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).
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 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.
|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|
|Great Langdale Bunkhouse||41||26||no||yes||no||yes|
|Hawes End Centre||62||39||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Skiddaw House Hostel||74||46||no||yes||no||no|
|White Horse Inn Bunkhouse||71+5||48||no||yes||yes||yes|
|Caldbeck Glamping Barns||86||54||no||yes||no||yes|
|Carlisle City Hostel||111||69||no||yes||yes||yes|
Hostels and Bunkhouses on the Cumbria Way
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.
FSC Blencathra, Blease Road, Threlkeld, Keswick, Cumbria. CA12 4SGBeautifully situated on the south facing slopes of Blencathra just 1 mile out of the Lakeland village of Threlkeld, Lonscale is a new hostel offering group accommodation at the FSC Blencathra Centre. Groups of 14-26 can have sole use of this award winning eco-friendly accommodation. There are also 4 self catering cottages and a 110 bed educational centre on this site.
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.
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.
Lowick Green, Ulverston, LA12 8EBWithin the old primary school at Lowick Green, nestled between Coniston water(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.
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 & book swap and a dining room. Free tea, coffee and WiFi . Prices include a 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 & the city.
Caldbeck, Lake District, Cumbria, CA7 8DZOpening Summer 2020, Caldbeck Glamping accommodation is in the centre of Caldbeck Village close to Wainwright's Northern Fells. Opposite The Odd Fellows pub and close to the village store and craft centre. The self contained barns and cottage sleep 8, 4, 4, and 2 and there is also space for 2 tents. Caldbeck is a 25 minute drive from M6 motorway and right on The Cumbria Way walk and The Reivers Cycle route.
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.
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 uninterrupted beautiful mountain views. 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.
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.
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 65 guests, kitchen, lounge, dining room, bike shed and FREE WiFi. Single/double/family/group rooms plus mixed & single sex dorms.
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 bunkhouse has 18 single beds divided into 3 twin rooms and 2 rooms of six (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.
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.
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.