Hiking the Yorkshire Dales Way

Through Stone-Built Villages to the Lake District


One of England’s celebrated “Great Walks,” the Dales Way extends some 80 miles over the watershed of England from the wonderfully preserved town of Ilkley in West Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere in the gorgeous Lake District. On this new WT Expedition with veteran Trip Leader Richard Bell, a native of Yorkshire, we’ll hike the entire route, a delightful and moderate ramble that brings us through the heart of the magnificent Yorkshire Dales and into Lake District National Park. These beloved realms, the inspiration for so many of the Romantic poets, brim with verdant fells, remote moorlands, burbling rivers, and idyllic peaceful valleys dotted with exquisite stone-built villages—this is some of the loveliest scenery in England! All along our journey, we’ll enjoy lunches in traditional pubs and sample the best of Yorkshire fare—the emerging culinary scene goes far beyond Yorkshire Pudding and crisply battered fish and chips. Expect to eat and drink well, including sampling the flavorful, handmade Wensleydale cheeses and Yorkshire’s many ales—Yorkshire is home to the most breweries in England! Our comfortable hotels are in the lively market town of Skipton, Hawes in Wensleydale, and Cumbria’s picturesque Kendal, with a grand flourish at a luxury spa hotel on the shores of renowned Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Skipton, North Yorkshire / Dales Way to Grassington

Skipton, a bustling market town in North Yorkshire, is the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, a peaceful realm of valleys, meadows, and stone-built villages. Our hike on the Dales Way starts at Ilkley Old Bridge, and brings us along riverside paths that are home to a variety of wildlife and birds including dippers, kingfishers, wagtails, and many species of waterfowl. Our hike to the lovely village of Burnsall is on classic Yorkshire Dales terrain, with its enchanting scenery, and we also explore Malham Cove, a majestic 260-foot-high limestone amphitheater formed by a waterfall of glacial meltwater at the end of the last ice age. Our overnights are at a comfortable hotel in Skipton.

Herriots Hotel
Skipton, England
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights)
Days 4-6
Hawes / Dales Way to Gearstones

From Grassington, we follow a trail past old lead mine workings, lime kilns, and other evidence of these long vanished industries. This was also a place of ancient settlement, as shown by field systems, burial cairns, stone hut circles, and monastic drovers’ byways. We make our way across this classic karst limestone country, eventually descending into the former lead mining village of Kettlewell, where we visit the church of St. Mary, with its stunning modern stained glass windows. A more strenuous hike brings us from Buckden to the Cam High Road, an ancient Roman road that is the highest point on the Dales way at 1,850 feet. Crossing open moorland, we follow a country lane along the River Dee past many small waterfalls to reach the tiny hamlet of Gearstones. Our overnights are in a country house hotel near Hawes, where we visit the local creamery where many varieties of the famous Wensleydale cheeses are made—with a tasting, of course!

Stone House Hotel
Hawes, England
Days 4 to 7 (4 nights)
Days 7-11
Dentdale / Dales Way to Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District

The mild climate and lush riverside pastures of Dentdale make it a haven for wildflowers, and Dent, with its whitewashed cottages and winding cobbled streets, is one of the loveliest villages in the Dales. Our hike brings us through the valley of the River Lune and a countryside of fields, farmsteads, and country houses. Following the gently meandering River Kent, we reach the foothills of the Lakeland Fells as we enter the Lake District National Park, with a panorama of the Howgill Fells behind us and the high peaks of the Lake District ahead. Our journey ends in Bowness-on-Windermere, a lively town on the shores of Lake Windermere. Depart on Day 11.

Stone House Hotel
Hawes, England
Days 4 to 7 (4 nights)
Castle Green Hotel
Kendal, England
Days 8 to 9 (2 nights)
Storrs Hall
Bowness-on-Windermere, England
Day 10 (1 night)



Enjoy one of England’s loveliest long-distance trails, from the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales to the exquisite Lake District
Stroll riverside paths, sample fine cheeses, visit lively market towns and an ancient castle
Overnight in historic hotels, with three nights in one hotel and four nights in another (less packing and unpacking!)


Length: 11 days
Cost From: $5695  
Arrive: Skipton, England
Depart: Bowness-on-Windermere, England
Lodging: 10 nights comfortable hotels
Meals: All meals included except 3 lunches and 2 dinners as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

9 hiking days on easy to moderate trails, average of 9 miles a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike)