We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, in particular scenery, conversations with locals or other walkers and local meals/beers.
Mundulla, South Australia
The Cumbria Way is a classic 76 mile walk across the Lake District from South to North. On your walk from Ulverston to Carlisle, though the natural beauty of the Lake District, you will follow in the footsteps of the romantic poets Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southley and discover how being immersed in the inspiring scenery of the Lake District inspired them to create some of the country’s best known verse.
The Cumbria Way begins in the market town of Ulverston, with its cobbled streets and festival atmosphere and takes you north via Coniston, Great Langdale, Rosthwaite, Derwent Water, Keswick and Caldbeck to Carlisle.
A predominantly low level walk, but with some significant climbs, the Cumbria Way is a fine way to explore the best of the English Lake District in a week of inn to inn walking.
This is a general stage by stage guide. For all the available day by day itineraries, please see the options on the right.
Ulverston is easily reached by train from Manchester Airport (2h20) or London (4h20). Ulverston is a delightful friendly town with a unique charm. Olde worlde pubs, cafes and cobbled streets hold many surprises.
Starting from The Gill and perhaps paying a visit to the Laurel & Hardy Museum or Barrow Monument, you quickly leave Ulverston. A pleasant walk through rich farmland soon brings you to the Lake District National Park and the views across the Coniston Fells are splendid. A rough Lakeland path brings the chimneys of Coniston Hall into view, which marks days end.
Now mainly a base for outdoor enthusiasts, Coniston was originally a slate mining village. Famous for being the site of Donald Campbell's ill-fated world record water speed attempt, it is a lovely town and nearby Tarn Howes is one of the lakes most popular beauty spots.
An absolutely delightful day of Lakeland walking delivers views that will take your breath away. Elterwater and Chapel Stile both make excellent lunch stops. Dungeon Ghyll is just one of a few hamlets and lodgings which have been welcoming Lakeland travellers for centuries.
The amazing Mickleden Valley makes up most of your walk, surrounded by Bowfell and the Pikes. Then a zig-zag ascent up the fellside before dropping back down into Langstrath valley. The view down to Rosthwaite is one you won’t forget in a hurry.
Rosthwaite is a small village with a couple of hotels and pubs tucked away at the head of the valley. You can’t help but feel relaxed.
First the delightful Borrowdale Valley and then tranquil woodland walking with views to Derwent Water. Walking in the Lake District simply doesn’t get any better. You would be foolish to miss the tea shop at Grange!
Keswick is the largest tourist centre in the Northern lakes and can get busy. There is plenty to do in this buzzy lakes town.
There is a choice today between a high level walk or a low level one today. The low level walk is a little longer, but a much easier option. Either taking the route over the fell tops or skirting round the bottom, you are assured a great days walking.
Caldbeck was once a thriving industrial town with woollen mills, bobbin mills and a brewery all powered by the river which runs through the town. (Caldbeck) Today it is a friendly and proud village largely untouched by tourism.
Leaving the Lake District behind you walk through the rich farmlands of the Eden Valley, escorted most of the way by the river Caldew before reaching the historic City of Carlisle. Carlisle has plenty of places to visit and welcoming pubs and restaurants to celebrate the end of your walk on the Cumbria Way.
Carlisle is on the West Coast mainline and regular trains will whisk you back to London, Manchester (with a change at Preston or Wigan) or Ulverston (Change at Lancaster).
One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. You will stay in carefully selected 3 or 4 star B&B’s, guesthouses, country pubs and small hotels. Your room will always have an ensuite or private bathroom. A delicious breakfast is always included.
If you require single rooms within your party we will always try and accommodate you subject to availability. A single supplement is payable.
A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included. Most of your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or at nearby pubs or restaurants.
The Lakes are utterly beguiling and we would recommend adding extra nights at Coniston, to explore some of the history of the area and beautiful landscapes, Great Langdale to enjoy a quiet corner of the lakes or Keswick to do some shopping, cruise on Derwent Water or climb Skiddaw.
t Mary’s Mount sits in an acre of peaceful walled gardens with wide-reaching views across Ulverston and Morecambe Bay. Original Victorian features, dating back to 1825, greet guests on arrival at St Mary’s Mount, together with a warm welcome from hosts Gerry and Marion Bobbett.
Lakeland House is ideally situated in the heart of Coniston village and just a few minutes walk from the beautiful Coniston Water, shops and dining. All the rooms have en-suite facilities and most have stunning views of the village, fells and Coniston Old Man.
The New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel is a family owned hotel with a passion for friendly & quality service. They are located in a stunning location in the heart of the Lake District Nationl Park.
The Royal Oak is a small family run hotel, Once an 18th Century farmhouse the hotel has been accommodating walkers for over 100 years and is still the perfect base for exploring the beauty of the Northern Lakes.
The Briars is a comfortable Guest House, ideally located close to the centre of Caldbeck village itself, with views towards St Kentigern's Church, Caldbeck and the Northern Fells in the distance.
Langleigh Guest House is situated on a quiet tree lined street a few minute’s walk from the centre of Carlisle. All rooms are en-suite and very comfortable.
The Cumbria Way is available to start daily between April and October. Select which itinerary you would prefer and then select your preferred start date.
Keswick and Coniston are very busy over the weekend and accommodation will generally only take a minimum of a 2 night stay. So please try and avoid starting on a day that would mean an overnight stay in these locations on a Friday or Saturday night.
We recommend you walk from Ulverston to Carlisle as you will have the wind at your back.
The way is not clearly way marked at every stage but the guidebook has complete route notes for each section of the walk. Make sure that you pay attention at any intersections, with the guidebook and map you will have no problem following the route, but we would suggest carrying a compass and knowing how to use it, as well as having map reading skills. We also provide access to the Macs Smartphone App, so if you choose to you can follow the days routes this way.
This tour is graded as Moderate as even though you are in the very hilly Lake District this walk tend to stick to the low-level trails. However, even from the valley floors, the views are stunning. For the most part it allows you to take in the sights without providing endless hills and summits to climb. There are a few steep inclines along the way and you will be at a high level and exposed on a few occasions, but most days are rolling with gentle ascent and descents.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen.
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person. Please ensure that you do not bring more than one bag of 20kg, as if this occurs, the luggage transfer company will ask you to pay an additional fee (approx. £8.50 per day, per bag). This additional payment, should it be necessary, needs to be made locally to the driver and in cash. Any additional bags need to labelled as if they are not labelled we cannot guarantee that they will reach you at the next accommodation.
If you are travelling from far afield and do have more than one bag it is possible to arrange for the extra luggage to be stored whilst you are on the tour for a fee of £25 per bag. These additional bags would be picked up at your accommodation at the start point (St Bees or Kirkby Stephen) and dropped off wherever you finish depending on the itinerary you choose to do. Please contact us if you are interested in this option.
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.
This walking holiday is available to solo walkers but as we incur additional baggage transfer costs there is a solo walker supplement payable.
Ulverston is easily reached by train from Manchester Airport (2h20) or London (3h20). See National Rail Enquiries for details.
It is also serviced by National Express coaches and easily reached by car.
You can find information for travelling to and from Cumbria by clicking on the Traveline Website.
Carlisle is on the West Coast mainline and regular trains will whisk you back to London (3h55), Manchester (2h10) (with a change at Preston or Wigan) or Ulverston (2h05) (Change at Lancaster).
We are often asked the following questions by walkers planning The Cumbria Way and I hope that you will find the following information useful.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.
We offer a range of itineraries so you can choose your preferred daily distance so hopefully you will find an itinerary that suits your preferred level of activity. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.
As far in advance as possible! We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as The Lake District is extremely popular. If booking at short notice we will always try and accommodate your plans.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
The Cumbria Way is very enjoyable at any time between April and mid October.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
You can use local bus services or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.
We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, in particular scenery, conversations with locals or other walkers and local meals/beers.
Mundulla, South Australia
Had a great week walking the Cumbria Way. We were lucky with the weather and the waterproofs stayed in the rucksack all week . Enjoyed the variety of accommodation, all but one were central to the day's walking. The Lake District is a fantastic place and this walk showcases some of the best bits without going too high. The last day was a bit of a slog as you've left the national park and heading into Carlisle .
We were looking for a way to explore the English Lake District on foot and a friend recommended Mac's after an excellent experience in Scotland. Everything was clear, simple, and friendly starting with finding which trip to take on their website to payment, trip materials, follow-up by advisors, lodging and luggage transport. The mobile phone GPS route app for navigation was stellar as the path is sometimes ambiguous (we ran into several people on the route who were using paper maps and they wished for an app). The Cumbria Way itself is delightful - lambs were in the fields, waterfalls and rugged areas sublime, sometimes wet, usually muddy and perfectly English. Lodging tends toward B&B's - not luxe, but clean, comfortable and gracious. There are some fairly high mileage days, and a couple of aggressive scrambles, but generally the route is comfortable (if somewhat fecal) field walks past cows and sheep and well paved paths through public parks. We did distance walking/hiking to train (about 30 miles a week for a couple months) and were glad for it. Looking forward to another adventure with Mac's.
D & D Hein
Los Angeles / Seattle
Initially relied on guide book for directions which led me astray occasionally. Eventually managed to download the days route on the app after having phone and wifi problems. The app is brilliant and can correct any doubts in the instructions very quickly with such fine detail. All accommodation was excellent with catering for walkers diets well serviced. A really enjoyable walk with great views and a real feel for the English countryside.
Ron the Kiwi
Everything worked well, cannot fault the organisation and accommodation.
I only walked Ulverston to Keswick due to time limitations. A great route with varied terrain. Accommodation some nights were in superb locations although a mile or so from the nearest pub. A great few days in an area I enjoy
I walked/ran the Cumbria Way with a friend in mid May. Because te weather was very good the whole week, we decided to also climb Scafell Pike, The Langdale Pikes, Skiddaw and Blencathra. A tough week but worth it!
This walk was a lovely way to spend time with my daughter who is currently living in the U.K. It may not have been the cheapest way of doing it however I was happy to pay for the convenience of B&B style, saving time and the benefit of a service with local knowledge. I found the walking manageable by hardcore Australian bushwalking standards especially with carrying just a daypack. It was good to be walking with others for the occasional time where the walk is not sign posted and decisions had to be made using the map and a commonsense approach. The information, walking notes and map were all helpful and received in a timely manner.
Just returned from a most enjoyable and memorable week of walking the Cumbria Way. We parked the car at 'Parksafe' in Lancaster and used the train to Ulverston and back from Carlisle - highly recommended. The accommodation was ideal - friendly landlords/ladies, comfortable, en suite, and with excellent breakfasts every day. If you can read maps then the route is easy to follow. It's not too tough, the highest climb being 'just' 480 metres over Stake Pass, but some of the route is quite rugged, so good quality, well-worn, waterproof boots are essential. Aged 46, 61 and 76, we were not the youngest party ever to walk the Cumbria Way, so we chose the lower, western route at Skiddaw House. If you follow our example, then please don't take a detour to the pub at Bassenthwaite - it's a 3 mile detour, but the pub is closed until 16:00. Still, that was our only piece of bad planning. Due to the damage caused by the 2016 floods we had to follow a couple of detours north of Caldbeck. Maps, compass and the ability to use them are essential for the first of these detour (Caldbeck to Dentonside Wood) Overall, the Cumbria Way is highly recommended.
Two old blokes and Rob
Northampton and Louth