Classic & Luxury itinerary day-by-day
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. 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. 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. Day four
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. 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. 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. 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 (26 km)
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)
gurgling streams, tiny gated roads and stone walls will lead you to a village inn