The Yorkshire Dales
A self-guided walking tour from Ilkley to Windermere through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate / Challenging
- Crossing two national parks of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District and enjoying the contrasting scenery of both areas.
- Admiring the iconic dry stone walls and enclosed rolling fields of the Yorkshire Dales.
- Exploring the wealth of interesting history along the walk, including the romantic ruins of Bolton Priory.
This self-guided walking tour takes in all 77 miles of the iconic Dales Way walking trail, showcasing some of the finest scenery the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District have to offer.
Admire the impressive ruins of Bolton Priory, meander through the peaceful Wharfedale Valley and visit many welcoming settlements on this magical walking tour through two beautiful National Parks.
- 7 nights accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
- Breakfast each day.
- Door to door luggage transfer.
- Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
- An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a packing list.
- Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
Total distance: 77 miles (123.5 km).
Duration: 8 days/7 nights, 6 days of walking
Minimum/maximum daily distances: 9 miles (14.5km)/17 miles (27.5km)
Waymarking: The trail is easy to follow with the assistance of the guidebook and maps provided.
Season: Start on any Saturday from March 30 to October 26 (other days of the week on request)
Tour Starts: Ilkley.
Tour Ends: Bowness-On-Windermere.
Nearest Available Airport: Manchester.
Arrive in Ilkley
Travel to Ilkley where your first night’s accommodation has been booked.
lkley to Burnsall. 12.5 miles (20km)
Today you follow the River Wharfe, before arriving at the ruins of Bolton Priory (dating back to 1154). Continuing past farmlands and cottages, and across several small foot bridges before getting your first glimpse of Burnsall lying in a bend of the River Wharfe and surrounded by a spectacular circle of fells. the village was originally an Anglo-Viking settlement – the parish church contains Viking carved stones on display with a small exhibition telling their history.
Burnsall to Buckden. 13.5 miles (21.5km)
Continue following the river Wharfe, until about midway when you head east of the river for views of the limestone ledges. Walking through numerous pastures, and limestone outcroppings, to cross a bridge into Buckden. Buckden Towers, the former residence of the bishops of Lincoln, is the most prominent feature of the village.
Buckden to Lea Yeat. 17 miles (27.5km)
Mainly today through low farmland until Beckermonds where you head uphill along moorlands of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Pennine Way for a short section.
Lea Yeat to Sedbergh. 9 miles (14.5km)
A nice low level walk in lovely rolling countryside arriving soon at Sedbergh near the border of the Dales National Park.
Sedbergh to Patton Bridge. 12 miles (19.5km)
Passing through pastoral countryside you eventually cross a stone bridge marking the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park before heading past Black Moss and Skelsmergh Tarns into Patton Bridge.
Patton Bridge to Bowness-On-Windermere. 13 miles (20.5km)
Today you enter the Lake District National Park before the panorama of Windermere and Lakeland Fells comes into view.
Depart from Bowness-On-Windermere after breakfast.
This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.
The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to walk more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard.
Transfers allow your holiday to go ahead when accommodation directly on the route is unavailable. Local taxi operators (or your hosts for the night) will pick you up from a suitable location near the trail and take you to your night’s stay; then, the following morning they’ll drop you back off right where you were picked up so you can continue your walk.
Since we foot the extra bill for transfers, you can rest assured that we’ll get you on the trail whenever we can.
7 nights accommodation in en-suite rooms with private bathrooms (where available) in selected guesthouses, inns and hotels and B&B’s.
Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are walking on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Walker or Single Supplements apply respectively:
Singles: Add $72 per night for a single room; solo traveler add $83 per night.
Taking an extra night is the perfect way to extend your holiday and give yourself extra time to explore the Yorkshire Dales.
Burnsall has an idyllic setting with heather covered hills that look down upon the village green, complete with maypole and bordering the River Wharfe. A sturdy bridge with massive breakwaters, an inn, church, school and ancient mullion windowed cottages complete the picture.
St Wilfrid’s church has many fascinating features; a tapsel gate – a lychgate with a revolving ‘turnstile’ entrance, a medieval Adoration of the Magi, a Norman inscribed font and Viking ‘hog-backed’ gravestones. The school next door was one of the country’s earliest grammar schools.
Buckden is another good choice for a rest day. It is an attractive jumble of stone cottages, with a shop and a lovely old inn, perched on the hillside overlooking the River Wharfe.
Many people have an extra day in Sedbergh, a very pleasant market town, while Windermere is a good choice for an extra night if you would like to explore the southern Lake District at the end of your holiday.
You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:
Extra night (Standard) add $114.00 per person / per night.
There is a rail station at the start of the trail (Ilkley). Train from Manchester airport to Ilkley via Leeds (approx 2 hrs 14 min).
There is a rail station at the end of the trail (Windermere). Train from Windermere to Manchester airport via Oxenholme (approx 2 hours).