Following mainly low-level paths along valleys and over passes, the Cumbria Way is an excellent way for runners to explore the delights of the Lake District without the worry of more technical or wilder terrain.

The route cuts through classic Lakeland territory, including dramatic Langdale, much-mythologised Borrowdale, Derwent Water, Skiddaw Forest, Caldbeck and more.

This is the land of William Wordsworth and Alfred Wainwright, who called the fells his "magic mountains".

Cumbria Way Signpost

The Cumbria Way is the perfect choice for exploring England's most spectacular scenery and for those wanting an accessible challenge.

We also offer the Cumbria Way as a walking holiday, for those looking to enjoy this trail at a gentler pace. Click here to find out more.

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Map of the Cumbria Way

Route facts

  • Length 73 miles (117 km)
  • Ascent 9882 ft (3012 m)
  • High point 2159 ft (658 m)
  • Ascent per km 25.5 m
  • Start and Finish
  • Ulverston/Carlisle
  • Grade
  • Easy to Strenuous  
  • Season
  • 8th April to 14th October

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  • Great Langdale

    Great Langdale, taken by Larry Dildine.

  • Tarn Hows

    Stunning view of Tarn Hows.

  • View from Lowick Bridge Ulverston

    View from Lowick Bridge Ulverston, taken by Gabi Gimbel.

Trail profile

Cumbria Way Profile

Itineraries

3 nights
2 days running

Grade: Strenuous

Ulverston

57 km (35.5 miles) and 1722 m (5650 ft) ascent

Rosthwaite

60 km (37.5 miles) and 1316 m (4318 ft) ascent

Carlisle

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Tour code: R-CUMW1

Price £325 per person

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4 nights
3 days running

Grade: Challenging

Ulverston

25 km (15.5 miles) and 625 m (2051 ft) ascent

Coniston

44 km (27.5 miles) and 1282 m (4206 ft) ascent

Keswick

48 km (30 miles) and 1130 m (3707 ft) ascent

Carlisle

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Tour code: R-CUMW2

Price £380 per person

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5 nights
4 days running

Grade: Moderate

Ulverston

25 km (15.5 miles) and 625 m (2051 ft) ascent

Coniston

32 km (20 miles) and 1090 m (3576 ft) ascent

Rosthwaite

36 km (22.5 miles) and 1138 m (3734 ft) ascent

Caldbeck

24 km (15 miles) and 184 m (604 ft) ascent

Carlisle

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Tour code: R-CUMW3

Price £440 per person

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6 nights
5 days running

Grade: Easy

Ulverston

25 km (15.5 miles)

Coniston

19 km (12 miles)

Great Langdale/Dungeon Ghyll

25 km (15.5 miles)

Keswick

24 km (15 miles)

Caldbeck

24 km (15 miles)

Carlisle

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Tour code: R-CUMW4

Price £485 per person

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

  • Solo Runner Supplement: £35 per person / per night
  • Single Supplement: £25 per person / per night

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

  • Extra night (Standard): £50 per person / per night
  • Extra night (Great Langdale/Dungeon Ghyll): £60 per person / per night

The price you pay includes:

  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, town plans, 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.

Detailed travel information is sent to you on booking, but we have provided a summary below.

Air

The most convenient major city and international airport is Manchester. There is a direct train service to Ulverston (journey time approximately 2 hours 15 minutes).

Rail

There is a railway station at Ulverston (start of trail) and at Carlisle (end of trail), within walking distance of most accommodations.

From London – There are regular trains from London Euston to Lancaster or Preston, changing trains for Ulverston (journey time approximately 4 hours 20 minutes).

Car

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

Returning to the start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail (Ulverston) is by taking a train from Carlisle to Ulverston round the Cumbrian coast line, changing at Barrow-in-Furness. This is recommended as the Cumbrian coast line is said to be one of the most picturesque in the country. Alternatively, a train can be taken from Carlisle to Ulverston along the west coast main line, changing at Carnforth or Lancaster.
As the Cumbria Way passes through the iconic Lake District, it is not surprising that the trail visits many wonderful locations; for those in need of a rest stop or wanting to explore an area more thoroughly, you can add extra days into your holiday to really make the most of your run.

Coniston, for example, has plenty to see and do to keep you entertained on your rest day. You could take a walk to the summit of Coniston Old Man and discover breath-taking views, or even enjoy a boat trip on Coniston Water aboard the elegant Victorian steam yacht 'Gondola'. There is also the pretty village of Hawkshead nearby, which boasts many historical buildings including Hawkshead Courthouse, St. Michael's Church and the old Grammar School where Wordsworth was educated; the desk on which he carved his name can still be seen.

The settlement of Rosthwaite is a great rest stop for runners, with a quiet atmosphere that allows you to unwind and relax surrounded by beautiful countryside. Spend the day enjoying a gentle walk or recovery run around the local area, before taking your pick of the fantastic pubs, tearooms and restaurants in which to refuel ready for the rest of the trail.

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 running 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.

Many people like to have an extra night’s stay at the end of the trail in Carlisle, the largest city in England with a thriving community and fascinating history. Visit the award winning Tullie House Museum, the 12th century cathedral, the half-timbered guildhall that houses a local history museum and the vast medieval castle, with its ancient chambers, stairways and the dungeons that contain the infamous 'licking stones'. As well as these and all of the usual amenities, Carlisle is a fantastic destination for shopping, dining, getting pampered at a health centre and generally enjoying the achievement of completing your trail run along the Cumbria Way.

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