In ExploreTravel

From long walks that take several days to complete, to short tours that last for around an hour, the sheer choice of walks in Cumbria are limitless. Some routes are well-known around the world, while others are local secrets. Here are ten of our ideas to get you started, along with suggestions of convenient places near each route to lay your head.

Walk: Hadrian’s Wall

Stay: The Sally, Irthington

No visit to Cumbria is complete without walking at least part of the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail. A World Heritage Site, the 75-mile long former line of defence stretches all the way from The Solway Firth in the west, to Wallsend-on-Tyne in the east, and formed the northern frontier of the Roman Empire during their occupation of England. Along the wall you can see fascinating remains of forts and turrets – with two Cumbrian highlights being the Banks Turret near Brampton and the Birdoswald Roman Fort which sits above the River Irthing.

Thanks to The Sally, situated in the village of Irthington, Hadrian’s Wall is easy to reach and offers a welcome return for walkers at the end of a long, exciting day. Boasting five stylish and spacious rooms which can be adapted to the size and nature of your group, each has an en-suite with shower or bath facilities. Each room has its own unique décor, with room service available.

Walk: The Tarzan trail

Stay: The Boot and Shoe, Penrith

We’ve all heard the stories of how Beatrix Potter was inspired by her Lake District home to write the tale of Peter Rabbit and his friends, but did you know that the roots of the famous Tarzan character, created by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, can be traced back to the jungle of Cumbria too? Home of the Legend of Tarzan, this is a unique opportunity to visit Tarzan’s birthplace – the village of Greystoke. Join a walking tour and discover more about the village’s history as well as the Lords of Greystoke and their connection to the author and legendary character.

The one mile-long tour finishes back at the Boot and Shoe, a traditional 17th century country pub, for afternoon tea at 3pm. When you’ve finished your cuppa, why not stay for another? And another? With Bed & Breakfast rooms available, you’re welcome to stay the night. All we ask is that you try not to yawn like Tarzan when you start to feel sleepy.

Walk: The Pennine Way National Trail

Stay: Gyhll Burn Cottage, Alston

Snaking its way through Northumberland, the Pennine Way enters the North Pennines AONB at Tan Hill and follows moorland tracks before passing beneath the A66 towards Dufton. From there, it passes the summits of Knock Fell, Great Dun Fell, Little Dun Fell and finally Cross Fell, before a long descent into the South Tyne valley at Garrigill and hugs the river before reaching England’s highest town, Alston.

Upon arrival, seek out Ghyll Burn Cottage, just a mile outside of the town, nestled in a secluded valley, for a restful night’s sleep. Complete with its own kitchen, dining room and spacious lounge with a wood-burning stove, there are two bedrooms and an additional sofa bed if needed. An ideal bunkhouse for the night, the walking can continue bright and early the next day, as the Pennine Way trail continues to Slaggyford and Knarsdale before crossing more moorland near the village of Greenhead.

Walk: Lakeland Llama Treks

Stay: Eden Gate Guest House, Penrith

We’ve all had that feeling during a walk when we just wish we could swap one of our regular walking partners for a Llama, haven’t we? Well, now you can! Operating from several locations in the Eden Valley, Lakeland Llama Treks is based on the A66 just outside Penrith, and gives you the opportunity to take a walk with a Llama, which will accompany you on a range of treks covering different locations and distances. A popular choice is the “Countryside Walk”, which takes in parts of both the North Pennines and the Lake District on a two-hour circular route.

A short distance from Lakeland Llama Treks, the Eden Gate guest house offers lovely bed & breakfast accommodation just 5 minutes’ walk from Penrith town centre and a short drive to the start of your Llama experience, with private off-street parking available.

Walk: The Cumbria Way

Stay: The Halston Aparthotel, Carlisle

Criss-crossing through the centre of Cumbria between Ulverston in the south and Carlisle in the north, The Cumbria Way is one of the best-known routes in this list. While most walkers aim to complete the trek over five days, some do manage it in just four days, stopping off at different locations each night for a well-earned sleep before getting up bright and early to continue their way along the route the following morning.

The Cumbria Way stretches for 75 miles – and of course, it’s up to you whether you start in Ulverston or Carlisle. If you do start your walk in Carlisle, the Halston Aparthotel is just a stone’s throw from the official route’s starting point in the city centre. Even more conveniently, The Halston is just 15 minutes from Carlisle Lake District Airport by road, and a short stroll from Carlisle railway station on the West Coast Main Line.

Plans your route depending on your own expectations of pace by checking out the great range of accommodation at www.visitlakedistrict.com, with the end of your journey being marked by the welcome sight of the market town of Ulverston. You won’t have to look very far to find a pub that will reward your efforts with a refreshing pint of Cumbria Way Ale, brewed by Hartley’s.

Walk: Coast to Coast

Stay: Stone House Farm, St Bees

While always popular, the Coast to Coast Walk was immortalised for good thanks to national TV exposure courtesy of the TV series, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, which threw well-deserved slight on the entre route, from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay on the east coast. The Cumbrian stretch of this 190 mile mammoth trek also passes through the Cumbrian towns and villages of Egremont, Cleator, Ennerdale Bridge, Seatoller, Rosthwaite, Grasmere, Patterdale, Brampton, Shap, Orton and Kirkby Stephen before continuing into Yorkshire.

Rest your head at Stone House Farm in St Bees before enjoying the early stages of the route, to ensure you’re fully refreshed and ready for the challenge that lies ahead. This family-run B&B in a large modernised Georgian farmhouse is only a 10 minute walk from the starting point of the route, with a lovely floral garden to enjoy as you contemplate what the next few days have in store.

Walk: Ulverston Canal & Hoad Hill

Stay: The Bay Horse, Ulverston

Featured in National Geographic Traveller, Country Walking and Coast magazines in recent months, Ulverston’s canal is the widest, shortest and deepest canal in England. Running from the Leven Estuary at Morecambe Bay towards the town, this lovely peaceful walk leads you straight towards Hoad Hill, with the iconic Sir John Barrow monument beckoning you to climb to the summit. Head up the footpath on the front of the hill and be sure to stop every minute or so to admire the view over the town and Morecambe Bay. At the top, the monument itself is open on selected days of the week – and it’s free to go to the top. From here, marvel at the Furness and South Lakeland fells on one side, and views across the bay on the other.

Back at the end of the canal, stay for the night at The Bay Horse, an 18th-century coaching inn with lovely views of the estuary from its bay view bedrooms.

Walk: Grubbins Wood

Stay: No 43, Arnside

Take a stroll along Arnside promenade with the water to your right and the road to your left, leaving the prom’ and following the beautiful wooded shoreline for several minutes until you pass  a little wooden stile hidden beneath how hanging, leafy branches of the enormous trees which line your route. From here you can enter Grubbins Wood, which has a number of pathways among mighty oak, birch and ash trees. Looked after by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, the woodland is home to a wide range of plants and insects – many of which are rare in Cumbria.

A few minutes’ walk from the entrance to the wood, is Number 43 – a well-respected Bed and Breakfast which has five- star status from Visit England and the AA, and has even been recognised in the 2019 Michelin Guide. There is a terrace to relax on in the evening with a glass of wine, or for an early breakfast – and even a bedroom mini-bar so you can raise a toast to the area at any moment of your choosing.

Walk: Walney Coastal Path

Stay: West Point House, Walney

As stretches of pathway continue to be opened-up around the UK with the ultimate aim of connecting the entire coastline of the British Isles, part of the route circles an entire island off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness. The Walney Island section of path means you can enjoy the entire perimeter of this residential community-meets nature lovers’ paradise. While around half of the island is urban, other remaining 50% primarily consists of the North and South Walney Nature Reserves – the home of families of seals and bird life. Walney also boasts Earnse Bay, or the 'West Shore'; a sand and shingle beach which – along with other beaches, gives walkers several miles of coastline to enjoy, with the Irish Sea, Isle of Man and the Lake District fells all within view.

To stay the night, West Point House is in the perfect location. Not quite a B&B and not quite a hotel but somewhere in between, West Point House offers a social way of enjoying your visit to the island, with private rooms accompanied by communal kitchen and living room facilities. With its spacious and crisp white interior and stunning gardens full of colour throughout the summer months, he 36 bedroom West Point House offers good, honest, salt of the earth accommodation where owners Heather and John will be delighted to welcome you.

Walk: Eggerslack Woods & Hampsfell

Stay: Clare House, Grange-over-Sands

For a low level walk with views that stretch for miles, Hampsfell is a choice that’s popular with local people due to it remaining one of South Cumbria’s lesser-known walks among visitors. By following a footpath a short walk away from Grange-over-Sands railway station, you’ll twist and turn through the leafy woodland of Eggerslack, before coming out into the wide open air and cross a large area of Limestone pavement before making your way towards the summit of Hampsfell. There’s no way you’ll miss your target; at the top is a small stone lookout point – a Hospice, built in 1846 where there are further view to be enjoyed from the top, with a handy device to help point out some of the sights on the horizon. Several public footpaths crisscross Eggerslack Woods, where its peace is matched only by its beauty.

Back in Grange-over-Sands, the 18-room Clare House perfectly captures the small town’s Victorian heritage with modern facilities, with the same owners welcoming guests for more than fifty years. With meals that qualify Clare House for an AA rosette, it also won the AA's 'Inspectors' Choice Hotel' and a Gold Award from VisitBritain. For further views across part of Morecambe Bay, you’re in the right place: the majority of its 18 rooms come complete with a sea view.

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