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Route Summary

Beginning and ending in the bustling town of Ambleside, A Tour of the Lake District is a circular, customisable route that showcases the very best that the Lake District National Park has to offer.

CC Lutmans CC David Iliff

Packed with high mountains, deep valleys, vast lakes, quaint towns and curious landmarks, this route journeys around the UK’s largest National Park, and provides cyclists with a challenging ride amidst varied terrain, fascinating history and stunning scenery.

Although the itinerary is restricted to five days of cycling, there are two possible route options for each day – with one option being less challenging than the other – allowing you to fully customise your holiday as you go along and tailor it to the exact abilities of you and your group.

Option A (Moderate) Option B (Hard)
Day 1: Ambleside - Troutbeck 21 miles / 35 km 46 miles / 75 km
Day 2: Troutbeck - Keswick 9 miles / 14 km 29 miles / 46 km
Day 3: Keswick - Cockermouth 32 miles / 51 km 28 miles / 44 km
Day 4: Cockermouth - Eskdale Green 35 miles / 56 km 41 miles / 65 km
Day 5: Eskdale Green - Ambleside 22 miles / 35 km 36 miles / 57 km


Ambleside is an ideal base for exploring other parts of the Lake District, which is why this route both starts and ends here. A short trip out of the town will take you to Stock Ghyll Force, a spectacular 70-foot waterfall which is a must-see for those interested in the local geography, along with the 17th Century Bridge House, owned by the National Trust and one of the most photographed scenes in Lakeland.

CC Lake Windermere. By Nick Rowland CC Stock Ghyll force. By Mark Fosh CC Bridge House. By Malc McDonald

Keswick, meanwhile, is the largest tourist hub in the northern Lake District, and has plenty to see and do. If you want a sneak peek along the route, don't forget to try the panoramic viewfinder at the top of Crosthwaite Church.

CC Helvellyn. By Chris Ibbotson CC Bassenthwaite Morning. By James Whitesmith CC Ullswater. By Claire

Aside from the many beautiful towns and villages along the route, the Lake District boasts some of the finest, most varied terrain in the UK. The craggy fells of Scafell Pike, Helvellyn, and Coniston Old Man can be spotted from the path, as well as the iconic waters of Windermere, Bassenthwaite and Ullswater, amongst many other fantastic points of interest.

Abundant Nature and Wildlife

The Lake District is home to a vast array of wonderful animals, many being very rare and almost impossible to find anywhere else in the UK. Bird spotters will delight in the possibility of catching a glimpse of a buzzard, eagle or osprey, as well as countless other species that reside here.

Perhaps one of the rarest species that can be found in the Lake District is the red squirrel, which lives in the woodlands and northern parts of the area. Spotting one of these lively creatures is sure to add an extra special memory to your cycling holiday, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

As well as the wonderful variety of animals, the Lake District also plays host to lots of beautiful plant life, including bright daffodils, pretty primroses and the protected juniper. The Lake District National Park contains over a thousand Sites of Special Scientific Interest, so there will always be something amazing to discover.

Route profile

Moderate Route

Distance: 191 km (119.5 miles)
Ascent: 4180 m
Highest Point: 465 m


Hard Route

Distance: 287 km (178 miles)
Ascent: 4720 m
Highest Point: 435 m



  • Main roads
  • Cycling lanes
  • Minor roads
  • Cycle paths

CC Honister Hause by Matthew Robey CC Toward Ullswater by Amii & David CC Hardknott Pass by Barney Moss

There are no off-road sections along this route, which follows quieter, well-laid roads where possible and should make for smooth, pleasant cycling. Main roads are occasionally used, so confidence in cycling near moving traffic is required.

Route NEWS

12/06/2017 Update
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Route Details

Length: 119.5 miles / 191 km (Moderate Route)
178 miles / 287 km (Hard Route)
Start & end: Ambleside
Season: 1st April to 31st October


GRADE more info more info  
C-TLD1 6 nights, 5 days £435 £580 Moderate More Info Book Now

The above itineraries show our preferred overnight stops. If accommodation is unavailable at any of these locations, we may alter the itinerary slightly.

Please note that if you choose not to book luggage transfers for your holiday, you must make sure that you are able to carry all of your luggage with you for the duration of the holiday, whether this be via the use of panniers or any other method you wish. Ensure that you test the weight of your luggage while riding well in advance, so that you are comfortable transporting your own luggage during your holiday. We particularly recommend booking mountain biking holidays with lugagge transfers included.

Pricing Information

Our prices are based upon two people sharing a room. If you are riding on your own, or are part of a group, but require a room of your own, one of the following charges applies:

  • Solo rider supplement: £45 per person / per night
  • Single supplement: £20 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

  • Extra night (Standard) : £50 per person / per night

What's Included

  • Accommodation in en-suite rooms with private bathrooms (where available) in selected hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • A comprehensive information pack containing maps and/or guide books, a full itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, information about facilities and places of interest along the trail and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
  • Emergency assistance.

Travel Information

Detailed travel information is sent to you in your holiday pack, but we have provided a summary below.

By Air
The most convenient major city and international airport is Manchester.

By Rail
The nearest railway station to the start/end of the route (Ambleside) is Windermere (about 4 miles away).

From London - Trains run regularly between Heathrow Airport and Windermere. Trains also run regularly between Gatwick Airport and Windermere.

Please note that most train lines will allow for bikes to be taken on board. We advise that you check on as you may need to book a space for your bike or there may be a limit as to how many bikes the train can store.

By Car
For advice on driving to the start of the trail, please visit which has a very useful route planner.

Please note that most buses in the UK are unable to store bikes on board so we would recommend avoiding this form of transport.

Return to Start
This is a circular route starting and ending in Ambleside.

Extra Night / Rest Day

Because there is so much to see and experience within the Lake District, you may wish to consider adding in a couple of extra nights during your cycling holiday, in order to fully explore this fantastic corner of the UK and discover everything it has to offer.

As this circular route both begins and ends in Ambleside, you could add an extra night or two to the beginning or end of your cycling holiday and spend some time enjoying this fabulous tourist resort. Along with the wide range of shops and restaurants available, Ambleside also boasts plenty of historical landmarks to discover, including St Mary's Church made with local 'blue' stone and complete with sandstone spire, and the Galava Roman Fort built to defend against invasions by the Picts and the Scots.

The village of Troutbeck is a good choice for an extra night if you're looking for a quiet retreat in which to relax before continuing on your journey. There is plenty of local history to discover, such as Troutbeck Park Farm where Beatrix Potter used to live, and Jesus Church which boasts wonderful pre-raphaelite window designs. You may also want to visit nearby Windermere and Bowness; both bustling towns full of attractions, eateries and amenities to satisfy all needs, including several outdoor and cycling shops should your kit or bike require any top-ups or repairs.

The old market town of Keswick is another good choice for an extra night, particularly if you are looking for a sports shop to refresh your cycling kit. This bustling little town is the North Lakes' most popular holiday and day trip destination, with plenty of shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants to enjoy. There are regular boat trips on Derwentwater and a number of great short trails to discover, including a walk to the mystical Castlerigg Stone Circle or a climb up Skiddaw, the fourth highest mountain in England.

Cockermouth is also great for an extra night's stay. Those needing some recovery time from cycling have a choice of leisure centres and spas to help ease sore muscles. There are plenty of outdoor and cycling shops available here too, amongst other speciality shops and eateries to suit all tastes. Cockermouth has a range of both gentle attractions - such as museums, memorial gardens and historical landmarks such as Cockermouth Castle - and active pursuits - including horse riding, rowing and golf - ensuring everyone in your group will be entertained and well taken care of.

Lastly, Eskdale Green is a small village that carries a wealth of its own history, and as such is a great place for a rest day. The iconic La'al Ratty Narrow Gauge Railway passes through the village, making this the perfect location for train spotters, while St Bega's Church, the Gatehouse and the Japanese Garden would greatly appeal to history-seekers. If you fancy learning more about the valley of Eskdale, the neighbouring villages of Boot and Ravenglass are not far away, and neither are Muncaster Castle or the last working Corn Mill of the Lake District.



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GRADE 1: Beginner

Daily distance: approx. 10 – 20 miles / 16 – 32 km
These itineraries are perfect for beginner cyclists, families or explorers eager to sight-see along the route. Expect plenty of time to relax along the way thanks to short-mileage days, with barely a hill in sight!

GRADE 2: Easy

Daily distance: approx. 15 – 25 miles / 24 – 40 km
With longer-mileage days, these itineraries will suit occasional riders who want a bit more of a challenge. As they still steer clear of steeper or more frequent climbs, they're perfect for quick riding, so you can still make plenty of time for lunch or a spot of exploration.

GRADE 3: Moderate

Daily distance: approx. 20 – 40 miles / 32 – 64 km
Longer daily distances team with a few challenging sections on these itineraries, ideal for regular cyclists confident in their fitness. Exploration stops may require an extra rest day - but there should still be time for a relaxing lunch!

GRADE 4: Hard

Daily distance: approx. 25 – 50 miles / 40 – 80 km
If you're looking to test your abilities as a keen cyclist, these are the itineraries for you. The daily mileages aren't just high, they may also include tough or frequent climbs. Get ready to pedal hard and push yourself!

GRADE 5: Epic

Daily distance: approx. 50 miles + / 80 km +
For these itineraries, you're going to need previous experience cycling long distances over consecutive days. Each is designed to test your strength and your stamina, with high mileage days and tough, frequent climbs.

*** Occasionally our itineraries can straddle between two levels of difficulty, such as 'Easy-Moderate' or 'Hard-Epic' etc. This can be for a number of reasons, such as if there is a wide range of distances between the days of the itinerary, or if the distances are ‘Easy’ but the hills and terrain involved are a bit tricky and more ‘moderate’ etc. If you require more information about any of our itineraries, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will be more than happy to offer advice and guidance.