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There’s nothing quite like a walking tour vacation for immersing yourself in a destination. During daily walks led by experienced local guides, you'll follow footpaths along scenic lakeshores, meander through picturesque valleys, and ascend hills and lookout points, allowing you to experience this stunning region in a uniquely intimate way. The guides set an even pace, providing time to take photos and to appreciate the beautiful countryside. Some cultural visits are also included in the itinerary, especially for those interested in literature or poetry.
Start at Aira Force, the renowned Lake District waterfall, where your guides set the stage with stories from the region’s romantic past. In Lake District National Park, pass through deep valleys, thick woodlands and prehistoric settlements like the Celt-founded Pooley Bridge before having lunch at a lakeside pub. Cross the Renaissance-era bridge over the River Derwent and explore the village of Grange in Borrowdale Valley. At gorgeous Whinlatter Pass, the region’s wilder side is revealed amidst the peaks surrounding Crummock Water and Buttermere Lake.
Trace the footsteps of poet William Wordsworth through one of England’s emerald dales before lunching in the village of Grasmere, site of his first home. Then continue to Rydal Mount, where you take a tour of his last home and admire the gardens he designed. Explore the charming village of Hawkshead where you lunch in a traditional 18th-century pub. You’ll also stay at the country estate once owned by beloved author Beatrix Potter and ride a Victorian steam yacht across Lake Coniston. But there’s also time to pause: Enjoy a picnic of traditional English fare, share a pint with a local farmer and stretch out in the serene, grass-carpeted valleys.
• 6 nights hotel accommodations: 3 nights each in Grange-in-Borrowdale and Bowness-on-Windermere
• All meals except for 1 lunch and 1 dinner; wine and local beer included with dinners
• All on-tour transportation
• Assistance of 2 expert, local guides throughout (for groups of 8 or more)
• Guided walks into Lake District National Park, Pooley Bridge, Borrowdale Valley, Buttermere Valley, the Vale of Grasmere, Latterbarrow point, Hawkshead, Copper Mines Valley and Orrest Head overlooking Windermere
• Mobile phone rental - includes free phone rental, preferred calling rates and complimentary shipping
• All entrance fees and special events as per itinerary
Note: Please bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, inclement weather or transportation schedules. Therefore unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise but any itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and our guests’ experience.
Day 1 - Arrive in Penrith / Askham to Pooley Bridge (3.5 miles, Easy) / Dockray to Aira Force (2 miles, Easy)
The North Lakes Hotel and Spa is our meeting point today. From here we immediately transfer to the village of Askham to walk through the Lowther Estate, owned by Lord Lonsdale. Continue into the Lake District National Park, where we pass ancient prehistoric settlements and enjoy first views of the Cumbrian Mountains and Ullswater. Descending to the village of Pooley Bridge at the edge of the lake, pause for lunch in a local pub. This village was one of the earliest settlements on the lake, dating back to the Celts.
Following lunch, 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 you can admire the views while being regaled with tales from your guides about the romanticism that the region has long inspired. The short drive to the hotel just a few miles outside of Keswick allows plenty of time to settle in before meeting for a pre-dinner drink and a fuller introduction to the week ahead. The hotel restaurant features local produce whenever possible, so tonight’s dinner promises excellent cuisine.
Accommodation: Borrowdale Gates Hotel - 3 nights
Day 2 - Walking in the footsteps of the men of Borrowdale (5.8 miles, Easy to Moderate)
After a breakfast buffet consisting of cereal, fruit, pastries and cold meats, or a traditional hot Cumbrian breakfast, follow in the footsteps of the men of Borrowdale, quarrymen and miners of yesteryear. In this valley there were many working slate mines, most of which are now closed. Beginning at the head of the valley you follow a rambling trail along the side of the dale before descending to the hamlet of Grange. This village 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, take a lakeshore path which provides a relatively flat walk and traverses the pretty woodlands with periodic glimpses of the lake. 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.
Day 3 - Whinlatter Pass to Buttermere Valley (5 miles, Easy to Moderate)
Today you cross Whinlatter Pass, which connects the beautiful Keswick Valley to Buttermere and beyond. Here magnificent nature predominates, and as you take a walk which skirts Crummock Water, you can see the stirring views of the high mountains surrounding this pretty vale. After completing the walk at the hamlet of Buttermere, enjoy a pub lunch followed by a walk along the shore of Buttermere Lake, before boarding the coach to ride over Honister Pass and back to the hotel via Borrowdale. There is time to refresh at the hotel before heading back into Keswick where you enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 4 - The Vale of Grasmere, Rydal Mount (5.5 miles, Easy to Moderate) / Optional Loughrigg Fell (1 mile, Moderate)
Today meander through one of the region’s prettiest dales, walking in the area around two of the smaller lakes, Grasmere and Rydal Water. This area was the home and favorite haunt of William Wordsworth, one of England’s most famous poets of the early 19th century. You begin the walk around the valley along level tracks enjoying lovely views along the way. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can ascend Loughrigg. This wooded fell hill was the backdrop for scenes filmed in the latest Beatrix Potter film. A free lunch is taken in the village of Grasmere, where you approach Dove Cottage, Wordworth’s first home. Complete the day with a walk to his last home at Rydal Mount, where you take a tour and admire the views and the gardens he designed.
At day’s end, transfer to the next hotel on the itinerary, located on the edge of the lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere. Here a warm welcome awaits and later a delicious dinner prepared by the hotel’s chef. Choose from such local favorites as steak and ale pie or delicious Cumbrian beef.
Accommodation: Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel - 3 nights
Day 5 - Beatrix Potter’s Tarns over Windermere (5.5 miles, Easy to Moderate)
Following a full English breakfast set off for a walk that provides superb vistas across Lake Windermere – the region’s second deepest lake. Departing on foot from the hotel, 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, you descend 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 quaint architecture of this ancient market town invite exploration. Later, climb aboard a minibus and return to the lakeside ferry which takes you back to your hotel. Your evening is free to explore the town of Keswick on the shore of Windermere Lake and enjoy dinner on your own in a local pub or restaurant.
Day 6 - Coniston and the Copper Mines Valley (4.7 miles, Moderate)
Coniston is a charming locale alive with history that goes all the way back to Roman times. Today you explore the famous Copper Mines Valley, a source of this valuable metal throughout the 19th century. In the 20th century, Coniston gained recognition as the site of Donald Campbell’s speedboat record attempts. After a morning walk, picnic by a mountain stream.
This afternoon hardier souls can attempt an ascent 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 clear days you can see breathtaking views over Morecambe Bay and the hills of Wales.
If you decide not to take this option, 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. You may then board the restored Victorian steam yacht Gondola for a ride on Lake Coniston. This evening toast your explorations with a farewell drink and celebratory dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 7 - Transfer to Penrith for departure
Departing the hotel, board the minibus and transfer to the mainline train station of Penrith to depart for your next destination.
Limitations & Restrictions
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
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