Best of the Westmorland Way: Pooley Bridge to Ambleside

Pooley Bridge to Ambleside in 3 Days Walking Code: WWH4

The most dramatic and interesting section of the Westmorland Way for those with limited holiday time.

This is our shortest holiday covering the middle section of the Westmorland Way route.
Joining the walk at Pooley Bridge you will immediately be walking amongst scatterings of farmsteads and churches before heading to the lakeshore for a fine walk. Day 3 takes you through a large mountain range, Helvellyn, before arriving at the historic village of Grasmere, former home of William Wordsworth. From the beautiful village of Elterwater in the Langdale valley, you will follow the river Brathay into bustling Ambleside, where this walk finishes.

If you do have more time, the 8 day option is recommended as you can complete the whole route and enjoy the scenery!

Miles Km
Day 1 Travel to Pooley Bridge for your first nights accommodation
Day 2 Pooley Bridge to Patterdale 12 19
Day 3 Patterdale to Grasmere 9 14
Day 4 Grasmere to Ambleside 9 14
Day 5 Depart from Ambleside after breakfast

Pooley Bridge – Grasmere
From Pooley Bridge the walk gently climbs on to the slopes of Barton Fell, where easy routes lead past an impressive stone circle before commencing a classic descent towards Howtown, with tremendous views down to the Lake. The route then takes in isolated and scattered communities of farmsteads and churches before heading to the lakeshore for a fine walk to Patterdale.
The villages of Patterdale and Grasmere are split by a high mountain range, the longest high level range in Lakeland. The initial miles are through the side valley of Grisedale which penetrates deep into the folds of the Helvellyn range, before a climb to Grisedale Tarn. From here it is a short descent to Grasmere, directly below you, the home of William Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage.

Grasmere – Ambleside
Between Grasmere and Troutbeck you will walk through central Lakeland and two popular valleys, finishing in a third. Three separate climbs will be encountered, all on easy paths and enjoying amazing views.
From Elterwater in the beautiful Langdale valley, you will follow the river Brathay into bustling Ambleside, for your overnight accommodation and where this trip finishes.


Terrain: Rolling hills and moorland, Lakeland fells, then the lowlands of South Cumbria.

What’s it like underfoot? Generally good tracks and paths, but some of the early sections not as well maintained as other routes. The section through the Lake District is a bit rougher, but good paths for the hills.

How much up & down? Rolling countryside for much of the route, with more ascent and descent in the central section through the Lakes. The biggest climb is 450m up to Grisedale tarn from Patterdale.

Signposting: None.

Navigation: You will need to use your map and guidebook – no signposts and less well defined tracks in the early part, but well defined paths from Pooley Bridge onwards. You might encounter hill fog going over Grisedale – but the path is good.

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. 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.
Guidebook Detailed route notes.
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 2 OS Explorer (1:25000) maps covering the whole 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
Provided for each day’s walking and recommended on this holiday as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.
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).
Arrangement of return transport We can also arrange your transfer back to your car, (or advise you when public transport is a better option)!
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 Westmorland 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: Pooley Bridge
By Air: The nearest international airports are Manchester (MAN) or Newcastle (NCL). You can then travel by train to Penrith (approx 2 hours from both), and then bus or taxi to Pooley Bridge (6 miles).
By Public Transport: Pooley Bridge’s nearest railway station is Penrith (PNR). You can then either travel by bus or taxi to Pooley Bridge (6 miles).
By Road: Travel to Penrith in the county of Cumbria, then the A66 west and the A592 to Pooley Bridge.

Returning from Ambleside:
By Public Transport:
Travel by bus or taxi to Windermere (4 miles) for rail travel connecting with the west coast main line.
By Road: From Ambleside take the A591 to Kendal (13 miles), then the A684 to Killington Lake for the M6 motorway.


Patterdale offers spectacular scenery in a peaceful location. This tiny village in the heart of the English Lake District will give you a well earned rest before heading onwards on your walking route. Boat trips can be taken on the Ullswater Steamers to Pooley Bridge, with several opportunities to disembark and explore the lakeshore attractions along the way.


Grasmere is a charming village right in the heart of the Lake District National Park and a great location to spend a well earned rest day. It was once the home of the famous poet William Wordsworth and today you can visit two of his former homes - Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. In the centre of Grasmere is St. Oswald’s Church, which contains the Wordsworth family graves. The village itself has narrow bustling streets with cafes, shops and pubs. The frequent local bus service connects Grasmere with Keswick and Ambleside if you want to explore further into the Lakes.


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.

Prices GBP (£)
Accommodation, map & guidebook only £563
with Luggage Transport £611
with Packed Lunches £596
with Luggage & Lunches £641

Other Options

Extra Nights (per night) £90
Single Supplement (per night) £55
Solo Luggage Supplement (per day) £16