Dales Way

A self-guided walking holiday from Ilkley to Windermere through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

7 to 10 nights
78 miles
Easy / Moderate to Demanding

From £610 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

This holiday option takes in all 77 miles of the iconic Dales Way walking trail, showcasing some of the finest scenery the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District have to offer.

Admire the impressive ruins of Bolton Priory, meander through the peaceful Wharfedale Valley and visit many welcoming settlements on this magical walking holiday through two beautiful National Parks.

© Contours Walking Holidays Dales Way map
Ilkley to Windermere
78 miles (125 km)
14th March to 12th October

Holiday highlights

Crossing two national parks of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District and enjoying the contrasting scenery of both areas.

Admiring the iconic dry stone walls and enclosed rolling fields of the Yorkshire Dales.

Exploring the wealth of interesting history along the walk, including the romantic ruins of Bolton Priory.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
DW1 From Ilkley to Bowness-On-Windermere 7 nights, 6 days walking Demanding£610
DW2 From Ilkley to Bowness-On-Windermere 8 nights, 7 days walking Moderate£695
DW3 From Ilkley to Bowness-On-Windermere 9 nights, 8 days walking Moderate£780
DW4 From Ilkley to Bowness-On-Windermere 10 nights, 9 days walking Easy / Moderate£865

Dales Way 7 nights, 6 days walking

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

Travel to Ilkley where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Ilkley to Burnsall. 13 miles (20.5km)

Day 2

Burnsall to Buckden(L). 14 miles (22.5km)

Day 3

Buckden(L) to Lea Yeat(L). 17 miles (27.5km)

Day 4

Lea Yeat(L) to Sedbergh. 9 miles (14.5km)

Day 5

Sedbergh to Patton Bridge. 12 miles (19.5km)

Day 6

Patton Bridge to Bowness-On-Windermere. 13 miles (20.5km)


Depart from Bowness-On-Windermere 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; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard.

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
£40.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£35.00 per person / per night

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

Extra night (Standard)
£55.00 per person / per night

What's included?

  • 7 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

Taking an extra night is the perfect way to extend your holiday and give yourself extra time to explore the Yorkshire Dales.

Burnsall has an idyllic setting with heather covered hills that look down upon the village green, complete with maypole and bordering the River Wharfe. A sturdy bridge with massive breakwaters, an inn, church, school and ancient mullion windowed cottages complete the picture.

St Wilfrid's church has many fascinating features; a tapsel gate - a lychgate with a revolving 'turnstile' entrance, a medieval Adoration of the Magi, a Norman inscribed font and Viking 'hog-backed' gravestones. The school next door was one of the country's earliest grammar schools.

Buckden is another good choice for a rest day. It is an attractive jumble of stone cottages, with a shop and a lovely old inn, perched on the hillside overlooking the River Wharfe.

Many people have an extra day in Sedbergh, a very pleasant market town, while Windermere is a good choice for an extra night if you would like to explore the southern Lake District at the end of your holiday.

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

Extra night (Standard)
£55.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 78 miles (125 km)
Duration: 7 nights, 6 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 9 miles (14.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 17 miles (27.5 km)
Code: DW1 Grade: Demanding
Season: 14th March - 12th October
Start of holiday: Ilkley
End of holiday: Bowness-On-Windermere

Route Profile

Dales 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 Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester.

By Rail - There is a rail station at the start of the trail (Ilkley) and also at the end of the trail (Windermere).

By Bus - Various bus services run to Ilkley and from Windermere.

From London - Trains run from London Kings Cross station to Ilkley.

Return To The Start - The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take a train from Windermere to Ilkley.

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.

Routes on this trail

3 nights
23 miles
From £275 per person
A short walking break from Ilkley to Kettlewell along the Lake District section of the Dales Way.Find Out More
4 to 5 nights
41 miles
Dog friendly
From £365 per person
A short walking holiday from Burnsall to Sedbergh through the Yorkshire Dales National Park.Find Out More

Customer reviews from the Dales Way

“I knew I would enjoy the Dales Way and working with Contours helped us know everything was taken care of.”
Ms Cox, USA
“Beautiful countryside, great people and places to stay.”
Mr Lent, USA
“It was amazing -one of the best holidays we have taken! We enjoyed the walking, going through endless stiles, seeing hundreds of sheep and cows, walking along beautiful rivers, crossing over historic bridges, crossing under viaducts, and stopping in small towns to eat and sleep. The directions and our luggage delivery were perfect. We'll definitely use Contours again and recommend you to our American friends. Most of our friends had not heard of this type of experience and thought it sounded fun. Thanks for arranging an unforgettable vacation!”
Ms Lewellen, USA
“Lovely walk. Not too challenging with beautiful scenery. We were lucky with the weather but much of the walk is along rivers so even in bad weather it would have been lovely. No hitches with logistics. Luggage arrived at the right place. Accommodation easy to find.”
Dr Stafford, UK
“Surprisingly, my first ever visit to the Yorkshire Dales. A lovely, not-too-strenuous walk through rolling hills and along pretty river banks, often staying in characterful pubs with excellent food.”
Mr Julyan, UK
“Every vista was as beautiful as the last. Every lodging we stayed in was different, historic and interesting. I loved the remote feel to our daily walking, and we met so many nice people as we walked.”
Ms Danforth, USA
“Very impressed with Contours, will definitely use again. This was my first trip with you. Walk was lovely, particularly first 5 days.”
Mr Griffiths, UK
“Wonderful route, varied accommodation, good food, and very well organised throughout.”
Mrs Tumelty, UK
“We both had a fantastic time and would like to thank you for a superb holiday.”
Ms Ritchie, UK
"Where the Dales Way meets the Pennine Way" by John Lonergan (2019)
"Dent Head Viaduct near Cowgill" by John Lonergan (2019)
"Dales Way into Sedburgh" by John Lonergan (2019)
"Strid Wood" by Valerie Ball (2019)
"Bolton Priory" by Valerie Ball (2019)
"River Wharfe between Ilkley and Burnsall" by David Raynor (2018)
"River Wharfe at Burnsall" by David Raynor (2018)
"Bridge over River Wharfe" by David Raynor (2018)
"Meadow and Sky between Buckden and Hubberholme" by Else Carriere (2017)
"Suspension Bridge over River Wharfe" by Else Carriere (2017)
Meadow between Buckden and Hubberholme" by Else Carriere (2017)
"Stream near Cowgill" by Lanny Swallow (2017)
"Outside of Ilkey" by Lanny Swallow (2017)
"Rapids outside of Grassington" by Lanny Swallow (2017)

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