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From Ilkley to the dramatic Lake District through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales with its plethora of tiny villages, this walk straddles attractive Wharfedale, crossing the Pennine watershed in sight of Yorkshire’s ‘Three Peaks. Take in Dentdale and Sedbergh, walking the banks of rivers, through ancient woods and pastureland into the Lake District.

At times isolated, but always utterly beautiful, enjoy a landscape much unchanged for centuries, but with remnants of the cotton and wool mills of the industrial revolution and non-conformist chapels that once dotted this land. Admire wonderful dry stonewalls, churches and monuments, manor houses, Roman monuments, suspension bridges and viaducts set in a stunning and rugged landscape. To all this we have added 2 night stays in characterful and small, luxury hotels that represent the charm of the Dales we love so much.



Holiday details

Price

Luxury

from £2,780 per person
For a Sunday start. Other start days maybe possible

What’s included?

The luxury tour includes transfers at the beginning and end of each day to and from your hotel.  See what’s included as standard

Duration

9 nights

Start & Finish

Starts Sundays from Ilkley. Trains run from London Kings Cross to Ilkley via Leeds, we will meet you at Ilkley station and transfer you to your first hotel. Tour finishes at Bowness-on-Windermere with an onward transfer to Oxenholme station.

Hotels

Luxury

3 and 4 star country house hotels and a boutique luxury B&B

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 walking. More info...

Mileage

7 days of walking 7 - 13 miles (11-21 km)

Terrain

Some gentle hills

Traffic-free

99%

Options

  • extend your walking through the Lake District by including some of our Quintessential Lake District tour
  • hop on a train at the end of the trip and include a walk or tour in Scotland


Itinerary day-by-day


Luxury

  1. 1. Day one

    Arrive in the Yorkshire Dales

    We will transfer you from the local station to your hotel, where you will spend the next two nights. Your friendly local host will meet you and brief you on your walk, answering any questions that you may have. Breathe in that clear Yorkshire air and prepare yourself for a stunning week’s walking.

  2. 2. Day two

    Ilkley to Bolton Abbey

    Transfer to Ilkley for the start of the walk at The Old Bridge. Dominated by Ilkley Moor, the village of Ilkley, an important centre since the Bronze Age, is a fitting start for your walk of the Dales Way. Spend a moment exploring attractive Ilkley before following the River Wharf past old mills and Quaker houses to the remains of Bolton Priory, closed by Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. Spend time exploring the ruins before walking back to your hotel.

    6 miles (9 km)

  3. 3. Day three

    Bolton Abbey to Grassington

    Walking on via Strid Wood, a naturalists paradise, sixty-two different species of bird are thought to nest here. Burnsall itself is attractive and an excellent example of a Dales village with a five-arched bridge, church and village green; a perfect place for lunch. Follow the banks of the river through Loup Scar, onto Grassington and Buckden with excellent views of the Upper Dales from the summit of Conistone Pie. The path you’re walking is ancient and over a thousand years old. Admire the cascading Wharfe at Linton passing through Grassington with its attractive cobbled market square, once a centre for textiles and lead mining, where we will meet you at the end of the day.

    11 miles (18 km)

  4. 4. Day four

    Grassington to Buckden

    Start the day with a transfer back to Grassington, to walk through the jumbled up and sheltered village of Kettlewell heading for Starbotton with its seventeenth and eighteenth century houses which are lead-mining dominated. Head on to Buckden, the valley of the bucks with Wharfe Bridge, once named ‘Election Bridge’ as local politicians always promised to widen it come election time. We will meet you here at the Buck Inn to take you to your hotel for the next two nights.

    10 miles (16 km)

  5. 5. Day five

    Buckden to Ribblehead

    Returning to Buckden, you will need a picnic today as you walk on to Hubberholme where you can admire the oak rood loft in the Church of Saint Michael and All Angels. It is one of the few that have survived through the Reformation. You'll love the unique limestone beds at Beckermonds before walking on towards Oughtershaw and Cam Fell -a land untouched for hundreds of years comprising pastures and meadowlands. Pass over the highest point of the Dales Way, 1,705ft (520m), taking the Cam High Road, a prehistoric route developed by the Romans to attack the local Brigantes. Finish the day in sight of the jaw dropping 24 span Ribblehead Viaduct which stands out against the stark moorland.

    13 miles (21 km)

  6. 6. Day six

    Ribblehead to Dent

    Today is pretty again with fine views through the valleys of the beautiful Fells, the Vikings having cleared and settled this way. Enjoy a picnic once more today as refreshment stops are few along this delightfully isolated section of the route. Walking beside rivers into Dent, admire beautiful stone houses in this village, often described as a ‘terrestrial paradise.’ In the seventeenth and eighteenth century Dent was well known for its hand-knitting and we will meet you here.

    9 miles (14 km)

  7. 7. Day seven

    Dent to Sedbergh

    We will take you back to Dent this morning to continue your walk through charming meadows to Sedbergh, an attractive historic town with Saxon remains of a motte and bailey castle. From here you walk directly back to your hotel for the night. If you wish to walk on and back, do so, beside the River Rawthey and River Lune past the ‘Pepperpot’ through farmland to the Rivers Mint, Sprint and Kent with views to the Howgills. This is enchanting countryside.

    9.2 miles (15 km) with a further optional 6 miles (9 km)

  8. 8. Day eight

    Burneside to Bowness

    We transfer you across the M6 motorway to Burneside today for your walk to Staveley, settled between the River Gowan and the River Kent, the area surrounding the village settled over 6,000 years ago and a centre for the manufacture of bobbins in the nineteenth century. It’s a dramatic last day as you walk into the Lake District, sweet green pastureland and grassy knolls giving way to the magical beauty of the lakes. Congratulations you have walked the Dales Way!

    9 miles (14 km)

  9. 9. Day nine

    Bowness on Windermere

    Spend today in the Lake District celebrating your Dales Way walk, taking a boat on Lake Windermere and visiting Beatrix Potter’s home. There is so much to do here, and you are surrounded by the beauty of the mountains and lakes.

  10. 10. Day ten

    Depart

    Depart with a transfer to Oxenholme, your nearest railway station.