The Whole Inn Way to the Lake District

The Inn Way to the Lake District in 8 Days Walking Code: LI9

This is the whole route, a challenging but rewarding round of Lakeland's most dramatic valleys, which we are also pleased to offer as a dog-friendly choice. Please select the codes ending with a D if you are interested in walking this route with your dog.

This is the whole route – a challenging but rewarding walk in 8 days, splitting the Coniston to Ambleside leg over 2 days. Please be aware it is not possible to start this walk on a Saturday and you may need to be flexible with your start and end locations if you wish to start on a Friday.

Miles Km
Day 1 Travel to Ambleside for your first nights accommodation
Day 2 Ambleside to Rosthwaite 12 19
Day 3 Rosthwaite to Braithwaite 12 19
Day 4 Braithwaite to Buttermere 12 19
Day 5 Buttermere to Boot 12 19
Day 6 Boot to Broughton in Furness 14 23
Day 7 Broughton in Furness to Coniston 13 21
Day 8 Coniston to Langdale 8 13
Day 9 Langdale to Ambleside 7 11
Day 10 Depart from Ambleside after breakfast

Ambleside – Rosthwaite
Your first day begins in the popular tourist town of Ambleside. The trail takes you through Grasmere before climbing over Greenup Edge and descending into Rosthwaite. Most of the route is well maintained trails and bridleways – however the approach to Greenup Edge does include some boggy moorland. Descending Greenup Gill is quite steep and involves some pitched steps before picking up a clear path leading to Rosthwaite.

Rosthwaite – Braithwaite
After leaving Rosthwaite you ascend High Spy via Dale Head Tarn and proceed along to Maiden Moor before dropping down into Little Town. After passing the Swinside Inn you then head up Stoneycroft path and pass between Barrow and Outerside before finishing in Braithwaite. This days walking is all on well-defined paths, however some sections, such as Stoneycroft path are rocky and uneven under foot.

Braithwaite – Buttermere
Leaving Braithwaite you follow Coledale Beck along an even path underneath Grisedale Pike. Once you cross Coledale Beck at the old mine the trail becomes steeper and rocky as you climb Coledale Hause, from where you follow Liza Beck down to the northern end of Crummock Water. You then follow the western shore of Crummock Water to the small settlement of Buttermere. Most of this section is on clear, well maintained trails, however the section over Coledale Hause is somewhat rocky under foot.

Buttermere – Boot
After walking along the shore of Buttermere you ascend Scarth Gap Pass and drop down into the Ennerdale valley before then climbing again and crossing Black Sail Pass and descending into the Wasdale valley. After leaving Wasdale you then cross Eskdale Fell passing the remote Burnmoor Lodge before following Whillan Beck into Boot. From Buttermere to Wasdale the trail is clear, stone tracks. After leaving Wasdale you are mainly on grassy tracks passing Burnmoor Tarn before picking up a stony trail into Boot.

Boot – Broughton-in-Furness
After briefly following the river Esk the trail then skirts around the side of Harter Fell and descends into Seathwaite before then climbing over the Dunnerdale Fells before reaching Broughton-in-Furness. This days walk includes a mixture of stony trails, grassy paths and walled tracks.

Broughton-in-Furness – Coniston
Leaving Broughton you head to east towards Coniston Water before then heading north and climbing the side of The Old Man of Coniston. You then descend into the charming village of Coniston.

Coniston – Langdale
Immediately upon leaving Coniston you start the biggest climb of the walk to the top of Swirl How before then descending to Three Shire Stone then passing in the shadow of Pike of Blisco and into the Langdale Valley.

Langdale – Ambleside
From Langdale you walk down the valley, over the lower slopes of Loughrigg, and back into Ambleside.


How much up and down?
Every day will involve at least one significant ascent. There are several climbs of over 500m, with over 700m of climbing on the leg from Coniston to Ambleside, taking you to 802m on the summit of Swirl How.

Signposting: None. You will need to use your route description and map.

Navigation: The paths are well defined, but you will need to read a map and use the route description. You spend some time on higher ground and may encounter mist and hill fog.  While the footpaths the route follows are marked on the map, the route itself is not highlighted.

Weather: You may be lucky enough to encounter warm, dry weather over the whole route and enjoy dry paths and tremendous views, but you must be prepared because the weather can change quickly. Remember you are spending time on higher ground, where it will be colder than in the valleys. Good clothing and waterproofs essential!


All Holidays
Accommodation Overnight Bed and Breakfast accommodation in selected hotels, farmhouses, village inns, guest houses and family B&Bs. Full English or Continental breakfast.
A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.
Information of Services Along the Route A comprehensive Service Info sheet, including services such as cash points, banks, post offices, village shops, inns, cafes and taxis.
Maps 3 Ordnance Survey Explorer (1:25000) maps covering the entire route.
Personal Itinerary A personal itinerary setting out each overnight stop, including large scale maps of each accommodation, to ensure you find it easily.
Emergency Telephone Support If you get in to difficulties during your holiday, we are always available to help, even out of office hours.
12.5% discount at Cotswold Outdoors We will issue you with a 12.5% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores, and online, for the whole year on confirmation of your booking.
Luggage Transport We will transfer your luggage between each overnight stop – if you leave your luggage at the accommodation when you set off in the morning, it will be moved on to your next B&B. You only need to carry a small day sack with the clothes and provisions you require during the day’s walk.
Packed Lunches
Not necessary on this route, if you do wish to have a packed lunch it is possible to purchase these from the B&B on a daily basis.
Off Road Parking If you are travelling by car we can usually arrange off road parking for the duration of your trip. (There may be a small charge for this).
What’s not Included
Evening Meals Your evening meal isn’t included in the package, but we include full details and recommendations for each evening meal in your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about £20.00 per night.
Transport to the Start & Away from the Finish Have a look at the “Travel Info” tab above for suggestions. If you’re still struggling, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.
Travel Insurance Even if you are based in the UK travel insurance is worth having.


Good accommodation and friendly hosts are an essential part of any holiday. We understand this and go out of our way to find the best. We put a great deal of effort into hand picking our accommodation and matching it to individual customer requirements. As well as visiting the accommodation ourselves, we ask all our customers to complete a short evaluation on each night’s accommodation, which then gives us an insight into the day-to-day operation and lets us spot any potential issues before they become a problem.

We use a variety of accommodation. Over the course of your trip you might stay in a village inn, a bed and breakfast in a converted barn, a Victorian guest house, or on a working farm. In selecting the accommodation we look for helpful, friendly hosts with good quality, characterful accommodation close to the trail. Occasionally we may use a chain hotel.

We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday, (especially if the booking is made at short notice), but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case.

We are happy to book single rooms on our holidays but cannot normally book more than two for any one group. Single room bookings include a supplement.

General travel information on the Lakes Inn Way area will be in your holiday pack including train and bus timetables where available.

Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s accommodation by car, or on foot from the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps.

To view train times please visit trainline where you can also purchase tickets in advance. For information on bus timetables please visit traveline

If you require secure car parking whilst walking this route, please contact us for information.

Getting There:
By Public Transport: Train to Windermere, then bus to Ambleside (timetable in holiday pack) 15 min travel time.
By Road:
From the South: From the M6 take the A65 (Junction35), then the A591 to Ambleside. About 30 minutes from the motorway.
From the North: From the M6 take the A66 (Junction 40), then the A591 to Ambleside. About 50 minutes from the motorway.

Returning from Ambleside: Travel by bus or taxi to Windermere (4 miles) for rail travel connecting with the west coast main line.


Ambleside is a bustling Lakeland town, with charming shops and a wide choice of good cafes and restaurants. The small town is known for its landmark Bridge House and its connections with writers, poets and artists including Beatrix Potter. There are many short walks that can be enjoyed from here, or you can wander down to Waterhead and take a ride on one of the Windermere “Steamers” on the lake.


A pleasant Lakeland Village on the shores of Lake Coniston. Take a cruise on the lake on the steam launch “Gondola”. Visit historic Brantwood, nineteenth century home of John Ruskin. For the more energetic, Coniston Old Man is a great walk with tremendous views over the Lake District and Morecambe Bay.

Prices USD ($)
Accommodation, map & guidebook only $1446
with Luggage Transport $1738
with Packed Lunches $1561
with Luggage & Lunches $1840

Other Options

Extra Nights (per night) $117
Single Supplement (per night) $75
Solo Luggage Supplement (per day) $36