Dales Way8 Days & 7 Nights 4.6 Read 33 reviews
- A long distance trail through rugged Yorkshire and the majestic Lake District.
- Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England.
- Diverse walking from remote moorland to the hills of Cumbria.
- Relax in cosy and friendly country inn’s.
- View the unfolding vistas through the eyes of Wordsworth and Ruskin.
The Dales Way crosses two national parks and takes you from the rugged magnificence of Yorkshire all the way to the majestic finery of the Lake District. This walk is full of diversity, beginning with lush meadowlands and black bordered moors of the Yorkshire Dales, and ending with the luminous waters of Windermere and the splendour of the Lake District.
The Dales Way is full of natural wonder and is one of the greenest walks you will ever take, with lush, emerald valleys, fields, crags and fells to accompany you every step of the way.
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.
Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night
Ideal if you have an interest in:
National Parks & Trails
Activity Level & Terrain
This walk is graded moderate and the walking surface is on everything from good walking trails to forestry roads and rough hillsides. The daily distances are anywhere between 9 and 16 miles, therefore you will have a good fitness level in order to make the most out of your tour.
This route is waymarked and much of it follows a well laid out path so you will not need to be a very experienced navigator with a map and compass. However, as with any self-guided walk, it would be very helpful to have at least some navigating experience.
One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically choose the hotels, inns, guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.
We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability, there is the option to be accommodated at an alternative location. In the unlikely event that we have to accommodate you elsewhere we will advise you of this before confirming your booking.
This independent walking vacation is available to solo walkers but as all our vacations are priced per person based on two sharing there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs we incur.
A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs or restaurants.
- 7 Nights in B&B’s, guest houses, small hotels and country inn’s
- 7 Breakfasts
- Daily luggage transfers
- Dales Way guidebook and and map
- Information pack
- GPX tracks and access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone Navigation App
- 24/7 Telephone support from our UK office
- Travel insurance (required)
- Travel to Ilkley
- Travel from Bowness-on-Windermere
- Lunches & Dinners
- Drinks and snacks
- Personal equipment
- Additional Nights
When To Go
This trip is available to start on any day of the week from the beginning of April and end of October. You can start on any date that suits your travel plans, subject to availability.
In order to help with availability, we recommend either booking an extra night in Bowness at the end of your walk or avoiding finishing in Bowness at the weekend - many B&B's only accept 2 night bookings at the weekend in Bowness and it can make it more difficult to confirm your trip if you do finish at the weekend.
Getting to the Start
The closest airport is Leeds Bradford and there are frequent bus links to Ilkley. Travel time from Leeds Bradford Airport via Leeds is approx. 1 hour. Manchester Airport is approx. 2 hours 30 minutes by public transport to IIkley via Leeds. London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are probably the best options for those travelling from outside the UK. From the airport you would travel to Kings Cross, where trains leave approx. every half an hour to IIkley via Leeds.
Ilkley is well serviced via Leeds (approx. 30 minutes) which connects with most major towns, trains leave every hour from Leeds. For more information check out the National Rail Enquiries web page.
Getting from the End
Manchester Airport is the closest airport to Bowness-on-Windermere and it takes approx. 2 hours 30 minutes to reach by train.
Windermere is the closest train station which is a short 10 minute bus or taxi journey from Bowness-on-Windermere. From here you can connect to most major towns in the UK, including Manchester (2 hours), Newcastle (3 hours), Glasgow (3 hours) and London (4 hours).
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight location. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Dales Way is extremely popular through the summer.
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.
Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better. Although I believe any time between late March and September offers a wonderful experience.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
You can use public transport, or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Ilkley
Arrive in the lovely Yorkshire town of Ilkley. Settle into your accommodation and perhaps enjoy trying an ale in the local pub.
With a French bistro and real ale bar, The Crescent Inn offers stylish rooms with free Wi-Fi. The bright and airy bedrooms have luxury Egyptian linens and a flat-screen TV. All rooms feature a modern bathroom with a power shower, hairdryer and White Company toiletries. Le Bistro Pierre serves fresh home-cooked meals, featuring quality ingredients and local produce. The bar offers a range of fine wines and light snacks, and full English breakfasts are available daily. Check in 3pm – 6pm.
The ivy-covered Craiglands Hotel is set in mature, landscaped grounds and is just a 5-minute walk from lkley town centre. The grand Victorian building has traditional rooms which have a satellite TV and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and tea and coffee facilities, some feature views across the Yorkshire Moors. A log fire is the centre piece of the sleek lounge bar area. You can also enjoy freshly prepared local produce in the stylish Brasserie 1 restaurant which has French windows that open onto a spacious garden terrace.
Tivoli Place is a friendly, family-run 4 star guesthouse situated close to Ilkley town centre. All rooms are appointed to a high standard all with en-suite, tea & coffee making facilities, T.V and free WiFi connection. Breakfast is served daily between 7.30 - 9.00am in the dining room.
Starting at the Old Bridge in Ilkley, you make your way north on your walk up to Burnsall and through lush meadowlands and past Bolton Priory. Pass by stunning bridges and medieval settlements before Burnsall Bridge comes into view, marking the end of the stage. This quaint little town provides a few tea rooms and a local shop.
The Manor House is lovely B&B located 150 yards from the Red Lion, where you are welcome to eat and drink in the evening. The bedrooms are modern and simple in this old Victorian house, most having lovely views of the River Wharfe and village. All rooms en-suite with bath or shower, Molton Brown product, fluffy towels, tea/coffee making facilities and flat screen TV’s are also provided in each room.
The Red Lion was originally a 16th century Ferryman’s Inn and offers comfortable accommodation, it combines ancient and modern, the rooms have gleaming bathrooms, Victorian brass beds, beamed ceilings and antique furnishings, some rooms even come with log fires. You can enjoy an evening meal in their newly refurbished restaurant with oak floors and panelling, log burning stove and beautiful views of the River Wharfe.
Wharfe View is a family run B&B in the peaceful village of Burnsall. They have two large spacious double and twin rooms and a private sitting / dining room with colour TV and open log fire. As many organic products as possible are sourced locally for their full English breakfast, and they offer organic cereals, fruit juice and fruit. The farm is a working organic farm with sheep and some cattle.
As you leave Burnsall the river roars dramatically beneath limestone crags. Begin to climb and admire the amazing views over Wharfedale. Walk into Grassington, a fabulous Dale’s village with oodles of charm. Discover more stunning views over the pretty farm land, laid out like a patchwork quilt around you as you head up to Coniston Pike. After some gentle woodland walking, follow a riverside until you come to your destination for this evening, Hubberholme, a pretty little village
This traditional Dales Inn with flagged floors, stone walls and mullioned windows is the last remaining family owned free house in the area. It offers comfortable accommodation, quality home cooked food, well-kept cask beers from Black Sheep and Yorkshire Dales Breweries together with an excellent selection of wines and Malts.
Keith and Hazel look forward to welcoming you to their home - a restored traditional 17th century stone farm cottage with magnificent views over Yockenthwaite hay meadows and moor. Guests are welcome to enjoy the tranquil garden with extensive views, the guest snug with TV and on cooler evenings to sit by the log-burner in the dining room. Aga cooked breakfasts include free-range eggs from the hens in the croft, homemade bread and home preserves. All of the guest rooms have been recently refurbished and have new bath/shower facilities. The double and twin rooms have en-suite shower rooms and the single room has a private bathroom. The heating and hot water are provided by biomass boiler and clothes can be dried in the boiler room. There is Wi-Fi throughout the building. Please note that there is no mobile phone signal in the area
Church Farm is a 16th century farm house and family-run hill farm of 1,000 acres. You will enjoy comfortable accommodation offering en-suite rooms, complimentary Cavendish & Clarke toiletries, robes, chocolates and fluffy white towels. They have a private guests' lounge with TV and real wood burner.
Today you leave Wharfedale and enter Dentdale. This path takes you past the river and to Deepdale Gill, which is a splendidly rugged area. The path then climbs, and later you can take in the views of the three peaks, Whernside, Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough. Evidence of the impending Lake District is now visible as you head towards the impressive Dent Head Viaduct.
This building is steeped in history dating back over 350 years. From the drovers taking livestock to nearby market towns to the present day guest, this 17th century Inn continues its long tradition of meeting the needs of those who stay and dine. All rooms have their own private bathrooms and are centrally heated with tea and coffee making facilities and splendid views over-looking the river Dee and famous Settle / Carlisle railway line. The bar serves a selection of cask ales and they offer a wide range of meals from locally sourced ingredients and take pride in keeping things local.
Please note due to the location of this accommodation there is no mobile phone signal and no internet or Wi-Fi.
The George and Dragon is a grade 2 listed building situated in the centre of Dent Village overlooking the famous Adam Sedgwick Memorial Fountain. It has 10 comfortable bedrooms all with en suite facilities, each room has a colour television and free tea and coffee making facilities.
Stone Close Tea Room and B&B is located in the heart of the picturesque village of Dent, nestled in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. A warm welcome greets you to this 17th Century grade II listed building. Many of the features you will see are original, to retain the historical character and charm of the property.
After passing Scar Force and Dent Station (Englands highest railway station), you will wind your way through meadow and forest as steep hills rise on both sides and the ominous Whernside looms some 2414 ft above you.
A short while after Dent, the river which had become more of a stream earlier today, is back to its crashing glory and the bird life is in full flow again. On this section, you will get the sense of leaving Yorkshire and entering the Lake District. Spend the night in Sedbergh.
You will receive a warm welcome in this spacious Victorian Town House. It offers a choice of three en-suite bedrooms all with Freeview TV’s, WiFi, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. Breakfast is served between 8.00am and 9.30am (please let them know if you require an earlier start time).Your breakfast is cooked to order and can include Cumbrian bacon and award winning sausages from a local butcher.
At the Dalesman no two guest rooms are the same and they have paid attention to finer details incorporating things such as Hungarian goose down and zoffany wall paper. The Dalesman is one of the most popular pub / restaurants in Sedbergh, it has earned itself a reputation for providing good quality food cooked by their very own in house chef. The inn has a traditional style Bar and Smithy plus an evening Buttery, the bar has a welcoming log burner and traditional Tetley‘s fine hand-pulled ales, Black Sheep and Dalesman ales.
Built in 1880, Summerhill Bed & Breakfast, Sedbergh has been lovingly renovated by Steve and Ali Bramall, providing a lovely home with a mixture of period features and contemporary decor. It's in a fabulous position at the foot of the Howgill Fells - across the road is Sedbergh School; the centre of the town is a two minute walk and Sedbergh Golf course is a short drive away. Getting a good night's sleep is important, so all the beds have a good firm mattress and an Egyptian cotton sheet. The duvets and pillows are down and feather; although I also have wool duvets and best quality synthetic duvets if you prefer. There are hot drink making facilities in each room and you can take a jug of fresh milk to bed with you.
The views and landscapes are delightful today as more evidence of the approaching Lake District forms up ahead, as you pass through slate-roofed villages and amble across a beck. The mighty Howgills dominate the skyline for most of the day. Pass Black Moss Tarn and cross the River Sprint before heading into Burneside, your next port of call.
Tony and Caroline offer very comfortable accommodation, their home is conveniently located in a quiet corner of Burneside. The rooms are modern and are en-suite, with digital flat screen TV's and DVD's (with a good selection of DVD's & CD's), WiFi, hot & cold drinks and snacks, hairdryer and even a well-stocked mini shop at cost price. The conservatory is the nice place to relax and enjoy your complementary hot & cold drinks and homemade cake on arrival.
A warm welcome awaits you at this quiet home with beautiful views. Their guest room has an en-suite shower room, T.V. hairdryer, beverage tray. Drying facilities for clothes and boots available.
Bridge House is a beautiful 'listed' Georgian building, a former station-master's house and was built in approximately 1840. The house has two guest bedrooms: a twin and a double, both with en-suite shower rooms. Each room has TV and tea & coffee making facilities and all the amenities you require for a comfortable overnight stay.
As you head off to the River Kent, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Kingfishers on this section. Pass plenty of interesting old mills, including an entire village of them at Cowen Head. The scenery becomes rockier as you progress to the end of the Dales Way and the river really comes into its own as it crashes and gurgles over the rocks.
As you see the majestic lake ahead you can choose the long or short way to your final destination, Bowness-on-Windermere, a great place to celebrate your amazing journey.
The Westmorland Inn is a traditional Inn situated in the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere. They 8 en-suite bedrooms all individually designed - some rooms offer a view of Lake Windermere and across to the fells and mountains. They use luxury toiletries and tea and coffee making facilities with a complimentary miniature Kendal Mint Cake liqueur. They also have a local leisure club with Swimming pool, Sauna, Steam room and gym for you to use only 5 minutes’ walk and throughout the hotel and bar they offer free wifi.
The house is traditionally built in Lakeland style circa 1900 and retains many of its original features. Each room has complimentary tea/coffee making facilities, flat screen TV, DVD player, clock radio/CD player, hairdryer and ironing facilities. Complimentary toiletries can also be found in all the bathrooms which are all furnished with showers. The Floral displays through the house enhance the building’s appearance and have been awarded several Windermere In Bloom awards.
Lonsdale House was built in 1851 as a fine gentleman’s residence, which first became a hotel in 1932. Many of the properties original features such as the heavy doors to access the building, ornate cornicing, original bannisters and door surrounds still remain giving the Lonsdale House its period look and a genuine feeling for its original character. Lonsdale features a well-stocked bar and guest lounge, with free board games and a fiction library. All rooms are en-suite and have free toiletries and refreshments.
The Macs Way
- Custom-made Adventures
- Book with Confidence
- Positive Impact
- Flexible itineraries built around you
- Knowledgeable and helpful specialist trip planners
- Customize your trip to suit your interests
- Start on any date that suits you
- Choose your ideal trip length and difficulty
- Range of accommodation comfort levels
- Choice of trip styles
- Choose your own travel companions
- Walk, cycle and explore at your own pace
- Make your own decisions
- Choose your own path
- Indulge your passions
- 14,000+ unbiased trip & service reviews
- Feefo Gold Award 2019
- 25,000+ travelers trust us each year
- As featured in the Guardian, Times, Nat Geo Traveler
- Founder owned & operated since 2003
- 100+ passionate team members across the US, UK & Europe
- Carefully planned adventures
- Quality, hand-picked accommodations
- Seamless and reliable arrangements
- Comprehensive trip information & insider tips
- Detailed maps, route notes and mobile GPS app
- Helpful 24/7 support should you need it
- Travel responsibly
- Explore off the beaten track
- Support locally owned businesses
- Engage with local communities
- Minimize your impact
- Maximize the benefit of your travel
- Challenge yourself & grow