Lake District Circular Walks

Lake District Circular Walks

A collection of circular walking holidays visiting the lakes and mountains of the Lake District National Park.

3 to 13 nights
12-74 miles
Easy / Moderate to Easy

From £360 per person

Find your holiday

About the trail

Book your self-guided walking holiday in the Lake District. This UNESCO World Heritage site is England's only true mountain region and contains some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. It provides an enchanting mix of rugged mountains, deep valleys, shimmering lakes, powerful waterfalls and attractive stone-built villages.

Our selection of circular walking trails in the Lake District National Park provide an enticing mixture of scenery, terrain and challenge. Whether you are looking for fabulous views, picturesque settlements, fascinating history or literary inspiration, each of these walks offers something different, and are ideal for an active but tranquil retreat into the Great British countryside.

Choose your route

  • This route includes dog friendly tour options Lakeland Round
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options South Lakes Short Break
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options North Lakes Short Break
  • Lakeland Three Passes Walk
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options Derwentwater Round

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

4 nights
29 miles
Moderate / Demanding
2nd January to 24th December
Includes Dog-Friendly Tours

From £540 per person

North Lakes Short Break

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.

Available tours

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
NLSB A circular trail beginning at Keswick 4 nights, 3 days walking Moderate / Demanding £540

Short breaks

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
SLSB1 A circular trail beginning at Windermere 4 nights, 3 days walking Moderate / Demanding £505
SLSB2 A circular trail beginning at Windermere 5 nights, 4 days walking Moderate £630
SLSB3 A circular trail beginning at Windermere 7 nights, 6 days walking Easy / Moderate £880

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
  • 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 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. 

Start

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

Day 1

Keswick to Rosthwaite. 9.5 miles (15.5km) / 1650 ft (503 m) ascent

Day 2

Rosthwaite to Buttermere. 8 miles (13km) / 1900 ft (579 m) ascent

Day 3

Buttermere to Keswick. 10 miles (16km) / 1772 ft (540 m) ascent

Finish

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 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
£65.00 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 (Buttermere)
Price on request
Standard
Interactive
© 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.

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)
£65.00 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.
"Dismantled Tramway, Honister to Buttermere" Graham Wright (2022) "Dismantled Tramway, Honister to Buttermere" Graham Wright (2022)
"Derwentwater from Nichol End" by Desmond Maltby (2021) "Derwentwater from Nichol End" by Desmond Maltby (2021)
"Buttermere from Fleetwith Pike" by Desmond Maltby (2021) "Buttermere from Fleetwith Pike" by Desmond Maltby (2021)
"Pillar and Haystacks from Fleetwith Pike" by Desmond Maltby (2021) "Pillar and Haystacks from Fleetwith Pike" by Desmond Maltby (2021)
"Between Buttermere and the Newlands Valley" by Sheila Maltby (2021) "Between Buttermere and the Newlands Valley" by Sheila Maltby (2021)
"Approaching the Newlands Valley" by Desmond Maltby (2021) "Approaching the Newlands Valley" by Desmond Maltby (2021)
"Honister Slate Quarry" by Desmond Maltby (2021) "Honister Slate Quarry" by Desmond Maltby (2021)
"Fleetwith Pike from Buttermere" by Desmond Maltby (2021) "Fleetwith Pike from Buttermere" by Desmond Maltby (2021)
"Fleetwith Pike" by Paul Sanders (2018) "Fleetwith Pike" by Paul Sanders (2018)

Customer reviews from the North Lakes Short Break

“It was an excellent introduction to the area (neither of us had been before). Great walking, just challenging enough!”
Mrs Hansen, UK
“Great walks in a lovely part of the Lake District.”
Mr Linathan, UK
“Absolutely beautiful country to explore.”
Mrs Chapman, Australia
“Contours' choice of accommodation was spot on. Already have another short break planned in September.”
Mrs Fairclough, UK
“The area we walked in was stunning and even though the weather was challenging we had a good time.”
Mr Mawdsley, UK
“On two of the three days, we had clear blue skies with unbelievable heat. It was the best weather (apart from the intensity of the heat) that we have ever experienced in the Lake District! We already have next year's walk booked.”
Dr Maltby, UK
“A combination of good organisation and good weather = perfect!”
Mr Sanders, France
“The walking itinerary was very well planned. Ben's advice on which walk to do calibrated very well with the preferences I told him. The accommodations were well chosen and of high quality. Have already been recommending the holiday to others.”
Mr Griffiths, UK
Find your holiday