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

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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.

About this route

9 nights
78 miles
2nd January to 24th December

From £1135 per person

Cumbria Way via Bassenthwaite

This alternate take on the classic Cumbria Way covers the same mileage over eight days, allowing you to explore the trail at a steadier pace. The walk departs the main trail after Keswick and the Lonscale Crags, swinging west to Bassenthwaite, one of the largest lakes in the Lake District.

Skipping the rolling, remote hills at the Back o’Skiddaw, the trail instead winds through country lanes between low-level fells, before reuniting with the Cumbria Way at Caldbeck.

Available tours

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
CUMWB From Ulverston to Carlisle 9 nights, 8 days walking Moderate £1135

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 9 nights, 8 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 or Coniston 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 Lowick/Lowick Bridge(L). 7.5 miles (12km) / 886 ft (270 m) ascent

Day 2

Lowick/Lowick Bridge(L) to Coniston. 9.5 miles (15km) / 876 ft (267 m) ascent

Day 3

Coniston to Chapel Stile/Elterwater. 8 miles (13km) / 1243 ft (379 m) ascent

Day 4

Chapel Stile/Elterwater to Rosthwaite. 11 miles (17.5km) / 1686 ft (514 m) ascent

Day 5

Rosthwaite to Keswick. 8 miles (13km) / 656 ft (200 m) ascent

Day 6

Keswick to Bassenthwaite(T). 10 miles (16km) / 1742 ft (531 m) ascent

Day 7

Bassenthwaite(T) to Caldbeck(L). 9 miles (14.5km) / 1358 ft (414 m) ascent

Day 8

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
© Contours Walking Holidays Cumbria Way via Bassenthwaite map
Ulverston to Carlisle
78 miles (125 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Crossing the Lake District National Park at a steadier pace and cherishing the breath-taking mountainous scenery.

Experiencing the tranquil beauty of Tarn Hows.

Tasting the landscape that inspired literary greats, including Wordsworth, Coleridge, Arthur Ransome and Beatrix Potter.

What's included?

  • 9 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

Tour Facts

Total distance: 78 miles (125 km)
Duration: 9 nights, 8 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)
Maximum daily distance: 15 miles (24 km)
Code: CUMWB Grade: Moderate
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 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.

Customer reviews from the Cumbria Way via Bassenthwaite

“The walk itself was magnificent.”
Mr Bovee, USA
“Everything was so well organized and clear, it allowed us to concentrate on just the hiking. We had good weather every day but one - a matter of luck, of course. Such a beautiful area, great people, and perfect pubs at the end of every day's walk. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Have already recommended you. You guys are awesome! Would book another holiday with you in a heartbeat!”
Ms Anderson, USA
“Some of the views of the Lake District were stunning. Great experience. Started my planning for next years walking holiday.”
Mr Weigh, UK
“Challenging, nice walk with views of lakes and mountains and lucky with weather.”
Mrs McDougall, UK
“This was a wonderful vacation and due so in considerable measure to Contours’ excellent support and service.”
Mr O’Brien, Canada
“Wonderful trip with spectacular countryside. Accommodations were impeccable and hospitable.”
Mr Gingras, Canada
“The scenery was spectacular. The walks were engaging, varied and the days were perfectly structured.”
Ms Davis, USA
Find your holiday