4 Night Northern Lake District Christmas & New Year Guided Walking Holiday

Northern Lake District - Derwent Water - Spring and Winter - AdobeStock_102922559.jpeg
Duration: 4 nights
Type: Guided walking
Walking Grade: 2, 3 & 5
from £959pp

The Lake District has always conjured up an effortless sense of romance. But in winter, the whole place has an added sprinkling of magic. Spend the festive season amongst the much-loved walking trails and chocolate-box villages of the northern Lake District. Our characterful country house at Derwent Bank will be at its festive best, making it a merry base from which to explore the likes of Derwentwater, Keswick, and much more. We pull out all the stops at this time of year and welcome you with a sprinkling of festive cheer, seasonal food, and plenty of yuletide treats. So wrap up warm and step into Christmas with HF Holidays.

What you’ll love

  • Getting into the festive spirit with a guided walking holiday 
  • A choice of winter walks with our experienced HF Holidays Leaders  
  • Discovering the stunning landscapes of Northern Lake District on foot 
  • Staying in our charming country house overlooking Derwent Water
  • Enjoying festive fare and leaving all the organising to us 
  • A celebration dinner with all the trimmings on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve  

What’s included

  • Comfortable en-suite accommodation in our country house
  • Cream tea on arrival day
  • Cooked or continental breakfast every morning
  • Daily packed lunches
  • Three-course evening meals, plus tea & coffee
  • Guided walking with experienced HF Holidays Leaders
  • Choice of up to three guided walks (on walking days)
  • All transport to and from walks where necessary
  • Easy-to-follow routes, maps, and information in our Discovery Point if you want to explore independently

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

See Dates, Prices & Trip Note tab to check which itinerary is running

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


Option 1 - Ullswater Way & Aira Force

Distance: 7½ miles (11.5km)

Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)

In summary: From Bennethead we follow paths through fields and woodland before gently climbing and following the picturesque terrace path along the east then south side of Gowbarrow with its wonderful views over Ullswater. We descend to reach the famous waterfall of Aira Force. To finish we follow the Ullswater Way to Glenridding.

Highlight: Spending time near Ullswater, described by Wordsworth as 'the happiest combination of beauty and grandeur which any of the lakes affords'.

Option 2 - Gowbarrow Fell

Distance: 7.5 miles (12.5km)

Ascent: 1,650 feet (500m) 

In summary: A circular walk around and over Gowbarrow Fell taking in the beautiful high terrace path above Ullswater, before continuing along the Ullswater Way to the village of Glenridding. 

Highlight: The impressive waterfall of Aira Force is one of a series of cascades in this delightful wooded valley.

Option 3 - Place Fell

Distance: 7½ miles (11½km)

Total ascent: 2,150 feet (660m)

In summaryMake the moderately steep ascent to the top of Place Fell that commands an excellent view at the head of Ullswater. We descend to follow the attractive lakeside path back to Patterdale.

HighlightUllswater is one of the area's most attractive lakes. You'll enjoy great views towards Helvellyn and the North Pennines.


Option 1 - Catbells Terrace

Distance: 7 miles (11km) 

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (340m) 

In summary: Follow the elevated path along Catbells terrace, then return along the beautiful lakeshore path. 

Highlight: This stunning route is right on our doorstep. Throughout the walk you'll enjoy glorious views over Derwentwater and the surrounding Lakeland fells. 

Option 2 - Catbells (shortened)

Distance: 6 miles (10km) 

Total ascent: 1,800 feet (550m) 

In summary: We ascend Catbells via the ridge up along Skelgill Bank before descending to High Ground and Fellside, returning via the terrace path.

Highlight: Catbells’ shapely summit is one of the most popular fells in the Lake District and affords magnificent views of the Northern Fells.

Option 3 - Catbells

Distance:  7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 1,600 feet (500m)

In summaryWe begin by heading up the ridge to the summit of Catbells. We then descend to the lakeside path and a beautiful walk along part of the Cumbria Way.

Highlight: Catbells’ shapely summit is one of the most popular fells in the Lake District and affords magnificent views of the Northern Fells.


Option 1 - Words in the Woods above Braithwaite

Distance: 7 miles (11.5km)

Ascent: 1,200 feet (380m)

In summaryWe cross the entrance to Newlands Valley where passing through Braithwaite we reach fine deciduous woods and Masmill Beck. The beck is followed into conifer woods and Whinlatter's walking trails.  We descend to Noble Knott, a pleasant picnic area. Our return follows easy forest tracks to the open hillside above Braithwaite before we make our way back to the house on lanes and field paths.

Highlight: Fine views over Bassenthwaite Lake from Noble Knott.

Option 2 - Forest Trail via Comb Beck

Distance: 9.5 miles (15.5km)

Ascent: 1,850 feet (560m)

In summaryWe use the minor roads and field paths to Braithwaite and enter the woodland to reach Comb Beck. Tracing the beck's course through the forest we arrive at Whinlatter Visitor Centre. Our descent takes us through the trees emerging on the ridge path from Grisedale Pike where with luck we will have extensive views before returning via Braithwaite.

Highlight: Superb views from below Grisedale Pike.

Option 3 - Grisedale Pike

Distance: 11.5 miles (19km)

Ascent: 3,000 feet (920m)

In summary: Grisedale Pike is the prominent and elegant peak seen from the front of Derwent Bank. We cross to Braithwaite and ascend the well used ridge path to the summit. Our descent begins following Hobcarton End and then forest tracks and paths back down past Whinlatter Visitor Centre to the pretty villlage of Braithwaite and then take roads and paths back to the house.   

Highlight: On a clear day there are views in all directions from the summit of Grisedale Pike including the impressive neighbouring Hopegill Head.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


See Dates, Prices & Trip Note tab to check which itinerary is running

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards. Enjoy a complimentary cream tea on arrival.


Option 1 - Words in the Woods above Braithwaite

Distance: 7 miles (11.5km)

Ascent: 1,200 feet (380m)

In summaryWe cross the entrance to Newlands Valley where passing through Braithwaite we reach fine deciduous woods and Masmill Beck. The beck is followed into conifer woods and Whinlatter's walking trails.  We descend to Noble Knott, a pleasant picnic area. Our return follows easy forest tracks to the open hillside above Braithwaite before we make our way back to the house on lanes and field paths.

Highlight: Fine views over Bassenthwaite Lake from Noble Knott.

Option 2 - Forest Trail via Comb Beck

Distance: 9.5 miles (15.5km)

Ascent: 1,850 feet (560m)

In summaryWe use the minor roads and field paths to Braithwaite and enter the woodland to reach Comb Beck. Tracing the beck's course through the forest we arrive at Whinlatter Visitor Centre. Our descent takes us through the trees emerging on the ridge path from Grisedale Pike where with luck we will have extensive views before returning via Braithwaite.

Highlight: Superb views from below Grisedale Pike.

Option 3 - Grisedale Pike

Distance: 11.5 miles (19km)

Ascent: 3,000 feet (920m)

In summary: Grisedale Pike is the prominent and elegant peak seen from the front of Derwent Bank. We cross to Braithwaite and ascend the well used ridge path to the summit. Our descent begins following Hobcarton End and then forest tracks and paths back down past Whinlatter Visitor Centre to the pretty villlage of Braithwaite and then take roads and paths back to the house.   

Highlight: On a clear day there are views in all directions from the summit of Grisedale Pike including the impressive neighbouring Hopegill Head.


Option 1 - Catbells Terrace

Distance: 7 miles (11km) 

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (340m) 

In summary: Follow the elevated path along Catbells terrace, then return along the beautiful lakeshore path. 

Highlight: This stunning route is right on our doorstep. Throughout the walk you'll enjoy glorious views over Derwentwater and the surrounding Lakeland fells. 

Option 2 - Catbells (shortened)

Distance: 6 miles (10km) 

Total ascent: 1,800 feet (550m) 

In summary: We ascend Catbells via the ridge up along Skelgill Bank before descending to High Ground and Fellside, returning via the terrace path.

Highlight: Catbells’ shapely summit is one of the most popular fells in the Lake District and affords magnificent views of the Northern Fells.

Option 3 - Catbells

Distance:  7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 1,600 feet (500m)

In summaryWe begin by heading up the ridge to the summit of Catbells. We then descend to the lakeside path and a beautiful walk along part of the Cumbria Way.

Highlight: Catbells’ shapely summit is one of the most popular fells in the Lake District and affords magnificent views of the Northern Fells.


Option 1 - Ullswater Way & Aira Force

Distance: 7½ miles (11.5km)

Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)

In summary: From Bennethead we follow paths through fields and woodland before gently climbing and following the picturesque terrace path along the east then south side of Gowbarrow with its wonderful views over Ullswater. We descend to reach the famous waterfall of Aira Force. To finish we follow the Ullswater Way to Glenridding.

Highlight: Spending time near Ullswater, described by Wordsworth as 'the happiest combination of beauty and grandeur which any of the lakes affords'.

Option 2 - Gowbarrow Fell

Distance: 7.5 miles (12.5km)

Ascent: 1,650 feet (500m) 

In summary: A circular walk around and over Gowbarrow Fell taking in the beautiful high terrace path above Ullswater, before continuing along the Ullswater Way to the village of Glenridding. 

Highlight: The impressive waterfall of Aira Force is one of a series of cascades in this delightful wooded valley.

Option 3 - Place Fell

Distance: 7½ miles (11½km)

Total ascent: 2,150 feet (660m)

In summaryMake the moderately steep ascent to the top of Place Fell that commands an excellent view at the head of Ullswater. We descend to follow the attractive lakeside path back to Patterdale.

HighlightUllswater is one of the area's most attractive lakes. You'll enjoy great views towards Helvellyn and the North Pennines.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Derwent Bank

Adored by poets, painters, and literary giants for centuries, the Lake District has always had an irresistible pull. It’s no surprise, then, that this country house near the market town of Keswick holds such appeal, not least for its setting in lovely grounds that slope down to the shores of Derwentwater. The location couldn’t be more perfect; to the west is Cat Bells, to the east is Keswick, Walla Crag, and Latrigg, and to the south is the entrance to the Borrowdale valley. There’s a wealth of big-name attractions within easy travelling distance, including Blencathra, Helvellyn, and Ullswater. Also visit-worthy for walkers is Scafell Pike for its well-trodden routes and trails and the 73-mile-long Cumbria Way for its mist-shrouded peaks, glacial valleys, and many excuses for pit-stops and picnics.  

 

Rooms

Designed with your comfort in mind, Derwent Bank has 40 well-appointed guest rooms available in three categories: Classic, Premium, and Superior. 

Classic Rooms are comfortable en-suite guest rooms, ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, and shower gel), and a TV. 

Premium Rooms are more spacious en-suite guest rooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

Superior Rooms are even more spacious en-suite guest rooms offering upgraded views of the surrounds. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

We love: Room 12 for its extra space and lovely views across the gardens and Derwentwater. Rooms 46, 47, 48, and 49 are first-floor garden rooms, each with their own balcony. 

The Choose Your Room service is available at our UK country houses, allowing you the option of choosing and confirming a specific room for an extra charge of £30 per room. This is subject to availability. Upgrade supplements apply. 

Check in & check out
You are welcome to check in from 4:00pm at the earliest. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a complimentary cream tea and get to meet your fellow guests, our HF Holidays Leaders, and the rest of the friendly team.  

On the day of departure, we kindly ask all guests to check out by 10:00am. You’ll be asked to settle your bill prior to leaving. You may, of course, make a charitable donation to our HF Holidays Pathways Fund if you wish. Please note that we only accept card payments.  

Room supplements

Superior Premium single Premium double/twin Choose your room
£25 pppn £20 pppn £20 pppn £30 per room

About your stay

A warm welcome
We want you to feel comfortable from the moment you arrive. You’ll find a welcome pack in your room with guest registration forms, menus, order forms for dinners and picnic lunches, the Wi-Fi password, and the front door code. Our houses are locked at night, so we recommend noting the Duty Manager’s number on arrival in case of an emergency (or getting locked out). 

Evening entertainment
While evening entertainment varies from house to house, the HF Holidays Big Pub Quiz held after dinner on Wednesdays is a weekly staple. Your HF Holidays Leader may be around for tips on guided and self-guided walking routes as well as visit-worthy local attractions. 

Walks talks 
Our HF Holidays Leaders host guided walking information briefings before dinner on arrival days. This is followed by a group Walks Talk for information on the following day’s walking delights (held before dinner every evening). Self-guided walking guests are, of course, welcome.  

The walking day
Prior to setting off on walks, your HF Holidays Leader will run you through a short safety briefing. There’s also an up-to-date weather forecast on display at the house to ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear. If you choose to do your own walks or are on a self-guided walking holiday, we ask that you please complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house. 

Food & drink

Led by experienced chefs, we serve a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We always aim to source the best produce available and use home-grown herbs and vegetables from our own gardens whenever possible. Additionally, we have a licensed bar with beers, soft drinks, and a superb selection of spirits. Full-board comes as standard and includes a cream tea on arrival and a hearty breakfast on departure day.

HF Holidays understands the importance of managing allergens effectively to ensure food is safe for guests with food allergies. Whilst we are always able to confidently inform guests which allergens are present in our ingredients and dishes, we are unable to guarantee absolute freedom from the 14 main allergens in our kitchens. Vegetarian and vegan menu choices are available. If you have allergies, food intolerances, or any special dietary requirements, please inform our reservation team at the time of booking.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Derwent Bank

Derwent Bank hotel and Derwent Water area. Stills from drone.

Getting to Derwent Bank

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Address

Derwent Bank
Portinscale
Nr Keswick
Cumbria CA12 5TY

Tel: +44 (0)1768 773667

By train

The nearest station is Penrith, on the main line between London and Glasgow. 

Check National Rail for train times and routes.

By shared transfer

If you’re travelling to or from Derwent Bank on Mondays or Fridays from 19 February to 16 December 2024, or on Mondays and Fridays over the festive period, you can join our group transfer from Penrith Railway Station.

2024 prices are £50 per person for a return transfer or £25 per person for a single transfer.

Outward journey: Depart Penrith Railway Station at 16:50; arrive at Derwent Bank at 17:30.

Return journey: Depart Derwent Bank at 09:15; arrive at Penrith Railway Station at 10:00.

Places are limited so booking is essential. We recommend booking at least 14 days in advance by contacting:

HF Holidays Sales and Support Team
Tel: +44 (0)203 974 8865
Email: reservations@hfholidays.co.uk

By taxi

The 20-mile journey from Penrith railway station to Derwent Bank takes about 40 minutes by taxi in normal traffic conditions. 

For pricing, please contact Davies Taxis directly.

Davies Taxis
You can pre-book a taxi from our recommended company, Davies Taxis*. We recommend booking your taxi at least seven days in advance by contacting:

Tel: +44 (0)1768 772676
Email: info@daviestaxis.co.uk

A return journey can be arranged on your behalf by the HF Holidays House Manager at Derwent Bank.

*Davies Taxis is not owned or managed by HF Holidays.

By bus

The X5 bus runs approximately every hour from Penrith station and the journey takes around 50 minutes. The nearest bus stop is on the A66, about a three-quarter mile walk from the house.

As you alight the bus at the Portinscale bus stop, turn to your right and go down the road signposted to Portinscale, Grange, and the Newlands Valley. Follow this road through Portinscale village - Derwent Bank is on your left-hand side after the Derwentwater Marina.

Alternatively, catch the X4 or X5 bus to Keswick bus station and take a 10-minute taxi ride to Derwent Bank. As of 2023, this should cost around £6 for a 4-seat taxi if using a pre-booked service with our recommended taxi provider listed above.

By car

There is a large car park at Derwent Bank if you decide to drive. 

From Penrith, you’ll need to leave the M6 motorway at junction 40, taking the A66 towards Keswick. After 17 miles you'll reach a roundabout - continue ahead following signs to Cockermouth and Workington. Turn left off the A66 towards Portinscale, Grange, and the Newlands Valley. Derwent Bank is about three quarters of a mile further on the left. 

By air

The nearest airport is Manchester International Airport.  

There are direct trains every hour from Manchester Airport to Penrith and the journey time is about two hours.  

Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option but you’ll have a longer onward train journey – it could take at least 4.5 hours to reach Penrith. From Heathrow, take the train to London Paddington, then the London Underground to London Euston connecting to the main line train to Penrith, which takes three hours. 

The UK has a famously unpredictable climate so it's best to be prepared for weather that’s sunny one minute and raining the next.  To make it easier, here’s a list of items you should consider packing.   

Essentials  

  • Suitable footwear such as waterproof walking boots that provide ankle support and good grip  
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket 
  • Comfortable clothing (jeans & waterproof capes are not suitable)  
  • Mid-layer(s) to keep you warm. Fleeces make a good choice
  • Waterproof overtrousers  
  • Gloves and a warm hat  
  • Rucksack with waterproof liner 
  • Flask for hot drinks   
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)  
  • Sunscreen  
  • UV sunglasses  

Recommended  

  • Several base layers (long-sleeve or short-sleeve)  
  • Cushioned walking socks to avoid blisters  
  • First aid kit, including plasters and insect repellent 
  • Sit mat   
  • Waterproof pouch for valuables  
  • Rubbish bag (remember to always leave no trace)  
  • Wallet/purse  
  • Camera 
  • First-aid kit 

Derwent Bank Calendar

  • Guided Walking
  • Self-Guided Walking
  • Special Interests
  • Unavailable to Book

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take an alternative route, or vary the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.


Holiday prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

23 Dec - 27 Dec 2024

4 nights

Christmas

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,055 pp

from

£1,055 pp

Call to Enquire Trip Notes
Book Now

30 Dec 2024 - 03 Jan 2025

4 nights

New Year

Single from

£959

Double from

£959 pp

from

£959 pp

from

£959

Trip Notes
Book Now
2025

23 Dec - 27 Dec 2025

4 nights

Christmas

Single from

£1,109

Double from

£1,109 pp

from

£1,109 pp

from

£1,109

Trip Notes
Book Now

30 Dec 2025 - 03 Jan 2026

4 nights

Christmas

Single from

£999

Double from

£999 pp

from

£999 pp

from

£999

Trip Notes
Book Now
Duration:
4 nights
Type:
Guided walking
Walking Grade:
2, 3 & 5

4 nights from £959pp

or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

Add to wishlist Added to wishlist
Carbon Footprint 62Kg of CO₂e

Average carbon footprint per person Learn More