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Yorkshire and Keswick- too ambitious of an itinerary?

We are taking a 12 day trip (10 full tourist days) in early July and as we travel from London to Edinburgh, we are stuck about whether to focus on the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District, but are hoping it would be possible to do a bit of both. We love hiking and plan to do that in the Dales and/or Lake District. Is this itinerary ambitious?

Days 1-4: In and around London
Day 5: York
Day 6: Drive across the Dales (stopping for a longer hike). Stay in small village.
Day 7: Continue driving across the Dales (small hike), arriving in Keswick in the evening
Day 8: Keswick (Hiking Catbells or Helvellyn)
Day 9 & 10: Edinburgh

Posted by
11677 posts

Where would you stay for the night on Day 8 after the hike?

Posted by
9 posts

I have gotten that far, yet- still trying to determine if squeezing in one day in the Lakes District is too much. Suggestions?

Posted by
3980 posts

Your route is possible, although you won’t have long in York by the time you get there from London. I presume you are talking the train and hiring a car in York.

I avoid the Lake District between mid June and mid September as the roads are too busy and often resemble car parks not roads due to the congestion.

An alternative day’s walking is the coastal path around Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. Northumberland is another stunning alternative.

You also won’t have much time in Edinburgh by the time you get there on day 9. If you were planning on getting there day 8, I would say drop the Lake District.

Posted by
4131 posts

We did a drive tour of Wales and England for 28 days in 2017, and visited York (we stayed 3 nights there) and saw Hadrian's Wall (1 night) and the Lake District at Keswick (3 nights).
I say do York or the Lake District.

Posted by
584 posts

Hi Caitlin -

The schedule is doable but you are only going to get bite sized chunks of each area. Here’s a bit of a suggested schedule - there are others of course, but this gives you what I think you want without spending too much time in your hire car!

It will take you two hours plus to get to York by train, rather longer if you drive.

York deserves more than a day or part of a day, but assuming you head on from there into the Dales, take the A59 through Harrogate and connect to the A65 at Skipton and head towards the Lakes. if you want to stop over you could stay in the little village of Clapham (very much not the London one!), or further on, Ingleton, which is a bit bigger. Both places have good routes up the flat topped hill that overlooks them, Ingleborough, if that’s your thing. (You’ll need the weather to play ball but in July you have half a chance and it will still be light well into the evening).

Moving on, continue on the A65 until just before Kirkby Lonsdale, turning right up Barbondale to reach Sedbergh via the A683. Here you could climb one of the Howgill Fells - Winder, Arant Hawe, The Calf, Cautley Spout, dependent on how much you want to do.

From Sedbergh take the A684 towards Kendal joining the M6 and heading north. Turn off at Junction 40 near Penrith and follow the A66 to Keswick, passing under Blencathra (some great if challenging hiking up that, it’s a real favourite of mine) and Skiddaw (big, but easier walking). If hiking Helvellyn, this is better done from Glenridding at the foot of Ullswater which will mean going back down the A66 if staying in Keswick and turning right on the A5091 to Glenridding via Thorneythwaite and Dockray. ‘Helvellyn By The Edges’ taking in the popular and crowded Striding Edge and the less popular Swirral Edge is a full day expedition and you’ll need a head for heights and be comfortable with a bit of exposure - look up some pics/videos on the net if you need to check the routes out.

The ascent of Catbells from Keswick is best done via launch from the lake (Derwentwater) to Hawse End and then climbing from there (a la Rick Steves) - Catbells, while ‘easy’ is not as benign as is often made out and you’ll need to get your hands out of your pockets near the top. Very do-able though!. Rather than catch the ferry back we retrace our steps back to Hawse End then walk back via Nichol End and Portinscale. Tea and cakes at Nichol End Marina and before that a new cafe near the house that was once a holiday home (forget the name for the minute but it’s visible through the trees and there are signs!) for Beatrix Potter (Mrs Heelis in these parts!).

Hope this gives you some food for thought. I also hope the weather co-operates and you have a great trip. Feel free to contact me direct if you need further advice or want to check up on other routes/options!

Ian

Posted by
584 posts

It also occurs to me you could turn off the A65 and stay in Malham - we recently stayed at Beck Hall in Malham, not cheap, small room but still very nice! - there are lots of easy hikes round there - to Janet’s Foss, Goredale Scar, the top of the Cove, up Watlowes dry valley from the top of the Cove to Malham Tarn...lots of relatively easy routes to occupy you for much longer than you’ve got!

Ian

Posted by
132 posts

Days 1-4 in and around London. Why?
You seem keen on hiking and countryside but are spending a big chunk of your very short UK holiday in a massive city.
Our priorities in the UK were countryside/hiking, villages/small towns so we spent a bare minimum time in London (and other major cities).
I get it. Everyone assumes you need to see all the sights of London but actually you don't. If like us the Yorkshire and Lake District country appeals more then give it more time and shorten your time in the big smoke. With that extra time you could expand your hiking ideas.

Ian knows this part of the country better than me. We stayed not far from Ingleton in a tiny village. Ingleborough is a nice hike (assume rain and wind). A decent bit of climbing but nothing treacherous or technical. Easily done bw brekky and lunch Also another of the Yorkshire "3 Peaks" PYG is similar distance and difficulty.
We visited quite a few nice little W Yorkshire towns. Settle and Kirkby Lonsdale were 2 I remember enjoying. Another favourite was the small cobbled streets of Dent.
For the Lake District. If you had more time you could head over to the western area. Eskdale and Wasdale were more my style than bustling Keswick.
A great drive over Hardknott Pass and plenty of fantastic hikes. Wastwater is a super impressive lake.
Anyway that's just my personal views one way or another I am sure you will have a great time.

Posted by
11677 posts

Ian and Jennifer have given you some good suggestions, especially the idea of skipping the Lake District (this time) and spending a bit more time in Yorkshire. Whitney and the walk to Robin Hood’s Bay are as scenic as the Lake District, albeit different. And Malhm sounds great—-haven’t been there yet, but we will spend 3 nights in the area this summer, focused on walking.

Either of these options would position you better for the Edinburgh endpoint than crossing England to get to the Lake District. The reports of summer traffic there do not sound promising. We were there in late May (staying near Keswick) and it didn’t seem crowded, except for Scarfell Pike on a Bank Holiday.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you all for your feedback- it has been super helpful and has give us a lot of thing about. It sounds we'll be avoiding the Lake District this time around. We are definitely going to be checking out your recommendations- thank you so much!

Posted by
584 posts

If you are not going to go to the Lakes this trip, then you have the opportunity to wander through the Dales in a slightly more leisurely fashion! Dig out the maps! Loads to go at!

Ian