7 to 10 nights
80 mls (km)
Northern England
Easy to Moderate
Apr to Sep

Experience the wonderful walking area of the Yorkshire Dales

  • Bolton Priory, one of the impressive ecclesiastical ruins en-route including Fountain Abbey
  • The impressive Lake Windermere
  • The charming cobbled streets of Dent village
  • You'll cross two National Parks - The Yorkshire Dales and Lake District
  • Walk a classic English landscape, most famously depicted by the Brontë sisters
  • Scenic riverside walks, particularly following the River Wharf towards Ribblehead
  • Classic British country pubs along the way

A Great Introduction to Long-Distance Walking with The Dales Way

Your Dales Way walk begins at the 'Old Bridge' in the stone town of Ilkley, from where the Dales Way follows mostly river tracks, starting at the River Wharfe and leading to its source on Cam Fell at 1700 ft.

The Augustinian Bolton Priory is a memorable site along the early stages of the Dales Way walk, with the captivating villages of Burnsall, Buckden, Grassington and Kettlewell following soon afterwards as the trail moves through the limestone landscapes of Upper Wharfedale. Beyond Cam Fell are some of the most rugged parts of the Pennine moors.

The trail continues along the River Dee through the cobbled streets of the delightful village of Dent, and on to the old market town of Sedbergh, between the slopes of the Howgill Fells. Here you move away from the Yorkshire Dales and on towards the mountains of the Lake District, standing at the edge of the horizon, ending your walk on the edge of Lake Windermere's famous waters.

To book a holiday hiking long distance paths in England, call us today with your wishes and requirements. We'd be delighted to talk to you about a walking holiday, as well as find you the right itinerary for walking the Dales Way.

Celtic Trails has 26 years’ experience providing tailored, quality itineraries for walkers who appreciate good service, comfort and organisation.

Dales Way walking map
Our Dales Way Walking Holidays take you from Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere

This walk takes you over rivers and moorland with views across the Howgills, and walking south to north - ending in the lakes is a particularly scenic finish to the journey. While starting the route, the river Wharfe is at your side through farmland and field, as well as busier sections of the path as your route meets the ruins of Bolton priory and Bardon tower. You'll find old stone bridges as you make your way across the rivers that intersect the path to Bowness, in a landscape scattered with ruins and impressive structures (such as the Lune viaduct).

There are few major hills to climb for a walk with such memorable and impressive views. It's also quite an easy route to follow, and well way-marked in most places - but not to the extent where you won't need the assistance of a map and route guides. Trail maintenance has improved in recent years, with many fallen way-mark posts now reinstated.

Our Dales Way Itineraries

  • Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere
    Distance: 80 miles (128.5km)
    8 Nights, 7 Days
    from £1025 pp
    Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere
        8 nights, 7 days
    Ref: DW1
    Grade: Classic
    7 Nights, 6 Days
    from £860 pp
    Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere
        7 nights, 6 days
    Ref: DW2
    Grade: Classic
    10 Nights, 9 Days
    from £1275 pp
    Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere
        10 nights, 9 days
    Ref: DW3
    Grade: Classic
    • Good standard accommodation at a mixture of guesthouses, farmhouses, local inns and B&Bs with en-suite or private facilities wherever possible
    • Breakfast
    • Luggage transfers
    • Personal transfer between accommodation and path that form a part of our standard package
    • Route planning
    • Walk pack including Trail Guide and mapping, itinerary, accommodation directions and route notes, lunch and dinner information, restaurant recommendations and holiday planning details

    You choose which day you would like your holiday to start on. We will book your holiday in accordance with your requirements.

    Our Dales Way holidays are available to walk April to September.

    Our advice is to take this walk between spring and the end of September. October can be booked on request.


    Railway stations are located in Ilkley and Windermere.  The train from Windermere to Ilkley takes approx 3½ to 3¾ hours www.nationalrail.co.uk     

    Car parking 

    Option 1: free on road parking outside The Riverside Hotel, Ilkley, close to the start of the Dales Way

    Option 2: £5 per night in car park of Riverside Hotel, Ilkley (residents only)

    Option 3: Free of charge at Kirby Malham (base of the luggage transfer company) and then £230.00 (for up to four passengers) for the transportation to Ilkley and back from Bowness on Windermere (date dependent).


    Bowness on Windermere to Windermere - prices available upon request.

    Bowness on Windermere to Ilkley - prices available upon request.

    Looking for different mileages or a different number of nights? Please contact us to discuss how our itineraries can be adjusted to meet your specific needs. Call one of our helpful team on +44 (0)1291 689774 or e-mail us here.

    Dales Way Client Reviews

    4.8/5 based on 29 reviews
    Comprehensive and very efficient. It was an excellent service!
    - September 2023
    Staff were pleasant, friendly and helpful throughout our experience from the initial planning to challenges faced during the walk.
    - September 2023
    My experience with Celtic Trails was very organised and with good accommodation.
    - September 2023
    Celtic Trails are thorough, flexible and responsive. They are also competitively priced.
    - August 2023
    A good experience - would recommend Celtic Trails.
    - July 2023
    Celtic Trails offer wonderful holidays giving you the ability to concentrate on the walking, knowing everything else is taken care of.
    - June 2023
    Celtic Trails are the best company we have used. The walk up Wharfedale was delightful: wildflowers, meadows, amazing birdlife.
    - May 2023
    Celtic Trails offer a very professional service with a reassuring personal touch! 7 days immersion in nature leaves you feeling wonderful and with a broader perspective of day-to-day life. Thanks for a great experience again.
    - April 2023
    A fantastic trip in the spring with beautiful landscapes. Walking through the fields of newborn lambs, snow in the high dales, ending with a descent to Lake Windermere. Hard to beat that combination! The beauty of the walk coupled with the warmth of the hospitality at our country pubs was a wonderful combination.
    - April 2023
    Celtic Trails offer a very professional experience. This was a much needed break and, despite the heat, quite restorative.
    - August 2022
    Celtic Trails were very well organised, excellent information provided, which let us get on with the walk. It was lovely not to have a car and be able to just walk from the outset each day.
    - June 2022
    Celtic Trails are a fantastic company who organises everything perfect.
    - June 2022
    Celtic Trails are the only way to do a long distance walking holiday - takes all the pressure off. They provided and excellent pack and book. We would recommend Celtic Trails to a friend.
    - May 2022
    All went as scheduled. Good service, responsive to needs. Enjoyed the ability to travel after long lockdown.
    - September 2021
    Dales Way is maily fields, sheep, farms … B&Bs and the off pub. It was a lovely mix. Efficint bag carriage. Good detail in walk plans. It was great to get away into the countryside. Have only walked with Celtic Trails.
    - June 2021
    This was our first walk. Excellent service. Everything went very smoothly and we will definitely use Celtic Trails again. We woke up each morning with a spring in our step and felt great when we completed this holiday.
    - June 2021
    Everything went smoothly and our accommodation was mostly excellent.
    - September 2019
    We have walked with you before and you have met our expectations again.
    - September 2018
    All B&B accommodation was excellent. Friendly and welcoming, with great breakfasts. We also loved the scenery, the people, the wildlife, the peace and the tranquillity.
    - September 2018
    I most enjoyed the scenery and the old buildings.
    - August 2018
    I am a past customer and you have met my expectations again.
    - July 2018
    A scenic, not too challenging walk with comfortable B&Bs. Thank you - we enjoyed ourselves.
    - July 2018
    Personal service and excellent standard of accommodation throughout.
    - June 2018
    Compared to other walking companies, Celtic Trails offers more personal service and an excellent standard of accommodation throughout.
    - June 2018
    This is possibly the best walk we've done - amazing views, wildlife and the unexpected, amazing weather. It was also relatively easy walking.
    - May 2018
    Heard of Celtic Trails via word of mouth and you didn't disappoint. I would certainly walk with you again.
    - May 2017
    Your wonderful organisation of the trip, excellent accommodation meant I could relax and enjoy my walk - even walking alone.
    - April 2017
    It is always a highlight of a holiday doing a long distance walk. This walk was superb, no disappointments, every day was a privilege. Thank you so much once again for your superb organising. Until next time!
    - June 2015
    Our experience was fantastic, one of the marvellous and memorable holidays we've had. We're already thinking about our next walk with you.
    - July 2013
    Leave your own review of your Dales Way Walking Holiday with us - add review.