Tramping the Lake District

Destination: Grasmere, UK

| Activities: Hiking and Culture

The Lake District of England, with its myriad of hiking trails, glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fells, charming small villages, and outstanding beauty, has been a favorite of British hikers and vacationers longing to escape for over a century. Its beauty and serenity inspired both William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, and in 1951 it became England's second National Park to protect it from overdevelopment. Spring is a particularly lovely time to visit, when lambs are everywhere and the forests are full of bluebells. Our trip combines vigorous hiking with eating in pubs, soaking in hot tubs, and wandering the town of Grasmere. Maximum group size: 10. Rating: 1 2 3 [4] 5


  • Hiking in England's storied Lake District
  • Enjoying Quaker hospitality and the lively town of Grasmere
  • Absorbing the peace and solitude of the Lorton Vale seep into your bones
  • Walking through bluebell forests and herds of sheep with lambs
  • Experiencing the delicious food and culture of local pubs


  • A local guide and an AGC guide (If there are fewer than 7 on the trip, there will not be an AGC guide)
  • 8 nights double occupancy lodging
  • All meals from dinner on the first day through breakfast on the day of departure
  • Airport transfer for those arriving the first day
  • All transportation within the Lake District

Not included: Transportation to the UK, alcoholic beverages, gratuities, optional activities not on the itinerary.

Trip Documents


Trip Info

This trip is an excellent choice for women in very good physical condition with some prior hiking experience. We have rated this trip a 4 as we will hike 4 to 7 hours a day with significant elevation gain and loss on several days, on paths that can be boggy, rocky, or smooth. You should be free of significant knee problems. Rating: 1 2 3 [4] 5

This trip is for women who love hiking and want to immerse themselves in the hiking culture of the Lake District. While there will be some time to visit some of the sites for which the Lake District is known (Dove Cottage, Rydal Hall, the town of Grasmere) this is not a primary focus of the trip.

We will spend the first 4 nights at Glenthorne Quaker Centre and Guest House in the town of Grasmere in double occupancy rooms with ensuite bathrooms. We will then move to High Swinside Holiday Cottages in a remote setting, where the hot tub has a 5-star view. We will have all 3 cottages there; some of the rooms have ensuite bathrooms, others do not. The "deluxe" single is sole occupancy of Little Swinside. On this trip we can easily accommodate vegetarians. Women with other types of dietary needs may need to bring supplemental food.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Our trip starts at 11:30 AM (make sure to arrive by 11:00 AM) at the Manchester, UK (MAN) airport. If you want to spend some time in London or elsewhere in the UK before the trip and then take a train to Windermere, we can pick you up there at about 1:30. We'll then continue on to Grasmere and Glenthorne Guest House, our home for the next four nights. Situated in a beautiful setting and a short walk from Grasmere, Glenthorne is owned by Quakers and exudes an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. We'll settle in and then meet for introductions and a brief trip orientation, followed by a walking orientation to Grasmere. Tonight we'll eat at Glenthorne, known for its three course meals and delicious food, undoubtedly followed by an early bedtime.
The Lake District offers an amazing array of different hiking paths, all with options that can shorten or lengthen the hike depending on weather. Our hike today over Loughrigg Fell is an excellent introduction to the area, with commanding views of the entire area. Leaving directly from the Guest House, we'll traverse Loughrigg Terrace before taking a steepish climb on a good stepped path to the summit. Continuing across the top we'll reach a meandering descent to the Rothay River at the foot of Rydal Water. Our return path will overlook this lovely lake along the Coffin Trail, so named because it was used to take coffins to consecrated ground at Grasmere church. We will pass Dove Cottage, home of poet William Wordsworth for 8 years and open to the public, returning in time for the afternoon tea and cookies that are a Glenthorne ritual. About 7.5 miles, 1500 ft elev.
Today by just driving for about 15 minutes, we get a chance to walk in a different valley and see some of the Lake District's famous mountains. From the quiet hamlet of Elterwater, we climb gradually to a delightful grassy path which follows the flank of Lingmoor Fell. Suddenly we get a fabulous vista of the head of Langdale and the Coniston hills. A short steep descent takes us to the pine fringed Blea Tarn, then down to the valley for a low level return with ever changing views, through woodland and fields. To cap off our hike we might stop in at Wainwright's pub (Alfred Wainwright was the most famous hiker and guidebook writer in the Lake District) or decide on a drink at the Britannia Inn. Or maybe we'll just return to Glenthorne for afternoon tea. Hiking: 8 miles, 1,200 ft elev
Now that our hiking legs are tuned up, on our final day in the area we'll tackle Helm Crag and the ridge behind it. We've been seeing Helm Crag looming over Glenthorne and surely it's been beckoning to us the entire time. But gaining its summit is only the beginning of a delightful day of ridge walking as we follow an undulating and steadily up path to Calf Crag. From here we have the option to continue up Calf Crag and descend along the stream down Easedale Valley, or head across boggy moors to Steel Fell. After admirning the view over the next valley, we hike a more direct (and steep) descent back to Grasmere. Tonight we'll go into Grasmere to have dinner at a local pub. Hiking: 8.5 - 9.5 miles, elev 1500-1600 ft of ascent and descent.
Leaving the quiet and warm hospitality of Glenthorne is always difficult but our home for the next four days, high on a hill overlooking Lorton Vale, is equally enchanting. While only an hour's drive away, it is a much quieter part of the Lake District with its own distinct feel. On our transfer day we’ll have some time to explore, at a leisurely pace, the Borrowdale valley and Derwentwater near to the small market town of Keswick. Using the Keswick Launch we'll head down across the lake and walk back towards town though woods, lakeshore, and a balcony path. Then there’ll be time for coffee, shopping in one of the many outdoor stores, or just hanging out before the short 20 min. drive over Whinlatter Pass to the Lorton Valley and High Swinside Cottages, one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the area.
We can start today's circular hike, Whiteside Round, directly from our cottages. Whiteside is comprised of three buttresses and our hike starts with a climb up to Whin Ben, the first one. From there we follow the ridge across to the other two. Here we have a choice to make our hike longer by detouring along the ridge to Hopegill Head, or descending more directly to Dodd Pass. In either case we'll end up back at the cottages where the hot tub will be ready to welcome us. If you enjoy hot tubs with gorgeous views, you'll love this one. Tonight we'll visit one of the local pub restaurants for some great food. Hiking 6.5 miles, 2250 ft elev
Our hike today is on Low Fell, so called because relative to the fells around it, it is only 1,387 feet and grass-covered rather than stony. Our trail starts ascending directly through meadows before reaching the summit ridge. As we walk along there are ever-changing views of Lorton Vale with its many lakes (Buttermere, Crummock Water, and Loweswater). Our trail descends to the Mosser Road, a now unused road that leads to a quarry. We can extend our hike by walking around Loweswater or walk more directly back to where our van awaits. Our walk is shorter today, which gives us time to visit the nearby town of Cockermouth. Cockermouth is an old and still thriving market town with medieval and Georgian Street beneath castle walls. It's known for specialty shops and art galleries, and you'll have some time to wander its streets. We'll return to Swinside tonight for dinner. Hiking 6 miles, elev gain 1440 ft
Our final hike is a Lake District classic, Haystacks. Alfred Wainwright was so taken with this hike and its fantastic views of Lorton Vale that he had his ashes scattered in one of the tarns at the top. The ascent is steadily up before reaching the final buttress where gentle scrambling is required to reach the top. From here Buttermere Lake stretches out below and Fleetwith Pike dominates the flank. We pass Innominate and Black Beck Tarns on our way down the other side. Returning to the cottages via Buttermere, we'll be sure to stop at Syke Farm Tea Room where the choice between the best ice cream in the valley versus a cream tea will be wrenching. Tonight we'll share our final farewell dinner at the the Kirkstile Inn, famous for the locally brewed Loweswater Gold on tap. Hiking 4.4 miles, elev gain 1850 ft
Is it time to leave already? Unfortunately it is. The Manchester Airport is about a 2.5 hour drive away and we'll arrive by 11AM for flights out after 1:00 PM. You can also take a train back to London if you want to spend time in the big city before returning home.


(15 reviews)
4.9 Food
4.7 Lodging
5 Safety

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

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Mary K.
4 years ago

Each day of hiking was challenging and well paced with wonderful views. I loved seeing all the wildflowers and the sheep everywhere. The mid-week easy hiking day was fun with the boat ride and the visit to Lingholm.

Nancy K.
4 years ago

Great hiking, good places to stay, well organized, great guides

Melinda P.
4 years ago

Patty B.
4 years ago

Judy B.
4 years ago

Both guides did an A job. Hikes were great.

Michelle K.
4 years ago

The hikes were the perfect blend of a bit challenging and beautiful scenic views. Having some choices was great, and the trip seemed well thought out to provide a blend of more difficult and easier hikes.

Lori M.
5 years ago

Barbara R.
5 years ago

I have visited The Lakes many times but never hiked there, so this was the trip that was going to allow me to do that. I had some trepidation about my ability to hike in the region, mostly resulting from what a close hiking companion told me about it. Although I was challenged on a couple of the hikes, I did it (!) and enjoyed myself greatly. I also thought the group of women taking this trip really meshed well together, and as I've come to expect from AGC, the guides facilitated a comfortable intimacy among us.

Frederique O.
5 years ago

Local guide and our host at Swineside we’re super. A great hike everyday

Suzanne S.
5 years ago

The hiking was amazing and the scenery was better than I expected. The accommodations were quite comfortable (though I'm glad I had a single supplement -for me, having that option is very important as my introverted self really needs space and alone time in the midst of a trip with a group of strangers). I really liked Diana's energy at High Swinside. She was so warm and welcoming and wise and knowledgeable and interesting and on and on. It was so peaceful at her place. So glad we had 4 nights there.

Monica C.
5 years ago

Immersing myself into a new environment without having to worry about all the details of planning a trip.

Carola S.
5 years ago

I enjoyed every minute, but would like to have had more time during the hike for photography.

Anne A.
5 years ago

The Lowefell Hike was a spectacular day - the vistas, the variety of terrain, the Shetland ponies! It was perfect. The accommodations were great...the Glenthorne, especially because we could walk out/back and being surrounded by lambs was enchanting. The only drawback was the compressed window for breakfast....a little tight for those of us who need extra bathroom time in the morning. High Swinside was my favorite of the two locations. Could have stayed there for a week. The view is amazing, the chickens are entertaining, and Diana is solid gold. I preferred hiking in that region but perhaps I appreciated it all the more in comparison to Grasmere.

Karen H.
5 years ago

Everything! Great group of women, great leaders, hikes were challenging and interesting, scenery beautiful...

Miriam K.
5 years ago

Varied hiking locations and difficult hikes alternating with easier hikes

  1. Where do we eat?

    You will eat breakfasts and most dinners in Glenthorne, except for one night where you'll eat at a restaurant. At Swinside the guide will cook all the breakfasts and a couple of dinners, and you'll eat out at local pubs other times. Lunches will be packed lunches you'll carry with you on the trail.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise you'll be paired up with someone else traveling by herself.