Southern Lake District Walks with Lakeland Poets & Authors Holiday

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Duration: 5 nights
Interests: Literary Holidays
Type: Walks with a theme
Walking Grade: 2

Beautiful Lakeland walks in the footsteps of three of its most famous poets, authors and artists. We will celebrate William Wordsworth's 250th birthday on the first day's walk which starts from near Dove Cottage. A native of the district, he knew intimately the places he describes: they were the images of his childhood, the associations of his daily life. Also well-known is his great friend and West Country-born Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who made the Lake District his home from 1800-1804 and is closely associated with the region. Hugh Walpole is perhaps lesser known, but his passion for the Lake District resulted in his major works "The Herries Chronicles"; it is perhaps Walpole’s descriptions of Watendlath near Keswick that made the area with its beautiful Tarn so famous. Paths can be steep in places, and rocky.

Holiday Highlights

  • Share your leader's love of literature and walking
  • Walk in the footsteps of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Walpole
  • Discover the landscapes that inspired famous Lakeland poets
  • Enjoy accommodation in the National Trust’s historic Monk Coniston, once owned by Beatrix Potter
  • Head out on guided walks to discover the varied beauty of the South Lakes on foot
  • Let our experienced leaders bring classic routes and hidden gems to life
  • Visit charming Lakeland villages
  • A relaxed pace of discovery in a sociable group keen to get some fresh air in one of England’s most beautiful walking areas

What’s included

  • Full board en-suite accommodation, a full programme of walks with all transport to and from the walks, plus evening activities
  • Great walking, enjoy discovering the landscapes, the poets and authors, and their work
  • Stay at the beautiful National Trust property, Monk Coniston, overlooking Coniston Water

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.

Distance: 6½ miles (10½ km)

Total Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)

Where better to start our walks than the area where Wordsworth lived, walked, wrote, and which he loved so much? We start at near Dove Cottage, home to Wordsworth from 1799-1808, and take the Old Coffin Road, which affords splendid view over Rydal Water, to Rydal Mount where Wordsworth spent his last years. After a brief stretch by Rydal Water, we head for the summit of Loughrigg, one of his favourite fells. From here we drop down to finish in the charming village of Grasmere where we will see Wordsworth's final resting place.

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total Ascent: 850 feet (260m). Descent on this walk is more than the ascent: about 1,000 feet or 300m.

Starting from the small hamlet of Grange in Borrowdale, near Hugh Walpole's "little paradise on Catbells", we follow a delightful path along the River Derwent to the village of Rosthwaite. From here we ascend onto open moorland, quite steeply in places, skirting Grange Fell, before dropping down to the beautiful Watendlath Tarn. Walpole was smitten by the beauty of this place, and here he made a home for his most famous heroine, Judith Paris. In the novel of the same name she comes here to live here for a time with her smuggler husband, George Paris. After drinking in the beauty and peace of this hidden tarn we follow the path beside Watendlath Beck, finally descending quite steeply near Lodore Falls to the Borrowdale Hotel.

Distance: 7½ miles (12½ km)

Total Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m). Descent is just slightly more than the ascent on this walk.

In August 1802 Samuel Taylor Coleridge set out from his home at Greta Hall, Keswick for a solo walking tour in Lakeland's Mountains, which included scaling Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. Today our walk follows one of the gentler sections of Coleridge’s Lakeland exploration, Day Seven of his 9-day walking tour. We start from our own doorstep at Monk Coniston and take a forest track up to the beautiful Tarn Hows. A delightful path leads us around this famous beauty spot, eventually to paths skirting the base of Black Fell. From Skelwith Force we take an undulating footpath along the southern flanks of Loughrigg Fell, walking below Ivy Crag to Brow Head Farm and into the bustling small town of Ambleside.

Enjoy a final breakfast before making your way home. 

Monk Coniston

Wrapped in manicured gardens with stunning views over Coniston Water, Monk Coniston combines country house grandeur and romantic, gothic-style charm with contemporary touches to great effect among the rugged landscapes of the Lake District. Rocky mountains and grassy fells loom all around this handsome home, once owned by Beatrix Potter, and more latterly turned hikers’ hotel and owned by the National Trust. Fell-flecked scenery unfurls from the windows of the bedrooms in the main house, adjoining cottage and counting house. While the setting remains traditional and the grand entrance recalls a traditional era, the interiors have been swept into the present with bold patterns and comfy fabrics. Beyond the house, trails from the doorstep set off to explore the Lake District. Climb famous summits including Bow Fell, the Langdale Pikes and the Old Man of Coniston. Bag a series of Wainwright summits. Alternatively, slip into the beautiful valleys and stroll picturesque lakeside paths in search of secret corners such as Cathedral Cove in Little Langdale.


Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.


Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in the smartly presented rooms in the main house. With 32 rooms, Monk Coniston has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from. Rooms with a view are well worth the extra spend as you’ll be overlooking the gardens or the lake.  Our favourite is Room 9 on the first floor, which contains some of the original features from when it was first built in 1885, a striking sailboat-patterned wallpaper and opens on to beautiful views of the gardens and fields that slope down to the shore of Coniston Water.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.


Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, lounge, bar, Lakeland barn for activities, library and board games to borrow

After a day exploring the Lake District, return to the house. Stroll through the extensive grounds with their putting green and croquet lawn and uncover the hidden walled garden on the hill behind the house. Take a turn around the National Trust nature trail and look out for the fabulous, rare mature trees. Stumble on the small secret folly stood quietly among the bluebells when they’re out and the lush green grass when they’re not. Catch up with fellow guests in the bright and spacious lounge or grab a drink from the airy bar and wander down the garden to the bench overlooking Coniston Water for the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner – you might even spot the restored steam yacht Gondola cruising the five-mile length of the lake. After hours, duck into the converted Lakeland barn with its exposed beams and rustic chandelier for evening activities and skittles.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Monk Coniston is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the bright dining room with its giant fireplace and oversized mirror hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of regional flavours. From a cup of Monk Coniston walled garden vegetable soup to a Wabberthwaies Cumberland sausage – the only Cumberland sausage to have a royal warrant and to be served on Concorde – to twelve-hour slow cooked Cumbrian lamb and Ravenglass crab and Morecambe Bay shrimp cakes, the kitchen puts out the best of the Cumbrian countryside. Look out too for the Kendal Mint cheesecake among the assiette of deserts.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

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Getting to Monk Coniston

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

More Information

What to Bring

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.


  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.


  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

Guest Reviews

5 nights
Literary Holidays
Walks with a theme
Walking Grade:

5 nights from 0pp

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