5 days hiking route in the Lake District, North West England – From North Lakes to the Sea

If you want to go on an eco friendly, low budget, healthy hiking trip (by which I mean using only public transport, sleeping in Youth Hostels most of the time, walking about 6 hours per day) some time this year, here’s one planed for you. At the end of March two years ago, Andy and I went on a hiking trip in the Lake District. I loved it. The reason I’m putting the hiking route up now is because we’re going again this March, on a different route. The one below is tested, so you can plan your hiking trip accordingly. We started and finished with Newcastle because that’s where we lived.

During the trip, you’ll see three lakes in the north part of the Lake District (the less touristy area). The last part of the journey overlaps with the Coast to Coast Walk.

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Day 1.

Take a train from Newcastle to Penrith.

The first thing we saw when we walking out of the train station was the silhouette of the Penrith Castle standing against a blue blue sky. It was beautiful.


A helpful lady in the tourist information centre showed us a few pubs on the map. There were a lot of outdoor equipment shops if you forget anything at home.

Have lunch in Penrith.

Take a bus from Penrith to Glenridding (the bottom part of Ulls Water, Lake 1).

Walk to Youth Hostel Helvellyn, where you stay for the night.

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By the way, this is my version of that popular picture on every wall.


Day 2.

Walk back from the Youth Hostel to Glenridding in the morning. Enjoy the morning light shining on the lake.

Take a steam boat (from Ulls Water Steamers) to the top of Ulls Water, get off at Pooley Bridge.

Walk from there back to Penrith, or take a bus.

Take a bus from Penrith to Keswick (Lake 2).

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Keswick is probably the biggest town you’ll come across throughout this whole journey and probably the only place you’ll find a big supermarket after Penrith. So I highly recommend you go to the supermarket and store up food for tomorrow!

Have late lunch in Keswick. We had fish n’chips at Old Keswickian in Market Square.

Take a bus from Keswick along the east shore of the Lake, to Borrowdale, where the Youth Hostel Derwent Water was. Stay overnight.

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*Derwent Water Youth Hostel was a beautiful grand house when we stayed there. But it does not seem belong to YHA anymore. You can still stay there but you can’t book it via YHA website. However, there is a YHA Youth Hostel in Keswick on YHA’s website.

Day 3.

A lot of walking today. Have a big breakfast in the Youth Hostel.

Take a bus from the Youth Hostel to the south, get off at Seatoller.

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(The same bus continues to the YHA Honister Hause if you want to save energy.)

There was a toilet near the car park.

Walk up hill from there, into the mountains! You’ll need a serious walkers’ map for this part definitely. We used Ordnance Survey Landranger Map 89.

Go past Youth Hostel Honister Hause (use their toilet!),

Go past Youth Hostel Black Sail Hut (can have packed lunch there, also there’ll be tea and milk provided, cake as well – remember to leave some money in the pot! The toilet was locked.).

Walk along a flat path along the north bank of the river,

Reach Youth Hostel Ennerdale in the evening. Stay overnight.

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The hiking between YHA Honister and YHA Black Sail Hut was the most difficult. It snowed when we were on the top.


Ennerdale was our favourite Youth Hostel. Warm, clean and friendly! After such a long walk, it made me very happy.

Day 4.

A lot of walking again. Walk to the west along the south shore of Ennerdale (Lake 3), don’t forget to cross the bridge before you get to the lake. Some parts of the path were really narrow and the cliff was very steep. We saw dead sheep in the lake probably fallen from the hill (please don’t follow the sheep!).

Have lunch at the pub in Ennerdale Bridge.

Walk along the river to Cleator Moor (no toilet along the way).

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Take a bus from Cleator Moor to Whitehaven.

Have dinner in Whitehaven.

It was a Sunday, so we went to a church in the evening (St John’s Hensingham – a good church, and very organised. You could tell by their daffodils, they were all standing neatly in two long rows outside) and got a lift from a lovely couple to St. Bees. Stayed in a guesthouse there.

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Day 5.

St. Bees had a lovely sand and pebble beach. There was no ATM machine in the village at all. The Guesthouse we stayed in didn’t accept card either. So there was no way we could pay her (we forgot the chequebook). But she just said “send me a cheque when you get home”.

You can take a train from St. Bees to Ravenglass (or any of the seaside villages) and have a walk along the beach. There was a lovely antique indoor market in Ravenglass full of junk. We found some old Chinese bank notes.

Take a train back to St. Bees. We played a while on the beach and realised the train from St. Bees to Whitehaven was not at a convenient time. So we decided to walk back to Whitehaven along the coast. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see amazing sunset. Have dinner in Whitehaven.

In the evening take a train from Whitehaven to Newcastle.

Thanks to Google Map and Google Street View. I couldn’t have planned half the journey without your help!

Hope you enjoy the journey and have some lovely weather.
All the photos were taken by Rong Fu.

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