Last Modified: 31 Aug 2012
Walking England's Lake District
Trip code: AWPE
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
Table of Contents
- Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Day 1 Penrith/Grange-in-Borrowdale
We meet at the North Lakes Hotel and Spa at approximately 10am, and immediately transfer to the village of Askham, to walk through the Lowther Estate, owned by Lord Lonsdale.
We then continue on over the fell and into the Lake District National Park, where we pass ancient prehistoric settlements and enjoy our first views of the Cumbrian Mountains and Ullswater. Descending to the village of Pooley Bridge at the edge of the lake, we pause for lunch in a local pub. This village was one of the earliest settlements on the lake, dating back to the Celts.
After lunch we transfer to the hamlet of Dockray, overlooking the lake, and walk by Aira Beck toward Aira Force, probably the most famous of the Lake District's waterfalls. Here we admire the views while being regaled with tales from our guides about the romanticism that the region has long inspired.
It is then a short drive to the hotel, just a few miles outside of Keswick, allowing plenty of time to settle in before meeting for a pre-dinner drink and more detailed introduction to the week ahead. The hotel restaurant features local produce whenever possible, so tonight's dinner promises excellent cuisine.
The property is set on two acres of woodland and is located in a valley with beautiful views in every direction. All rooms are well equipped and individually decorated.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Grange-in-Borrowdale (Borrowdale Valley)
After a breakfast buffet consisting of cereal, fruit, pastries and cold meats, or a traditional hot Cumbrian breakfast, this morning we will follow in the footsteps of the men of Borrowdale; the miners and quarrymen of yesteryear. In this valley there were many working slate mines, most of which are now closed. Beginning at the head of the valley we will follow a rambling trail along the side of the dale, before descending to Grange.
The hamlet of Grange is noteworthy for its double-arched bridge of 1675 that crosses the River Derwent. Stone and whitewashed cottages sit snugly in this village set in the heart of the Borrowdale Valley.
After lunch we take a lakeshore path, a relatively flat walk, that traverses the pretty woodlands and reveals glimpses of the lake. We finish the afternoon in Hawes End for a fun ride on a Victorian ferryboat back to town.
Dinner tonight is at the Lyzzick Hall Hotel located on the lower slopes of Skiddaw Mountain, with stunning views across the vale. The restaurant here prides itself on using freshly prepared local ingredients and herbs from their own garden.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Grange-in-Borrowdale (Whinlatter Pass to Buttermere Valley)
Today we cross Whinlatter Pass, which connects the beautiful Keswick Valley to Buttermere and beyond. The natural surroundings here are magnificent and we take a walk skirting Crummock Water along which you can see the stirring views of the high mountains surrounding this pretty vale.
Completing the walk at the hamlet of Buttermere, we enjoy a pub lunch and a walk along the pretty shore of Buttermere Lake before boarding the bus to ride over Honister Pass and back to the hotel via Borrowdale.
There is time to freshen up at the hotel and enjoy its beautiful surroundings before heading back to Keswick where we enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Bowness-on-Windermere (Grasmere & Rydal Mount)
Today we will meander through one of the region's prettiest dales, walking in the area around two of the smaller lakes, Grasmere and Rydal Water, and in the footsteps of William Wordsworth, one of England's most famous poets for the early 19th century.
Our walk begins around the valley along level tracks, enjoying lovely views along the way. If you are feeling more adventurous, perhaps ascend Loughrigg. This wooded fell hill was the backdrop for scenes in the 2006 film, 'Miss Potter'.
We take lunch in the village of Grasmere where we approach Dove Cottage, Wordsworth's first home. The day is complete with a walk to his last home at Rydal Mount, where we take a tour and admire the views and the gardens he designed.
At the end of the day we transfer to our next hotel, located on the edge of the lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere. Here a warm welcome awaits, and later, enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by the hotel's chef. Perhaps sample local favourites such as steak and ale pie or Cumbrian beef.
Our hotel is a classic country house hotel, once owned by children's author Beatrix Potter. The property features a sauna, swimming pool, and rooms overlooking a peaceful lake, gardens and woodlands.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Bowness-on-Windermere (Tarns over Windermere)
Following a full English breakfast we set off for a walk that provides superb vistas across Lake Windermere.
The largest natural lake in England, and the region's second deepest lake, Lake Windermere snakes its way between the hills of the Southern Lakeland.
Departing on foot from the hotel, we board the ferry to cross the lake, and once on land, amble up an easy path past small mountain tarns with open distant views of the undulating and treeless central hills. At the highest point of Latterbarrow, a maximum of about a 650-foot elevation gain, there are superb 360-degree views of all of the Lakeland.
From this point we descent to the charming village of Hawkshead for lunch in a traditional 18th century pub featuring home-cooked fare.
Not only the home of the poet William Wordsworth, Hawkshead was also the home of Beatrix Potter, and there is time to visit the gallery of her original paintings in a beautiful 17th-century building. The pedestrian streets, squares, and quant architecture of this ancient market town invite exploration.
Later, we board a minibus and get back on the lakeside ferry, returning to our hotel where the evening is free to explore the town of Keswick on the shore of Lake Windermere, and eat in a local pub or restaurant.
- Beatrix Potter Gallery - GBP5
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 6 Bowness-on-Windermere (Coniston & the Copper Mines Valley)
Coniston is a charming village alive with history dating back to Roman times, and famous as the site of Donald Campbell's speedboat record attempts. Today we will explore the famous Copper Mines Valley, a source of this valuable metal throughout the 19th century.
After a morning walk we will have a picnic by a mountain stream. In the afternoon those feeling active can attempt and ascent up Coniston Old Man to Lever Waters tarn (the name for a small mountain lake in Cumbria). Coniston Old Man is the mountain towering over the village and lake. Despite its relatively low height of 2,600 feet, it forms a grand ridge with an east-facing escarpment. On our decent, on clear days, you can see breathtaking views over Morecambe Bay and the hills of Wales.
Alternatively you can descend into Coniston Village and visit the Ruskin and Campbell Museum. This museum is a celebration of the area’s heritage with exhibits relating to slate mining, geology, the copper mines, and Donald Campbell himself, who attempted to break the water speed record here in the 1950s and 1960s.
You may also like to take a ride on Lake Coniston on board the restored Victorian steam yacht 'Gondola'.
This evening we will toast our explorations with a farewell drink and celebratory dinner in a local restaurant.
- 'Gondola' steam yacht on Lake Coniston - GBP10
- Ruskin and Campbell Museum - GBP5
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 7 Penrith
Departing the hotel this morning, we ascend Orrest Head, which presides above the village. From here, magnificent views of Lake Windermere are yours to carry home. Orrest Head was the hill first climbed by Alfred Wainwright, Britain's most famous hillwalker, on his first visit to the Lake District; an ascent that inspired him to begin authoring the guidebooks for which he is known.
After the descent we board the minibus and transfer to the mainline train station of Penrith where we say goodbye.
We aim to arrive at Penrith North Lakes Train Station at 12:30pm, or at the North Lakes Hotel at 12:45pm. Delays can occur so please take this into consideration if booking onward travel for this day.
This is the least confronting of Intrepid's product range. English is the native language and the food, customs and access to services will be similar to home.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
The walking on this trip is over easy to moderate terrain, covering a distance of 6-12 km (4-7 miles) per day. There are daily ascents and descents. The hills are short, usually a 30-minute gradual ascent, unless noted otherwise on the itinerary. The steeper, more vigorous walks are those that are the more challenging, and therefore are optional. The terrain can be rocky, sometimes with loose gravel, or with roots, which may become slippery when wet. This tour is ideal for nature lovers, and the guides set an even pace, providing time to take photos and to appreciate the beautiful countryside. There are some cultural visits included in the itinerary, especially for those interested in literature or poetry.
We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long staircases with a pack is good preparation. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Please note that some of our included activities are contingent on weather conditions. We'll arrange an alternative if an included activity is deemed unsafe.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The Pound (GBP) is the official currency of the United Kingdom. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions - sometimes up to 20%.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest GBP1-2 per person per day for local guides.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline GBP2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
This trip is run in conjunction with our local partner, Country Walkers.
Maximum of 18 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Hotel (6 nts)
The hotels used on this trip are in the style of classic country houses set amongst woodlands. Accommodation is typically of a 4-star standard.
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in your selected accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
If you've purchased pre- or post-trip accommodation you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
All meals are included except for 1 lunch and 1 dinner. Wine and local beer are included with dinners. Meals are taken mostly either in the hotels or in local pubs or restaurants chosen for their quality and use of local produce.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
On this trip there is a 1:7 guide-to-guest ratio, with two guides leading each group of 8 or more.
North Lakes Hotel & Spa
Phone: +44 1768 868111
Fax: +44 1768 868291
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
Penrith North Lakes Rail Station
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
Please note that trains in the UK have some limitations as to the size and weight of luggage that can be brought into the passenger compartments. If you are travelling to/from the start/finish points of this trip by train, please check with the train operator the luggage dimensions they allow. There may be a charge for any excess luggage which will be at your own expense.
EQUIPMENT & CLOTHING:
A day pack, rain gear, sunscreen and a water bottle are essential. Hiking boots or shoes with thick soles, good tread and sturdy ankle support are mandatory. Please make sure you have worn them in and that they are comfortable before you arrive.
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.