The Ultimate Lake District Tour: the best of the lakes and landscape - Full Day All-inclusive Tour One-day tour
Our partner: English Lakes Tours
Our partner: English Lakes Tours
Live commentary on board
Knowledgeable guide available throughout the tour
WiFi on board
charging points for most mobile devices at all seats
This full day, all-inclusive tour will take you to the north western Lake District for spectacular scenery, fascinating heritage sites, ten lakes and four mountain passes in just a single day. This is our number 1 most popular tour and gets fully booked quickly so please book your seats early as we have limited places and dates available.
Your day starts with a climb, all the way up to the Kirkstone Inn,the highest inhabited building in the Lake District, for a stop to take in the views back down the valley right the way down to Lake Windermere and Ambleside. This once important coaching inn sits almost at the summit of the Lake District's highest pass that is open to motor traffic.
From here the road plunges down into the Kirkstone Pass properly with the valley walls rising up steeply on either side, past the church shaped rock from which the valley gets its name and on to the viewpoint for a photo stop of the ribbon of road as it descends down to Brothers Water. This lake was one of the first places in the Lakes to be acquired by the National Trust.
The thin strip of road winds past the lake, down to the Ullswater valley and on to the charming and popular village of Patterdale. This the starting point for a number of popular hill-walks, most notably the Striding Edge path up to Helvellyn, the third highest mountain in the Lakes. The only other village in this valley is Glenridding and it is here that we get our first glimpse of the National Park's second largest lake, Ullswater.
Here you join a 1 hour cruise on Ullswater to relax and see the stunning fells as the boat cruises the full length of the lake.
You now rejoin your minibus as we leave Ullswater and head north and west towards Keswick. As we pass the impressive mountains and fells, looking up at Blencathra one cannot help but be moved by its shear scale, and those slender fingers of rock running southwards from its high ridge line must either frighten, or excite. Blencathra is
one of the most northerly mountains in the Lakes with six separate fell tops, the highest standing at 868-metres. One of the famous features of Blencathra is the steep ridge called Sharp Edge which you will see as we pass the foot of the mountain. This is a walker's paradise and some of the fells in this area are challenging and difficult even on a mild summer's day. Your next stop is right in among these rugged mountains at one of the most spectacularly located Neolithic stone circles anywhere, Castlerigg.
Castlerigg Stone Circle stands on a superb natural plateau commanding a superb 360 degree view over the surrounding fells. Made up of 38 free standing stones, some up to 3 metres (10 feet) high, it is one of Britain's earliest stone circles dating back to the Neolithic period 4000 to 5000 years ago. The spectacular and atmospheric location will take your breath away but we only have a short stop here before we head onwards to the shores of Derwentwater for your next destination.
Our journey now takes us a short distance to the head of Derwentwater where we stop at Lakeside near Keswick, for lunch. This is a tiny, hidden corner of the Lakes with lots going on. The theatre here, hailed by The Independent newspaper as "the most beautifully located and friendly theatre in Britain", opened in 1999. It sits only a short stroll from Derwentwater on the edge of Keswick, amid the magnificent western fells of the Lake District. The Lakeside Café Restaurant is perched between the theatre and Derwentwater. Lofty, light and airy, its large windows give spectacular views across the lake to Cat Bells and beyond, it's the perfect setting for you to enjoy lunch.
After lunch, your guide may take you for a short stroll along the shores of Derwentwater to Friars Crag. This is a promontory jutting into Derwentwater on a stretch of shore
about half a mile from the boat landing stages. Ruskin described the view as one of the three most beautiful scenes in Europe. The path from the Lakeside café is easy, taking us along the shore line, with clear views over to Derwent Isle, and across the lake to Brandlehow Woods, the first property acquired by the National Trust in the Lake District.
We now travel to 'Surprise View', one of the most stunning viewpoints in the Lake District. From here you can see Derwentwater, one of the principal bodies of water in the Lakes. Derwentwater has four permanent islands: Derwent, Lord's, Rampsholme and St. Herbert's. It also has (reputedly) one floating island which sporadically appears towards the end of summer consisting of a mass of vegetable matter that rises to the surface on a cushion of methane gas! Visitors have flocked here for generations to admire the beauty and climb the fells. Two of the favourite holiday homes of Beatrix Potter, Lingholm and Fawe Park, lie on the far shore of Derwentwater. The lake was also used as a filming location for the 2015 Star Wars blockbuster 'The Force Awakens'.
We then drop down the hill to Ashness Bridge, one of the most photographed packhorse bridges in the Lakes.
We now move on to Seatoller, a small hamlet in Borrowdale valley next to Seathwaite which is the wettest inhabited place in England. Despite its remote location, this tiny farm settlement is a magnet for walkers.
The road now rises higher and higher as we climb the fell to the Honister Slate Mine at the head of the pass. We have a brief stop here for you to capture the view down the valley on your camera. Passing the slate sculptures of the Guardians of the Pass, we now climb slowly down the steep track as it twists and turns into the Honister Pass itself. Beautiful, remote and desolate, the pass winds through the fells, the green-tinged slate shining in the sun and the curved rock faces looming above us.
The pass itself connects the Buttermere valley with the eastern end of the Borrowdale valley. Rising to 1167 feet in height at the summit, it is one of Cumbria's highest passes, with a gradient of 1 in 4. Flowing through the pass from the summit to Buttermere is Gatesgarthdale Beck and in the valley bottom we stop for another photo opportunity.
Buttermere could not be more of a contrast to the magnificent yet hard scenery of Honister. We are now entering the Vale of Lorton, one of the lushest and prettiest parts of the Northern Lakes, the valley contains the lakes Loweswater, Crummock Water and Buttermere. We see two of these, and driving down the eastern shores of the lakes with the sun glinting off the water is one of the loveliest places to be in the Lakes; it is still beautiful even in the rain.
A steep climb takes us up the Newlands Pass with stunning views over the adjoining valleys. At the top of the pass we will stop to admire Moss Force Waterfall. A gentle descent awaits us on the other side as we head north again.
We travel onwards to the Whinlatter Viewpoint where we will stop again to allow you to admire the magnificent views of Bassenthwaite.
We now head back towards Keswick and start the journey down towards Ambleside. On the way you will pass Thirlmere, and at the foot of the water, we then head back Zlong your fourth, and last, mountain pass of Dunmail Raise.
Now the road drops steadily down from the fells and before long, we pass Grasmere village to drive along the shores of Grasmere, your ninth lake. William Wordsworth lived here at Dove Cottage and as we continue on, we pass Nab Cottage, the home of his friend and author, Thomas de Quincey. The road winds along the shore until we come to Rydal Water, your tenth and final lake. The water here is often mirror-like still with beautiful reflections of the surrounding fells. We pass Wordsworth's last and favourite home which is situated off the road at Rydal as we return to Ambleside for the first of our drop-off points.