The world famous Coast-to-Coast is an exhilarating long-distance walking route originally described by the writer Alfred Wainwright in his book of the same name. First published in 1973, the book has grown in renown and today is as popular as ever, with the walk itself featuring on the bucket list of all keen walkers.
This 9 night tour follows the route from St Bees, on the shores of the Irish Sea, to Kirkby Stephen in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It takes you across country, up fells and down dales and features some of the most spectacular scenery that the Lake District has to offer.
The walking is challenging and only recommended for experienced fell walkers and confident map readers, but the sense of achievement and camaraderie when you encounter fellow coast to coasters makes it all worthwhile.
Your accommodation each night is in carefully picked B&Bs, with either ensuite or private facilities, where friendly smiles and warm welcomes to weary walkers are guaranteed!
Please note that GPX tracks and a routes and maps guide are provided on this trip, along with our usual maps. This replaces our usual turn by turn route directions
The walking is on a mixture of tracks, paths and country roads, with sections through open moorland which can become boggy. There are some long ascents and descents and a head for heights is necessary.
Check into your B&B, a convenient short walk from St Bees railway station.
Set off from St Bees' beach along the coast before turning inland towards the village of Sandwith. Once you've passed through the sleepy villages of Moor Row and Cleator, you reach the first climb of the trip - Dent Fell - before arriving at the small village of Ennerdale Bridge.
You're now in the Lake District National Park and the day starts with a walk along Ennerdale Water with superb views of the approaching fells. From here, you have a choice: either go high up to Red Pike and over High Stile onto the iconic Haystacks and past Inominate Tarn (where Wainwright’s ashes were scattered) or follow a gentler route up to Black Sail Youth Hostel and then up Loft Beck. Both routes take you to Honister Slate mine – the last working slate mine in England - before a descent into the village of Rosthwaite.
A shorter stage today, but the ascent to the day's only peak, Greenup Edge, is steep and demanding. The view from here is another iconic picture of the unique and beautiful landscape of the Lake District. Overnight in pretty Grasmere.
A day off from walking today and the chance to explore Grasmere, including the Wordsworth Museum and the poet's former residence, Dove Cottage.
All walkers climb up to Grisedale Hause with gorgeous views back towards Grasmere. From here, you have the option to go even higher and up the famous Helvellyn peak or onto St Sunday Crag - with far reaching views as far as Ullswater - before coming down Grisedale into Patterdale. Alternatively, take the direct route down Grisedale to the village.
The day starts with another climb and impressive panoramic views across to Fairfield, Helvellyn, Hartsop and Kirkstone Pass. You continue beside Angle Tarn, across the old Roman path of High St and onto Kidsty Pike - at 780m, the highest point on the Coast to Coast Walk, from where there are amazing views down to Haweswater and Riggindale. Descend to Haweswater - formed in the 1930's to provide water to the cities of the North West - for an undulating onward walk into the charming village of Bampton.
There is less climbing today than the previous two days. Set off through fields to Shap Abbey, the ruins of a monastery founded in the 13th century. The monks abandoned it to Henry V111 in 1540 and since then it has served as a memory of a bygone era. After passing through the small town of Shap, the route 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 to the tiny village of Orton.
Today's stage takes you 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.
After breakfast, make your way to Kirkby Stephen railway station for your train home.
If you'd prefer a slightly longer holiday, take a look at our 17 night Walking from Coast to Coast.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
We use well selected bed and breakfasts or traditional village inns, that are HH or HHH rated and which are generally family owned and with lovely views over the surrounding fells and dales.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
We loved our adventure. Totally brilliant and Headwater made it easy to organise and were a pleasure to deal with.
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Headwater Customer Service Team
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 9 night self-guided walking holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of and hotels
Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
Route directions and maps
Luggage transfers between hotels
GPS tracks and maps
Guide book with route information
How to book:
We do not currently have departure dates and prices available on-line. The season may have ended for this tour, or we are still in the process of adding these details to our website. Please contact us for further details.
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Self-guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
This holiday does not include any flights or rail.