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).
Hostels and Bunkhouses on the Cumbria Way
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. and on the Cumbria Way Walk 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 regualr and fast X6 bus. 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. The route continues to the official end of day one at Coniston. Smaller groups and individuals can catch the the X6 bus from Coniston to Kendal and spend a 2nd night at Kendal Hostel which gives the option of walking without a pack on the first day. Or for those happy to carry bedding Fell End Camping Barn is also in the Coniston area. Groups as small as 8 can stay at High Wray Basecamp north of Coniston and there are a couple of YHA Hostels near Coniston. 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. Small groups and individuals can stay at Denton House in Keswick. Groups have the choice of Hawes End Centre and Bowderstone Bothy (recognised groups only). Individuals 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 Lonscale Centre at Blencathra and the Whitehorse Inn Bunkhouse (a little off route) also catered for this night.
The northern section of the Cumbria Way is really only catered for by Caldbeck Glamping Barns, which have an ideal location but often ask for a minimum of 2 nights booking.
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.
Distance along route (S-N) km + distance from route