Current as of: February 25, 2024 - 07:42

Literary Walking in the Lake District

Literary Walking in the Lake District Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Self-Guided Holidays
  • Destination: United Kingdom
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 7 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 8+
  • Trip Code: W06LD

Trip Overview

Explore Britain’s greatest lakes, the inspiration for many renowned writers.

aw-dropping scenery, world-famous lakes and incredible literary connections – this 6-night holiday in the South Lakes has it all. The inspiration for writers like Wordsworth, Ransome and Potter, not to mention a plethora of other artists and poets, the Lake District is a place of incredible natural beauty; idyllic and exhilarating in equal measure. And, in 2017, it was awarded World Heritage status, with the committee praising the area’s beauty, farming and the inspiration it had provided to artists and writers.

The Lake District Self Guided walking tours take you to some of the Lake District’s most charming villages, where olde-worlde inns and speciality shops nestle against a backdrop of majestic fells, staggering mountains and shimmering waters. Your routes follow quiet country lanes and lakeside paths, dotted with babbling brooks, thundering waterfalls and shady forest. National Trust properties abound including Beatrix Potter’s former farm, Hilltop, while gems like the award-winning Hawkshead Brewery offer the best kind of refreshment.

At a Glance

  • 6 nights in 4-star accommodation
  • 2 days hotel to hotel walking, optional walks on days 2, 4 and 6; averaging 4 hours per day
  • Altitude maximum 273m, average 80m
  • Wordsworth’s Grasmere, Beatrix Potter’s Hawkshead, and Coniston: the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons


  • Idyllic lakeside paths and quiet country lanes
  • Sections along the famous Cumbria Way
  • High fells, gushing streams and traditional Cumbrian stone villages
  • High-quality hotels serving excellent local fare

Is This Trip for You?

The walks on this holiday take you to some of the Lake District’s most charming villages, where olde-worlde inns and speciality shops nestle against a backdrop of majestic fells, staggering mountains and shimmering waters. Your routes follow quiet country lanes and lakeside paths, dotted with babbling brooks, thundering waterfalls and shady forest. National Trust properties abound including Beatrix Potter’s former farm, Hilltop, while gems like the award-winning Hawkshead Brewery offer the best kind of refreshment.

This is a self-guided tour, as such there will be no group or tour leader and you are free to complete the walks at your own pace. We have suggested that 8yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you.


As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain an emergency telephone number. In an emergency, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi. They may wish to charge for this service. Please note: the walking and luggage transfers included in this tour are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement of £65 (payable in advance) to cover these transfers and sole occupancy of a room will apply if only 1 person travelling on a departure date.

Adult min age: 8

Min group size: 1

Max group size: 6


Literary Walking in the Lake District

Land Only

  • Start City: Windermere
  • End City: Hawkshead

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in Windermere

Arrive in Windermere, on the shores of the largest natural lake in England. We’ll transfer you by taxi to the Wordsworth Hotel & Spa in Grasmere.
Premium Hotel

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2
Grasmere Circular Walk

Welcome to Wordsworth country! After a gentle walk this morning around the meandering River Rothay, you’ll leave the village along the shores of Grasmere Lake, passing St Oswald’s Church – Wordsworth’s final resting place – and Rydal Water, of which the poet wrote: “Like a fair sister of the sky, Unruffled doth the blue lake lie, The Mountains looking on.” You’ll visit majestic Rydal Hall and Gardens – Wordsworth’s family home – and perhaps stop for a tasty pub lunch before following the old coffin road back to Grasmere; Nab Scar looms ominously above you and there are wonderful views across the water to Silver Howe. Back in Grasmere you can spend time at the Wordsworth Museum, Dove Cottage (where the poet lived with his sister from 1799) and the renowned Grasmere Gingerbread Shop!

Premium Hotel

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Activity hours: 4

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Grasmere to Coniston

It’s all about stunning scenery today as you make your way to the village of Coniston. After a short climb through either Hammerscar Plantation – overlooked by Loughrigg Fell and with incredible views over Langdale – or the shaded paths of the National Trust’s High Close Estate, you’ll descend into the breathtaking Great Langdale Valley where you’ll pick up the Cumbria Way walking trail. Here you’ll find Elterwater, the smallest of the Lake District’s 16 lakes and popular with huge Whooper Swans from Scandinavia! Follow the foaming River Brathay, enjoying spectacular views of the striking Langdale Pikes, and you’ll reach charming Skelwith Bridge – a perfect spot for riverside refreshments. We recommend a visit to the cascading waterfalls of Skelwith Force and Colwith Force, and the picturesque fishing spot of Tarn Hows, en route to your elegant hotel.

Premium Hotel

Distance covered: 11mi (17km)

Activity hours: 5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Coniston Circular Walk

Coniston has inspired many literary greats and it’s not hard to see why. Heading south along the Cumbria Way you’ll meet the shores of the pristine Coniston Water which served as the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s much-loved Swallows and Amazons. The majestic Old Man of Coniston – the local area’s highest fell at 803m – dominates the village skyline and presides over your route. Heading away from the lake you’ll find the old Viking village of Torver; the Church House Inn, which dates from 1378, is a great place to stop for a drink before making your way back to Coniston. This afternoon you could pay a visit to the Ruskin Museum, or head to the Black Bull, Coniston’s compact, multi-award winning brewery. The bar here has hosted several famous names including Turner, Coleridge and more recently, Sir Anthony Hopkins!

Premium Hotel

Distance covered: 7mi (11km)

Activity hours: 4

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Coniston to Hawkshead

Today you’ll visit Brantwood, the former home of Victorian writer, philosopher and artist John Ruskin. In a picturesque setting overlooking the lake, Brantwood is filled with fine paintings, beautiful furniture and a collection of Ruskin’s personal treasures. After your visit, head into the peaceful Grizedale Forest, a shady gem located between the lakes of Coniston and Windermere. The forest offers superb lake and mountain views and – perhaps unusually – a number of sculptures hidden away in the trees! Grizedale extends across Monk Coniston Moor and your last stretch of today’s walk takes you all the way to Hawkshead Moor, from where you’ll descend into Hawkshead village. Your home for the next two nights is the superb, 17th century Queens Head Inn which overlooks the cobbled village square.

Premium Hotel

Distance covered: 7mi (12km)

Activity hours: 3.5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
At Hawkshead

The choice is yours today. Fans of Beatrix Potter will enjoy the National Trust’s Beatrix Potter Gallery in the centre of Hawkshead, followed by a visit to Near Sawrey’s Hilltop Farm, the former retreat of the world-famous children’s author. Now in the hands of the National Trust, Hill Top is a delight to explore. Wander the 17th century rooms where you’ll find Potter’s original writing desk, and walk through the pretty cottage garden – the inspiration for many of Potter’s tales! Another option is to head east, via pretty green meadows and the shimmering Blelham Tarn, to visit the National Trust’s beautiful Wray Castle. Back in Hawkshead, be sure to reward yourself with one of the brewery’s award-winning ales!

Premium Hotel

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Activity hours: 4

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Leave Hawkshead

After breakfast, if you have pre-booked a transfer, a taxi will take you to Windermere station.

We recommend adding an extra night to your holiday, to take advantage of our walk from Hawkshead to the popular lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere (12km/7.5mi/3.5hr). The route takes you through pretty meadows and woodland and up to Latterbarrow Fell (245m) from where you’ll enjoy incredible views across Windermere to Bowness. Descending to the lakeside, you’ll follow a waterside path along Windermere’s tranquil western shore; catch a ferry across to Bowness and take some time to explore this ever-popular town, before retiring to your Laura Ashley-designed hotel overlooking Lake Windermere.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. Please note, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.



Literary Walking in the Lake District

You’ll stay in a 4 star country house hotel in Grasmere, a traditional lakeside inn with verdant lawns running down to Coniston Water in Coniston, and a charming 17th century inn serving fine local ales in Hawkshead. Add an extra night in Bowness and you’ll stay in the Angel Inn, with its lovely gardens and views down to the village and over to the surrounding fells.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory supplement for a single room for the tour duration. For a solo traveller there is an additional charge to cover transfer costs.



Single supplement from £ 366

Food & Drink

Full English Breakfasts included throughout as well as the evening meal on the first night.

Try out traditional English country pubs for lunch or enjoy a picnic in the countryside. Please note, if you order a picnic from the hotel, please do so the evening before.


Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by taxi or minibus. The local representative is often able to dispatch a taxi should you need it in an emergency, but may wish to charge you for this service.

Weather & Seasonality

Summers here tend to be slightly cooler and winters milder to what one might expect. The warmest months to visit are from June through to August, temperatures start to warm up around April and remain pleasant until October time. We advise you take waterproofs as showers can occur anytime of year.

Weather Charts

Literary Walking in the Lake District

Joining Instructions

For the Literary Walking in the Lake District holiday, you will arrive into Windermere by train. Our friendly local taxi service will be there to meet you upon your arrival and you will then be transferred (15 mins) to the first hotel and the start of your holiday. Please just ensure that you have informed either ourselves or the agent about your time of arrival. The briefing will be given at 6.00pm on the day of arrival.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Windermere
Location end: Hawkshead

What To Take

Essential Equipment

Walking boots
Water bottle
Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
Warm jumper

Optional Equipment

Walking poles

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We’ve teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we’ll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It’s available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices.

For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

Reading List

Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
Wordsworth and the Lake District: A Guide to the Poems and Their Places – David McCracken

Practical Information


United Kingdom

Travellers from the US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter the United Kingdom. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

Vaccinations and Health

United Kingdom

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for polio, tetanus and rabies (bat lyssavirus). Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Local Time

United Kingdom's time zone: Europe/London (UTC +00:00)


United Kingdom's electricity: Plug type G (three rectangular pins) – 230V, 50Hz


United Kingdom's currency: Pound sterling (GBP)

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some GBP cash with you in case you can’t get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need money for lunches, snacks, drinks, dinners and entry to any sites you wish to visit. Lunches can be inexpensive if you buy them from local shops and make up a picnic, however if you stop at a pub you can easily spend £15 each. Dinner can also vary in price between £15 in a pub to £30+ in a restaurant.
We would recommend budgeting £20‐50 a day for lunches and dinners and allow an additional £10 a day for any extras. At time of publication, the main sites of interest have entrance fees (pp) as follows: Rydal Mount £7.50, Dove Cottage £8.95, Coniston Steam Gondola from £11 (price for the Full Lake Cruise is £21), Brantwood £7.70, Beatrix Potter Gallery £7, Hilltop Farm £11.50. Anyone staying for extra nights in Bowness will need 50p each for The Windermere ferry.

Please note: A number of these sites are owned by the National Trust, members of the National Trust will get free or reduced entry so don’t forget your members card if you have one.

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.


Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.