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4
moderate to challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • B&B
  • Guesthouse
  • Pubs
Meals
  • 14 Breakfasts

15 Days£1610GBP

Overview

Trip Code: WCC

Classic Coast to Coast Walk Trip highlights


  • Cross England on foot on Wainwright's famous Coast to Coast walk
  • One of the World’s Great Walks
  • Start your day with a full English breakfast, guilt-free!
  • English Lake District, Pennines and North York Moors
  • Staying at cozy small hotels, guesthouses & traditional, English pubs
  • Taking a pebble from the Irish Sea and drop it in the North Sea at the end of your walk
  • Satisfaction of achieving the hike from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay

Rollup, rollup for Alfred Wainwright’s masterpiece! This is the quintessential English hill walking and long-distance trail experience that Wainwright, deviser of the route, described as "one of the world's great walks". Follow the classic itinerary as he intended it: 190+ miles traversing 3 national parks and a lot of interesting landscapes, old towns and of course public houses in between.

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 and has seen only very little alterations since.

Start your hike at the tiny Cumbrian seaside resort of St Bees on the Irish Sea - tradition states that you should get your boots wet and pick up a pebble from the beach to keep it with you for the entire walk. Head east, with the wind, into the Lake district. Early on, you pass by some of England’s most famous lakes and cross some important passes. There are options to add extra days, for example to ascend popular peaks such as Helvellyn. 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. There follows a marathon section to link up with the North York Moors National Park from where you’ll roller coaster around to the North Sea Coast to make a triumphant entrance into Robin Hood’s Bay. Drop the pebble that you collected from the Irish Sea and have a celebratory pint, bottle of champagne or ice cream whilst standing in the sea.

While walking the Coast to Coast, 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 breakfast. You’ll stay at quality, cozy small hotels, guesthouses and pubs on our Coast to Coast holidays and these, as well as the rich variety of the people that you meet enroute, reflect something of the great diversity of England.

*Please note that you can also choose from 16, 17, or 18 day options as well as 8-11 day sections of Wainwright’s popular route. 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, the resort of St Bees on the edge of the Irish Sea where you'll have views across to the Isle of Man (but that's another trip). In St Bees you should have time to visit the Abbey church, which has features on the local history and a display on a mummified knight that was discovered in a lead coffin from the graveyard. If you have booked with us an extra night here, you can follow the coastal path or quiet inland roads to the attractive town of Whitehaven, with its marina and great museum. Whitehaven 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. | Accommodation: Your hotel tonight is located at the southern end of the Borrowdale (Seatoller) Valley. It has striking views over the local fells.

Meals:  Nil

Take the first steps on the epic Coast to Coast walk when you climb from the beach at St Bees. Take a footpath along red sandstone coastal cliffs off St Bees Head with England’s only breeding colony of Black Guillimots, then head inland over hilly ground to the edge of the Lake District National Park. Dent Hill is the first real fell that you 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 down to Nannycatch Gate and Beck. A delightful stroll along which brings you to the final descent to leafy Ennerdale Bridge. // The day’s total ascent 780m / descent 665m. | Accommodation: Overnight at a friendly, family-owned hotel. Enjoy a home cooked meal of local produce including fish and game in season. A traditional feel is retained by the hotel, with its open fire, and the fully licensed bar serves a range of beverages including locally produced ale. If we are unable to book you into Ennerdale then we will secure accommodation for you at Cleator with a return taxi transfer that we will put in place for you (own expense).

Meals:  B

Follow 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, Rosthwaite 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. | Accommodation: Your hotel tonight is located in the Borrowdale Valley near the hamlet of Seatoller. It has striking views over the local fells.

Meals:  B

Enjoy classic Lakeland scenery over Greenup Edge to Easedale and Grasmere. Grasmere is one of Lakeland’s most celebrated villages and you might have 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. | Accommodation: We use a number of different accommodation in the busy village of Grasmere.

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 you are a reasonably strong walker, we recommend that you take the detour route up St Sunday Crag (add 1½ hours). It will give some exceptional views down across Ullswater on the descend to Patterdale, possibly the most breathtaking of the trip. Another detour option is via the summit of Helvellyn, for this add 2 miles and 2 hours. // The day’s total ascent: 900m / descent 805m (via the optional route over St Sunday Crag, less if you avoid this).| Accommodation: Tonight’s accommodation is a family-run guesthouse. It is located in the centre of Glenridding alongside Glenridding Beck, situated at the southern top of Ullswater - the second largest lake in the Lake District.

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. You'll then hike up and onwards to a critical cairn where you turn off the route to High Street. It will take you 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. You 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, you 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. | Accommodation: The proprietors will welcome you to their guesthouse in the village of Shap.

Meals:  B

From Shap there follows a hilly section across limestone moors with limestone pavements in places strewn with ‘erratic’ boulders moved there by glaciers. Finally you drop into the gentler climes around Orton, a diversion of about a mile can be made to this quaint picturesque village - with 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, which is 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. It is an attractive market town, with St. Hedda’s Church, containing the 8th Century Loki stone relating to Norse Mythology. // The day’s total ascent 808m / descent 950m. | Accommodation: This is a fine looking guesthouse and the interior retains many of the delightful and original features. It has a friendly relaxed atmosphere.

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 you cross squelchy moors down to Keld in Swaledale, passing a famous farm at Ravenseat, where they breed prime rams. The moors then become increasingly gentler as you walk into Keld with its many waterfalls and old stone barns. /// The day’s total ascent 780m / descent 575m. | Accommodation: Keld - A medium-sized guesthouse with traditional Yorkshire fayre served in an attractively decorated dining room, and there are tea & coffee making facilities in all rooms.

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 you have unfavourable weather or you just prefer a lower level walk. There is a really nice pub in Gunnerside on this second route. Your 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). | Accommodation: Your accommodation tonight is the oldest surviving Inn in Reeth, dating from 1680.

Meals:  B

Your 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) & sightseeing. The extremely picturesque North Yorkshire town of Richmond, with its cobbled market square and Norman castle, is an ever-popular destination for visitors. You can 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. | Accommodation: The extremely picturesque North Yorkshire town of Richmond, with its cobbled market square and Norman castle, is an ever-popular destination for visitors. We use a number of guesthouses or pub accommodation in this busy town.

Meals:  B

This is the longest and flattest day on the classic Coast to Coast walk. It bridges the gap between the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors National Parks. It will be a gentle rural day, walking out from Richmond beside the River Swale and across the fields to Catterick Race Course. Then thread your way to Brompton on Swale, which could be an ideal first lunch stop in the churchyard before trundling along beside tiny streams and quiet country roads reaching the village of Danby Wiske. Here, find a nice green and sole pub at 22.5 km/14 miles, 5 h, where a second lunch break is advised. 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, you'll have to carefully cross the main A19 road to take a lovely woodland footpath up the hill to Osmotherley. On the way, there's the option to visit Mount Grace Priory (1398) - a ruin that has seen restoration work and there are remaining duck ponds and drainage features. Osmotherley is a quaint hill village with 3 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. | Accommodation: Tonight's accommodation is set in this extremely picturesque village on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. All rooms are ensuite and have tea & coffee making facilities.

Meals:  B

Find yourself on a strenuous day 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 you 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 descending to Lord Stones Café. It's almost hidden in an off road embankment and may come perfectly in time for coffee. There then follows the succession of Cringle Moor, Broughton Bank and White Hill all at or over 400m. You loose and then re-ascend 100-200m between each one. White Hill has an area of sandstone boulders called The Wainstones that you 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, you then follow a moorland ridge up over Round Hill (454m) and maintain your height as the path follows the line of the old dismantled Rosedale Railway line. The moor can be bleak and is 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. Your arrival at the ancient Lion Inn at Blakey can be a great relief. // The day’s total ascent 1021m / descent 880m. | Accommodation: You'll stay at the Lion Hotel in this bleak moorland location. This pub hotel has been a refuge from the elements for 400 years or so, and very cosy it is too! Normally there are a large number of ales to reward yourself with and great dining in either the bar or the restaurant.

Meals:  B

After a bit of a road perambulation past a white cross called Fat Betty, you follow an easy undulating descent down to beautiful wooded Eskdale. You 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. You come across the ‘Beggars Bridge’ a parabolic stone structure that has a story of love lost and love refound! Egton Bridge features a church with relics of the Catholic martyr, Nicholas Postgate. A really pretty setting, the river is famous for fly fishing and has some interesting stepping stones, which enables you to hop between the two pubs faster than using the road. // The day’s total ascent 265m / descent 616m. | Accommodation: Egton Bridge or Grosmont - We use a variety of lovely guesthouses/B&Bs in either of these villages.

Meals:  B

You follow a delightful, private road to Grosmont, where you might want to try and get in time to see a steam train pull out for Pickering. You 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 you 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 you 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. Celebrate with a drink at the Bay Hotel and as tradition states, dip your toes into the sea. // The day’s total ascent 775m / descent 770m. | Accommodation: Your final night is spent in an elegantly refurbished Victorian guesthouse with many original features. This is a popular seaside location so one of many similar B&B's may be used.

Meals:  B

Your Coast to Coast walk concludes in Robin Hood's Bay after breakfast.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 14 Breakfasts
  • 14 nights accommodation on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not exceeding 18kg
  • Information pack including route notes & maps (1 pack per room booked)
  • Emergency hotline
  • GPX files

  • Lunch, Dinner and drinks
  • 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
  • Excess Luggage
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Guide - this is a self guided holiday

Accommodation


Suitability

moderate to challenging

4

Moderate to Challenging. Some long days with steep climbs and descents. You must be comfortable climbing up over stiles, walking on steep rocky and coastal terrain. Mixed weather can be expected. We would not recommend the route for first time 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

Daily from 31 Mar to 1 Oct

Notes

H
High Season
Note:
16,17 & 18 day versions available.
Note:
Please note that minor changes to your 2024 itinerary may apply.

Priceper person from

£1610GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement 2024GBP£350
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2024GBP£380
  • Single Supplement 2025GBP£390
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2025GBP£390
*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 Alfred Wainwright researched the route, he actually walked the Borrowdale to Grasmere and Grasmere to Patterdale (Glenridding) sections as one long day. Also he walked through Ingleby Cross, whereas today our trips divert slightly to stay at Osmotherly.

If the weather is good, for fit walkers the high level variants of the Coast to Coast are worth doing. You should be aware that the Red Pike option above Ennerdale often takes walkers an extra 2 hours over the standard route. The Helm Crag option adds and extra hour, the St. Sunday Crag option above Grisedale takes about 1.5 hours more than the standard route, and the Striding Edge option about 2 hours more than the standard route. We advise to always bear this in mind in terms of evening meals etc.

The Coast to Coast Path has become generally well signed on the lower sections, and there is a small dedicated waymark on sections of the trail, sometimes on gates or fingerposts. It is still possible to take a wrong term and people still make mistakes in bad weather in the Lake District and Pennines so good maps, GPX and route notes are essential.

Wainwright's Coast to Coast in the UK is a very popular trail. Most days throughout the season, individuals, couples and groups set off to walk the route. However you may find that no one starting on your start date will walk exactly the same speed so it is unlikely that you will all arrive at the end each evening at the same time and of course different people have different itineraries. Realistically there will be sections of the walk where you will be walking alone.

Please always carry maps / compass / guide book or route notes as well. We have seen GPS fail in heavy rain and you should be able to follow a map.

Your bags should be ready for collection at 08.30am each day. It doesn't mean that the bags will go exactly at that time, but depending upon schedules, the van driver may arrive at your accommodation first.

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

It was announced in 2022 that the Coast to Coast will become a UK National Trail in 2024. This should mean more funding for trail maintenance and signage. 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.

It depends what you like to do! Grasmere and and Robin Hood's Bay are great places to stay. With an extra night, you allow yourself more time to see the sights and visit for example Ambleside, Keswick (from Grasmere) or Whitby (from Robin Hood's Bay). Other places to spend extra time could include Kirkby Stephen or Keld, the latter is very quiet but there are nice walks to Thwaite and Muker. Obviously on any escorted trips, extra nights are only available at the beginning or end.


Classic Coast to Coast Walk Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.

Classic Coast to Coast Walk Videos

Walk England's Coast to Coast with Walkers' Britain

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