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Coast to Coast Path

Coast to Coast Path Complete

Overview

The Coast to Coast Path was devised by Alfred Wainwright, the famous English walker and guidebook author in 1973, as an alternative to the north-south Pennine Way. It covers 190 miles from the sea cliffs of St Bees on the Irish Sea through three national parks (Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors) to Robin Hood’s Bay’s fishing village on the North Sea. The Coast to Coast Path has become one of England’s most popular long-distance walks globally, and it includes probably the best walking England has to offer. As Wainwright put it himself in one of his guidebooks, “[The Coast to Coast Path] puts the Pennine Way to shame” for scenic beauty, variety and interest.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive St Bees

Arrive and overnight St Bees, a charming village and the starting point of this epic trail, located close to the Irish Sea. It is served by regular trains from Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, where you can connect to all UK destinations. Journey time from London is about 5 hours.  

Day 2: St Bees to Ennerdale | 24 km / 15 mi

Starting from the Irish Sea coast, this is the last time you will see the sea until reaching the other side of the country. Starting with great views from cliffs along the coast, the path soon turns westwards and inland where you will see the Lake District’s mountains in the distance ahead. Head across a variety of farmland towards your overnight stay of Ennerdale.

Day 3: Ennerdale to Rosthwaite | 25 km / 16 mi

Continuing on close to Ennerdale Water, you make your way into the Lake District Park area heading for the Borrowdale Valley. A fairly easy-going lakeside stroll follows which takes you through the valley with the mountains of Red Pike and High Stile visible on clear days. The path continues on to your overnight stop of Rosthwaite.

  • Walking for the day: 16 miles / 25 km
  • Accommodation: Royal Oak or similar

Day 4: Rosthwite to Grasmere | 15 km / 9 mi

Heading out of Rosthwaite, today’s walk is a Lakeland classic, offering some fantastic views on clear days. The path takes you uphill, gradually working your way up and to the top of the valley. From the top here there are stunning views for miles. Heading across to the next valley it is then a long descent into Grasmere via the Easedale Valley. Grasmere is perhaps the prettiest villages in the Lake District, known for its associations with William Wordsworth.

Day 5: Grasmere to Patterdale | 14 km / 9 mi

A pleasantly short stage today, but also a rewarding one. Heading uphill and out of Grasmere, you are soon back in the fells walking up and over Grisedale. Admire Grisedale Tarn, a small lake at the top before descending through the next valley to Patterdale, a quiet village offering a couple of cosy pubs and known for being home to a population of red squirrels.

Day 6: Patterdale to Shap | 26 km / 16 mi

Leaving behind the Patterdale Valley, today the path takes you out of the Lake District ascending Kidsty Pike. The terrain changes to a less rugged landscape with more rounded hills as you head towards Shap and the Yorkshire Dales. After a relatively flat but long day’s walk, you will arrive in Shap for your overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 16 miles / 26 km
  • Accommodation: The Hermitage or similar

Day 7: Shap to Kirkby Stephen | 33 km / 20 mi

The route from Shap crosses into the Westmorland Fells in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. From here, the vistas change from dramatic granite rocks to an open limestone landscape as you continue past the tiny village of Orton. Continue through open countryside with occasional villages, remote houses and secluded farms – and a wide panorama towards the distinctive Howgills and the distant Pennines. Pass Smardale Bridge, a stunning piece of Victorian architecture from a long-gone railway. Then it’s on into the small yet lively town of Kirkby Stephen, with its welcoming pubs, cafes and restaurants, in the heart of the lovely Eden Valley.

  • Walking for the day: 8 miles / 13 km
  • Accommodation: Redmaine House (Kirby Stephen) or similar

Day 8: Kirkby Stephen to Keld | 23 km / 14 mi

From Kirkby Stephen, it’s a long ascent to Nine Standards’ cairns, on clear days the mountains of the Lake District are visible to the West. From the cairns, cross sweeping moorland towards the fields of the upper Swaledale area and finally to Keld. The various routes that should be taken dependent on the time of year to avoid excessive erosion. Overnight in Keld.

  • Walking for the day: 14 miles / 23 km
  • Accommodation: Butt House (Keld) or similar

Day 9: Keld to Reeth | 18 km / 11 mi

From Keld, there is a choice of two routes. A low-level route that follows the River through Swaledale and the farmland and woodland of the area. Or a higher route that is a step through the history of lead mining in the area and a more rugged choice with some fantastic views along the way. You finish in the village of Reeth.

  • Walking for the day: 11 (13) miles / 18 (20) km
  • Accommodation: The Manse (Reeth) or similar

Day 10: Reeth to Richmond | 19 km / 12 mi

Today you will be leaving the Pennines. From Reeth you head through Swaledale, soon passing the Marrick Priory, which was founded in 1155. The tower that survives dates from the 13th century. From here it is a steep but short climb to Marrick and then undulating walking through fields and woodland before a descent into Richmond, a bustling small town with plenty of pubs where you can stock up on supplies for the next few days.

  • Walking for the day: 12 miles / 19 km
  • Accommodation: Cordilleras House (Richmond) or similar

Day 11: Richmond to Danby Wiske | 22 km / 14 mi

Leaving Richmond behind, you follow the line of the River Swale before heading through farmland. Today’s walking is pleasantly flat, especially after passing Brompton-on-Swale. Overnight in Danby Wiske with its 11th century Norman church, the lowest point inland of the entire route.

  • Walking for the day: 14 miles / 23 km
  • Accommodation: The White Swan or similar

Day 12: Danby Wiske to Ingleby Cross/Osmotherley | 15-18 km / 9-11 mi

Another easy-going day with no major climbs, although you slowly gain height throughout the day. Pass through a pretty combination of fields and woodland with open views before arriving at Ingleby Cross at the beginning of the North Yorkshire Moors. Depending on accommodation availability, your overnight could be in Osmotherley.

  • Walking for the day: 9-11 miles / 15-18 km
  • Accommodation: The Golden Lion (Osmortherley) or similar

Day 13: Ingleby Cross/Osmotherley to Blakey | 33 km / 20 mi

Walk through woodland then head uphill for superb views back to Richmond and ahead towards the North Sea. You are finally in the North York Moors National Park with its wide expanses of heather covered moorland, contrasting with the distinctive rocky crags of the Wain Stones. It feels like you are on a high mountain, but the North York Moors is only 4-500m above sea level. Today’s stretch brings you across the plateau, along the route of an abandoned mine railway to The Lion Inn pub. Originally a 16th-century hunting lodge, it’s the third highest pub in England and the only building for miles around.

  • Walking for the day: 20 miles / 33 km
  • Accommodation: The Lion Inn (Blakey Ridge) or similar

Day 14: Blakey to Grosmont | 22 km / 14 mi

Today’s route is mainly flat and downhill beside Great Fryup Dale and into Glaisdale. There’s one sting in the tail to get up and down into Egton Bridge before you end the day in peaceful Grosmont (pronounced ‘Growmont’), one of the stops on the famous North York Moors steam railway.

Day 15: Grosmont to Robin Hood’s Bay | 25 km / 16 mi

Start the day with a steep road climb up onto the moor before descending into beautiful Littlebeck – but not before catching a glimpse of the sea and the breathtaking Whitby Abbey! Through Falling Foss woods with its hidden follies, walk over the last section of the Moors. The final stretch takes you from High Hawsker along the top of the Jurassic cliffs – with stunning coastal scenery and the sight of a dolphin if you’re lucky. There are gorgeous vistas of Robin Hood’s Bay as you descend to this beautiful
old fishing village. On arrival, don’t forget to throw your St Bees’ stone into the North Sea. Congratulations – You’ve crossed England!

Day 16: Departure

Departure or extra nights upon request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodations on this tour include a mix of charming small hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere, cuisine and/or unique services. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.

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*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse you are staying at or at the village pubs and restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

While not too demanding, most days offer 5-6 hours of walking on average, and you need to be fit to complete the Coast to Coast Path. You will cover a variety of terrain, but there are no steep ascents and descents. Some of the paths can become muddy and boggy, and progress can often be slow (read more about difficulty grades). The trail follows well-maintained footpaths, bridleways, open fields and some minor roads. The trail is waymarked only sporadically. A comprehensive guidebook and map are supplied. You can also call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from mid-March until mid-October.

The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season. If you are a seasoned and well-equipped hiker, we can eventually book you on off-season dates.

Getting there

Up-to-date travel advice on the United Kingdom is available here (for Canadian citizens) and here (for US citizens).

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Manchester (MAN) and Newcastle upon Tyne (NCL).

By train or bus
  • From both Manchester and Newcastle airports, the travel time by train to St Bees is approximately 4 hours. St Bees is served by regular trains from Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, from where you can connect to all UK destinations. Journey time from London is about 5 hours. Please check the Traveline website or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 15 nights in twin/double rooms with an en-suite or private bathroom (small hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses)
  • 15 breakfasts
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information: personalised trip notes and maps (digital copy only)
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel – up to 20 kg per bag
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative in Cheltenham

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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