The Central Lakes

The Central Lakes: Coniston to Braithwaite in 3 Days Walking Code: LIE4

The eastern part of the Inn way, taking in the popular villages and valleys of the Central Lakes. A challenging walk, but slightly easier than the western part. The code ending with a D denotes our dog-friendly option for those with a canine companion.

The eastern part of the Inn Way, taking in some of Lakeland’s most famous valleys and lakes, including Langdale, Grasmere, Borrowdale, and Derwentwater.

Miles Km
Day 1 Travel to Coniston for your first nights accommodation
Day 2 Coniston to Ambleside 15 24
Day 3 Ambleside to Rosthwaite 12 19
Day 4 Rosthwaite to Braithwaite 12 19
Day 5 Depart from Braithwaite after breakfast

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

Ambleside to Rosthwaite
Today 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 to 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.

Moderate to Challenging

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.
Guidebook A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.
Maps 3 OS 1:25000 Explorer 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.
12.5% discount at Cotswold Outdoors We will issue you with a 12.5% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores 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)!


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 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 detailed information – we can usually arrange car parking either at the start or end locations of the route.

Getting There – Coniston:
By Air:
The nearest international airport is Manchester (MAN) – you then travel by train to Windermere (approx 2.5 hours) followed by a bus to Coniston (50 mins).
By Public Transport: Take the train to Windermere then bus to Coniston.
By Road: Coniston is situated in the south of the Lake District National Park. The closest motorway to the village is the M6.

Returning from Braithwaite:
By Public Transport:
You can catch a bus to either Penrith railway station (approx 1 hour) for onward travel on the west coast mainline.
By Road: A66 to Penrith (18 miles) for the M6 motorway.


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.


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 USD ($)
Accommodation, map & guidebook only $742
with Luggage Transport $851
with Packed Lunches $785
with Luggage & Lunches $889

Other Options

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