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 Derwentwater Round
  • Lakeland Three Passes Walk
  • 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

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 to 7 nights
36 miles
Easy / Moderate to Moderate / Demanding
2nd January to 24th December
Includes Dog-Friendly Tours

From £505 per person

South Lakes Short Break

As well as beautiful scenery, the Lake District is also famous for its associations with a number of poets, novelists and essayists. This lovely short break option visits many of the places associated with some of its most famous writers.

Beginning at the iconic Lake Windermere, the trail meanders through valleys, over hills and along riverbanks, and enjoys spectacular views from the viewpoints of Orrest Head and Jenkin Crag. The countless beauty spots and charming villages along the walk have inspired numerous writers and artists through the years, including William Wordsworth, Arthur Ransome, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter, to name just a few.

Available tours

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

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

South 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 Windermere, Ambleside, Coniston or 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. 

Please also note that dog friendly accommodation in Grasmere is particularly expensive. Therefore an additional upgrade supplement may be necessary for your accommodation in Grasmere if booking a dog friendly tour. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements.

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.

Start

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

Day 1

Windermere to Grasmere. 10.5 miles (17km) / 1690 ft (515 m) ascent

Day 2

Grasmere to Coniston. 13 miles (20.5km) / 2100 ft (640 m) ascent

Day 3

Coniston to Windermere. 12.5 miles (20km) / 1936 ft (590 m) ascent

Finish

Depart from 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 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 (Grasmere)
Price on request
Standard
Interactive
© Contours Walking Holidays South Lakes Short Break map
Circular trail beginning at Windermere
36 miles (58 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Taking in the sensational views of Windermere from the famous viewpoint of Orrest Head.

Sampling the superb Gingerbread in Grasmere, before wandering through the ‘Daffodil Garden’ and visiting the final resting place of William Wordsworth.

Feeling inspired by the magnificent fells surrounding Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter.

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 South Lakes, Grasmere is a good choice for a rest day. You could visit Dove Cottage, the best-known home of William Wordsworth; the school where Wordsworth once taught, now home to Sarah Nelson's famous Gingerbread Shop and St. Oswald's church, the last resting place for the Wordsworth family.

There is plenty to see and do around Coniston including 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.

Windermere provides a perfect base from which to explore the southern Lake District at the start or at the end of your walk.

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

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Grasmere)
Price on request

Tour Facts

Total distance: 36 miles (58 km)
Duration: 4 nights, 3 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 10.5 miles (17 km)
Maximum daily distance: 13 miles (20.5 km)
Code: SLSB1 Grade: Moderate / Demanding
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Windermere
End of holiday: Windermere

Route Profile

South 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 Leeds Bradford and Manchester.

By Rail

There is a rail station at Windermere.

By Bus

Various bus services run to and from Windermere.

From London

Trains run from London Euston station to Windermere.

Return to Start

The South Lakes Short Break is a circular tour beginning and ending in Windermere.

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.
"Great Langdale" by Robert Hincks (2023) "Great Langdale" by Robert Hincks (2023)
"Feeding the Ducks" by Robert Hincks (2023) "Feeding the Ducks" by Robert Hincks (2023)
"Views from the Path" by Robert Hincks (2023) "Views from the Path" by Robert Hincks (2023)
"Looking Back on Grasmere" by Carolyn Hutton (2023) "Looking Back on Grasmere" by Carolyn Hutton (2023)
"Nearing Coniston" by Carolyn Hutton (2023) "Nearing Coniston" by Carolyn Hutton (2023)
"Blea Tarn" by Carolyn Hutton (2023) "Blea Tarn" by Carolyn Hutton (2023)
"Great Langdale Valley" by Carolyn Hutton (2023) "Great Langdale Valley" by Carolyn Hutton (2023)
"View of Lake Windermere" by Jim Bigelow (2019) "View of Lake Windermere" by Jim Bigelow (2019)
"Between Grasmere and Great Langdale" by Jim Bigelow (2019) "Between Grasmere and Great Langdale" by Jim Bigelow (2019)
"Between Langdale and Coniston" by Jim Bigelow (2019) "Between Langdale and Coniston" by Jim Bigelow (2019)
"River Stock Ghyll in Ambleside" by Jim Bigelow (2019) "River Stock Ghyll in Ambleside" by Jim Bigelow (2019)
"Packhorse Bridge" by Jim Bigelow (2019) "Packhorse Bridge" by Jim Bigelow (2019)
"Between Windermere and Ambleside" by Stephanie Gordon (2019) "Between Windermere and Ambleside" by Stephanie Gordon (2019)
"Sunset over Hawkshead" by Stephanie Gordon (2019) "Sunset over Hawkshead" by Stephanie Gordon (2019)
"Great Langdale" by Stephanie Gordon (2019) "Great Langdale" by Stephanie Gordon (2019)
"Tarn Hows Cottage" by Stephanie Gordon (2019) "Tarn Hows Cottage" by Stephanie Gordon (2019)
"Between Grasmere and Dungeon Ghyll" by Stephanie Gordon (2019) "Between Grasmere and Dungeon Ghyll" by Stephanie Gordon (2019)
"On the Way up Great Langdale" by Debby Allen (2018) "On the Way up Great Langdale" by Debby Allen (2018)
"At the Head of Little Langdale" by Debby Allen (2018) "At the Head of Little Langdale" by Debby Allen (2018)
"Climb out of Grasmere" by Debby Allen (2018) "Climb out of Grasmere" by Debby Allen (2018)

Customer reviews from the South Lakes Short Break

“Likewise, my companions and I (6 of us walked together) enjoyed our Contours Lakes District walk. The route and area where we walked are beautiful”
Ms Ames, USA
“This was wonderful.”
Mr Lawshe, USA
“We really liked the fact that there were lunch spots each day and even some coffee stops!! It was all very lovely and it was great seeing all the villages as well as the countryside between.”
Mrs Ashworth, UK
“Lovely route – easy to moderate walking and wonderful scenery. Although the location were familiar, the paths were not so there was still a sense of adventure and exploration.”
Mrs Mackenzie, UK
“It was a beautiful walk, and we were very fortunate with the weather. The accommodation was all well chosen and we enjoyed each place we got to.”
Mr Mawdsley, UK
“We absolutely loved it and felt taken care of every day.”
Mrs Slob, Netherlands
“We were very satisfied with the itinerary and the overall planning by Contours. It was a pleasure to walk through this beautiful landscape and the weather was good for walking. Mostly cloudy but little rain. As we are getting old, the six days walk we choose suited us well. I have already mentioned the good planning. It was an added pleasure how varied the accommodation was. It ranged from traditional English B&B, to inns, old hotels and one renovated. We were very satisfied with our walk and your arrangements. I have booked a few times before and would do it again.”
Mr Arason, Iceland
“Loved the variety of scenery on this walk. The baggage transfers worked exactly as they should have. Contours did a good job in general.”
Ms Gordon, USA
“What an absolutely incredible few days!! We'll never forget it! Have already recommended the holiday to others. I'm getting tons of feedback and questions on my social media and am pointing everyone to you all.”
Ms Goss, USA
Find your holiday