Southern tip of Ullswater, Lakes District, England. Photo via Flickr:Joe Hayhurst

Sunset in Cockermouth, Cumbria in the Lakes District, England. Photo via Flickr:morebyless

England’s Lake District

England Bike Tours

An electric (or touring) bike tour through the World Heritage English Lake District

  • Interested in a bike tour in England's Lake District but feel the terrain is more than you can handle? Now you do not need to be intimidated by what you have heard about this region of England's biggest lakes and tallest mountains! This tour could be named the Electric Lakes Tour as it has been designed with the electric bike in mind allowing you to experience the natural beauty and stunning terrain on a battery assisted bike. This is a game changer.

    This area has become a World Heritage Site and has inspired numerous writers, artists, and poets. Now you too can fall under its magic without being defeated, as you pedal from serene Lake Bassenthwaite in the north, to magnificent Lake Windermere in the south.

    If you are prepared for a difficult bike tour, you can reserve a regular touring bike as well.

    Much of the route is off the beaten track, through stunning woods, past cozy inns and over fords to small breweries and tiny water mills.

    Highlights:

    • Stunning World Heritage Site scenery
    • Steam boat ride on Ullswater
    • Launch on Coniston Water
    • Train to Windermere
    • Vibrant food scene
    • English gardens
    • Varied and delightful accommodations
    • Home and land of Beatrix Potter

    Don't forget to check out our other English bike tours!

  • Classic accommodations:
    Double/twin: £ 1575 $ 2,800 1922 NOK 18900 kr 17446 $ 2,268 Single: on request
    Luxury accommodations:
    Double/twin: £ 2465 $ 4,382 3008 NOK 29580 kr 27305 $ 3,550 Single: on request

    extra options

    Electric bike: £ 140 $ 249 171 NOK 1680 kr 1551 $ 202

    please note

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Fly to Glasgow, Manchester, or Carlisle Airport.

    Local Travel

    Tour begins near Lake Bassenthwaite and ends in Bowness on Windermere. Bassenthwaite is near Carlisle and Penrith stations. Bowness is close to Windermere station.

    Climate

    The Lake District has milder winters and cooler summers than would normally be expected at this latitude due to the influence of the sea, particularly the Gulf stream. The weather is generally wet and mild. Do keep this in mind as you pack as we advise full rain gear.


Skill Level

This tour would be rated difficult if not for the electric bike option that changes the difficulty rating to easy to moderate, depending on how much assistance you utilize. As this tour is designed with the electric bike in mind, we are giving it an overall rating of moderate, 15% of the route is on hard surfaced cycle paths with the rest on quiet back roads. There is a one mile section on a busier road. There are hills to contend with every day. You could also opt to do this tour with a hybrid bike which would change the difficulty rating to difficult for the average cyclist. Much of the route is off the beaten track, through stunning woods, past cosy inns and over fords to small breweries and tiny water mills.

Where You’ll Stay

Two levels of accommodations are offered for this tour, classic accommodations and luxury accommodations.
Classic: two inns, a Victorian guest house and a small, lakeside hotel.
Luxury: Four country house hotels, all 4 star or above.
Ask us for a hotel list!

What’s Included

  • 7 nights accommodation according to booked level
  • Welcome meeting and tour briefing
  • Breakfast
  • Hybrid bike rental equipped with pannier, pump, lock, toolkit, spare inner tube, map holder, and helmet
  • Luggage transfer
  • Emergency call out service
  • Transfers on days 3, 4, and 5
  • Steam boat on day 4
  • Train on day 8
  • GPS tracks and Ordnance Survey maps. Limited number of written route descriptions.
  • Tourist handbook with information, history, photos, and insider tips on discovering hidden gems and local secrets

What’s Not Included

  • International and local travel to/from your destination
  • Entrance fees to attractions unless specified
  • Electric bike available with supplement
  • Lunches
  • Dinner
TourBike
TypeSelf Guided
SkillModerate
Length8 days
From£1575 Rates
Client Reviews

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Tour Dates

 Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays from April through October.

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Lake Bassenthwaite
Day 2: Bassenthwaite - Cockermouth - Bassenthwaite, 22 mi. (35 km)
Day 3: Bassenthwaite - Ullswater, 24 mil (38 km)
Day 4: Ullswater, 5 mi. (8 km)
Day 5: Ullswater - Ambleside, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 6: Ambleside - Coniston - Ambleside, 21 mi. (33 km)
Day 7: Ambleside - Bowness on Windermere, 16 mi. (26 km)
Day 8: Bowness - Lakeside - Bowness, 8 or 18 mi. (13 or 29 km)

All distances are approximate.

Day 1: Arrive Lake Bassenthwaite
Individual arrival at Lake Bassenthwaite and check into your hotel for the next two nights. Your accommodation is located close to this stunning lake, the most northerly in the Lake District area. 

Day 2: Bassenthwaite - Cockermouth - Bassenthwaite, 22 mi. (35 km)
Your local host will meet with you in the morning after breakfast with your cycling equipment and brief you on what you can expect. The tour begins with a glimpse of the quiet and beautiful northern fells and villages of the Lake District, giving great views of the 4 mile length of Lake Bassenthwaite. This area was inspirational for Wordsworth who lived as a child in Cockermouth. Visit his home there and explore this wonderful Georgian town, also home to Jennings brewery and an iconic ironmongers! The 1450 feet of climbing today then takes you across the River Derwent, past forests and around Binsey Fell before dropping down to rural Bassenthwaite village and on to your hotel.

Day 3: Bassenthwaite - Ullswater, 24 mil (38 km)
Skiddaw is one of the largest fells in the Lake District at over 3,000 feet high and your ride today takes you around its base and those of High Pike and Saddlback with some fascinating stops enroute. There are huge vistas with towering mountains and rugged moors but also a handful of cozy villages sheltering old mills, co operative pubs, and unique local shops. With 2,000 feet of ascent, highlighted with gurgling streams, tiny gated roads, and stone walls will lead you to a village inn where you will meet your transfer to Glenridding on the shore of Ullswater lake for your next two nights.

Day 4: Ullswater, 5 mi. (8 km)
At 9 miles long, you have the opportunity to explore marvellous Ullswater lake by steamer with a saddle free day. Hop on the boat, close by your hotel and alight at the village of Pooley Bridge at the far end of the lake. From here we suggest a walk taking you above the lake to an unspoilt village housing a pottery, listed garden and potting shed tea room. Walking on along the river bank you can explore the abandoned and intriguing castle of Lowther which also boasts a well maintained garden. Return transfer to Pooley Bridge for the return steamer ride to Glenridding.

Day 5: Ullswater - Ambleside, 19 mi. (30 km)
After a short transfer back to your bike, your ride south through the heart of the Lake District involves 1200 feet of ascent and is nothing other than stunning. With fells and pikes to your left and right, the valley road leads you to the waters edge of Thirlmere. After riding its tranquil length, with views of Helvellyn over the water, you cross the pass of Dunmail Raise and freewheel through sheep clad slopes into Grasmere, one of the Lake District's most popular villages, where Wordsworth based himself. Beyond lies idyllic traffic free cycling along the shores of Grasmere and the wooded slopes of Rydal Water, with a gentle pedal into the vibrant town of Ambleside, where you will spend the next two nights.

Day 6: Ambleside - Coniston - Ambleside, 21 mi. (33 km)
Here's the most challenging day but perhaps the most rewarding. See a different landscape, full of variety, cycle paths and short, steep slopes with 2,600 feet of ascent. Pedal along the twisting Brathay valley dotted with unexpected foodie delights and picturesque hamlets of stone cottages. Avoid the ford as you cross the river at Little Langdale into mounds of quarried granite leading to an isolated, idyllic farm. Follow the pretty valley and wooded slopes beyond to arrive in Coniston. This small village sits on huge Coniston Water which you can cross by boat (ticket not included) to explore the fine house and garden where Ruskin lived and to admire the world water speed records set by Campbell in his boat Bluebird. Your return to Ambleside will not match his pace and follows the outward route!

Day 7: Ambleside - Bowness on Windermere, 16 mi. (26 km)
Discover Beatrix Potter's Lake District today as you head for Lake Windermere, riding traffic free through acres of woods and along the shores of the lake - the largest in England, perhaps taking in Wray Castle. There's a total of 1400 feet of ascent today with a steep hill to climb to visit Hill Top, once owned by the author and full of her favorite things with vistas across the farmland and countryside she loved and bought to preserve. Here is her heart and soul and Hawkshead village a few miles beyond, quaint but crowded, houses further works of her art. Ride around Esthwaite Water to find her Pigling Bland corner before freewheeling down to the ferry and crossing Windermere. Your stay for the last two nights is in Bowness where numerous ferries allow you options to explore.

Day 8: Bowness - Lakeside - Bowness, 8 or 18 mi. (13 or 29 km)
The final day of cycling takes you to the southern edge of the Lakes area, to tidal Grenodd sands through the softer landscape around Lake Windermere, the most southerly lake. With a foot ferry to start the day, and 1700 feet of ascent, you pedal through glorious beech woods with a bobbin mill or a private garden to entice you off the backroads. Villages are sparse but there are some lovely inns before you cycle your last mile to Haverthwaite where you take the steam train and a short puffing ride to Lakeside village. Here you board a boat for the tour finale -a tranquil cruise on majestic Lake Windermere. Lie back and pat yourself on the back as you've just cycled the full length of these electric lakes!

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