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Return to Nature and the English Countryside on a 14-18 day, tour tracing the full length of the England’s original and most famous Coast to Coast Route (C2C), as devised by Alfred Wainwright. 190 miles of magical walking from the western edges of the Lake District, through to the Yorkshire Dales and finally over the North Yorkshire Moors to the finish at Robin Hood’s Bay. The route leads you from one breath-taking view to the next, immersing you in the England’s iconic history and heritage and championing England in all its glory.
We will help you draw up the itinerary that is right for you. The Coast to Coast is a special walk and the enjoyment of it can be further enhanced by careful planning to fit your own unique requirements, aims, fitness, experience, and any time constraints. Although some people have done it in less than 12 days this is only advisable for the super-fit and if you are prepared to compromise on not being able to fully explore and ponder. After all, the views and photo opportunities are timeless!
14 days is the most common trip duration. If you wish to keep daily mileages shorter or include a rest day or two – with Grasmere, Kirkby Stephen and Richmond the main places – then you may wish to consider taking between 15-18 days.
Journey on foot, at your own pace, in your own time. We take all the hassle out of walking by including all luggage transfers, organising and booking all accommodation, providing maps, GPS instructions, and recommending incredible iconic palaces, castles, estates, ancient sites and more to visit along the way.
Step back in time on one of our idyllic walks through the heart of the English countryside, along routes used since prehistoric times, winding through villages, tracing ridgeways, down into woodlands and valleys, and with panoramic views around every corner. These linear journeys are the perfect way to discover England at its finest.
If travelling in by train then it is better to go direct to St Bees. If driving, then best to use the complementary secure car-parking in Kirkby Stephen, stay the night, and then take our transfer to St Bees at 8am on Day 1, ready to walk to Ennerdale Bridge.
Following the tradition of the C2C, collect a stone from the beach in St. Bees, which you take with you throughout your entire journey and carry over to Robin Hood’s Bay to drop in the North Sea. The trip starts with a walk along the sea front, then turns towards the village of Sandwith. Waving goodbye to the Irish Sea you’ll head inland passing the villages of Moor Row and Cleator. Your first day’s walk is a nice gentle start to your trip, with a few ups and downs before your first hill Dent Fell on the fringe of the Lake District, offering uninterrupted stunning views of the Cumbrian coast, before you arrive into the small village of Ennerdale Bridge and your accommodation for the night.
Mileage: 14 miles
You’re now inside the Lake District National Park! The day starts by walking along Ennerdale Water with cracking views of the approaching fells. This is one of the two sections where you have a couple of options. You can go high up to Red Pike and over High Stile onto the iconic Haystacks and past Innominate Tarn – Wainwright’s favourite summit and where his ashes were scattered; or take the gentler walk up to Black Sail Youth Hostel and then up Loft Beck. Both options come together before Honister Slate Mine, the last working slate mine in England, and descend into the pretty village of Rosthwaite, ringed with mountains, and where you finish your day’s walk.
Mileage: 14 miles
Today’s walk is a little shorter, but with a great ascent sure to challenge your legs up to the day’s only peak, Greenup Edge, for some iconic views over the Lake District and down along Eagle Crag. Grasmere, where today’s walk ends, is one of the larger towns you’ll visit on the Coast to Coast. Home to William Wordsworth, there is a Wordsworth museum and the chance to look around his Dove Cottage, as well as a bustling high street and great dinner options in town.
With plenty to explore and a vibrant village life, Grasmere is a good place for an extra night’s stay, for those wishing to break up their walking journey.
Mileage: 9 miles
Today’s walk also gives you two choices of route. Climbing up to Grisedale Hause you’ll get some great views backwards towards Grasmere. From there, you can go even higher and up the famous Helvellyn peak, the third-highest point in England, and the steady hike up onto St Sunday Crag. Or head on straight, into the landscape that opens in front of you as far as Ullswater, England’s second largest lake, before descending down Grisedale Pike from both routes and into the cute village of Patterdale where you stay overnight.
Mileage: 14 miles
Today begins with another climb to some very impressive views all round, including across to Fairfield, Helvellyn, Hartsop and Kirkstone Pass. You’ll walk alongside the famous Angle Tarn lake, believed by many to be the most beautiful of the over 100 lakes in the District, with the possibility of seeing red deer and even a peregrine falcon here. Journeying on you’ll cross an old Roman Path and reach Kidsty Pike – the highest point on the Coast to Coast! The views from here down to Haweswater and Riggindale are incredible. Riggingdale is famous as being home to England’s only golden eagle – look out for him dancing through the skies. From here the route descends down to Haweswater Reservoir– formed in the 1930’s to provide water to the cities of the North West – and forms an undulating walk into the sweet village of Bampton.
Mileage: 12 miles
With less climbing than the previous two days, today you can stretch your legs through the fields to your first stop at Shap Abbey, the ruins of a monastery founded in the late 12th century in the secluded and beautiful valley of the River Lowther. Abandoned by the monks under Henry VIIIth in 1540, it has since held the memory of a bygone era. After passing through the small town of Shap the route crosses into the Westmorland Fells, part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. These hills follow a limestone ridge that encompass some of the most beautiful landscapes in Cumbria, marking the end of the dramatic granite formations as you move into the stunningly beautiful open limestone landscape. Your day ends in the village of Orton, where you stay for the evening.
Mileage: 21 miles
Today’s walking leads you through an open landscape with only a few villages, remote houses and farms, with open views towards the distant Pennines (tomorrow’s challenge) and the distinctive Howgills. Smardale Gill Old Viaduct stands out as a stunning piece of Victorian architecture, built for a long-gone railway and crossing the dramatic Scandal Beck valley. From here it’s on and into Kirkby Stephen in the heart of the lovely Eden Valley, a lively small town with welcoming pubs, cafes, and restaurants so you can rest your feet and enjoy the atmosphere.
It is a welcoming place with a variety of dining and entertainment options, as well as short circular walks making Kirby Stephen a great place for an extra night’s stay, for those wishing to break up their walking journey with a rest day.
Mileage: 12.5 miles
Today, the landscape returns to its hilly norm, climbing up to the Nine Standards – a very distinctive feature on the fell, over the crossing from Cumbria into Yorkshire and also the watershed between the Irish Sea and the North Sea. You leave Kirkby Stephen via the picture postcard village of Hartley with three route options over the fell to Keld depending on the season. Green (December – April), red (May – July) and blue (August – November). They all pass Ravenseat Farm, where the famous author and Dales personality Amanda Owens, aka the Shepherdess, lives and runs a unique cafe. Finishing the day in the peaceful former lead-mining village of Keld makes for a great day out walking through varied terrain and landscape.
Mileage: 12 miles
Today you have the choice between a route over the mountain or a route along the valley. The former goes across an almost moonscape-like grouse moor, passing ruins from the lead-mining era, and the latter winds through the iconic Swaledale valley of quaint stone barns and dry stone walls. Whichever you choose, you’ll be in for a treat and will arrive at Reeth, another picture postcard village in the Dales with welcoming pubs and a friendly atmosphere to relax in in the evening.
Mileage: 12 miles
Walking out across meadows and villages there are a number of sights to look out for along the way including Marrick Priory, a beautiful Benedictine nunnery formed in the 12th Century and abandoned during the 16th Century dissolution of the monasteries. Your day ends in the largest town on the Coast to Coast – Richmond. Complete with a Norman Castle which stands in a commanding position above the River Swale, there is plenty to see and do with great choices of places to eat and drink.
Richmond is another place where we recommend a rest day to explore the bustling town life, restaurants, castle and more. If you are looking to break up your walking journey, this is a great place to rest your legs for a day.
Mileage: 12 miles
Today’s walking is flat and easy-going, though longer than previous days. In Bolton-on-Swale you can visit St. Mary’s Church dating back to 14th Century. For any bird watchers, this area is a great breeding ground for wintering wildfowl with a few large lakes being home to oystercatchers, warblers, wagtails and sand martins, as well as green crested grebes in the autumn.
Mileage: 23 miles
Today takes you into the third and last National Park on your hike – The North York Moors. Initially passing through woodland, you’ll climb up to some superb views both back to Richmond and ahead towards the North Sea. The route is very undulating as it crosses the distinctive heather-clad landscape and past distinctive crags like the Wain Stones.
Mileage: 12 miles
Though it feels like being on the high mountain, the North York Moors is only 400-500 metres above sea level. You’ll walk across the plateau in the morning, with a great lunch spot midway at The Lion Inn pub – distinct as the only building for miles around and the third highest pub in England! Originally a 16th-Century hunting lodge, you’ll notice its weathered and very thick stone walls as you enjoy its roaring fire, great selection of ales and food. From here the route is mainly flat and downhill besides Great Fryup Dale and heading into Glaisdale before a short up and down into Egton Bridge, with the option to continue of to nearby Grosmont (with its steam railway).
Mileage: 20-22 miles
After an initial steep climb up from Grosmont up onto the moor, you’ll descend into beautiful Littlebeck – but not before catching glimpse of the sea and the stunning Whitby Abbey. Wandering through Falling Foss woods which are almost medieval in nature, look out for a number of follies before walking over the last sections of the Moors with the call of the ocean beckoning. Your final walk takes you through from High Hawsker and along the top of the Jurassic cliffs for some stunning coastal scenery – you may even catch sight of a dolphin! Your walk finishes with a descent through Robin Hood’s Bay and its beautiful old fishing village on the coast. Throw your stone into the North Sea to complete your epic crossing of England!
From here we will help you with your ongoing travel arrangements – we recommend taking a transfer to catch the train from Whitby, or we can get you back to your car in Kirkby Stephen.
Mileage: 15.5 – 17 miles
For full information about this tour and to find out all you need to know, download your copy of the detailed itinerary by clicking the button below.
St Bees Railway Station (arriving by train) or Kirkby Stephen (arriving by car)
10am at St Bees or 8am at Kirkby Stephen
With exceptionally well-planned routes, our self-guided tours are designed to suit the independent traveler or groups of travelers; those who wish to walk at their own pace and speed. With GPS (our routes downloaded onto your phones) and maps, we detail all of the points of interests, lunch stops, cafes – and of course pubs! Hike at your leisure, safe in the knowledge that a support team and emergency support vehicle is on standby
By Train: St Bees –You might find travelling by rail directly to St Bees and back from Robin Hood’s Bay your easiest option, staying your first night at St Bees. Approximate rail journey time from Manchester to St Bees is between 4 – 4.5 hours, and around 5.5 hours from London, changing at Carlisle. It is always best to buy your rail ticket in advance – see www.nationalrail.co.uk.
By Car: Kirkby Stephen – If you are travelling by car, your easiest option is to drive to Kirkby Stephen, situated just off J38 of the M6. Here you can spend your first night before parking in the secure car park in the morning and taking the Packhorse Minibus out to St Bees to start your Coast to Coast walk. If you can get to Kirkby Stephen by 8am, you can drive there in the morning and catch the minibus by 8.15am. You can also travel to Kirkby Stephen by train – it is on the famous Settle-Carlisle railway.
By Train: If you took the train to St Bees, you can take the train from Scarborough station, with excellent links to London and Manchester, or Whitby station, connecting to Newcastle and Scotland.
By Car: Take the 2-2.5 hour transfer back to Kirkby Stephen. The Packhorse bus departs at 4pm latest from Robin Hood’s Bay. You will need to decide whether you want another night at Kirkby Stephen before setting off home, or whether you want to jump straight into the car and head off at 6.15pm when the minibus gets in.
We have handpicked a selection of hotels and bed and breakfasts in ideal locations so you can walk into and out of your hotel to begin and end your walk each day, with no detours! With great access into towns and views over the lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors these hotels and guest houses are the perfect place to rest your legs and relax during the evenings while on your tour.
Read M.W’s review of our hotels: “The accommodations were first rate — small inns scattered throughout the countryside. And the food — out of this world! […] It was so relaxing to have the whole trip prearranged.”