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4
moderate to challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 7 nights in B&Bs
Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£940GBP

Overview

Trip Code: UCT

Coast to Coast Walk Trip highlights


  • Be surrounded by the dramatic landscapes of the Lake District with its majestic lakes & rugged mountains
  • Experience a taste of the famous Coast-to-Coast walk, one of Britain’s best long distance hikes
  • Appreciate the classic rural countryside of rolling hills and pretty villages of the Yorkshire Dales
  • Stay at cozy small hotels, guesthouses & traditional, English pubs
  • Experience a taste of the famous Coast-to-Coast walk, one of Britain’s best long distance hikes
  • Some of the UK’s tastiest cream teas, Grasmere gingerbread, and eating sticky toffee pudding in the place it originated
  • Walk the first half of Wainwright's epic trail, from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen

Explore the first half of the Coast to Coast trail on this self-guided walk that includes the stunning national parks of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. There are picture-perfect scenes of working hill farms and pretty villages, many of which include a fine traditional English public house. This itinerary traverses The Lake District National Park and ends at the quaint market town of Kirkby Stephen.

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 walking holiday at the tiny Cumbrian seaside resort of St Bees on the Irish Sea. Heading east, with the prevailing wind at your back, you’ll make your way into England’s Lake District. Walk through Ennerdale, Borrowdale and Patterdale, pass by some of the UK’s most famous lakes and cross some important passes. If you are feeling fit there are options to extend a few days to include a famous peak or two such as Helvellyn.

Emerging from the mountains of Cumbria and looking east towards the Yorkshire Dales you reach your journey’s end with easy connections to the rest of the UK. You’ll be looking back at a fulfilling week of walking through some of England’s finest mountain scenery.

This is your chance to hike part of the famous Coast to Coast walk, getting a taste of Britain’s long distance hikes. There is a 9-day option of this route that breaks up the long day between Shap and Kirkby Stephen (trip code WSK). Scroll down to find an overview of all Coast to Coast walking options to choose from.

Countries:

England

Starting Point:

St Bees

Finishing Point:

Kirkby Stephen


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. 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: A family-run bed and breakfast in a large modernised Georgian farmhouse in the centre of St Bees.

Meals:  Nil

Take the first steps on this first half of 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 entire Coast to Coast walk. 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: We use a range of accommodation in the village from B&B's, Guesthouses and Pubs.

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

Your Coast to Coast walking experience concludes 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

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 nights B&B accommodation on a twin share basis usually with private facilities
  • 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

The trip is graded Moderate to Challenging. Some long days and steep climbs and descents. Generally however undulating. Mixed weather can be expected. We would not recommend the route for first time walkers. Note that often the trails, in the Lake District especially, are steep and rocky at times. Despite its justifiable popularity, Wainwright's Coast to Coast is not yet a UK National Trail. 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 8 Oct

Notes

H
High Season
DN1
Please note that minor changes to your 2024 itinerary may apply.

Priceper person from

£940GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement 2024GBP£200
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2024GBP£210
  • Single Supplement 2025GBP£220
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2025GBP£220
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

This is the first half of the itinerary that we have been running for many years and has been our original two-week Coast to Coast walking holiday. When Alfred Wainwright researched the route, he actually walked the Borrowdale to Grasmere and Grasmere to Patterdale (Glenridding) sections as one long day which is different to what we do today.

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.

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.

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 so good maps, GPX and route notes are essential.

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.

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 is a great place to stay. With an extra night, you allow yourself more time to see the sights and visit for example Ambleside or Keswick. Other places could include Kirkby Stephen.

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.


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.

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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.

Coast to Coast Walk Videos

Walk England's Coast to Coast with Walkers' Britain