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North Lakes Short Break

North Lakes Short Break

A scenic walking holiday along the old tourist route, starting and ending in the market town of Keswick.

4 nights
29 miles
Moderate / Demanding

From £420 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

The North Lakes Short Break is a scenic walk based on the route taken by tourists in the 19th century, where they travelled via horse-drawn carriage through beautiful Borrowdale and Buttermere via the Honister Pass, before returning to Keswick through the stunning Newlands Valley.

This trail encounters such wonderful attractions as the shores of Derwentwater, the remote beauty of Watendlath Tarn, Lakeland’s highest waterfall near Crummock Water, and amazing views of the surrounding mountain landscape. There is also a selection of charming towns and villages to explore along the way, each boasting its own unique character and interesting history.

© Contours Walking Holidays North Lakes Short Break map
Circular trail beginning at Keswick
29 miles (46 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Admiring the dramatic mountain scenery of Borrowdale from its many spectacular viewpoints.

Visiting Scale Force Waterfall near Crummock Water, the highest waterfall in the Lake District.

Spotting elusive red squirrels amongst the beautiful woodlands of the Newlands Valley.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
NLSB A circular trail beginning at Keswick 4 nights, 3 days walking Moderate / Demanding£420

North Lakes Short Break 4 nights, 3 days walking

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

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 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. 


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

Day 1

Keswick to Rosthwaite. 9.5 miles (15.5km) / 1490 ft (454 m) ascent

Day 2

Rosthwaite to Buttermere. 8 miles (13km) / 1565 ft (477 m) ascent

Day 3

Buttermere to Keswick. 10 miles (16km) / 1243 ft (379 m) ascent


Depart from Keswick 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)
£50.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Buttermere)
Price on request

What's included?

  • 4 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

If you wish to spend an extra day exploring the Lake District, the old market town of Keswick is a 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.

If you fancy somewhere quieter, Rosthwaite offers many lovely walks in the hills around Borrowdale while Buttermere is a lovely little village in a beautiful valley.

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

Extra night (Standard)
£50.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Buttermere)
Price on request

Tour Facts

Total distance: 29 miles (46 km)
Duration: 4 nights, 3 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 8 miles (13 km)
Maximum daily distance: 10 miles (16 km)
Code: NLSB Grade: Moderate / Demanding
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Keswick
End of holiday: Keswick

Route Profile

North Lakes Short Break 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, Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick.

By Rail - The nearest rail station to Keswick is at Penrith-North Lakes (about 18 miles away).

By Bus - Buses run between Penrith and Keswick.

From London - Trains run from London Euston station to Penrith. From there a bus/taxi will be required to Keswick.

Return To The Start - The North Lakes Short Break is a circular tour beginning and ending in Keswick.

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

South Lakes Short Break
4 to 7 nights
36 miles
Easy / Moderate+
Dog friendly
From £420 per person
A walk from Windermere through the landscapes that inspired William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.Find Out More
Bob Graham Round
6 to 7 nights
77 miles
From £645 per person
A challenging self-guided walking holiday traversing 42 of the Lake District's mighty fells.Find Out More
Lakeland Round
6 to 13 nights
74 miles
Dog friendly
From £635 per person
A self-guided walk circling the lakes, mountains and villages of the Lake District National Park.Find Out More
Lakeland Three Passes Walk
4 nights
25 miles
From £430 per person
A circular walk through Borrowdale, Langdale and Wasdale in the Lake District National Park.Find Out More
Derwentwater Round - Stile-Free
3 nights
12 miles
Dog friendly
From £320 per person
A gentle, circular walk around Derwentwater in the beautiful Lake District valley of Borrowdale.Find Out More

Customer reviews from the North Lakes Short Break

“A combination of good organisation and good weather = perfect!”
Mr Sanders, France
“Absolutely beautiful country to explore.”
Mrs Chapman, Australia
“It was an excellent introduction to the area (neither of us had been before). Great walking, just challenging enough!”
Mrs Hansen, UK
“The area we walked in was stunning and even though the weather was challenging we had a good time.”
Mr Mawdsley, UK
"Fleetwith Pike" by Paul Sanders (2018) "Fleetwith Pike" by Paul Sanders (2018)