As a result of popular demand, for people with more time, or who want to break up some of the longer days of the original two week tour, we have given you the option to increase Wainwright’s masterpiece by splitting a couple of the longer days. This is the quintessential English hill walking and long distance trail experience: 190 plus miles traversing three 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, totally eclipsing the Pennine Way in terms of popularity and variety, is still not classified as a National Trail! Starting at the tiny Cumbrian seaside resort of St. Bees on the Irish Sea we head east, with the wind, into the Lake district to pass by some of its most famous lakes and cross some important passes, with options to extend days (with ascents of peaks such as Helvellyn). Then it is on into the Yorkshire Dales 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 we roller coaster around to the North Sea Coast to make a triumphant entrance into Robins Hoods Bay where a celebratory pint, bottle of Champagne or ice cream whilst standing in the sea is in order. 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! There are cozy small hotels, guesthouses and pubs to stay at on this tour 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 15, 16, or 18 day options as well as 8,11,12 day sections of Wainwright’s popular route. Scroll down to find an overview of all Coast to Coast walking options to choose from.
Across England on Wainwright’s Walk
Walking from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay
One of the World’s Great Walks
English Lake District, Pennines and North York Moors
Hike across England on Wainwright’s famous path
Some of the UK’s tastiest cream teas, Grasmere gingerbread, and the original sticky toffee pudding
3 UK National Parks: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors
Enjoying the satisfaction of completing one of Britain’s best long-distance trails
Start your day with a full English breakfast, guilt-free!
Chance to see an ancient steam train pull out from Grosmont railway station
Spend more time on the route by breaking up the longer days
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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: A family-run bed and breakfast in a large modernised Georgian farmhouse in the centre of St Bees.
St Bees To Ennerdale Bridge 23.5 Km/14.5 Miles, 6 H
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).
Ennerdale Bridge To Borrowdale 26.5 Km/16.5 Miles, 7 H
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.
Borrowdale To Grasmere 13.5 Km/8.5 Miles, 5-6 H Via Helm Crag
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.
Grasmere To Glenridding 12 Km/7.5 Miles, 5.5 H Standard Route
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.
Glenridding To Shap 26 Km/16 Miles, 7-9 H
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.
Shap To Kirkby Stephen 33 Km/20.5 Miles, 8 H
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.
Kirkby Stephen To Keld 24 Km/14.5 Miles, 6 H
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. You pass 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.
Keld To Reeth 20 Km/12.5 Miles, 5 H
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.
Reeth To Richmond 20 Km /12.5 Miles, 5 H
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.
Richmond To Danby Wiske 22.5 Km/14 Miles, 5 H
A gentle rural day, walking out from Richmond beside the River Swale and across the fields to Catterick Race Course. You'll then be threading your way to Brompton on Swale, an ideal lunch stop in the churchyard. You then trundle along beside tiny streams and quiet country roads reaching the village of Danby Wiske with its village green and single pub. | Accommodation: We use the guesthouses or pub in this small village.
Danby Wiske To Osmotherley 16 Km/10 Miles, 3.5 H
Today is primarily a road walk although there are cross country sections. The two hills are towards the end, a short climb to what was East Harlsey Castle, and then with the North York Moors pressing ever closer you have to carefully cross the main A19 road to take a lovely woodland footpath up to Osmotherley. On the way you may want to visit Mount Grace Priory (1398), this is a ruin that has had some restoration work. Osmotherley is a quaint hill village with three pubs to choose from plus Britain’s oldest functioning Methodist Church (1754) - John Wesley came to preach here. | Accommodation: Tonight's accommodation is set in an extremely picturesque village on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. All rooms are ensuite and have tea & coffee making facilities.
Osmotherley To Clay Bank Top Car Park 17 Km/10.6 Miles, 6 H
This is a roller coaster walk. A steep stretch from Osmotherley introduces you to the North York Moors and its 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. It's almost hidden in an off-road embankment and comes at the right 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 we thread through on the way up. Great views in clear weather, incl. Roseberry Topping, Vale of Mowbray and back to the Pennines. We come off the ridge at Clay Bank Top and you will get a transfer to your accommodation (included) from the car park at Clay Bank Top to Great Broughton. | Accommodation: In Great Broughton, Wainstones Hotel - this present-day structure has developed around a former dwelling dating from early 1700. It combines quality service with the atmosphere of a Yorkshire country inn.
Clay Bank Top Car Park To Blakey 13.8 Km/8.6 Miles, 4.5 H
You will be transferred back to the car park (included). Today, the walk follows a moorland ridge up over Round Hill (454m) and the track maintains its height as it follows the line of the old dismantled Rosedale Railway line. The moor can be bleak in bad weather 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, but your arrival at the ancient Lion Inn at Blakey can be a great relief. | 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 species of Real Ale and great dining in either the bar or the restaurant.
Blakey To Egton Bridge Or Grosmont 16 Km/10 Miles, 4 H
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.
Egton Bridge Or Grosmont To Robin Hood's Bay 25.7 Km/16 Miles, 7 H
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.
Arrangements End After Breakfast
Your Coast to Coast walk concludes in Robin Hood's Bay after breakfast.
16 nights in hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses
The hotels described are our usual accommodation, however if these are not available then alternatives are used. Rooms generally do not have baths. The main reason being that they take up a lot of space, some hotels/guesthouses may have a separate room in the house where a bath is available to guests, but in the main it is showers. Note that the sheer popularity of this tour may mean that we cannot get you into the accommodation described below for the dates of your tour. We will endeavor to get you into a similar standard of accommodation nearby, but please appreciate that there is limited accommodation. Also, although we aim to get you into accommodations with ensuite rooms this is not always possible, at a couple of places on your tour you may be sharing bathrooms, particularly if you are in a single room.
Suggested rest stops: Must be requested at the time of booking.
GRASMERE: In the heart of the Lake District National Park. Once the home to William Wordsworth. The village has narrow streets with cafes, shops and pubs. Bus service connects Grasmere with Keswick and Ambleside.
KIRKBY STEPHEN: Traditional market town of historic buildings, cobbled yards and interesting shops.
RICHMOND: Historic market town, dominated by the Norman Castle, open daily. There are regular markets and quite a few places to eat. It’s the largest town on the Coast to Coast.
ROBIN HOODS BAY: Picturesque village with tiny streets, shops, cafes and pubs. During the late 18th century smuggling was rife on the Yorkshire coast. An extra night after finishing your walk, to relax, swim or just enjoy the coast is worthwhile.
What You Carry
As the walks are fully supported you only need to carry a daypack with your daily requirements including raincoat, lunch supplies, waterbottle, warm top, camera etc.
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 Coast to Coast 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.