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.
At nearly 200 miles in length, the route takes you across country, up fells and down dales, from Cumbria's St Bees, on the shores of the Irish Sea, to the picturesque fishing village of Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire, passing fabulous landscapes at every turn.
The tour runs through three national parks in northern England - the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors - and features some of the most spectacular and beautiful scenery in the country.
The walking is challenging and recommended for experienced fell walkers and confident map readers only, 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.
Before setting off this morning, follow the tradition of all coast to coast walkers, and collect a stone from the beach in St. Bees, which you will carry to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea. Then set off 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 where there is lots to explore 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 (tomorrow’s challenge!). 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.
Leave Kirkby Stephen via the picture postcard village of Hartley, then the route gets hillier once again as you climb up and over the Nine Standards - a very distinctive feature on the fell, where Cumbria crosses into Yorkshire and the watershed between the Irish Sea and the North Sea meets. End the day in peaceful Keld, a former lead-mining village.
Today you have the choice between a route over the high fell or the lower route along the valley. The former crosses a remote landscape of grouse moors, dotted with ruins from the lead-mining era; the latter takes you via Swaledale, with its traditional stone barns and drystone walls. Whatever you choose, you arrive in Reeth, another quintessential Dales village with cosy pubs.
Today's more leisurely stage takes you across verdant meadows and through pretty villages. Take time to explore Marrick Priory, a 12th century Benedictine nuns’ monastery, abandoned during the 16th-century religious wars. Overnight in the pretty market town of Richmond, with its quaint cobbled streets and imposing Norman Castle.
An easier, flatter walk again today, taking you across the Vale of Mowbray, through fertile farmland and along quiet country lanes, via Bolton-on-Swale and its 14th century St. Mary's Church. Your final destination is Danby Wiske, a cluster of pretty houses huddled around the village green.
Continue your approach towards the North York Moors National Park – and its hills! - along flat footpaths and farm tracks, passing brightly coloured rapeseed fields and sleepy livestock. Depending on accommodation availability, you overnight in either Ingleby Cross or Osmotherley.
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. There is a short transfer at the end of today’s walk to your accommodation for the night.
After you are dropped off back at Clay Bank Top, 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.
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.
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!
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.
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop, and where necessary improve, our services and ensure our holidays continue to be the best they can be. However, as this is a relatively new holiday, we don't yet have any customer reviews available.
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 17 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
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.
Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
This holiday does not include any flights or rail.