Wainwright Bagging – The Central Fells


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Activity types:

  • High Mountains
  • Newly Refurbished


  • Challenger
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £779.00 - 7 nights


Prices are per person

Room 1:
Room 2:
Room 3:

Holiday overview

New at HF Holidays

Wainwright's third fell guide covers the high ground bordered by Borrowdale, Thirlmere, Grasmere, Rydal and Langdale, and includes hills ranging from the iconic mountain classics of the Langdale Pikes to little-explored ridges above Watendlath. In this week not only do we climb all 27 of Wainwright's named Central Fells but we explore routes between these well-loved valleys that would be impracticable if travelling by car.

Please note that this itinerary may be subject to change depending on walking conditions during the week. This is a challenging week of fell-walking, best suited to experienced and fit fell-walkers.

Holiday highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright exploring some of his favourite fells
  • Bag all of the summits in his Central Pictorial Guide
  • Enjoy challenging walking with wonderful views and a great sense of achievement

Great reasons to join us

  • Great value: all prices include full board en-suite accommodation, a full programme of walks with all transport to and from the walks, and evening activities
  • Great walking: enjoy the challenge of bagging all of the summits in Wainwright’s Central Fells pictorial guide, accompanied by an experienced leader
  • Accommodation: enjoy a lakeside location just two miles from Keswick, with fantastic views of the surrounding fells


Freswater Bay refurbished for 2016


With the best waterfront of any hotel on Derwent Water, and splendid views of the surrounding fells, Derwent Bank offers a truly exceptional location.

 Green Tourism logo4-star Visit Britain Guest Accommodation


Derwent Bank has 32 bedrooms in the main building, plus 5 double bedded chalets in the gardens. Some of the rooms have views over the lake, whilst others face towards the mountains of Cat Bells and Grizedale Pike. In addition, in the grounds there is the refurbished Coach House, a luxurious two bedroom apartment.

Classic bedrooms at Derwent Bank

Classic bedrooms – included in your holiday price

Comfortable accommodation with an en-suite bathroom, with either a bath or shower. Single rooms are available for an extra £8 per night. 

Premium Rooms at Derwent Bank

Premium bedrooms – from an extra £5 per person per night

Enjoy extra space or exceptional views, plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade.

Family Room at Derwent Bank

Family bedrooms 

We have a selection of 3 and 4-bedded rooms. These have all the facilities of our classic rooms plus full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk beds or occasional beds for children.

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All our Country Houses are tailored to walkers and outdoor enthusiasts and have excellent boot and drying rooms and laundry facilities.

At Derwent Bank there is a large, comfortable lounge, an attractive dining room and a welcoming bar stocking local beer. The conservatory is particularly attractive and has superb views of the lake and the surrounding fells. Free WiFi is available in some public rooms. There is also a range of board games and books.

The house sits in extensive gardens with a sloping lawn down to the lake jetty. Outside there is a formal garden, a putting green and croquet lawn.

Also Derwent Bank has a Dandelion café with comfortable chairs, delectable local produce and a great cup of tea or coffee, making a fantastic place to relax, enjoy and unwind overlooking Derwent Water.

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All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board with all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.

Breakfast at Derwent Bank


The most important meal of the day. Choose from a wide selection on the cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. You could choose fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, porridge followed by a full English breakfast, or anything in between.

Picnic lunch at Derwent Bank


Our famous self-select picnic lunches keep you going on a day outdoors. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish. Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (typically soup, sandwiches etc).

Dinner at Derwent Bank


The relaxed, sociable dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring classic British cooking and local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.

The bar at Derwent Bank


All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.

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After your day’s walk or activity, your evenings are free for you to enjoy however you want. If you would like to continue interacting with our guides and fellow guests we often have extra activities available. Plus you always have the option to just relax in the bar.

Social activities:

Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk on wildlife or the island’s rich history from a local speaker or a team quiz.

Leisure Activities:

Many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.

Family holidays:

Our activity leaders are on hand to organise children’s activities and games for younger children before dinner. These could include rounders, outdoor games, or crafts. After dinner there are further activities for the whole family.

Self-Guided Walking:

There may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.

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Due to the layout and age of Derwent Bank bedrooms within the main house are not accessible for wheelchair users, with all accommodation being reached from stairs. We do have chalets in the grounds which are on the ground floor which can be used for wheelchair users, however mobility will be restricted in the room.

Arrival & car parking facilities

Designated disabled parking bays are available directly in front of the house. The surface of the main car park is graveled with a slight slope. If you need assistance with your luggage, please just ask a member of the team. To gain access to the main building, there are three steps. Once you are, all public rooms are on the same level.

Wheelchair accessibility

Once you have gain access to the house, all public rooms are accessible for wheelchairs. Our bedrooms in the main house aren’t accessible as they are on the first and second floors. If you require a wheelchair friendly room, we recommend our chalets which are situated in the grounds. 

More details on Derwent Bank accessibility ›

Additional information

  • Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
  • Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
  • Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
  • Information can be provided in large print
  • Staff have received disability awareness training
  • Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
  • Fridge for medication can be supplied


This itinerary may be subject to change, depending on walking conditions during the week. Please note this is a challenging week of fell walking, best suited to experienced fell walkers.

Friday: Arrival day

Time to settle in at Derwent Bank and discuss the week’s programme.

Saturday: Grasmere and Rydal summits

An easier start to a spectacular week. We travel to Rydal, and climb lovely Loughrigg Fell. The ridge continues over Silver Howe above Grasmere and onto Blea Rigg above Langdale. Return via our highest point Tarn Crag (1801') and Far Easdale to Grasmere for well-earned refreshments and the coach home.

4 Wainwrights; 11 miles /17kms with 2,750 feet / 850 m of ascent

Sunday: Above Watendlath

We begin with a short coach or Derwentwater launch journey to Lodore, then ascend the beautiful Grange Fell via King's How and above Watendlath Tarn to Great Crag. We climb onto the central spine of the Central Fells at Ullscarf (2,370ft, 726m), then continue northwards over the lonely Armboth Fell to High Tove before dropping down to Watendlath hamlet. A chance for a cuppa at the tea shop, then down to Derwentwater and the coach/launch home. A long but adventurous day.

5 Wainwrights; 13 miles /21 km with 3,300 feet /1,020 m of ascent

Monday: Free day

Explore the local area of Keswick and Borrowdale or take a well-earned break to enjoy the facilities at Derwent Bank, perhaps reading about ascending mountains.

Tuesday: Langdale Pikes to Borrowdale

Journey to Dungeon Ghyll in Langdale, where we start with our first summit of the day, Pike o'Stickle via Loft Crag - high above the magnificent rock scenery of Langdale. Our route continues over Harrison Stickle, at 2,403ft, the highest of the Langdale Pikes, and via Pavey Ark and Thunacar Knott to Sergeant Man and High Raise, the highest Central Fell at 2,500ft (762m). An unusual descent takes us along the Coast-to-Coast path down Greenup Gill to Rosthwaite in Borrowdale and the coach home.                                  

7 Wainwrights; 8 miles /13 km with 2,850 feet/880m of ascent

Wednesday: Cross-country from Borrowdale to Grasmere

We travel back to Rosthwaite to tackle the exciting ascent of lowly Eagle Crag with its fabulous views of Borrowdale. We follow the ridge to Sergeant's Crag, to cross the central spine at Greenup Edge, then along the long ridge to Calf Crag and on to Steel Fell. Our walk back takes us via Gibson Knott to the delightful Helm Crag, from where we descend to Grasmere in time of a pint or a cuppa before our coach home. A day of magnificent rock scenery and delightful views.

6 Wainwrights; 11.5 miles /18.5 km with 2,900 feet /900 m of ascent

Thursday: From Thirlmere to Keswick

Our final day is spent high above Thirlmere and Derwentwater. We travel to Dale Bottom and ascend High Rigg, then drop down to the shores of Thirlmere amd onto Raven Crag, set impressively above the reservoir dam. A long detour takes us on to High Seat (1,995ft, 608m) and northwards along a fine ridge to Bleaberry Fell and Walla Crag. We return from Keswick on foot or by the Keswick launch.

5 Wainwrights; 11.5 miles/ 18.5km with 2,850ft/880m of ascent


Depart after breakfast.

Local area

The Lake District is England’s premier national park with outstanding mountain scenery.

The nearest town is Keswick, about two miles away. As a popular tourist destination it has a range of facilities including supermarkets, banks, a post office, pubs and cafés. It is also well known for its huge number of outdoor shops where you can buy an array of clothing and equipment for the outdoors.

During your visit to Derwent Bank you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:

Derwentwater Launch
Take a leisurely journey around Derwentwater on the ferry - a great way to see the surrounding mountains from a different perspective. The nearest stop at Nichol End is just a few minutes’ walk from Derwent Bank. www.keswick-launch.co.uk

Theatre by the Lake
Situated by the lakeshore in Keswick, the theatre offers an excellent repertoire of plays in the main house and smaller studio theatre. The theatre’s popularity means that advance booking is recommended, especially in the high season. www.theatrebythelake.com

Honister Slate Mine
Go underground on the mine tour at this famous Lake District mine which is situated at the top of Honister Pass between Borrowdale and Buttermere. Here you can travel underground and learn about the history of Lake District slate production. Honister is around 30 minutes' drive from Derwent Bank, and can also be reached directly using the Honister Rambler bus. www.honister.com

Whinlatter Forest & Go Ape!
Relax at the visitors centre and cafe, or follow the excellent new mountain bike trail; one of the best in Britain. The high-ropes Go Ape course is great option for active teenagers. www.forestry.gov.uk/whinlatter or www.goape.co.uk

Derwent Water Marina
Hire a canoe or sailing boat and enjoy one of England’s most beautiful lakes. Just five minutes’ walk from Derwent Bank. www.derwentwatermarina.co.uk

Grasmere is about 30 minutes’ drive from Derwent Bank and is famous with its connections with William Wordsworth. The poet’s homes at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount can be visited, the former of which includes the Wordsworth Museum. Wordsworth’s birthplace can also be visited in Cockermouth; a pleasant market town to the north-west of Derwent Bank. Both Grasmere and Cockermouth can be reached by local bus from Keswick. www.wordsworth.org.uk

Lake District Wildlife Park
Well worth a visit for the whole family. You can watch the antics of the otters, apes and monkeys and marvel at the flying displays of eagles and vultures. www.lakedistrictwildlifepark.co.uk

About 30 minutes’ drive from Derwent Bank is Ullswater, arguably the most beautiful of the Cumbrian lakes. Enjoy its glorious scenery either on foot or by steamer. If you are visiting the Ullswater area you could also visit the superb waterfall of Aira Force or the country house and gardens at Dalemain. www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk or www.dalemain.com

Carlisle, about 45 minutes from Derwent Bank is the historic county town of Cumbria. Here you’ll find a good selection of shops, the cathedral, and castle. Of particular interest is the Tullie House Museum which is recognised for its exciting, varied events and exhibitions programme and is full of exciting interactive displays. www.tulliehouse.co.uk


Our address: Derwent Bank, Portinscale, Nr Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5TY

How to get to us by train

By train:

The nearest train station is Penrith. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).

Use an HF transfer

HF station transfer:

We offer a reduced price taxi transfer between Penrith railway station and Derwent Bank every Friday and Monday. The pickup is at 4.50pm from Penrith railway station. On departure day the transfer will get you back to Penrith station by 9.50am. This transfer only costs £10 per person, however a place must be reserved in advance by calling 0345 470 7558.

Get to us by Taxi

By taxi:

If you can’t meet our station transfer, the 20 mile journey from Penrith to Derwent Bank can be made by taxi. Taxis cost approx £30 per journey (if pre- booked; taxis at Penrith station can be considerably more expensive). Every year we negotiate a pre-booked rate for these journeys. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Derwent Bank Manager.

Driving to us

By car:

From Penrith - take the A66 past Keswick towards Cockermouth. One mile beyond the roundabout to Keswick and 200yds beyond the B5289 turning to Keswick, turn left off of the A66 signposted to Portinscale, Grange and the Newlands Valley. Derwent Bank (not Derwentwater Hotel) is approx half a mile along this road on the left after the Derwentwater Marina and before the Nichol End Marina. Look out for our sign.

From Kendal - take the A591 to Keswick. To avoid the town centre turn right following signs to the A66 and Cockermouth, then follow the directions as above.


Andrew Bell

Andrew has been a mountain leader for HF Holidays since 1969 but admits to a forty-year gap in the middle! He has led numerous guided walking holidays in the mountains of Britain and has completed all the Lakeland Wainwrights from his base in Penrith, Cumbria. He’s now retired, but he worked for the Geological Surveys of Britain and Ireland and lectured geology at the Open University and Galway University. Most recently he ran a small enterprise leading geological tours in Britain and Ireland for individuals just like ourselves. When not leading for HF Holidays, he enjoys walking, orienteering, mountain biking, and long-distance cycling. In the spring of 2015 he cycled solo from Land’s End to John O'Groats.

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Buy today for Book
26 May 2017 DBWBH - Wainwright Bagging - The Central Fells - Derwent 7 £819.00 £779.00 Early Booking Offer Save- £40 off pp Book Now

Prices are per person


  • Standard single room: (2016) £8 per night; (2017) no supplement
  • Premium single room: £15 per night (2017 only)
  • Premium twin/double room: (2016) £5 per person per night; (2017) £10 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person