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5
challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • guided walk
Accommodation
  • 14 nights in hotels, B&B's and guesthouses
Meals
  • 14 Breakfasts

15 Days£GBP

Overview

Trip Code: ECT

Guided Coast to Coast Walk Trip highlights


  • Experience the satisfaction of crossing Britain under your own steam on a hike from the Irish Sea to the North Sea coast
  • Appreciate the classic rural countryside of rolling hills and pretty villages of the Yorkshire Dales
  • Camaraderie when walking with a small group of like-minded travellers
  • Staying at cozy small hotels, guesthouses & traditional, English pubs
  • Explore on foot the dramatic landscapes of the Lake District with its majestic lakes & rugged mountains
  • Get a better understanding of the route from your experienced guide
  • Chance to see an ancient steam train pull out from Grosmont railway station
  • Start your day with a full English breakfast, guilt-free!

Enjoy the satisfaction of completing one of Britain’s best long-distance hikes, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, from the Irish Sea to the North Sea coast while joining a small group of international travellers.

Starting at the tiny Cumbrian seaside resort of St. Bees on the Irish Sea we climb steeply heading east into the English Lake District National Park to pass by some of its most famous lakes and passes. Then it is on into the Yorkshire Dales National Park and over the mystical Nine Standards Rig, before following the beautiful River Swale for a couple of days into the old market town of Richmond. Our group will then be on a marathon section to link up with the North York Moors National Park. From here, we roller coaster up and down around to the North Sea coast to make a triumphant entrance into the end of the Coast to Coast at Robins Hood's Bay. Enjoying a celebratory pint, bottle of champagne or ice cream whilst standing in the sea is in order.

We will stay at cozy small hotels, guesthouses and pubs on this guided walking tour and these, as well as the rich variety of the people that you meet enroute, reflect something of the great diversity of England.

The Coast to Coast represents English hill walking and a long distance trail experience at its best. Take in approximately 315km/195miles traversing three national parks with lots of interesting landscapes, varying terrain and old towns. It is amazing to think that this most famous of routes got classified as a National Trail only in 2022, almost 50 years after its inception.

Along the way you will be amazed at the variety of the dry stone walls, the charming little villages and just how much that you get to eat for a full English cooked breakfast!

Scroll down to find an overview of all Coast to Coast walking options to choose from.

Countries:

England

Starting Point:

St Bees

Finishing Point:

Robin Hood's Bay


Make your own way to the starting point of the Coast to Coast walk in St Bees. It's located on the edge of the Irish Sea with views across to the Isle of Man (where we offer a walk as well). You should have time to visit the Abbey church, which has features on the local history and has a display on a mummified knight that was discovered in a lead coffin from the graveyard. If you have an extra night here, you can walk the coastal path or quiet inland roads to the attractive town of Whitehaven with its marina and great museum. It is famous in the annals of the US navy as the site of an elaborate raid on the British mainland by one John Paul Jones during the American War of Independence. This evening you will meet your fellow walkers and guide for a trip briefing.

Meals:  Nil

Today is our first day walking the Coast to Coast! We start with a climb from the beach taking a footpath along red sandstone coastal cliffs of St Bees Head. It has England’s only breeding colony of Black Guillimots. We then move inland over hilly ground to the edge of the Lake District National Park. Dent Hill is the first real fell that we cross and will give you some indication as to whether you are fit enough for the following days! Although short, there follows possibly the steepest descent of the whole tour, which is down to Nannycatch Gate and Beck. It is a delightful stroll which brings us to the final descent to leafy Ennerdale Bridge. The day’s total ascent 780m / descent 665m. Note: the entire group will walk to Ennerdale Bridge before being transferred by taxi to Cleator (approx 15 mins) to overnight. You will be transferred back to Ennerdale Bridge the following morning to continue your walk.

Meals:  B

Walk on a quiet and scenic footpath along the shore of Ennerdale Water, with a bit of an easy scramble under Angler’s Crag at Robin Hood’s Seat. A long walk on a forest track then continues to Black Sail Hut, which is the smallest youth hostel and originally a shepherd’s hut. A steep climb follows up the Lowther Beck before traversing some of the Lakeland fells, perhaps with views down to Buttermere. Finally you reach the ‘drum house’, which marks the descent path to the Honister Slate Mine workings & cafe and Borrowdale. This is perhaps the most delightful valley in the Lakes with its crags and broadleaved trees. Borrowdale is a delightful ensemble of hamlets: Seatoller (the wettest place in England), Longthwaite, Rossthwaite and Stonethwaite. Delightful riverside paths connect the places and their pubs together - if you have sufficient energy left for the evening. You might be interested to know that ‘thwaite’ is old Norse for paddock. The day’s total ascent 765m / descent 785m.

Meals:  B

Enjoy classic Lakeland scenery over Greenup Edge to Easedale and Grasmere. Grasmere is one of Lakeland’s most celebrated villages and hopefully there is time either this afternoon or tomorrow morning to visit the poet Wordsworth's home at Dove Cottage and drop into the famous Ginger bread shop! The day’s total ascent 750m / descent 760m.

Meals:  B

A great walk over Grisedale Pass (609m/2000ft) and around the small mountain lake of Grisedale Tarn to Patterdale. In good weather and if our group is reasonably strong, we recommend that we take the detour route up St Sunday Crag. It will give some exceptional views down across Ullswater on the descend to Patterdale, possibly the most breathtaking of the trip. The day’s total ascent: 900m / descent 805m (via the optional route over St Sunday Crag, less if we avoid this). *Add 1½ hours for the detour of St Sunday Crag.

Meals:  B

After completing today's walk, some would say this was the most difficult stage on the Coast to Coast walk. The day starts with a steep climb up past pretty Angle Tarn. We'll then hike up and onwards to a critical cairn where we turn off the route to High Street. It will take us up and over Kidsty Pike (780m / 2560ft), the highest point on the Coast to Coast, and then descend steeply to walk along Haweswater. This is a huge body of water that was conceived in 1929 to supply Manchester with drinking water, drowning a couple of villages in the process. We then undulate through fields to Shap Abbey, the most easterly point of the Lake District National Park. This was the last abbey to be founded in England (1199) and the last to be destroyed (1540). It nevertheless is a pretty place to take a break with some new interpretation signs. After this, we continue into Shap, the old granite mining town with several pubs and shops. The village offers an interesting insight to the history of the area. The day’s total ascent 1174m / descent 1009m.

Meals:  B

There follows a hilly section across Limestone Moors with limestone pavements in places strewn with ‘erratic’ boulders moved there by glaciers. Finally we drop into the gentler climes around Orton. From here, a diversion of about a mile can be made to this quaint picturesque village that is home to Kennedy’s Chocolate Factory shop to lead you into temptation. Walking now between Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales, there is a lot of attractive farmland to cross with a section of moors around Sunbiggin Tarn - an important site for birds. A steep descent to the Scandal Beck at Smardale Bridge makes for a nice late lunch stop. Then ascend over Smardale Fell for the pretty descent into Kirkby Stephen's attractive market town. Its St. Hedda’s Church contains the 8th Century Loki stone relating to Norse Mythology. The day’s total ascent 808m / descent 950m.

Meals:  B

Climb out of town to the cairns of Nine Standards Rigg (661m/2170 feet) with its array of obelisks. This is an ancient possibly boundary feature that no one has any real knowledge of. It marks the Watershed of England. Next we cross squelchy moors down to Keld in Swaledale. If it is a wet and cold day we might relish a scone and tea made on the farm at Ravenseat, where they breed prime rams. The moors then become increasingly gentler as we walk into Keld with its many waterfalls and old stone barns. The day’s total ascent 780m / descent 575m.

Meals:  B

There are two options today. >> The first is the slightly longer & higher alternative over wild moorland with long-abandoned lead mines, a magnet for the industrial archaeologist. >> The second option is the pretty route via Swaledale, which is a lovely option if we have unfavourable weather or we just prefer a lower level walk. There is a really nice pub in Gunnerside on this second route. Our day finishes in Reeth an attractive green village which flourished at the height of the mining age and today does well out of tourism, hence a collection of pubs and tea shops. The day’s total ascent 838m / descent 911m (via the higher route).

Meals:  B

Our morning walk through pretty Swaledale is lined with limestone crags on either side and allows time in Richmond for shopping (note most shops closed Sunday) and sightseeing. The extremely picturesque North Yorkshire town of Richmond, with its cobbled market square and Norman castle, is an ever-popular destination for visitors. We may also follow the swale to Town Falls, which are quite impressive when the river is in spate. The day's total ascent 395m / descent 510m.

Meals:  B

This is the longest and flattest day on the Coast to Coast route, bridging the gap between the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors National Parks. Enjoy a gentle rural day, walking out from Richmond beside the River Swale and across the fields to Catterick Race Course. We then thread our way to Brompton on Swale, an ideal first lunch stop in the churchyard. Continue trundling along beside tiny streams and quiet country roads reaching the village of Danby Wiske with its green and sole pub at 14 miles / 22.5km, 5hrs. We may stop for a second lunch to refuel. From Danby Wiske it is primarily a road walk although there are cross-country sections. There are two hills towards the end, a short climb to (what was) East Harlsey Castle, and then with the North York Moors pressing ever closer we have to carefully cross the main A19 road to take a lovely woodland footpath up the hill to Osmotherley. On the way, we may visit Mount Grace Priory (1398) this is a ruin but there has been restoration work and there are remaining duck ponds and drainage features. Osmotherley is a quaint hill village with three pubs to choose from and Britain’s oldest functioning Methodist Church (1754). John Wesley came to preach here. The day’s total ascent 375m / descent 292m.

Meals:  B

A strenuous day on Wainwright's trail with repeated ascents and descents in the Cleveland Hills, then across heather moors to Rosedale. This is a roller coaster walk. A steep stretch from Osmotherley introduces us to the North York Moors: sandy heather-clad hills with areas of forest. After coming off Scarth Wood Moor, there is a long ascent up Live Moor and Carlton Bank (408m) before we descend to Lord Stones Café, almost hidden in an off road embankment, ready for coffee time. There then follows the succession of Cringle Moor, Broughton Bank and White Hill - all at or over 400m. We loose and then re-ascend 100-200m between each one. White Hill has an area of sandstone boulders called The Wainstones that we thread through on the way up. Great views in clear weather, incl. Roseberry Topping, Vale of Mowbray and back to the Pennines. From the road at Claybank Top, we then follow a moorland ridge up over Round Hill (454m) and maintain our height as the path follows the line of the old dismantled Rosedale railway line. The moor is bleak in bad weather and punctured in places by standing stones, some marked with inscriptions. There are enticing views at times into the fertile upper valleys of Farn and Esk dales and the arrival at the ancient Lion Inn at Blakey can be a great relief. The day’s total ascent 1021m / descent 880m.

Meals:  B

After a bit of a road perambulation past a white cross called Fat Betty, we follow an easy undulating descent down to beautiful wooded Eskdale. We also get some views opening up to the sea. The latter part of today's walk follows a pretty path through the woodlands on the banks of the River Esk. We come across the ‘Beggars Bridge’ a parabolic stone structure that has a story of love lost and love refound! Our overnight place of Egton Bridge features a church with relics of the Catholic martyr, Nicholas Postgate. The day’s total ascent 265m / descent 616m.

Meals:  B

Following a delightful private road to Grosmont, we might get there in time to see a steam train pull out for Pickering. We then follow a very steep pull up across heather moors with views down to Whitby and its Abbey. But the sea and journey’s end is still tantalizingly far as the route abruptly changes course to visit the May Beck valley with its Falling Foss waterfall. A last area of high moor brings us to the coast, where the last 5 km/3 miles are spent on the coastal cliff path to Robin Hood's Bay. It will appear almost by surprise as we near it. This is a village of red roofed houses clustered around its harbour on the North Sea coast marking the end of this 190 odd-mile crossing of England. We celebrate with a drink at the Bay Hotel and as tradition states, dip our toes into the sea. The day’s total ascent 775m / descent 770m. Note: the group will take the bus to Scarborough (own expense) for your overnight stay.

Meals:  B

Trip concludes in Scarborough after breakfast.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.


Inclusions

  • 14 breakfasts
  • 14 nights B&B accommodation on a twin share basis
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not exceeding 18kg
  • Walking guide accompanying group
  • Return taxi Ennerdale Bridge to Cleator
  • Guide - This is a guided trip

  • Dinners, lunches & beverages
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • Bus ticket from Robin Hood's Bay to Scarborough
  • A supplement will apply if you book a single room, as prices are based on twin occupancy
  • Excess Luggage

Suitability

challenging

5

Please consider your fitness carefully before booking the guided Coast to Coast trip. If the guide considers you to be too slow, you will be asked to take taxis for stages at your expense. An excellent level of fitness is required. An average of 25 km is covered each day with three long days of over 30km. As a group you will be walking between 6-9 hours per day at a steady pace throughout the day covering 4-5 km per hour. This multi-day walk has long days with back to back steep climbs and descents as well as some flatter sections. You must be comfortable climbing up over stiles, walking on steep rocky and coastal terrain. Mixed weather can be expected. We do not recommend the route for first time multi-day walkers. When walking early or late in the season, you need to be mindful of shorter daylight hours and be prepared for changeable weather conditions which may include snow.


Departure dates


Notes

Note:
17-day version available (code EB7) and 17-day version with rest day in Richmond (code EB8)

Priceper person from

£GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single room supplementGBP£640
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

This is the itinerary that we have been running for many years and has been our original two week Coast to Coast trip. When Wainwright researched the route, he actually walked the Borrowdale to Grasmere and Grasmere to Patterdale (Glenridding) sections as one long day.

If the weather is good and the members of your group very competent, then our guide could consider the group's options. However, if there are weaker members of the team this may not be possible, and the guide's decision is final. There may as well be issues about getting to the place of accommodation in time for dinner, current trail conditions, etc.

Obviously on any of our small group guided trips, extra nights are only available before the beginning or after the end of our walking holiday.

Commensurate with the length of day and speed of the group. You may have to take public transport or a taxi round on the longer, harder days if you are having difficulties with days up to 24 miles. You should be well prepared and trained before you start your Coast to Coast walking holiday.

It depends upon the nature of the injury, most sprains may only last a couple of days, but you may need hospital treatment. So you may have to leave the walk for a day or two and travel around on public transport, or you may need to leave the trip altogether. Make sure that you have insurance for all eventualities. Leaders are First Aid trained but are only able to carry a limited First Aid kit with them.

You don't have to join the group for dinners at all. In some places where there isn't a lot of choice available, a restaurant may have been booked for the group in advance. You don't have to go, just make it very clear to the leader so that they can adjust arrangements. In some instances, the food may have to be prebooked - so if you have preordered, either cancel in good time or honour the reservation.

It makes sense in those places where there is no shop to buy a packed lunch from your accommodation. Otherwise you can choose your own items at a shop or bakery. Some people find the packed lunches more than substantial, but they may contain more items than you require.

This was announced in 2022 and it should mean more funding for trail maintenance and signage of Wainwright's Coast to Coast. It is however unlikely that you will suddenly see a rash of waymarks across the higher levels of the walk, such as in the Lake District for example.


Guided Coast to Coast Walk Trip reviews


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