards Hawkshead. From start to finish this holiday offers all you need for a perfect weeks walking.

Mr BLUNT, 16 Jul 2021

 

A well planned itinerary with good guidance and clear indication of walking difficulty. Highly recommended.

Mr INGRAM, 10 Jul 2021

 

Although we had walked in the Lake District before, this holiday gave the opportunity to experience routes new to us and it certainly covered a wide variety of scenery. The standard of accommodation in each centre was excellent and we would like to make special mention of the staff at the Wordsworth Hotel and the Queen's Head who could not do enough for us despite having the extra work of coping with Covid procedures. Lakeland House being a B & B staffed only part-time was a different experience but we had been advised of this in advance and as a small building it did the best it could to be Covid secure and was certainly adequate for our needs. Thanks also to the staff at Headwater for helping us to have an enjoyable holiday after the disappointment of our Catalunya Activities week being cancelled last year.

Mrs SMITH, 8 Jul 2021

 

We loved our time away - everything was arranged smoothly and all necessary information was received in good time. The walking instructions were superb and very thorough - we did not get lost once. The accommodation was very suitable for our needs.

Mrs PORTMANN, 19 Jun 2021

 

A self guided walking holiday was a brand new venture for me

since I had always been on group guided walking holidays before. This new venture turned out to be a very enjoyable experience. The trip notes and maps that I was provided with to download onto my phone were very accurate. In fact I didn't have to refer to the OS maps that I was sent as well. The Lake District is a fantastic area to visit to start with on a first self guided walking trip, very pleasing. Hotels along the way were very good. I enjoyed the walking routes ,Grasmere to Coniston was my favourite. Overall I had a very enjoyable time and I would definitely do this self guiding experience again in the UK.



Mr Hall, 26 Sep 2020

 

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.

Mr Goodwin, 16 Aug 2019

 

Good value for money

Mrs Papworth, 3 Aug 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 Hayashida, 28 Jul 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.

Mr Eccles, 5 Jul 2019

 

A memorable trip in a wonderfully scenic location

Mr Hodgson, 26 Jun 2019

 

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

Mr Corby, 28 May 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!

Ms Willoughby, 15 May 2019

 

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

Mr Daugherty, 1 May 2019

 

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

Mr Thomas, 1 Aug 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.

Mrs Stuart, 23 Jul 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 Ghosh, 16 Jul 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!

Mr Dawson, 2 Jul 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!

Mrs Cole, 25 Jun 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!

Ms Kiss, 10 Jun 2018

 

Ideal location for walking. Beautiful scenery and excellent accommodation

Mrs Currie, 13 Aug 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.

Mrs Burridge, 1 Jun 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.

Mr Asteriades, 7 May 2017

 

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!

Mrs Madeiros, 1 Aug 2016

 


Self-guided walking

6 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 1+
Leisurely plus

25.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

6 nights from £1239

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE

Call: 01606 720199

 

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