Famous for its majestic lakes, lowland forests and windswept hills the Lake District is England's largest National Park. It is home to Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain and Wastwater, the country's deepest lake.
This tour of the North Lakes starts at the thriving market town of Keswick. Leaving the town you climb Skiddaw, England's sixth highest mountain, before heading north east across wild moorland to Great Calva. From here you walk south, first to Blencathra and then across the length of the Helvellyn Range to reach the picturesque village of Grasmere.
- 69 miles / 111 kms
- 29,906 feet / 9,115 metres
- 5-6 days
- Keswick or Grasmere
Leaving the beautiful village of Grasmere you walk west crossing the Langdale Pikes, Bowfell, Great End and Scafell Pike before descending to Wastwater and the isolated inn at Wasdale Head. From here the trail takes you north over Red Pike, Steeple, Pillar, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Hay Stacks and High Stile.
After an evening spent in picturesque Buttermere you climb out of the village to Whiteless Pike, Hopegill Head and Grisedale Pike before descending to Braithwaite village and Keswick.
This is a tough 5-6 day challenge that will test your hill walking fitness and stamina. Along the way you will climb the most iconic mountains of England and experience breathtaking scenery, beautiful villages and classic English country pubs.
With it excellent road connections, bus services, gear shops, hotels and pubs Keswick is a great place to start and end your trip. However, as the tour is circular you can start and end at any point, Grasmere village just north of Ambleside is another popular starting point for example.
The walking distances each day may vary depending on the accommodation you choose each night. During the busy summer months large groups may need to use hotels and inns in villages nearby.
Day 1 - Keswick to Threlkeld - 12.5 miles / 20 kms
Day 2 - Thelkeld to Grasmere - 14 miles / 23 kms
Day 3 - Grasmere to Great Langdale - 8 miles / 12 kms
Day 4 - Great Langdale to Wasdale Head - 11 miles / 18 kms
Day 5 - Wasdale Head to Buttermere - 15 miles / 24 kms
Day 6 - Buttermere to Keswick - 11 miles / 18 kms
With the 6 day itinerary, the climb over Scafell Pike to Wasdale Head is slightly easier as the day is shorter. For the adventurous, the shorter day from Grasmere to Great Langdale gives you time to climb Jack's Rake, an easy but fun scramble above Stickle Tarn.
Hire a Mountain Guide
Walking, scrambling and climbing with local mountain guides gives you peace of mind, knowing that you have chosen experts in their field. They have been extensively trained in how to recognise and mitigate risks. They can plan a route that is best for the mountain weather conditions at the time, and they know the terrain and are able to guide you safely through it.
A local guide can teach you the local culture and history, improve your mountaineering skills, provide feedback and encouragement, occasionally push you to accomplish things you had not thought possible and help you to make the most of your precious holiday time.
Help and Advice
At Walk and Cycle we can provide mountain leaders and help with the planning of your trip, for example recommending the best local hotels, restaurants, pubs and attractions. Your guide will meet you at the beginning of your adventure and advise on equipment to take with you. If your trip includes one or more nights wild camping then tents and communal cooking equipment can be provided.
Please use the contact form below to tell us about the trip you are considering and the services that you may need assistance with. One of the team will then telephone or email to discuss the options available to you.
OL4 Explorer Map
Lake District: North-western area including Keswick, Cockermouth and Wigton
OL5 Explorer Map
Lake District: North-eastern area including Penrith, Patterdale and Caldbeck
Waterproof mountain map of the Lake District from Harvey at 1:40,000
Hotels & Inns
We have listed some of the better hotels and inns with links to TripAdvisor where you can read customer reviews and check prices and availability. If you like an early start, when booking accommodation check the time breakfast is served in the morning. All should be able to provide packed lunches. For those finishing late, check when evening meals end.
The journey time between Penrith train station and Keswick is approximately 30 minutes. If you are parking your car in Keswick or Grasmere there are several long term car parks available although the cost of parking in Grasmere is expensive.
Wainwright Word Map
Lake District Word Art is a collection of contemporary, high-quality digital artwork giving a whole new view on the places you love. Display these at home and you will be endelessly going back for another look... or create a bespoke version, perhaps with your favourite Wainwright highlighted, or an additional peak or place not currently featured.
The Wainwright Word Map shows the 214 Wainwrights (fells) of the Lake District - a fantastic and unique visual typographic map for every lover of The Lake District.