Walk in the footsteps of Washington Poe

If you love MW Craven’s award-winning crime fiction novels “The Puppet Show” (CWA Gold Dagger Award Winner 2019), “The Botanist” (Sunday Times Bestseller), and “Black Summer” (longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger award 2020), “The Curator”, “Cut Short” ,“Dead End” and “The Botanist” (Sunday Times Bestseller) of the Washington Poe series and “Born in a burial gown” and “Bodybreaker” of the Avison Fluke one, you must feel the urge to visit their unique and spectacular locations.

So book a private tour with us or let us arrange a self-driven one for you. 

Discover a Cumbria and the Lake District away from the masses and honeypots. Follow the footsteps of the secretive, sarcastic scoffing detective Washington Poe and his brilliantly nerdy sidekick Tilly Bradshaw.

See a different side of Cumbria. Off the beaten track yet full of magical sites. Enjoy amazing sceneries full of natural beauty, mysterious landscapes, and breath-taking views.

On this 5-day itinerary we take you to the most famous locations of the MW Craven Washington Poe and Avison Fluke series.


Individual travel to Carlisle by plane, train, or car.

Carlisle has small airport with flights from London, Dublin and Belfast. Nearest international airports are Newcastle (50m) or Edinburgh (75m). If you arrive in London (305m), we recommend a stopover on the way. Please get in touch for suggestions. And if want help booking your pre night stay in Carlisle here.

DAY 1: Carlisle – Long Meg – Penrith – Shap Fells

Meeting point for our tour or starting point of your journey is the amazing Bookends bookstore with over 30 different rooms for you to explore. Bookends also features in the next MW Craven book of the Poe series, “Dead Ground”. Their Cakes and Ale café offers a wide range of great coffees, teas, and local ales. Delicious homemade cakes and light lunches are served in their spacious vintage tearoom with a large garden. A perfect place to start the journey in a relaxed atmosphere.

Then it is time to explore Carlisle, its castle, the historic quarter, and the cathedral. Roman, Celts and Saxons have all left their traces in Carlisle’s 2000-year history. Discover the city on a relaxing walk at your own pace.

Afterwards head to the beautiful village of Dalston, where The Botanist’s first victim was found. It is on the way to Rose Castle, where the Bishop of Carlisle used to reside before moving to Keswick in “The Puppet Show”.

Long Meg
Up next, it is time for the first highlight. The Long Meg and her daughters stone circles where the Immolation Man in “The Puppet Show” killed his third victim, South Lakes councillor Michael James, and carved Poe’s name into his chest. A gruesome crime in a magical location which set Washington Poe’s blood in motion and send shivers down the readers spine. Soak up the gloomy atmosphere of the second biggest stone circle in the UK.

Local legend says that the circle is endowed with magic and a witch (Long Meg) is trapped there. It is allegedly impossible to count the same number of stones twice, but if you do then the magic is broken, and the Long Meg will be released.

The gorgeous market town of Penrith is our next stop.

Take a stroll around its small alleys full of independent shops and see the ruins of Penrith Castle. Penrith is a real hidden gem full of charm and atmosphere. And it is also the home to the headquarters building of the Cumbria Police Force, Carleton Hall, where Poe frequently bases himself.

Shap Fells
Afterwards it’s time to get a feel for Poe’s home, the fictitious croft in the Shap Fells. A perfect spot of peacefulness our main character longs for.

Spend the night at the Shap Wells Hotel featured in all MW Craven’s novels of the Poe series. It can only be accessed via a mile-long drive down the narrowest of roads. Take a walk in this secluded valley full of natural beauty. Feel it.

Enjoy your Welcome Dinner, go stargazing and uncover the night sky’s mysteries.

OVERNIGHT Shap Wells Hotel

DAY 2: Piel Island – Whitehaven – Cockermouth

Piel Island
Start the second day with a trip to Barrow in Furness. The drive through the southern fringes of the Lake District with its green hills and mountains is an attraction on its own. Stop over at the 800-year old market town Ulverston. Discover Stan Laurel’s birthplace and lose yourself in the labyrinth of cobbled alleys. Barrow is next!

Take a peek at BAE systems, where one of The Curator’s victims worked before you catch the ferry from Roa Island to Piel Island. Piel and neighbouring Sheep island served as the inspiration for the fictitious Montague Island where the Curator tried to fulfil his gruesome plan…

This remote and spectacular 50-acre island offers a charming pub and the ruins of a 14th-century stone castle. You get a real feel of isolation, tranquillity, and the beautiful, brute force of the Irish Sea. No sailing in bad weather! 

Back on shore and a short drive away is the Swinside stone circle where the Immolation Man killed for the second time. It’s yet another spectacular site full of natural beauty. And now it is time to see Whitehaven. A historic, Georgian fishing town where The Curator’s second victim was found in his flat. Talk a walk through the old town, along the gorgeous harbour promenade and enjoy miles of unblocked sea views.

Cumbria and Lake District tour

End the day in beautiful market town Cockermouth with its many restaurants and bars.

Whitehaven and Cockermouth are the only towns in Cumbria which are on the 40 Gem town list of England. Picturesque and post card perfect, “Olde English”!

OVERNIGHT in the Cockermouth area

DAY 3: Castlerigg – Lake Derwentwater – Keswick

The next day starts with a visit to the Castlerigg stone circle where The Immolation Man’s first victim, Graham Russel was found. A spectacular place which served as a meeting spot and burial site from as early as 3000BC. The sheer beauty of this site is hard to grasp! A popular highlight for many visitors of the Lake District.

Next up is a visit to Lake Derwentwater near the beautiful market town of Keswick.

Take a boat trip by the Theatre by the Lake which is also featured in the Immolation Man novel. Or go on a walk along the lake and take some deep breaths. Enjoy the awesome beauty of the ever-changing mood of the lake. Crashing waves follow absolute calmness which makes is a spectacular site to see.

Afterwards you can eat in the same pub, The Oddfellows Arms, Poe did after he visited the Theatre by the Lake and spend some time in Keswick.

Like your whisky, vodka, or gin? Then the next stop will make you jump with joy.

The Lakes Distillery set in a 160-year-old farmstead is a place like no other. Tour their distillery and sample their excellent product. Although not featured in any of the novels it is place you don’t want to miss out on your tour of MW Craven’s Cumbria.

OVERNIGHT in the Cockermouth area

DAY 4: Ullswater Lake – Brassenthwaite – Penrith

Ullswater Lake
If you like the Poe series, you surely have heard about the Avison Fluke too.

Like Poe, the stubborn, sharp thinking, “we do it my way” character is not one for a neighbourly talk over the garden fence.

Pass Avison Fluke’s fictious home set above the amazing Ullswater lake, the most beautiful lake of the Lake District.

Head to the picturesque Glenridding to board a steamer or take some time to let this wonderful sight set in your mind. Take a walk to the magnificent Aira Force, one of the Britain’s most beautiful waterfalls set in ancient woodland.

Lunch with a hearty meal or tea break at “The Pheasant Inn Hotel & Restaurant” which featured in the first book of the Avison Fluke series by MW Craven, “Born in a burial gown”.

From here you have a superb view of the imposing Skiddaw Mountain.

And then it’s time to head back to Penrith. The final stop of your first day is the North Lakes Hotel where Tilly sets base in “The Curator”. Enjoy a hearty Cumbrian meal and unwind in their spa.

Spend the evening in of the many pubs in Penrith from old and traditional to cool and modern. Sip a few local ales and reflect on this memorable journey.

OVERNIGHT North Lakes Hotel & Spa

After a relaxing breakfast it’s time to head back home. If you have booked our MW Craven’s Cumbria group trip, we take you back to Carlisle train station.

If you wish to extend your holidays in the Lake District or the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales, the best places in the Northwest or London just get in touch by mail at

This private tour is available from May to October and the self-drive tour with prices starting all year around.

For more info, please contact us here.

See you in MW Craven’s Cumbria!

Cumbria and Lake District tour

Brief Itinerary and Tour Highlights

The group tours include:

  • 1 overnight stay at the Shap Wells Hotel incl. breakfast
  • Welcome Dinner
  • 2 overnight stays in the Cockermouth area incl. breakfast
  • 1 overnight stay at the North Lakes & Spa incl. breakfast
  • Single supplement on request
  • Transport from / to Carlisle
  • Private guide + driver
  • Lakes Distillery Tour optional
  • Ferry to Piel Island
  • Boat trips o Lake Derwentwater & Ullswater optional
  • Tips & Inside information
  • Signed copy of a MW Craven book of your choice

From £599