This self-guided holiday, walking the Coast to Coast Path west section over eight days, covers the first half of the iconic 293km trail, traditionally walked west to east. Starting on the sandy stretches of St Bees on the Cumbrian Coast and finishing in Kirkby Stephen, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, you also discover the Lake District National Park en route. Walking it over eight days means you can take it gently, with daily walking distances of 13-31km, and an average of five to six hours of walking. Every evening you are welcomed at one of many charming hotels and inns along the way, while having your luggage transferred for you.
- Lake District National Park
- Kidsty Pike
- Yorkshire Dales National Park
- Kirkby Stephen in the Upper Eden Valley
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrival in St Bees
Arrive in the village of St Bees, the starting point of the tour, located close to the Irish Sea. If time allows, take a stroll along the beach or visit St Bees Priory, the village’s 12th-century church.
- Accommodation: Stonehouse Farm or similar in St Bees
Day 2: St Bees – Ennerdale | 24km
Leaving the west coast, this is the last time you see the sea until the final stage of the tour, on the other side of the country. Starting with views along the coastline from the cliffs, the path soon heads inland, where the Lake District’s mountains can be spotted in the distance ahead. Follow the route across farmland, towards the hamlet of Ennerdale.
- Walking for the day: 24km ↑799m
- Accommodation: The Shepherds Arms or similar in Ennerdale
Day 3: Ennerdale – Rosthwaite | 24km
Follow the route past Ennerdale Water and into the Lake District National Park, towards Borrowdale Valley. Heading into the valley, a fairly easy-going lakeside walk follows, with the mountains of Red Pike and High Stile visible on clear days. The path continues on to Rosthwaite, the final stop of the day.
- Walking for the day: 25km ↑539m
- Accommodation: Royal Oak or similar in Rosthwaite
Day 4: Rosthwaite – Grasmere | 13km
Leaving Rosthwaite, follow the path uphill, gradually ascending to the top of the valley. From there, head across to the next valley, before beginning the long descent into Grasmere, via Easedale Valley. Grasmere is one of the Lake District’s most famous villages, known for its associations with William Wordsworth.
- Walking for the day: 13km ↑532m
- Accommodation: Glenthorne Guest House or similar in Grasmere
Day 5: Grasmere – Patterdale | 14km
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. Arrive at 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: 14km ↑540m
- Accommodation: School House B&B or similar in Patterdale
Day 6: Patterdale – Shap | 26km
Leaving Patterdale Valley, today’s route heads out of the Lake District, ascending Kidsty Pike. The terrain changes to a less rugged landscape with more rounded hills, as the route heads in the direction of the Yorkshire Dales. After a long day of walking, arrive at your accommodation in Shap.
- Walking for the day: 26km ↑875m
- Accommodation: The Hermitage or similar in Shap
Day 7: Shap – Kirkby Stephen | 31km
Today’s route leads to Westmorland Fells and into Yorkshire Dales National Park. From here, the vistas change from dramatic granite rocks to an open limestone landscape, as the route heads through the village of Orton. Continue through the countryside, passing the occasional village and farmhouse, with a view of the distinctive Howgill Fells and the distant Pennines. Pass Smardale Gill Viaduct, an impressive disused Victorian railway bridge, before arriving in the small yet lively town of Kirkby Stephen in the heart of Eden Valley.
- Walking for the day: 31km ↑521m
- Accommodation: The Old Croft House or similar in Kirkby Stephen
Day 8: Departure
Departure after breakfast, or extend your stay with extra nights in Kirkby Stephen upon request.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour includes a mix of mostly small, locally-owned hotels, B&Bs and traditional guesthouses. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
- Stonehouse Farm (St Bees)
- The Shepherds Arms (Ennerdale)
- Royal Oak (Rosthwaite)
- Glenthorne Guest House (Grasmere)
- School House B&B (Patterdale)
- The Hermitage (Shap)
- The Old Croft House (Kirkby Stephen)
Accommodation is subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel or guesthouse being fully booked for your chosen dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal 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 en route, lunches and snacks can either be bought from local shops or packed lunches can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either at the accommodation or from restaurants in the local area.
Difficulty and terrain
This tour is rated moderate, with daily walking distances ranging between 13-31km and most days offering an average of 5-6h of walking. While not too demanding, a good level of fitness is required to get the most out of this tour. The routes 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. The trail follows well-maintained footpaths, bridleways, open fields and some minor roads, and the trail is only waymarked sporadically (read more about difficulty grades).
We strongly advise you to only follow marked trails and never try to shorten the path through unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed route notes and maps and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed information on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from the end of March until the end of September. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, meaning you can start your trip on any date during the season. If you are a seasoned and well-equipped hiker, it may be possible to book your tour on off-season dates.
In the north-west of England, during the spring and autumn months, average maximum temperatures range between 9-17C, and you can expect more rainfall than during the summer months. In the period of June-August, the average maximum temperatures range between 19-20C.
Click to view travel options
By train or bus
- If you are able to travel to England without flying, this holiday is reachable by rail, with railway stations in St Bees and Kirkby Stephen. See Trainline for details.
- From both Manchester Airport and Newcastle Airport, the train journey to St Bees is approximately 4h. From Kirkby Stephen, the journey to Newcastle Airport is 3.5h and to Manchester Airport the journey is 4h
- St Bees is served by regular trains services from Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, stations which are reachable from all UK destinations. Journey time from London is about 5h
- From Kirkby Stephen, there are regular train services in the direction of Carlisle and Leeds, from where there are train connections to all UK destinations
- For more information about train services, see the rail operators Northern Rail and Transpennine Express, see Trainline or use the Omio planner above
- 7 nights accommodation
- 7 breakfasts
- Detailed tour materials, including practical information, personalised trip notes and maps (digital copy only)
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel (one piece per person, up to 20kg)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- 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 locally)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- 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