The Cumbria Way walking route is a 70 mile (112km) linear route through the heart of the Lake District.
The route links Ulverston in the south with Carlisle in the north and goes through and past some of the Lake District’s most iconic areas and landmarks.
The Cumbria Way can be walked in 5+ days (using a combination of Independent and YHA hostels). Walkers wanting to use independent hostels and bunkhouses only can do it in 6 days or more.
The Cumbria Way takes walkers on a 70 mile (112km) adventure through the heart of the Lake District National Park. It can be walked from south to north or vice versa. Most of the route is low level but there are some higher, more exposed parts and good map reading skills are essential as the route is not well way-marked.
Whist the early sections are in low lying pasture type landscapes the middle section from the Langdales to Keswick and on to Caldbeck are more traditional Lakeland fell walking routes here the route goes up to 600+ metres and walkers should be aware of weather conditions and ensure they are correctly attired for serious hiking.
Walkers can complete the route in 5 days if they break the first day at Coniston, however it is possible to do the whole route using independent hostels and bunkhouses over 6 days. Details of the route are available on the LDWA website.
The Cumbria Way starts in the market town on Ulverston on Morecombe Bay. There are no independent hostels in the town but walkers could spend the night before the start at Kendal Hostel which is connected to Ulverston and Coniston by the X6 bus or at Arnside Independent Hostel which is just 25 minutes away by regular train service. On leaving Ulverston the route winds its way through lowland pasture until it enters the Lake District National Park. Here you are less than a kilometre from Lowick School Bunkhouse which is a great first night base for groups of walkers. For those happy to carry bedding Fell End Camping Barn is also in this area. The route continues to the official end of day one at Coniston. Groups as small as 8 can stay at High Wray Basecamp north of Coniston and there are a couple of YHA Hostels near Coniston. Alternatively you can catch the the X6 bus from Coniston to Kendal and spend the night at Kendal Hostel. This gives the option of walking without a pack on the first day for those who have already stayed at Kendal Hostel. This is a 25km 15 mile first day.
The next day takes you into the heart of the Lake District Fells with some higher walking finishing at Elterwater Hostel or Great Langdale Bunkhouse. Walkers can also venture further from the route to Thorney How Hostel or Grasmere Hostel in Grasmere. At this point the route is through stunning lake district countryside past tarns, across rivers and through woodland and you find your self in the heart of the Cumbria way countryside.
The next day takes you to Keswick. Groups have the choice of Bowderstone Bothy (recognised groups only), Hawes End Centre and the Coach House at Old Windebrow or if they fancy going further afield to the Carlisle Diocesean Youth Centre. Small groups on individuals can stay at Denton House. Indivudals are welcome at Catbells or Dinah Hoggas Camping Barns if they are bringing their own sleeping equipment.
Cumbria Way walkers should really take the opportunity to stay at Skiddaw House Hostel high on the side of Skiddaw mountain. This hostel may be totally off grid but it does not stint on comfort and hospitality. Don’t forget to stock up on provisions in Keswick before you set off though as it is self- catering only. The Whitehorse Inn Bunkhouse is a catered option but a little off the route.
The northern section of the Cumbria Way is really only catered for by Hudscales Camping Barn which does require visitors to bring their own sleeping bags and mats. For the less intrepid there are a number of B&Bs etc on the Long Distance Walkers website page for the route.
The final day brings you down from the high fells into the Eden Valley and Carlisle where the staff at Carlisle City hostel will make individuals and groups alike very welcome after their long adventure.
The table below shows all the accommodation in the Independent Hostel Guide which is on or within 5km (3miles) of the route.
|Hostel name||Distance along route (S-N) km + distance from route||miles incl. distance from route||Group only?||Bedding provided||Meals provided?||Food available locally?|
|Lowick School Bunkhouse||10||6||yes||no||no||yes|
|Fell End Camping Barn||13 + 2||9||no||no||no||no|
|High Wray Basecamp||29 + 4||21||yes||no||no||no|
|Thorney How Hostel||37+3||25||no||yes||yes||yes|
|Grasmere Hostel||37+4||26||no||yes||yes breakfast only||yes|
|Great Langdale Bunkhouse||41||26||no||yes||no||yes|
|Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn||53||33||no||no||no||yes|
|Hawes End Centre||62||39||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Catbells Camping Barn||62||39||no||no||no||yes|
|The Coach House at Old Windebrowe||67||42||yes||yes||no||yes|
|Carlisle Diocesean Youth Centre||67+4||44||yes||no||no||no|
|Skiddaw House Hostel||74||46||no||yes||no||no|
|White Horse Inn Bunkhouse||71+5||48||no||yes||yes||yes|
|Hudscales Camping Barn||86||54||no||no||no||yes|
|Carlisle City Hostel||111||69||no||yes||yes||yes|
Hostels and Bunkhouses on the Cumbria Way
Grange, Keswick, CA12 5XABowderstone Bunkhouse is situated along the Borrowdale Valley by the famous Bowderstone – a massive boulder that has lain precariously on one side for the last 10,000 years! It has a kitchen, accessible shower room and communal area, plus running water, electricity and drainage, but linen and mattresses not provided. Please note, Bowderstone Bunkhouse is only for use by clubs, educational groups or other organisations such as the Scouts, as it is on National Trust land and has certain restrictions to its use.
Lowside Farm, Troutbeck, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0SXNestling at the foot of Blencathra, with paths to the mountains from the doorstep Lowside Farm Camping Barn & Pods are your perfect Lake District base. Sleeping groups of up to 14, the newly converted camping barn is modern & comfortable, There are also 6x4 berth luxury camping pods, providing extra accommodation for larger groups, older family members and those with small chilldren. All bedding is provided.
School Road, Bassenthwaite, Keswick, CA12 4QJRefurbished to a very high standard, the Parish Room is a great base for outdoors enthusiasts to explore Skiddaw, the Northern Lakes, Keswick and the Cumbrian coast. There is a modern well-equipped kitchen, large hall, meeting room with sofa and large Freeview TV. There is also disabled access throughout. Separate male/female toilets and two shower rooms. Bring your own beds, bedding and towels. Free WiFi. Sorry no stag/hen parties.
Thorney How, Off Helm Close & Easedale Rd, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9QWThorney How offers clean, comfortable accommodation in Grasmere. Family-run and welcoming it provides en suite, simple B&B and self-catering. Close to the Coast to Coast path, local village and lake.Your perfect Lake District base. A bar, restaurant and spacious grounds complete the experience.
Penrith Road, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4JWDenton House is a purpose built hostel and outdoor centre in the Lake District offering bunkhouse accommodation. Warm and well equipped for self-catering, the centre was designed for groups with parking for 40 cars. A variety of outdoor activities can be arranged on site. There is equipment storage and access to the River Greta across the road.
Portinscale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5UEHawse End Centre sits at the head of the magnificent Borrowdale Valley on the shores of Derwentwater with easy access to Keswick via launch or lakeside walk. The house is a large, comfortable, country mansion, ideal for large groups, while the Cottage is more suited to smaller group, families and individuals. For the more adventurous there are two yurts with stunning views and transparent domes for star gazing. Catering & outdoor activities with instruction can be booked in advance.
Stonecroft, Borrowdale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5XBDinah Hoggus Camping Barn lies on the old Packhorse route to Watendlath on the edge of the village of Rosthwaite in the Borrowdale valley. For walkers it is perfectly located right on the Cumbria Way and the Coast to Coast walk. It sleeps 12 on mattresses (BYO sleeping bag) & has a cooking/dining area. Basic cooking equipment is provided and there's an electric shower. The pub and village shop are just 300m away.
36 Abbey Street, Carlisle, CA3 8TXCarlisle’s only independent hostel. Located on picturesque Abbey Street, the building is an old Georgian terrace accommodating up to 20 guests. There is a communal kitchen, lounge with TV, DVDs and book swap and a dining room. Free tea, coffee and WiFi in communal areas. Prices include basic breakfast. A great place from which to explore Carlisle, The Tuille House Museum,The Eden Valley, Hadrian’s Wall and more The staff look forward to welcoming you as their guest to the hostel and the city.
St John's-in-the-Vale, Keswick, Cumbria,CA12 4UBNear St John’s-in-the-Vale and just four miles from Keswick. The centre offers self-catering accommodation for groups with en suite bunkrooms and a recently refurbished common room with wood-burner. With amazing views and fell walking, climbing, orienteering and cycling on the doorstep. Perfect for a group retreat, large family get-together or field trips. BYO sleeping bag, pillowcase and towel.
Keswick, CA12 4NTSituated on the outskirts of Keswick, the Tithe Barn sleeps up to 20 people in 10 rooms and incorporates a kitchen, dining area & lounge. Fully accessible there is parking and an outside south-facing seating area. To the rear there's a shared utility room with washing machine, tumble dryer and drying racks. All the amenities of Keswick are 5 minutes away by car or 20 minutes by foot or wheelchair. Bed linen & mattresses provided.
High Wray, Ambleside, Cumbria, Lake District. LA22 0JESituated in the heart of South Lakeland, in secluded woodland, just 4 miles from the popular tourist village of Ambleside, High Wray Basecamp provides an ideal base for groups wishing to explore the Lake District. Local attractions include rambling, fell walking, climbing and water sports. The Basecamp ranger will happily assist with information on local walks and activities. The Longland block has two dormitories each sleeping 8, while the Acland block has two dormitories sleeping 10 each.
Elterwater, Ambleside LA22 9HXLocated in the peaceful village of Elterwater, in the Langdale valley, 15 mins' drive from Ambleside. The area has many walks for people of all abilities, from gentle riverside meanders to the challenge presented by the Langdale Pikes, Bowfell and Scafell. Pubs, shops and other amenities are nearby. The area is popular for both on and off-road cycling, rock climbing and other outdoor activities. An ideal overnight stop on the Cumbria Way.
Great Langdale, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9JUGreat Langdale Bunkhouse is situated amidst some of the finest mountain scenery in England with access to mountain biking, cycling, walking, fell running and climbing. The newly renovated bunkhouse has 20 single beds divided into 3 twin rooms, one room of 6 and one room of 8 (all bunk beds). The rooms are simple but comfortable and each room has a double plug socket. The bunkhouse has biomass central heating throughout so its toasty warm with an endless supply of hot water with powerful showers.
Bassenthwaite, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4QXThe highest hostel in Britain! Escape the crowds at this remote mountain hostel. No roads, no other buildings, no phone signal, just views of beautiful mountain wilderness. But there’s no need to compromise on comfort, with wood burning stoves, hot showers, a well-stocked bar and full bedding provided. An easy walk or mountain bike ride from Keswick or Threlkeld.
The White Horse Inn, Scales, Nr Threlkeld, Keswick, CA12 4SYThe White Horse Inn has 2 bunkhouses in the converted stables of this traditional Lake District inn at the foot of Blencathra. Guests are welcome in the Inn which has great pub food, open fires, local ales and is open from 11am to 11pm. Each bunkhouse has a basic kitchen, dining area and bunkrooms sleeping between 4 and 6. Paths to the mountains from the garden & the C2C route passes the door.
118-120 Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4HEKendal Hostel, a Georgian townhouse in the historic market town of Kendal, is next to the well known Brewery Arts Centre and only a stone's throw from the town centre. Facilities include 13 bedrooms for up to 66 guests, kitchen, lounge, dining room, bike shed and FREE WiFi. Single/double/family/group rooms plus mixed & single sex dorms.
Lowick Green, Ulverston, LA12 8EBWithin the old primary school at Lowick Green, nestled between Coniston (4 miles) and Ulverston, the bunkhouse has a lounge with wood-burning stove, large kitchen/dining room, great views of the mountains and an outdoor area with campfire. River Deep Mountain High Activity Centre provides a wide variety of outdoor activities. Group and family packages include activities in the price.
Thornthwaite Farm, Woodland, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria, LA20 6DFFell End is a traditional 18th century Lakeland stone barn, located within its own grass courtyard approximately ½ mile from the farm. It is within easy distance of Coniston (6 miles) and the Duddon Valley (5 miles). Come and stay and witness the star filled skies, a truly breathtaking sight. Experience the magical sound of silence in the tranquil and calming Fell End Barn. Bring your own cooking equipment, torches, bedding and mat.