'Wainwright Favourites', Tour of the Lake District

A Grand Tour of the Lake District, visiting the favourite valleys and mountains of Alfred Wainwright, Britain’s best known ‘fellwalker’ and guidebook writer. For each day’s walk there are at least two route choices including a moderate option and a more challenging alternative, which will take in one or more ‘Wainwights’ (summits described in his 7 volume ‘Pictorial Guide’). The options always start and finish in the same place so you can mix and match as you go along. On this tour we guarantee: 7 lakes including the ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ of lakes, and numerous mountain tarns; England’s highest peak; traditional Lakeland villages; Herdwick sheep; the stomping ground of the Romantic Poets; and above all, spectacular scenery unlike anywhere else in the world! Complete the whole route in a fantastic 2 week holiday, or do it in two parts over two separate weeks.

There are three options for completing this tour, available to book now. Click on an option below for more details. You can also contact us if you would like to follow a different itinerary.

Prices are per person based on twin share and include all accommodation in twin share rooms on bed & breakfast basis, luggage transfer, information pack including maps, route guide, and our emergency contact.

Single rooms are available. We only apply a supplement for single accommodation when there is a direct cost to us and we cap this in line with our ‘Fair pricing’ policy. Solo walkers pay a supplement of £15 per walking day, plus any single room supplement which may be required.

Start days: You can start this holiday on any day.

Day 0. Arrive Ambleside. Your first night's accommodation is in Ambleside at the head of Windermere, England’s longest lake. After checking in you can explore this interesting town, the capital of the South Lakes. There is a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs to choose from for your evening meal

Day 1. In Ambleside. To start your Wainwright odyssey, choose from a traverse of Wansfell (6 miles with a total ascent of 1885ft.), an ascent of Red Screes (7½ miles, 2450ft.), or the classic round of the Fairfield 'Horseshoe' (11 miles, 3530ft.)

Day 2. To Langdale. Todays walk starts with a gentle climb out of Ambleside to the shoulder of Loughrigg Fell offering extensive views over Windermere’s sparkling waters and of the Central Fells. Depending on your choice of options you can visit Elterwater and follow the Cumbria Way along the meandering Great Langdale Beck, or climb to Loughrigg’s summit and stride out over the ridge forming the watershed between Grasmere and Langdale, ticking off the Wainwright summits of Silver How and Blea Rigg, before descending into Langdale past the sensational Stickle Tarn. Options: (A) Moderate. 7½ miles. 1200ft.; (B) Challenging (includes 3 Wainwright summits). 8½ miles. 2800ft.

Day 3. In Langdale. Langdale is the quintessential Lakeland Valley. No less than 7 of the summits featured as chapters in Wainwright's third book, The Central Fells, are in easy walking distance of your accommodation. Choose from all of the 'Langdale Pikes' (4 miles, 2470ft.), or the traverse of Crinkle Crags (6½ miles, 2925ft.)

Day 4. To Wasdale. Lake District fell walking doesn’t come much better than today’s offering. One of your options follows an ancient trading route over Esk Hause to reach Wasdale, Cumbria’s most remote valley containing England’s deepest lake and, it is said, it’s smallest church. Other options allow you to ‘bag’ Wainwright summits along the way, including Bowfell, Esk Pike, Broad Crag and the highest point in England, Scafell Pike. Three options today of varying degrees of difficulty. Choose the route that’s best for you. (A) Moderate. 7½ miles. 2400ft.; (B) Challenging (includes Scafell Pike). 8½ miles. 3300ft.; (C) Very Challenging (with 5 Wainwright summits including Scafell Pike). 9 miles. 4300ft

Day 5. In Wasdale. As well as being the most remote, Wasdale is arguably the most rugged of all Lakeland valleys. Today's choices include an ascent of Yewbarrow (4½ miles, 2045ft.), or Scafell Crag (7½ miles, 3270ft).Today is also a second opportunity to climb Scafell Pike if not included in your chosen option of the previous day.

Day 6. To Buttermere. From Wasdale you cross two passes to reach Buttermere, the valley of many lakes. Starting with an easy stroll along Mosedale, you then climb to the Black Sail Pass. From here you have the option to make an ascent of Pillar before descending to the Black Sail hut, possibly England's most isolated youth hostel. Another ascent brings you to Scarth Gap from where there is an option to visit Wainwright's last resting place on Haystacks. From the Scarth Gap, you make your descent into beautiful Buttermere your overnight accommodation for the next 2 nights. (6½ miles, 2255ft. or 9½ miles, 3600ft. with optional ascents).

Day 7. In Buttermere. Your options today include a circuit of the lake (4½ miles, 445ft.), an ascent of the mighty Grasmoor to the north-east (7 miles, 3444ft.), or a sensational traverse of the skyline overlooking the south-western shore (9 miles, 3175ft).

Day 8. To Keswick. The next valley in our Grand Tour of the Lake District is Newlands and you can choose to walk there on a relatively low level route via the tributary valleys of Sail Beck and Rigg Beck (9 miles, 1800ft), or a high level route which takes in the summits of Robinson and Hindscarth (10 miles, 3200ft). Both options continue to Keswick on the shores of Derwentwater.

Day 9. In Keswick. If you are in need of a rest from 'Wainwright bagging', there is the option to visit the ancient stone circle at Castle Rigg. You can also make a circuit of the lake either on foot or by boat, or even a mix of both. For summiteers, the dominant peak above the town is Skiddaw, England's 4th highest mountain. We offer a couple of different route options to climb it from 7½ miles to 9½ miles. Approximately 3200ft - 3500ft of ascent.

Day 10. To Ullswater. You begin the day with a transfer by private vehicle (20 minutes) to Glenridding or Patterdale on Ullswater, the 'Queen' of the lakes. Today's walk traverses Place Fell with sensational views over the lake and across to the Helvellyn range, and then returns on a trail running along the quiet eastern shoreline (8¾ miles, 2275ft). For an easier day, catch a 'steamer' to Howtown, halfway along the lake and walk the shore path back to Glenridding.

Day 11. In Ullswater. One of the most evocative names in Lakeland is Helvellyn which stands above the western shore of Ullswater, and its most famous route of ascent is Striding Edge. Today you have the option to make this airy ascent along the short but narrow ridge connecting the mountain to Birkhouse Moor (7¾ miles, 2875ft). Alternatively, Helvellyn can be reached by the less dramatic but no less scenic route around the head of Keppel Cove (9¾ miles, 2900ft).

Day 12. To Ambleside. The circuit is completed today as you walk from the 'Queen' to the 'King' of the lakes. Walking from Patterdale to the hamlet of Hartsop, you then have the option to cross the Kirkstone Pass via Caudale Moor and St Raven's Edge, or the more challenging route, following the ancient Roman road over High Street. Both routes converge at the Kirkstone Pass Inn before descending Stock Ghyll into Ambleside. (10 miles, 2,500ft or 13 miles, 3500ft).

Day 13. In Ambleside. A chance to relax, cruise on the lake, or to enjoy one of the route options from day 1.

Day 14. Depart Ambleside. Let us know if you would like us to book a taxi to Windermere or Oxenholme raiway stations.

The itinerary for walking part 1 of the Wainwright's Favourites Tour of the Lake District is as follows (see LDWF13 itinerary for a more detailed description of each day's walk):

Day 0. Arrive Ambleside

Day 1. Circular walk options

Day 2. Walk to Langdale, various route options

Day 3. Circular walk options

Day 4. Walk to Wasdale, various route options

Day 5. Circular walk options

Day 6. Walk to Buttermere, various route options

Day 7. Circular walk options

Day 8. Depart Buttermere

The itinerary for walking part 2 of the Wainwright's Favourites Tour of the Lake District is as follows (see LDWF13 itinerary for a more detailed description of each day's walk):

Day 0. Arrive Keswick

Day 1. Circular walk options

Day 2. Transfer (20 minutes) to Glenridding / Patterdale, various route options

Day 3. Circular walk options

Day 4. Walk to Ambleside, various route options

Day 5. Circular walk options

Day 6. Depart Ambleside

The price includes:

  • All accommodation in twin/double rooms (with private bathroom where available) in guest houses, inns or hotels
  • All breakfasts
  • Luggage transfer between overnight stops
  • All transfers required by the itinerary
  • A Wandering Aengus information pack containing: all necessary maps and our own weather-proof 'route cards', laminated locator maps for each night's accommodation and details of local facilities - including locations and opening times of restaurants, cafes, ATMs, supermarkets etc.
  • Our emergency contact number

Not included:

  • Lunches and evening meals (we provide full details of your options)
  • Extra costs incurred through using escape routes or abandonment of the itinerary
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses such as drinks etc.

Our Accommodation:

Wandering Aengus Treks are based in the Lake District and we know our accommodation options well. As keen walkers ourselves we appreciate the importance of the place you put your feet up and rest your head in at the end of each day. We very carefully select our accommodations whether that be a cosy pub, family run guest house, or established town-centre hotel. We choose places directly on the route or within easy walking distance of it and if we ever have to transfer you because of limited availability, we will always contact you to discuss this and never just leave you to find out later. We provide comfortable, clean and warm twin or double rooms, with private bathroom wherever available. Single occupancy of rooms is also available for a supplementary cost.


Breakfast at your accommodation is included in the holiday price. In most cases your accommodation will serve dinner and will be able to prepare a packed lunch for you. Sometimes this will have to be arranged in advance and we will let you know if this is the case. Alternatively you can use our detailed notes to make your own dining and lunch arrangements using local restaurants, cafes and supermarkets.

Windermere station is the terminus of a branch line from the main North-West London to Glasgow rail link (change at Oxenholme). Ambleside is a short (5 minute) taxi or bus journey from the station. It is also possible to take a taxi direct to Ambleside from Oxenholme (40 minutes). We can arrange a pre-paid taxi to meet you at either Windermere or Oxenholme. Contact us for details of this transfer. Alternatively, if you are arriving by car it is usually possible to arrange parking for the duration of the walk (possible extra charge).

Doing the tour in two sections
If you are taking the tour in weekly sections, Part 1 ends in Buttermere. The nearest rail station is at Penrith on the main North-West London to Glasgow rail link. Part 2 starts in Keswick which is also easily accessed via Penrith. We can arrange for a pre-paid taxi between Penrith and the end or start of your walk. Buttermere to Penrith is 27 miles and the journey there by taxi is approximately 50 minutes. From Penrith to Keswick is 17 miles and this journey takes approximately 25 minutes.

By Bus
For Part 1, it is possible to travel from Buttermere to Penrith by bus with a change at Keswick. Buses depart approximately hourly and the journey takes approximately 2 hours 40 minutes, including connection time in Keswick.
For Part 2, there is a frequent bus service between Penrith and Keswick (journey time 42 minutes).

Here are some 3rd party websites with useful information to help plan your holiday to the Lake District.

The Lake District National Park website is a mine of information and here you can also download a range of maps and leaflets to local attractions.

'Go Lakes' is the official website for Cumbria Tourism and provides up-to-the-minute information on events as well as insight guides to the different areas that make up the Lake District.

The Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) provides weather analysis and forecasts specifically aimed at mountaineers and walkers. Download 3 day forecasts for specific regions including the Lake District.

Cumbria County Council conveniently gathers all Lake District bus timetables onto a single searchable page

Mike Brockhurst's Walking Englishman website is a free walking resource which provides information on numerous walking routes. Here you can find a list of Englands's highest peaks.

Use thetrainline.com to find cheap fares to the Lake District rail access towns of Windermere and Penrith.

If you have concerns about navigation, or would like to challenge yourself with one of the more demanding routes but are unsure about this, you can go with a guide on any of the days. For groups of 4 or more we will add an additional £30 per person for each day of guided walking. Please give us a call on 07789868977 if you would like to go with a guide.

Book this Holiday

Lake District Wainwright Favourites map
This collection of excellent point-to-point and circular walks will give you the option of being among the fells on a journey from one valley to the next, using the passes used for centuries as a means of communication and trade before the development of roads going around the mountains. Alternatively, it is possible to challenge yourself with one or two harder options provided on each day which tackle the summits beloved of Wainwright.