This outstanding loop encompasses some of the lesser-known corners of Cumbria and takes you away from the crowds. It’s a journey through an ever-changing landscape, circling the Lake District with wonderful views of iconic mountain tops, awe-inspiring dales, and crystal-clear waters.
Distance: 315 km (195 miles)
Total climbing: 4,891m
Starting point: Penrith
Finish point: Penrith
Difficulty Rating: ***** (click here for more details)
William Wordsworth is one of Britain’s most legendary romantic poets and this lovely Georgian townhouse house in which he was born has been lovingly restored to transport visitors back 250 years and experience life in 18th century Cumbria.
This enchanting castle dates back almost 1,000 years and is set in a 3,000-acre estate. It was once owned by Lord Greystoke whom Tarzan was based upon. Although not open to the public, it offers a great photo opportunity.
One of the oldest and longest narrow-gauge heritage railways in England which steams through the beautiful Lake District National Park and into the mountains, taking in spectacular views along the way.
Lying at the foot of England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, Wastwater is England's deepest lake. Its idyllic setting has been voted 'Britain's Favourite View', and when you visit, you’ll realise why.
The story of Cartmel Priory is 800 years in the making and a visit to this beautiful landmark, located in a picture-postcard village, will allow you to explore ancient architecture containing hidden motifs and carvings in a truly idyllic setting.
Another must-see in Cartmel, Holker Hall is regarded as one of the finest houses in the South Lake District. Open to the public, it retains a fine collection of art and antique furniture, and its gardens were once voted ‘among the best in the world’ by the Good Gardens Guide.
This imposing medieval mansion houses some of the finest Elizabethan overmantels in the country and stands in a 1,600-acre estate featuring rich and beautifully landscaped gardens.
This Victorian mill, set in the pretty market town of Sedbergh, is a haven for art where you can peruse artists’ studios, visit craft exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations and galleries, and learn all about the building’s industrial heritage.
This adventure starts in Penrith and you’ll pass Greystoke Castle as you climb to the highest point on the route at Berrier. As you press on, you’ll be treated to stunning views of iconic fells such as Blencathra and Skiddaw, and once you’ve passed through Cockermouth – the birthplace of William Wordsworth – you’ll skirt Loweswater and Crummock Water before heading through wild and remote moorland and some of the Lakes’ least visited yet most picturesque valleys.
The high fells eventually make way for the lowlands of the Furness Peninsular and Morecambe Bay before you head inland to Kirby Lonsdale, passing Sizergh Castle along the way, and reach the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales. You’ll encounter the delightful climb up Barbondale (and an equally enjoyable descent off it) before passing through Sedbergh and up the Lune Valley on the western flanks of the Howgills before the landscape opens out again north of Tebay with breath-taking views of Great Asby Scar and Little Asby Common.
Next up is the bustling market town of Appleby, home to a fine collection of historic buildings, and you’ll pass through a procession of pretty hamlets along the Eden Valley before one last test awaits you on Beacon Hill before a triumphant descent back into Penrith.