Home to England's biggest lakes and tallest mountains, the Lake District is an area of electrifying natural beauty and as such, has recently become a World Heritage Site. It has inspired numerous writers, artists and poets and you will not fail to fall under its magical spell either as you pedal its stunning length from serene Lake Bassenthwaite in the north to magnificent Lake Windermere in the south.

This is a strenuous cycling holiday with an utterly staggering ride we are proud to have created, which we want you all to enjoy, and as a result we are recommending electric bikes which are just perfect for this terrain. Our Electric Lakes tour will enable you to cruise not only by steam boat on Ullswater, by launch on Coniston Water and by steam train to Windermere, but also to cruise on two wheels past fells and crags, hill hamlets and hidden valleys, sheep clad slopes and of course, dreamy lake shores too. Much of the route is off the beaten track, through stunning woods, past cosy inns and over fords to small breweries and tiny water mills. Enjoy wonderful gardens, a Georgian town, an intriguing castle, the homes of Ruskin, Wordsworth and Potter, a vibrant food scene and stays in 4 different locations from tranquil lake side to ancient market town and buzzing waterfront. No wonder we call it Electric Lakes!



Holiday details

Price

Classic

from £1,590 per person

Luxury

from £2,580 per person

Based on two people sharing a room

What’s included?

Transfers on days 3,4 and 5. Steam boat on day 4 and steam train on day 8.  See what’s included as standard

Duration

8 nights

Start & Finish

Tour starts Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays near Lake Bassenthwaite and ends in Bowness on Windermere. Bassenthwaite is near Carlisle and Penrith stations and is servd by Glasgow, Manchester and Carlisle airports. Bowness is close to Windermere station.

Hotels

Classic

2 inns, a Victorian guest house and a small, lakeside hotel

Luxury

4 country house hotels, all 4 star or above

Holiday type

Self-guided

This tour is priced without a guide and you are free to explore on your own.  If you would like a guide for part or all of your trip, we are happy to provide a knowledgeable, local guide

Activity level

Not so gentle cycling. More info...

Electric bikes

Available and recommended

Mileage

3 days of cycling 16 - 24 miles (26 to 38 km) with a further 3 days of optional cycling and 1 day of optional walking

Terrain

Hilly every day

Traffic-free

15% on hard surfaced cycle paths with the rest on quiet back roads and a one mile section of A road.





Itinerary day-by-day


Classic & Luxury

  1. 1. Day one

    Arrive Lake Bassenthwaite

    Arrive at Lake Bassenthwaite and check into your hotel for the next two nights, located close to this stunning lake - the most northerly in the Lake District area.

  2. 2. Day two

    Bassenthwaite to Cockermouth and back

    Our host will meet your after breakfast with your cycling equipment and brief you on the tour ahead which begins with a glimpse of the quiet and beautiful northern fells and villages of the Lake District, giving great views of the 4 mile length of Lake Bassenthwaite. This area was inspirational for Wordsworth who lived as a child in Cockermouth. Visit his home there and explore this wonderful Georgian town, also home to Jennings brewery and an iconic ironmongers! The 1450 feet of climbing today then takes you across the River Derwent, past forest and around Binsey Fell before dropping down to rural Bassenthwaite village and on to your hotel.

    22 miles (35 km)

  3. 3. Day three

    Bassenthwaite to Ullswater

    Skiddaw is one of the largest fells in the Lake District at over 3,000 feet high and your ride today takes you around its base and those of High Pike and Saddlback with some fascinating stops enroute. There are huge vistas with towering mountains and rugged moors but also a handful of cosy villages sheltering old mills, co operative pubs and unique local shops. With 1,800 feet of ascent, gurgling streams, tiny gated roads and stone walls will lead you to a village inn where we will meet you and transfer you to Glenridding on the shore of Ullswater lake for your next two nights.

    24 miles (38 km)

  4. 4. Day four

    Enjoy Ullswater

    At 9 miles long, you have the opportunity to explore marvellous Ullswater lake by steamer with a saddle free day. Hop on the boat, close by your hotel and alight at the village of Pooley Bridge at the far end of the lake. From here we suggest a walk taking you above the lake to an unspoilt village housing a pottery, listed garden and potting shed tea room. Walking on along the river bank you can explore the abandoned and intriguing castle of Lowther which also boasts a well maintained garden. We transfer you back to Pooley Bridge for the return steamer ride to Glenridding.

    5 miles (8 km)

  5. 5. Day five

    Ullswater to Ambleside

    After a short transfer back to your bike, your ride south through the heart of the Lake District involves 1200 feet of ascent and is nothing other than stunning. With fells and pikes to your left and right, the valley road leads you to the waters edge of Thirlmere. After riding its tranquil length, with views of Helvellyn over the water, you cross the pass of Dunmail Raise and freewheel through sheep clad slopes into Grasmere, one of the Lake District's most popular villages, where Wordsworth based himself. Beyond lies idyllic traffic free cycling along the shores of Grasmere and the wooded slopes of Rydal Water, with a gentle pedal into the vibrant town of Ambleside, where you will spend the next two nights.

    19 miles (30 km)

  6. 6. Day six

    Ambleside to Coniston and back

    Here's the most challenging day but perhaps the most rewarding. See a different landscape, full of variety, cycle paths and short, steep slopes with 1,900 feet of ascent. Pedal along the twisting Brathay valley dotted with unexpected foodie delights and picturesque hamlets of stone cottages. Avoid the ford as you cross the river at Little Langdale into mounds of quarried granite leading to an isolated, idyllic farm. Follow the pretty valley and wooded slopes beyond to arrive in Coniston. This small village sits on huge Coniston Water which you can cross by boat to explore the fine house and garden where Ruskin lived and to admire the world water speed records set by Campbell in his boat Bluebird. Your return to Ambleside will not match his pace and follows the outward route!

    24 miles (38 km)

  7. 7. Day seven

    Ambleside to Bowness on Windermere

    Discover Beatrix Potter's Lake District today as you head for Lake Windermere, riding traffic free through acres of woods and along the shores of the lake - the largest in England, perhaps taking in Wray Castle. There's a total of 1200 feet of ascent today with a steep hill to climb to visit Hill Top, once owned by the author and full of her favourite things with vistas across the farmland and countryside she loved and bought to preserve. Here is her heart and soul and Hawkshead village a few miles beyond, quaint but crowded, houses further works of her art. Ride around Esthwaite Water to find her Pigling Bland corner before freewheeling down to the ferry and crossing Windermere. Your stay for the last two nights is in Bowness where numerous ferries allow you options to explore.

    17 miles (27 km)

  8. 8. Day eight

    Bowness to Lakeside and back

    The final day of cycling takes you to the southern edge of the Lakes area, to tidal Greenodd sands through the softer landscape around Lake Windermere, the most southerly lake. With a foot ferry to start the day, and 1200 feet of ascent, you pedal through glorious beech woods with a bobbin mill or a private garden to entice you off the backroads. Villages are sparse but there are some lovely inns before you cycle your last mile to Haverthwaite where you take the steam train and a short puffing ride to Lakeside village. Here you board a boat for the tour finale -a tranquil cruise on majestic Lake Windermere. Lie back and pat yourself on the back as you've just cycled the full length of these electric lakes!

    8 or 18 miles (13 or 29 km)

  9. 9. Day nine

    Depart Bowness on Windermere

    Depart at your leisure today. Bowness has a mainline station.