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.
This self guided walking itinerary covers the western section of the Coast to Coast Path from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen. We also offer the eastern section from Kirkby to Robin Hood’s Bay, or if you have the time and stamina you can walk the entire path in 16 days.
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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.
- Accommodation: Stonehouse Farm or similar
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 at Ennerdale.
- Walking for the day: 15 miles / 24 km
- Accommodation: The Shepherds Arms or similar
Day 3: Ennerdale to Rosthwaite | 25 km / 16 mi
Continuing 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 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.
- Walking for the day: 9 miles / 15 km
- Accommodation: Glenthorne Guest House or similar
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.
- Walking for the day: 9 miles / 14 km
- Accommodation: School House B&B or similar
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: Departure
Departure after breakfast or extra nights upon request.
What to Expect
Accommodations on the Coast to Coast Path 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.
Click to view default hotels
- Stonehouse Farm, The Shepherds Arms, Royal Oak, Glenthorne Guest House, School House B&B, The Hermitage, The George Hotel, Lockholme B&B
*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.
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 4-6 hours of walking on average. 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.
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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.
- 7 nights in twin/double rooms with an en-suite or private bathroom (small hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses)
- 7 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
- 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