Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays

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  • Walk in the footsteps of Wainwright to admire Lake Windermere from Orrest Head
  • Breathtaking panoramic view of Ullswater from the Grisedale Valley
  • Wander "as lonely as a cloud" as you traverse dramatic mountain passes
  • Enjoy the famous local Cumbrian hospitality
  • The rugged peak of Skiddaw which dominates the skyline

The Lake District Trail takes you on an adventure from the shores of Lake Windermere through the rugged Central and Eastern Lakeland fells to the market town of Keswick.

The route leads you into peaceful valleys, along exhilarating mountain passes and past pristine lakes and hidden tarns that all set the scene for a walk in a world-class walking region noted for it’s literary pedigree. William Wordsworth described Lake Windermere as, "an introduction to a dream" and the charming village of Grasmere as,"the loveliest spot that man hath ever found".

Walk along the Grisedale Valley with spectacular views ahead and behind, amidst the imposing, craggy, mountain peaks of the Helvellyn range. The village of Patterdale, perfectly situated at the head of Ullswater, arguably Britain’s most beautiful lake, is now the location of one of the most stunning Lakeland walks through the Boredale Valley. The market town of Keswick nestled on the shores of Derwent Water is where the rugged peak of Skiddaw dominates the skyline.

Day 1: Arrive Ambleside

Ambleside is a bustling lakeside town and a great location for your starting point on your adventure through the Lake District. The train from London to Windermere takes approx 2.5hrs and from there the frequent Lakeslink bus runs to Ambleside or alternatively, it is just a 10 minute taxi journey.

Overnight: Ambleside

Day 2: Ferry to Bowness/Walk to Ambleside - 9.5 miles

Catch an early ferry from  Ambleside to Bowness  on Windermere before setting out from Bowness Bay and walking back to Ambleside.

After walking through Bowness on Windermere on footpaths, you will soon head into the hills on this delightful days’ walking. You will take in some of the most breathtaking views of the Lake District from vantage points such as Orrest Head (described by Wainwright after completing this walk as the  ‘introduction to a dream.’) This walk is actually known as the walk that inspired Wainwright.

Combine this with the high point of Wansfell Pike and this really does make for an exhilarating days walking.

Overnight: Ambleside

Day 3: Ambleside to Patterdale - 11.5 miles

From Ambleside the trail heads North through Rydal Park and impressive Rydal Hall before joining the ‘Coffin Road’ named for the fact that it was originally used to convey the deceased to their final resting place in Grasmere. Gently undulating through trees the trail passes Rydal Mount, home of Wordsworth.

At White Moss Common at the north end of Rydal Water, the views ahead to Grasmere are spectacular and you will see why this was a favourite place of Wordsworth’s sister, Dorothy. Following the trail down into Grasmere you arrive at famous Dove Cottage, also home to Wordsworth, and you may also visit his final resting place at St Oswald’s Church.

Moving out of Grasmere, the trail follows the Grisedale Pass, with an exhilarating walk up to Grisedale Tarn affording wonderful views back down to Grasmere and North toward Ullswater. The impressive craggy heights of Helvellyn fill the skyline to your left as you descend along the valley into Patterdale.

Overnight: Patterdale

Day 4: Ullswater Lake and Place Fell circular walk - 8 miles

Today’s walk is one of the most beautiful in all Lakeland, circumnavigating the peak of Place Fell and following the stunning lakeshore path of Ullswater. The trail initially climbs to the grassy coll of Boredale Hause framed by the  mountains of Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes. The walk ahead down the Boredale glaciated valley is superb and as you descend you experience the magnificent view unfolding ahead. The route turns to follow the lakeside of Ullswater, a real highlight of the day, with unsurpassed views across the quiet waters to the peaks beyond as you walk back to Patterdale.

Overnight: Patterdale

Day 5: Patterdale to Keswick - 12 miles

You spend this day surrounded by the mountain peaks, crags and cliffs which epitomise the Lake District. Walking up Glenridding away from Ullswater you are rewarded with views back to the Lake and across the Eastern Fells. The trail follows a bridleway along the Sticks Pass with the peak of Helvellyn to the South.

A steep descent brings you out to St Johns in the Vale, an arable area in a wide glacial valley at the head of Thirlmere surrounded by perhaps the most striking of the Lakeland Fells. Here you follow the St John’s Beck river northward between the rocky flanks of Clough Head to the East and the rugged neighbours, High Rigg and Low Rigg to the West.

A real highlight of the day’s walk is the Castlerigg Stone Circle just East of Keswick, described as ‘one of the most visually impressive prehistoric monuments in Britain’. You finish this exhilarating day upon arrival at the market town of Keswick situated in an idyllic location on Derwent Water.

Overnight: Keswick

Day 6: Derwent Water, Walla Crag and Friars Crag circular walk - 6.5 miles

Following a fairly steep climb up to the heather clad summit of Walla Crag you are rewarded with one of the finest views in all of Lakeland. The sparkling surface of Derwent Water below and the Skiddaw range rising behind Keswick are sights to behold!  Walking onward you skirt the Cat Gill ravine before descending to reach Ashness Bridge fording the torrents of Ashness Gill. This much admired and photographed single arched bridge is a reminder of once busy packhorse routes across the Fells.

The Lakeshore path back to Keswick is a delightful hike through woodland and along wide bays. At the rocky outcrop of Friar’s Crag you will find a memorial to John Ruskin who thought the views some of the finest in all Europe.

Overnight: Keswick

Day 7: Onward Travel

Your holiday finishes after breakfast though if you feel energetic and suitably prepared you may wish to tackle the peaks of the Skiddaw range to the North of the town.



We hand pick the guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure you enjoy every minute of your stay.  They offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. You may view a selection of our favourite properties below.

Single Rooms

This independent walking holiday is not available to solo walkers for logistical reasons but if you require single rooms within your party we will of course try to accommodate your request subject to a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs we incur. 


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.



Lacet House - Ambleside

Lacet House - Ambleside

A warm welcome awaits you at Lacet House Bed & Breakfast where Catherine & Graham offer 4 star accommodation for you to enjoy and to help you make your visit to Ambleside and the Lake district a memorable one.







Old Water View - Patterdale

Old Water View - Patterdale

Situated in the delightful village of Patterdale, and surrounded by some of Lakeland's most magnificent scenery, Old Water View has been welcoming visitors for over 100 years.




Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

This holiday is not available to solo walkers due to the remote nature of the terrain. However if you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party.

Grade & Terrain

This holiday is graded moderate to strenuous overall and includes daily walks of between 6.5 - 12 miles. You will cover a variety of terrain including rocky  mountainous terrain, some boggy sections and lakeside and woodland paths. Most days will involve a couple of steep ascents and descents.

Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The Lake District Trail is not waymarked so you will need to be comfortable reading a map and know how to use a compass.You will be supplied with turn by turn route notes and a detailed map so you will have no problem following the route on each day.

Baggage Transfer

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 17kg per person.


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.


Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers do not accept pets.

Travel Insurance

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.

 General Information 

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 cycling gear such as warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to Ambleside

By Air - The closest regional airport to Ambleside is Manchester (approx 3h by train and bus).

By Rail/Bus - Ambleside is easily reached by train via Windermere (approx 3hrs from London, 2hr from Manchester or 2hr from Glasgow.

By Car - We don’t recommend travel by car due to the environmental impact. Parking is also very limited in Ambleside but if you need to you may be able to park your car at your first night's accommodation.

Onward travel from Keswick

By Bus -  If you have left your vehicle in Ambleside you may return via the Lakeslink 555 bus from Keswick with a journey time of approximately 50 minutes.  There are also bus services to Penrith and Carlisle whereupon there are onward train and bus ravel options.

You can find information for travelling to and from the Lake District by visiting the Traveline Website.


  • 6 nights hand picked B&B, guesthouse and small hotel accommodation
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • Door to door baggage transfer as per itinerary
  • Detailed Information Pack, Route Notes and maps, access to the GPX tracks via the Macs Smartphone App
  • Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem


  • Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Ferry crossing from Ambleside to Bowness
  • Travel Insurance - prerequisite for all bookings
  • Personal Equipment
  • Transport when you need to skip a stage


  • Single room supplement
  • Extra nights

We are often asked the following questions by walkers planning The Lake District Trail and I hope that you will find the following information useful.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

How fit do I need to be?

If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least six months before your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

How far in advance do I need to book?

As far in advance as possible! We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as The Lakes are extremely popular. If booking at short notice, we will always try and accommodate your plans.

Do I need to be able to navigate?

Yes, some navigation skills are necessary as the route is not way-marked. You follow route notes and a map that are provided.

What are the paths like on this trip?

You will cover a variety of terrain including rocky, mountainous terrain, some boggy sections and lakeside and woodland paths. Most days will involve a couple of steep ascents and descents.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. You can download a full equipment list from the downloads page of our website.

When is the best time of year?

The Lake District Trail is very enjoyable at any time between April and beginning of October although our favourite time of year is late spring and early Autumn.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use local bus services or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

Memorable Lakes hike


Very well-thought-out five day hike in the Lakes District. Appreciated that we had two nights in each place to settle in and avoid packing up each night. Accommodations were varied - in town, outside of town and On a farm. The directions are excellent- you'd have to try pretty hard To get lost- especially with the gps app. Some of the hikes were challenging- at least for two mid-sixties folks- and we took longer than the suggested times by at least an hour. But we made it in time for a cold beer before dinner. Splendid scenery, friendly folks, very clad we went through Macs.

The Rhondoid



Excellent Trip Lakes District


Overall the trip was excellent. The only problem we had was the traffic on B5322 on our way from Patterdale to Keswick. This is an extremely dangerous road where we almost got hit by a speeding van. And I'm not exaggerating. We were as far to the side as possible, actually in the bushes. I would suggest finding another route. This was the only problem we had. All the other routes were great. A very well organized trip. The maps and detailed instructions along with the app were all extremely helpful.


Maine, USA


Great Trip in the Lake District


We had the best time on our recent trip organized by Macs Adventure Group. The maps were exceptionally detailed and word descriptions excellent. We were thrilled with our accommodations in Ambleside, Brantfell House (Adie and Mandy Mclear). Their facility was bright, clean, spacious and welcoming. They were helpful and non-intrusive while being very good hosts. The food was outstanding including packed lunches for our outings. Other accommodations were good. We would suggest that packages for hikers include some transportation options as we didn't know until we arrived that buses were possible between some locations should we need a shorter day or wanted to change plans because of bad weather conditions. The GPS maps were terrific. All in all very satisfactory experience.

The Canadians

British Columbia


Lake District trail: a fantastic experience!


Extremely well organised in a stunning environment. Mac's directions were very detailed and very necessary and they guide you through the most fantastic passages of the lake District.

the bilingual



Great personalized service!


We were astounded at the level of service we got from Macs. About a month before our trip, we unexpectedly received updated maps. We didn't realize just how detailed the maps and instructions really were until we were actually walking on our hikes. The turn-by-turn details were critical in ensuring we didn't make a wrong turn (although we did anyway, through no fault of Macs!). Our accommodations were fantastic, especially the one we upgraded. The personalized service we received was awesome. I am already looking at other Macs' trips for a future adventure.

World Traveler



The epitome of Englands Green and Pleasant Land...


Generally positive impression, route instructions could be clearer, though.




Highly recommended


well organized trip with good communication between organizer and traveller




Beautiful country


We like that Macs takes us to hidden gems, places and accomodations that we wouldn't likely find ourselves.


Victoria BC Canada


For those who wish to wander freely!


Macs is that rare service that fits right between nice lodging and truly experiencing the local environment where ever you go. My bags were carried from Inn to Inn and were waiting for me when I got to the next village. Everyone I dealt with was wonderful. I was kept informed of changes to the trails by Macs as well. This service is a God send. I recommend Macs to everyone I talk to.

Susan from Newburyport

Massachusetts USA


Gorgeous scenery & a well-managed trip


We wanted to get a taste of this incredible region and hike at our own pace but didn't have time to research all the details about trails and B&B locations, so Macs was perfect. Baggage transfers were easy and the Grisedale Lodge was a hikers paradise (with homemade bread). Macs turn by turn directions were spot on, even in the many places without signs or cairns. Be prepared for when you get off track or have multiple trail options. Read the Wainwright fell trail guides, which are still fairly accurate even after all this time, and get the 1:25000 map in addition to the one Macs will send you.


San Francisco


The Lake District Trail

4.9 11


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