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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: David Atkinson

Via Ferrata is a form of mountain climbing that traverses the rock face, using a system of iron rungs and supports. Fortunately, you don’t need to be an experienced mountaineer to have a go; you are guided along the entire route by professionals and are secured to the mountain by a steel cable.

Honister Via Ferrata offers the chance to experience all the thrills of mountain climbing, even to complete beginners. There are two routes (Classic and Extreme) which partly follow old miners’ paths along the fell sides around Fleetwith Pike.

There’s also a heart-pumpingly high Infinity Bridge, which hovers 1000m above the valley floor – it’s the longest bridge of its kind in Europe and, without a doubt, the biggest thrill in the Lake District.

While you’re there

Honister is the site of a massive former slate mine, and the centre here offers fascinating daily 1.5-hour guided tours of the underground tunnels and mineshafts.

Price from: £60
Minimum age: 10
Age suitable: 10+
When: All year around
Duration: 3 hours

Getting there & doing it

There are two levels to choose from. The Classic course takes 2-2.5 hours; the more physically challenging Xtreme course – with more vertical climbs and cliff-edge ladders – takes 2.5-3 hours. Both require a minimum age of 10 and minimum height of 1.3m.

Arrive 30 minutes before departure (essential), and wear strong footwear, trousers (not shorts) and a tight-fitting top. Technical and safety equipment is provided.

When to do it

Available all year round, seven days a week, weather permitting.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Forest Side Hotel

Grasmere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[13 miles]

One of the very best of the Lake District’s boutique hotels, a reinvented country mansion, brimming with wit, style and invention. In prime position for exploring the Lakes..

Official star rating:

Brimstone Hotel & Spa

Great Langdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[13.1 miles]

The Lakeland version of a deluxe ski lodge, offering supremely plush rooms, a lavish spa and a very private location on a Langdale estate. It’s also adults-only – making this an ideal place for couples looking for a place to pamper themselves.

Official star rating:

Daffodil Hotel

Grasmere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[13.4 miles]

A large, lakeside hotel not far from Grasmere, with a variety of rooms to suit all kinds of visitors – families, couples, walkers and weekend breakers will all find a happy home here.

Official star rating:

The Samling

Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[19.3 miles]

A charming, cosy boutique hotel, perched on a private hillside on a 67-acre estate, with an excellent restaurant and grandstand views across Lake Windermere.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Lake District

Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)

Imposing mountains, wild landscapes, tranquil lakes and picturesque towns combine to make the Lake District uniquely beautiful, and one of the best places in Britain for walking, climbing, boating and biking.

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Overview >

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Underground tours of Honister Mine

Keswick, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[0.1 miles]

Venture underground into the dark mines under Honister Pass to discover the history of Lakeland slate mining – and, if you’re feeling brave, tackle an underground climbing expedition.

Best for ages: 3+ | £18

Walk up Scafell Pike

Wasdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[6.3 miles]

Climb up to the highest point in England for a memorable view of the Wasdale fells – and a special sense of achievement. But don’t expect to be on your own if the weather’s fine

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | Full day

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Keswick, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[12.1 miles]

The most dramatic stone circle in all of England, standing on a lonely hilltop near Keswick for the last 3,000 years, and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre fells.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free

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Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Pedestrians outside the gift shop and cafe in the Main Street in the centre of Grasmere Village

Grasmere Village

Ambleside, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[12.6 miles]

The region’s most picturesque and charming village. Grasmere is set on the shores of its eponymous lake and cradled by green fields and fells. William Wordsworth is buried in the churchyard of St Oswald’s – you can see the poet’s tombstone.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | 3 hours

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Exterior fo the small shop in Grasmere

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

Ambleside, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[12.8 miles]

Sarah Nelson’s gingerbread is an institution in Grasmere: it’s been made to the same recipe since 1854. It’s wonderfully quaint – the frilly outfits worn by the shop staff are something from a bygone age.

Best for ages: 4+ | Free | 3 hours

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Close up of 3 small glasses containing whisky

The Lakes Distillery

Cockermouth, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[18.7 miles]

One of the only distilleries in England that makes its own whisky, this boutique spirits maker also produces its own gin and vodka. Tours explore the alchemical art of distilling and offer the chance to taste the latest batches.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free | 3 hours

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Lady staring at a painting by Beatrix Potter, at the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, Cumbria. Beatrix Potter's original artwork on display in a 17th-century house.

Beatrix Potter Gallery

Hawkshead, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[19.9 miles]

This small gallery in Hawkshead is located in the old office of Beatrix Potter’s husband, solicitor William Heelis. It holds regular exhibitions of her work, including her beautiful botanical paintings.

Best for ages: 10+ | £7 | 3 hours

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