Cumbria Way

Cumbria Way

A walk from the shores of Morecambe Bay to the Scottish Border through the Lake District.

3 to 9 nights
16-78 miles
Easy / Moderate to Demanding

From £380 per person

Find your holiday

About the trail

The Cumbria Way enjoys the Lake District’s mountain vistas with none of its strenuous mountain climbs. This low-level walk follows old packhorse tracks along valleys and over passes to provide breath-taking views without ascending to the summits.

Beneath towering peaks and thundering cascades, the route follows the shores of glittering tarns. It visits charming Lake District villages, and enjoys a finale of remote, rolling hills that descend through rich farmland to the historic border town of Carlisle.

We offer multiple holiday options along this trail. If you wish to experience the entire trail, simply select the first option from the list below.

Choose your route

  • Cumbria Way via Bassenthwaite
  • Cumbria Way
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options Cumbria Way Highlights
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options Cumbria Way Short Break

Dog friendly tours available

Dogs are welcome on select routes along this trail. Look for the pawprint icon when choosing your holiday.

Trail running tours available

We also organise trail running holidays along this route. Find out more.

About this route

6 to 8 nights
73 miles
Moderate / Demanding to Demanding
2nd January to 24th December

From £755 per person

Cumbria Way

The complete Cumbria Way explores the Lake District from Ulverston to Carlisle through 73 miles of impeccable scenery. This approachable trail winds its way through the imposingly beautiful landscapes for which the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Lake District National Park is known worldwide.

Whether you wish to gaze out from incredible mountain viewpoints, admire rushing waterfalls or visit quintessentially English villages, a walking holiday along the Cumbria Way is an enticing way to discover this stunning corner of the United Kingdom.

Available tours

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
CUMW1 From Ulverston to Carlisle 6 nights, 5 days walking Demanding £755
CUMW2 From Ulverston to Carlisle 7 nights, 6 days walking Moderate / Demanding £870
CUMW3 From Ulverston to Carlisle 8 nights, 7 days walking Moderate / Demanding £990

Short breaks

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
CUMWSB From Great Langdale/Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick 3 nights, 2 days walking Easy / Moderate £380

Cumbria Way 6 nights, 5 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Route profile
  • Travel info
  • Weather
  • Holiday Highlights

Important information

Please note that due to the popularity of the Lake District as a holiday destination, accommodations in some towns have a two night minimum booking policy at weekends. 

When planning your holiday dates we would advise to avoid arriving in Keswick, Coniston and Great Langdale/Dungeon Ghyll on a Friday or Saturday night if possible.  If you are unable to avoid arriving on a Friday or Saturday night an additional supplement may be necessary, or alternatively, transfers to and from nearby accommodation may be provided.  Any transfers required are included in the holiday cost. You will be contacted if an additional supplement should arise for your booking. 

This tour is available to book all year, however out of season from the end of October to March, there may be a small supplement for luggage moves, which will be moved by taxi rather than the usual luggage courier.


Travel to Ulverston where your first night's accommodation will be booked

Day 1

Ulverston to Coniston. 15.5 miles (25km) / 1749 ft (533 m) ascent

Day 2

Coniston to Great Langdale/Dungeon Ghyll. 12 miles (19km) / 1503 ft (458 m) ascent

Day 3

Great Langdale/Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick. 16 miles (25.5km) / 2139 ft (652 m) ascent

Day 4

Keswick to Caldbeck(L). 14.5 miles (23.5km) / 2756 ft (840 m) ascent

Day 5

Caldbeck(L) to Carlisle. 15 miles (24km) / 561 ft (171 m) ascent


Depart from Carlisle after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation in most cases; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard if practical. A very limited number of stops will require you to travel on foot up to two miles off the trail, however these instances will be clearly communicated to you if applicable.

Further transfers may also be required due to some accommodations having a two-night minimum booking policy, especially at weekends.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog-friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Traveller Supplement
£60.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£50.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Great Langdale/Dungeon Ghyll)
Price on request
© Contours Walking Holidays Cumbria Way map
Ulverston to Carlisle
73 miles (117 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Visiting iconic lakes, including Coniston Water and Elterwater.

Immersing yourself in the dramatic mountain ranges of Helvellyn, Skiddaw and the Langdale Pikes.

Arriving in Carlisle to explore Hadrian’s Wall, Carlisle Castle, and Carlisle Cathedral.

What's included?

  • 6 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

There is plenty to see and do around Coniston; a walk to the summit of Coniston Old Man, boat trips on Coniston Water on the elegant Victorian steam yacht 'Gondola', the Ruskin Museum in the village and the home of John Ruskin, the author, critic, artist and philanthropist who lived at Brantwood on the eastern side of the lake. Another possibility would be a trip to Hill Top, the little 17th century cottage where Beatrix Potter wrote many of her books or to the pretty village of Hawkshead. Among the interesting buildings in the village is Hawkshead Courthouse, St. Michael's Church, the solicitors offices of William Heelis, husband of Beatrix Potter, that contain an exhibition of the illustrations from her children's books and the old Grammar school where Wordsworth was educated; the desk on which he carved his name can still be seen.

The old market town of Keswick is another good choice for an extra night. It is a bustling little town with plenty of shops, inns and cafes. There are boat trips on Derwentwater, or you could walk to the mystical Castlerigg Stone Circle, the fine viewpoint of Friar's Crag or climb Skiddaw, the fourth highest mountain in England.

Many people take an extra night at the end of the tour in Carlisle and visit the award winning Tullie House Museum, the 12th century cathedral, the half-timbered guildhall that houses a local history museum and the vast medieval castle, with its ancient chambers, stairways and the dungeons that contain the infamous 'licking stones'. Here, parched Jacobite prisoners found enough moisture to stay alive, only to be brutally executed on Gallows Hill.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Great Langdale/Dungeon Ghyll)
Price on request

Tour Facts

Total distance: 73 miles (116.5 km)
Duration: 6 nights, 5 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 12 miles (19 km)
Maximum daily distance: 16 miles (25.5 km)
Code: CUMW1 Grade: Demanding
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Ulverston
End of holiday: Carlisle

Route Profile

Cumbria Way Route Profile

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air

The most convenient major city and international airports are Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and Glasgow.

By Rail

There is a rail station at the start of the trail (Ulverston) and also at the end of the trail (Carlisle).

By Bus

Various bus services run to Ulverston and from Carlisle.

From London

Trains run from London Euston station to Ulverston.

Return to Start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take the train from Carlisle to Ulverston.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.
"Over Beacon Tarn" by James O'Brien (2023) "Over Beacon Tarn" by James O'Brien (2023)
"Great Langdale" by Andrew Eastwood (2022) "Great Langdale" by Andrew Eastwood (2022)
"View of Windermere Lake" by Manuela Perez (2018) "View of Windermere Lake" by Manuela Perez (2018)
"Old Church in Carlisle" by Manuela Perez (2018) "Old Church in Carlisle" by Manuela Perez (2018)
"Derwentwater" by Else Carriere (2017 Photo Competition Winner) "Derwentwater" by Else Carriere (2017 Photo Competition Winner)
"Great Langdale" by Else Carriere (2017) "Great Langdale" by Else Carriere (2017)
"Tarn Hows" by Else Carriere (2017) "Tarn Hows" by Else Carriere (2017)
"View on Coniston Old Man" by Else Carriere (2017) "View on Coniston Old Man" by Else Carriere (2017)

Customer reviews from the Cumbria Way

“Magical scenery and wondrously peaceful, except round Constion and Derwentwater of course and near car parks! Compensation - coffee and ice cream!! Thanks!”
Mrs Douglas, UK
“Wonderful walk. Accommodation superb. Lake District incredibly beautiful.”
Dr Mead, UK
“Over all, a really good experience. And I would be happy to recommend your company.”
Mr Rogers, UK
“The Cumbria Way offers a stunning variety of scenery to hold ones interest over a week of walking. We greatly appreciated the time and effort Contours staff put into planning our customized itinerary for the Cumbria Way to accommodate our 4-month-old baby. The personal attention made us feel so much more comfortable with undertaking a walking holiday with an infant.”
Ms Ristau, USA
“All in all, the four of us were very satisfied with the whole arrangement. We had a very nice holiday.”
Ms Alming, UK
“Beautiful landscapes, meeting nice people, good accommodations. We will definitely come back!”
Mrs Petersen, Denmark
“My group and I had a wonderful experience hiking the Cumbria Way.”
Mr Greisberger, USA
“We found the scenery stunning and enjoyed the river and valley walking.”
Ms Wood, UK
“The accommodation at every stop was really good, scenery fabulous, we really enjoyed our holiday.”
Mr Easter, UK
Find your holiday