Southern Lake Small Hills, Big Views Holiday

Grasmere from Silver Howe
Duration: 8 nights
Type: Guided Walking
Walking Grade: 2

Get your boots on and your cameras ready! HF Holidays leader Howard Matthewson has put together a fantastic set of walks to showcase the best views in the southern Lake District. All of these walks access some of the area's most photogenic locations and enjoy panoramic vistas from a selection of the area’s lower level hilltops. For a little effort, these walks offer great rewards. The routes take in the fells, lakes, tarns, waterfalls, and villages that have brought visitors to the Lake District since the time of the romantic poets. This is the ultimate ‘grand walking tour’ of the Southern Lake District, one which will generate memories of Lakeland beauty for years to come.

Holiday Highlights

  • Head out on guided walks to discover the varied beauty of the South Lakes on foot
  • Share some of Howard’s favourite routes and snap shots of the best of Lakeland’s panoramic vistas
  • Visit the honeypot sites of Grasmere, Rydal & Ambleside
  • Also enjoy an escape from the crowds and get off the beaten track to tackle some of Lakelands finest smaller peaks
  • 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
  • Enjoy accommodation in the National Trust’s historic Monk Coniston, once owned by Beatrix Potter

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, these walks are relatively easy on effort but big on beauty
  • 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

Distance: 7½ miles (12km)

Total Ascent: 1,300 feet (400m)

We start our journey by walking directly from our door at Monk Coniston, and head through charming Yewdale, to eventually reach Yew Tree Farm – once owned by Beatrix Potter and location for the film. We then ascend via Tom Gill waterfalls, to the classically picturesque Tarn Hows. Walking alongside the west side of the tarn, we then head up through Iron Keld, to reach the summit of Black Fell. From there we’re treated to the first of our 360 degree panoramas, with views of lakes and tarns to the south and east, and fells to the west and north. We should get a great view of the Coniston Fells, to the Scafell massif and around to the Langdale Pikes. We descend over open ground from the summit to Oxen Fell Cross and walk on through woodland, to discover the twin falls of Colwith Force. From there, we continue through farmland, to reach Skelwith Force and finish our day at the nearby famed Chesters café in Skelwith Bridge.


Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km)

Total Ascent: 1,550 feet (480m)

Returning to Skelwith Bridge, we pass Skelwith Force again, then head on to pass Elterwater lake, with the classic view of the Langdale Pikes beyond. We reach Elterwater village and head up on the lane which continues towards Little Langdale. On reaching the col in the lane, we turn up onto the hillside past Bield Crag, to ascend Lingmoor Fell. En-route, we pass through a ‘hidden’ valley which abounds with orchids in June. We reach the top of Lingmoor Fell at Brown How, to admire the views from the highest summit of our holiday. Continuing along the ridge, we make our way to the subsidiary rocky peak of Side Pike. This is a fantastic vantage point above the head of Little Langdale, looking straight across at the majestic Langdale Pikes. From there, we descend into Great Langdale, making our way via Side House to the Sticklebarn café/pub at New Dungeon Ghyll, for a well-earned drink.


Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total Ascent: 1,200 feet (370m)

From the New Dungeon Ghyll, we begin by walking along the valley floor of Great Langdale, an area which has been farmed since Neolithic times. Reaching Chapel Stile, we pass through the village and begin ascending under Raven Crag, onto Dow Bank. Turning northwest, we continue ascending to reach the top of our peak for today, Silver How. From here, there are not only sweeping views of Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes but also across to the Helvellyn range and the west side of the Fairfield Horseshoe. There are lake views of Grasmere and Rydal Water, along with Windermere, seen beyond Loughrigg Tarn. We descend by passing around Lang How and then following the path down to Allan Bank, once home of the poet William Wordsworth. From there, it is a short walk into Grasmere village, where there are numerous sights, pubs and cafés to enjoy.

Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km)

Total Ascent: 1,400 feet (430m)

From Grasmere village we head out the old ‘coffin route’ which takes us up and on to Rydal village. Passing Rydal Mount (the third Wordsworth home we encounter), we go through the churchyard to Dora’s Field and then cross over to Rydal Water. Walking above the lakeshore we head on up to the famous Loughrigg Terrace path, with views of Grasmere lake. Before reaching Red Bank we turn up to ascend to the top of Loughrigg Fell. The summit is another superb vantage point, although diminutive in stature to the surrounding more lofty peaks, the location at the junction of five valleys makes it prime for all your panoramic shots. From the summit, we continue east, then descend to reach Miller Brow and on through Rothay Park to reach Ambleside, where we should have time to explore.


Distance: 7 miles (11.5km)

Total Ascent: 1,480 feet (450m)

We leave Ambleside through Skelgyll Wood, and take advantage of the viewpoint of Jenkin Crag, to look along the length of Windermere lake and beyond. Our route continues skirting Wansfell, then descends via the Robin Lane to the village of Troutbeck. We head down to Troutbeck Church and then ascend again up to Longmire Road bridleway. Continuing on via Allen Knott, Far and Near Orrest, we eventually reach our final summit of the holiday, at Orrest Head. This is the point that the famous guidebook author Alfred Wainwright first visited in the Lake District. The view inspired him and there is a plaque here dedicated to this moment, showing his panorama sketch of ‘Windermere and the High Fells’. This viewpoint is a fitting end to our South Lakeland exploration, looking over towards where we have toured. It is then only a short walk down to our pick-up point at Windermere Station.


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

Coniston - External.jpg

Getting to Monk Coniston

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

More Information

Essential Information

Essential Equipment

  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner,
  • Thermos flask for hot drink,
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed)

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents
  • Insect repellent,
  • Sun hat,
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Camera

Guest Reviews

8 nights
Guided Walking
Walking Grade:

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