Immerse yourself in the mystical landscapes of England’s Lake District during a week’s stay in a charming village on the shores of Lake Windermere. Venture to family-owned castles and English gardens, prehistoric monuments, and Roman ruins. Sample local whiskeys and cheeses, and set off in the footsteps of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter on a literary tour.

Starting at: $6,090 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The beautiful landscape of Lake Windermere
 Rowing boats on Lake Windermere, England's Lake District
 View of the landscape overlooking Grasmere
 Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria
 Muncaster Castle
 Rydal Mount, the home of William Wordsworth
 The town of Hawkshead, known for William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter
 Typical lane in medieval Hawkshead
 Landscape of England's Lake District, near Hawkshead
 Ruskin's home Brantwood, near Coniston Water
 Holehird Gardens
 Wastwater with Scafell Pike in the distance
 Mist over Hadrian's wall
 Roman ruins of Vindolanda
 Remains of Roman fort at Hardknot Pass
 Aysgarth Waterfalls
 Panoramic view of Buttermere Lake
 Sheep at pasture

England’s Lake District: A One-Week Stay in Historic Cumbria

9 days from $6,090

Immerse yourself in the mystical landscapes of England’s Lake District during a week’s stay in a charming village on the shores of Lake Windermere. Venture to family-owned castles and English gardens, prehistoric monuments, and Roman ruins. Sample local whiskeys and cheeses, and set off in the footsteps of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter on a literary tour.

or Call 855-330-1542


Expectations: Week-long Cultural Stay featuring one town and region—and one hotel. Full-day excursions outside the town with some longer, extensive walking tours of villages, museums, and outdoor historic sites. Excursions can be over uneven terrain (e.g. outdoor sites, cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators). Hotel centrally located for easy access to sites and restaurants during time at leisure, including final day.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).


Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. for Manchester, England

Take an overnight transatlantic flight to Manchester. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director and assisted with the transfer to your lakeside lodging in the picturesque village of Bowness-on-Windermere. The approximate transfer time is two hours. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner in the evening. (R,D)

Day 3 — Northern Lake District

Set off into the misty mountains of the northern Lake District to experience some of the park’s most magnificent vistas. As you wind past pewter lakes and craggy peaks, a guide will illuminate the history and geology of the region, as well as the local characters and famous people who have imbued the Lake District with its character and charm. Stop in Grasmere, once the home of William Wordsworth, and see the poet’s gravesite and the legendary bakery that has served up Grasmere gingerbread since the 1850s. Take in sweeping views from Castlerigg stone circle, a 5,000-year-old Neolithic site set high on the fells, and admire the placid waters of Buttermere Lake before a lunch, tour, and whisky tasting at the Lakes Distillery. From the town of Keswick, take a cruise on Derwentwater, one of the largest lakes in the park. Enjoy a free evening to explore the dining options in Bowness-on-Windermere. (B,L)

Day 4 — Hardknott Pass and Wastwater

Join a local expert for a lecture on the history of the Lake District—from its stone circles and Roman roads to the advent of train travel. Then set out to discover some of the park’s most dramatic landmarks. Ascend the breathtaking hairpins of the Wrynose and Hardknott passes, the steepest mountain passes in England. Hike up to the Hardknott Roman Fort—a 1,000 foot climb—to take in spectacular views of the surrounding lakes and valleys, as well as Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak. Enjoy  lunch at a country inn, and then journey to beautiful Wastwater, England’s deepest lake. Tour the splendid Muncaster Castle, a 14th-century family home surrounded by lovely gardens and parklands, and visit its Hawk and Owl Centre. Join fellow travelers and Smithsonian Journeys Expert this evening in the Travelers Corner for an informal discussion about the day’s discoveries. (B,L)

Day 5 — Hadrian’s Wall

Drive north out of the Lake District, passing through picturesque Cumbrian towns on the way toward the Scottish border. Stop to visit Lanercost Priory, a tranquil 12th-century church with a turbulent past, having been subjected to numerous attacks during the wars between England and Scotland. Continue to Hadrian’s Wall, a coast-to-coast defensive wall built by Roman Emperor Hadrian nearly 2,000 years ago to keep “barbarians”  at bay. At Banks East, explore one of the wall’s best-preserved turrets or observation towers—in use until the fourth century AD. Follow the wall from here, discovering traces of milecastles and towers, and see an exhibition about the site. After lunch at a local restaurant, delve further into the legacy of the Romans at the Roman Army Museum and the excavated fortress at Vindolanda. Continue along Hadrian’s Wall before turning south, and stop for tea and lovely views at Hartside Pass(B,L)

Day 6 — Lake District

Enjoy a full day at leisure to discover the Lake District at your own pace, or choose from two morning excursions.

Choice #1 - Wray Castle Walk: Cross Lake Windermere by ferry for a walk along the western shores to Wray Castle. Take in views of the lake’s islands and stroll through quiet woodlands on your way to the castle, where refreshments await.

Choice #2Holehird Gardens: Head to Holehird Gardens, the home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society, and meander through a variety of gardens to stunning botanical collections, set against views of the Lake District. After time at leisure, join your expert for a lecture before dinner this evening. (B,D)

Day 7 — Yorkshire Dales

Set out this morning by coach for a drive through the undulating landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales, where streams and waterfalls tumble through the hills and stunning views appear around every bend. Opt for a walk from Hardraw to Hawes, or head straight to Hawes and enjoy free time to explore this market town. Meet up at Wensleydale Creamery for a tasting of local cheeses and a coffee. Venture further into the Dales, stopping to admire the triple cascades of Aysgarth Falls. Travel through Kettlewell to Grassington, one of the loveliest villages in the Dales. Take a walking tour before lunch on your own. Join fellow travelers and Smithsonian Journeys Expert this evening for an informal discussion about the day’s excursion. (B)

Day 8 — Literary Lake District

Take a literary tour of the Lake District, visiting the haunts of the many writers and poets drawn to these hills. At William Wordsworth's home at Rydal Mount, enjoy a poetry reading and a private tour of the gardens—originally designed by the poet himself. Journey to Tarn Hows and opt to walk along the scenic lake once owned by Beatrix Potter. Then take a short drive to Coniston Water, a major inspiration for the 20th-century children’s writer Arthur Ransome. Visit Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin, a Victorian philosopher, writer, and painter. After lunch, visit the medieval monastic village of Hawkshead, where Wordsworth attended grammar school. Cap off your tour of literary haunts at Hill Top Farm, the home of Beatrix Potter. Tonight, toast your Lake District sojourn at a farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Return to the U.S.

After breakfast, transfer to Manchester to catch your flight home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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