Cumbria Way: Hostels and Bunkhouses

Self catering bunkhouses & hostels
cumbria way signpost in Langdale Valley

The Cumbria Way walking route is a 70 mile (112km) linear route through the heart of the Lake District.

The route links Ulvaston 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.

Hostels and Bunkhouses on the Cumbria Way
Click markers to view hostels and bunkhouses

  • Profile picture of Hawse End Centre

    Hawse End Centre

    Hawse 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.

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  • Profile picture of Skiddaw House

    Skiddaw House

    The highest hostel in Britain! Escape the crowds at this remote mountain hostel. No roads, no other buildings, and no phone signal; just uninterrupted 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 your bed made up for you. We're half way up Skiddaw but an easy walk or mountain bike ride from Keswick or Threlkeld.

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  • Profile picture of Bowderstone Bothy

    Bowderstone Bothy

    The Bowderstone Bothy 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, the Bowderstone Bothy 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.

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  • Profile picture of Great Langdale Bunkhouse

    Great Langdale Bunkhouse

    Great Langdale Bunkhouse offers simple, clean and welcoming accommodation. Situated amidst some of the finest mountain scenery in England with access to mountain biking, cycling, walking, fell running and climbing. The 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.

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  • Profile picture of Fell End Camping Barn

    Fell End Camping Barn

    Fell 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 'Sound of Silence' in the tranquil and calming Fell End Barn. BYO your own cooking equipment, torches, bedding and mat.

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  • Profile picture of Catbells Camping Barn

    Catbells Camping Barn

    Catbells Camping Barns sits on the slopes of Catbells in the tranquil Newlands Valley, with magnificent views over the Lake District. The Cumberland Way passes through the farmyard. Keswick is only 4 miles away and both Borrowdale and Buttermere are within walking distance. The camping barn has mattresses, bring your own sleeping bag, and is heated with a multi-fuel stove (not suitable for cooking). In the adjacent building is a toilet and a cooking area BYO stove and equipment). It is possible to walk to a pub which serves food.

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  • Profile picture of The Coach House at Old Windebrowe

    The Coach House at Old Windebrowe

    Situated on the outskirts of Keswick. the dog friendly Coach House sleeps up to 14 people in 2 dormitoriesand incorporates a kitchen, dining area and lounge. To the front there is parking and an outside south-facing seating area in the cobbled area and to the rear 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. Bed linen & mattresses provided.

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  • Profile picture of High Wray Basecamp

    High Wray Basecamp

    Situated in the heart of South Lakeland, in secluded woodland, 4 miles from the 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 on local walks and activities. The Longland block has two dormitories each sleeping 8, while the Acland block has two dormitories sleeping 10 each.

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  • Profile picture of Thorney How

    Thorney How

    Thorney How offers clean, comfortable accommodation in Grasmere. Family-run and welcoming it provides en suite, B&B and self-catering accommodation. Close to the Coast to Coast path, local village and lake it is your perfect Lake District base. A bar, restaurant and spacious grounds complete the experience.

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  • Profile picture of Carlisle Diocesan Youth Centre

    Carlisle Diocesan Youth Centre

    Near St John's-in-the-Vale and just four miles from Keswick. The centre offers flexible accommodation for groups in modern en suite bunkrooms. With fell walking, climbing, orienteering, geo-caching and cycling on the doorstep and amazing views from the two buildings. Perfect for a group retreat, large family get-together or field trips. The buildings can be hire separately or together. BYO sleeping bag, pillowcase and towel.

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  • Profile picture of Lowick School Bunkhouse

    Lowick School Bunkhouse

    Within the old primary school at Lowick Green, which is 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.

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  • Profile picture of Denton House

    Denton House

    Denton 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.

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  • Profile picture of Elterwater Hostel

    Elterwater Hostel

    Located 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.

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  • Profile picture of Carlisle City Hostel

    Carlisle City Hostel

    Carlisle'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 MuseumThe Eden Valley, Hadrien's Wall and more The staff look forward to welcoming you as their guest to hostel and the city.

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  • Profile picture of Hudscales Camping Barn

    Hudscales Camping Barn

    Hudscales Camping Barn perches at 1000ft on the northern-most flank of the Lakeland Fells. It overlooks the villages of Caldbeck and Hesket Newmarket and is on the Cumbria Way. BYO sleeping bags, mats, stove & utensils. There is a separate toilet and wash basin and a metered shower. A wood-burning stove provides added comfort (logs extra), there is electric lighting plus metered power points, (electric heaters are provided if required). There's also a games room with pool table/dart board.

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  • Profile picture of Grasmere Hostel

    Grasmere Hostel

    This small deluxe 4* hostel, is situated on a farm in the heart of the Lake District National Park and a short stroll from the idyllic village of Grasmere. It is ideal for individuals, couples, families and groups, especially if you want sole use for a club, school or special event. For groups requiring more space, 4 luxury cottages and a Micro Lodge Pod are also available. The hostel, recommended by the Guardian and the Rough Guide, has first class facilities including a sauna.

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  • Profile picture of Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn

    Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn

    Dinah 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.

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  • Profile picture of The White Horse Inn Bunkhouse

    The White Horse Inn Bunkhouse

    The White Horse Inn has 2 bunkhouses, the stables of this traditional Lake District inn at the foot of Blencathra. Guests are welcome to socialise 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.

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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 stay in YHA accommodation in Coniston, however it is possible to do the whole route using independent hostels and bunkhouses only over 6 days.

Day 1

The Cumbria Way starts in the market town on Ulvaston on Morecombe Bay.  There are no independent hostels in the town but walkers could spend the night before the start at Arnside Independent Hostel which is just 25 minutes away by regular train.  On leaving Ulvaston the route winds its way through lowland pasture until it enters the Lake District National Park at Gouthwaite. 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 and food Fell End Camping Barn is also not far from here. Groups as small as 8 can stay at High Wray Basecamp. Individuals who want to use more traditional hostels may want to keep on past Coniston Lake to Coniston village where there are a couple of YHA options (this is a 25km 15 mile first day). 

Day 2

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.

Cumbria Way near to Elterwater
Langdale Valley section of the Cumbria Way near Elterwater Hostel, ©️Pete Savin

Day 3

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 or Catbells or Dinah Hoggas Camping Barns if they are bringing their own sleeping equipment. 

Day 4

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. 

Day 5

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. 

Day 6

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
Elterwater Hostel 36 23 no yes yes yes
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
Bowderstone Bothy 56 35 yes no no no
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
Denton House 67 42 no yes yes 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