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Location

Departs St Bees, Cumbria

Difficulty

6-7

Challenging to Strenuous

Length

19

Trip Cost

$4750 pp
twin share

Overview

  • Fully guided walk with our qualified UK-based private guide
  • Traverse the breadth of Northern England on Wainwright’s famous walk
  • Rich diversity of scenery including dramatic Lakeland panoramas
  • One of the world’s best long-distance walks
  • Fabulous inclusions including Ullswater Steamer Evening Cruise, traditional English cream tea and celebratory dinner at Robin Hood’s Bay
  • Ramble through three national parks: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors
  • Quintessential charming English towns, villages and welcoming pubs
  • Rolling hills and pastures, endless dry stone walls and the world’s most charming sheep

Join us on this cracking walk across Northern England following Alfred Wainwright’s much-loved Coast to Coast trail. You’ll traverse glorious panoramic scenery and three of the UK’s most stunning national parks including the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. This epic ramble sets out from the shores of the Irish Sea in the tiny village of St Bees through the magnificent wilderness of the Lake District to cross the Pennine hills and the hauntingly beautiful Yorkshire Moors. En route you’ll walk through countless small villages, experience majestic views and warm, welcoming pubs to break your journey before embracing the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay. Like other long distance walks the Coast to Coast gives the opportunity for meeting fellow walkers from all over the world.

Our guided trip breaks the route down into 16 manageable sections with our rest day in the historical market town of Richmond. Our private Richmond walking tour (optional) will explore this lovely town including the commanding castle built in 1086. The first section of the walk is arguably the most dramatic as you pass over the high peaks of the fabled Lake District but each section of the Coast to Coast offers the walker something different and appealing and many love the North York Moors and Dales equally. It is an exceptional way to enjoy the English countryside and its layers of history, literature, pubs, and colourful characters.

Extend Your Holiday – City Breaks

Double your holiday experience by including a stopover on your journey! A city break is a great way to explore another place, indulge in some extra shopping, dining or sightseeing and is a great way to break up a long flight. Our fabulous array of RAW Travel city breaks can be tailor made to your requirements and usually include an arrival transfer, 2 nights accommodation and a city sightseeing tour.

Read more about our city breaks.

Are you a first-time or solo traveller?

We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive St Bees

Arrive by local train from Lancaster or Carlisle to the tiny Cumbrian village of St Bees whose roots date back to the 9th century and is the official start point of the Coast to Coast. The walk begins on the shores of the Irish Sea beach where Alfred Wainwright recommended you dip your feet into the water to mark the start of journey and collect the pebble you will carry with you to Robin Hood’s Bay. Take an evening stroll to St Bees Head which overlooks the small town and is a pleasant place to sit and watch the sun go down.

Day 2: Walk St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge (22.5km)

The Coast to Coast walk starts with a day of varied scenery as you leave the coast and head into the hills. Follow the footpath up and over the dramatic red sandstone cliffs of St. Bees Head, which is a nature reserve for seabirds, keeping an eye out for kittiwakes and guillemots on the wing.

The route turns inland through farmland and the next time you’ll see the sea is at Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast of England. The trail passes through the uninspiring villages of Sandwith, Moor Row and Cleator with their pebble dashed houses especially built for coal miners of the area and which are typical of Northern England’s urbanized areas. The Lake District National Park beckons beyond and crossing Cleator Moor through the woods of Blackhow you climb Dent Hill (353m) to descend steeply to the village of Ennerdale Bridge and your gateway to the Lake District National Park.

6-7 hours – total ascent 780m / descent 665m
Meals: B

Day 3: Walk Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite (24km)

A long scenic day takes you along the shores of Ennerdale Water, a forgotten corner of the Lakes that gets far fewer visitors than the Central Lakes. Leaving Ennerdale, make sure you keep to the left hand side of the waters to enjoy a relatively flat walk to the remote YHA at Black Sail. The youth hostel is an excellent place to break your journey before ascending Loft Beck you climb up over the wild expanse of Honister Pass, passing by the remote YHA at Black Sail. There is a choice of routes to take today depending on weather conditions, both of which will take you down the long descent to the Borrowdale Valley. Take note that today’s route passes through the area that records the highest rainfall in England, a country noted for its rain!

The Slate Mine Visitor Centre with its guided tours of the mines is worth a look in to understand the long history of mining in this region which goes back before even Roman Britain. You’ll pass through Seatoller village before walking into the wide expanse of Borrowdale Valley to Rosthwaite with its lovely pub and hotel. Down the road is the enchanting little hamlet of Stonethwaite, worth a look in for an evening pint at the charming country inn and to admire the storybook narrow lane and cottages.

7 hours – total ascent 765m / descent 785m
Meals: B

Day 4: Walk Rosthwaite to Grasmere (14.5km)

Today you head out of the lovely valley of Borrowdale and follow the path alongside Stonethwaite Beck, passing through fields of Herdwick and Swaledale sheep before you starting climbing quite steeply up towards Eagle’s Crag with great views back down the valley. From here the path along Greenup Edge leads you into the high country at the heart of the Lake District.

Coming to the head of the Easedale Valley you have a choice of paths, one descends down into the valley and follows the line of Teasdale Gill (better for inclement weather), the other skirts long the top of the crags and provides wonderful views and walking in good weather. On this path you’ll pass by the iconic Lion and the Lamb rock outcrop by Helm Crag, which is well known to Lakeland motorists in the valley below. You get fine views of the lake at Grasmere and tomorrow’s walk before you drop down to Grasmere in the valley below.

6 hours – total ascent 750m / descent 760 via Helm Crag
Meals: B

Day 5: Walk Grasmere to Patterdale (13.5km)

A vigorous and great day’s walking ahead if you choose the high route over Helvellyn, one of the Lake District’s most famous peaks and walking routes. The day starts with a climb up out of Grasmere and to the pass at Grisedale, where there is a rock at ‘Brother’s Parting’ where the poet Wordsworth inscribed some (now faint) verses to his lost brother.

Arriving at the head of the Grisedale Tarn (539m) you have a choice of 3 possible routes; one leads up and over St Sunday Crag (841m), which is a ridge walk along this Monolithic block of stone with tremendous views. The central path follows the valley down to Patterdale and is the best option for poor weather. The most challenging route leads to the left up to the summit of Helvellyn (950m) and from there down onto the infamous spine of the Striding Edge – so called because of the precipitous drop off either side of the narrow path. It’s frequently used in photographs of the Coast to Coast and probably England’s best known stretch of mountain. It is not for the feint of heart and involves some scrambling up and down rock pitches, though that does not deter walkers and on a busy summer day you’ll even see people hoisting their dogs up and down these pitches along the ridge!

All three routes lead to Patterdale and so your choice is largely dependent on weather conditions and your stamina or head for heights. Patterdale is a lovely village with a serene location at the head of the Lake; it’s well worth a stroll out in the evening before you call in at one of the local pubs or hotel for dinner. The local shop here is a mine of information and supplies for Coast to Coast walkers so it’s worth sticking your head in here also.

5 hours – total ascent: 900m / descent 805m via the recommended route over St Sunday Crag – add 3km and 2 hours if including the detour via Helvellyn and Striding Edge
Meals: B

Day 6: Walk Patterdale to Shap (25km)

A long day ahead today as you leave the central lakes and head outside the National Park to Shap on its fringes. The path climbs out of the Patterdale valley with splendid views of the lake and tall mountains you walked over yesterday. The trail winds between the crags passing Angle Tarn and continues to climb to the Knott (739m) and Kidsty Pike (780m), after which you start the descent down to Haweswater Lake in the valley below.

Haweswater is the most remote of the lakes and has a markedly different feel to the central lakes, for many people it is their favorite and the walk takes you along the length of Haweswater close to the water’s edge. Look out for golden eagles, this was the only place in England that the birds nested and consequently attracted many keen birders. At the head of Haweswater Valley you’ll pass through Burnbanks before passing Thornthwaite Hall and the heading into farmland.

Before you get to Shap itself you’ll pass one of the highlights of the Coast to Coast, the evocative ruins of Shap Abbey dating back to the 12th century. Henry VIII dissolved the abbey, along with other monastic orders, in 1540. Also before arriving in Shap you’ll pass the remains of an ancient stone circle which in turn was plundered for its stone when the monks built Shap Abbey! Tonight you’ll spend your last night on the Coast to Coast in Shap village.

7-9 hours – total ascent: 1174m / descent 1009m
Meals: B

Day 7: Walk Shap to Orton (13km)

Today’s scenery is quite different from other stages of the trail with limestone escarpments, moorland, pasture and scattered farmhouses. The limestone plateau east of Shap yielded many archaeological finds from 200 sites that date back from 2,000 to 9,000 years ago with axe heads , arrows and seed deposits from the Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples prior to the arrival of the Romans in Britain. Near Oddendale are the remains of two concentric stone circles that date back almost 6,000 years. The pretty village of Orton has amongst its attractions Kennedy’s chocolate factory – a wonderful treat for those inclined to sweet tastes after your walk; they even have a Coast to Coast chocolate bar!

4 hours – total ascent 535m / descent 655m
Meals: B

Day 8: Walk Orton to Kirkby Stephen (20km)

Our walk today will take you into one of the least populated parts of England, up over wild moorlands and taking in the dramatic remains of Victorian rail engineering. This is a longer day but with easy gradients and glimpses of the prehistoric past when these lonely places were once busy with human life. You’ll pass by Sunbiggin Tarn with its resident birdlife before dropping into the Lune Valley and Smardale Bridge where you should look out for the ‘pillow mounds’ – prehistoric sites whose purpose remains unclear. After walking up Smardale Fell you drop down the other side to the welcome sight of the town of Kirkby Stephen.

5.5 hours – total ascent 535m / descent
Meals: B

Day 9: Walk Kirkby Stephen to Keld (21km)

Leaving the sheltered valley of Kirkby Stephen you’ll be climbing today upto the wild moors of the Pennines, the spine of Northern England. You’ll also cross over the watershed of the Coast to Coast at Nine Standards Rigg from which all waters then flow eastward to drain into the North sea. You’ll also see here an arrangement of drystone obelisks whose purpose remains a mystery.

The walk goes over high and boggy ground with patchy waymarking so in conditions of low cloud or heavy rain it may be advisable to walk the tarmac B6270 road via Nateby all the way to Keld. There is no shop or place of refreshment between Kirkby Stephen and Keld so carry a picnic with you.

There are a few variations on the walk today which could be put in place when the tracks become too eroded and muddy or when a grouse shoot is taking place. Any diversions and periods during which Coast to Coast walkers are asked to follow them over Nine Standards Rigg are indicated on notice boards at Hartley Fell (milepost 87). Up to date information should be sought from the Tourist Information Office in Kirkby Stephen.

After Nine Standards Rigg the moors become increasingly gentler as we walk into Keld with its many waterfalls, former lead mining industry and old stone barns.

6 hours – total ascent 780m / descent 575m
Meals: B

Day 10: Walk Keld to Reeth (18.5km)

Keld sits at the head of the Swaledale Valley and here the Coast to Coast dissects the longer northbound Pennines Way. Keld is now a tiny hill village but in the mid 19th century it was the heart of a thriving lead mining industry and today’s walk can show you the remains and legacy of those boom times. Not only is the area littered with mining ruins but in some parts the ground has been stripped away completely to leave a scarred and desolate landscape. There is a choice of routes and in poor weather the lower level walk via Swaledale is a pretty alternative route to the high route via the mines. There is also a good village pub in Gunnerside on this lower route. The walk finishes in Reeth with its variety of pubs and tea shops to recuperate plus a fine village green to sit out at. Recommended by locals to do the lower route.

5 hours – total ascent 838m / descent 911m via the higher route.
Meals: B

Day 11: Walk Reeth to Richmond (18km)

Today you leave the Pennines behind and enter into the Yorkshire Dales through countryside and small villages. This morning’s walk take you through through woodland tracts and the lovely villages of Swaledale such as Marske and Marrick with limestone crags beyond.

5 hours – total ascent 395m / descent 510m.
Meals: B

Day 12: Rest Day in Richmond

Time for a rest day to take a break from the walking and put your legs up for the day. Or if you have the energy explore the shops and sights of one of the Coast to Coast’s busiest towns. Richmond is an attractive market town with its own Norman castle dating back to the 11th century, a wonderful Georgian theatre and cobbled market square from which lead many winding alleys known locally as ‘wynds’.

Meals: B

Day 13: Walk Richmond to Danby Wiske (22.5km)

A lovely day of mostly rural walking. Walk from Richmond beside the River Swale and across fields before passing under the busy A1 road to Catterick Racecourse which was built on a Roman fort. Continue onto Bolton-on-Swale where the churchyard holds a memorial to Henry Jenkins, who supposedly lived to 169! On leaving Bolton Beck you encounter the longest stretch of road walking on the journey along quiet country roads and farmland until you reach the tiny village of Danby Wiske with its Norman church, village green and single pub.

5.5 hours – total ascent 138m/ descent
Meals: B

Day 14: Walk Danby Wiske to Ingleby Cross (15.5km)

Crossing the bridge just outside Danby Wiske you can the outline of the Cleveland Hills into the distance towards Ingleby Cross. Today is mostly road walking through rural areas and the lowest point of the Coast to Coast through the Vale of Mowbray

hours – total ascent / descent
Meals: B

Day 15: Walk Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top (20km)

The North York Moors national Park offers wide open expanses of heather moorland covered with a carpet of purple flowers in the summer months. It is an area both brooding and beautiful and makes for very pleasant walking.

Today you’ll be entering into the wide open spaces of the North Yorkshire Moors and some hill walking again after the flat of the last couple of days. First we follow the path towards Osmotherley and you’ll pass the ruins of Mount Grace Priory (built 1398). Osmotherley is a quaint hill village with three pubs and Britain’s oldest functioning Methodist Church from 1754 where John Wesley came to preach.

A steep climb from Osmotherley brings you to the open expanses of the North York Moors, heather clad hills with patches of forest. After coming off Scarth Wood Moor, there is a long ascent up Live Moor and Carlton Bank (408 m) before descending to the welcome sight of Lord Stones Café. Thereafter follows a succession of hilly ascents and descents with Cringle Moor, Broughton Bank and White Hill all at or over 400m. There are great views today all the way back to the Pennines before you arrive at Clay Bank Top from where you deviate from the trail to your accommodation at nearby Great Broughton (they can arrange lifts with a phone call).

5 hours – total ascent / descent
Meals: B

Day 16: Walk Clay Bank Top to Blakey Ridge (13.5km)

Today‘s walk takes you up into the moors past Urra Lookout for the ‘face Stone’, one of several old standing stones some marked with inscriptions which were used as way markers in their day. You’ll cross over Round Hill (454m) then follow the line of the old dismantled Rosedale railway line to the Lion Inn at Blakey, but not seeing much else in the way of human habitation. The railway was built to exploit the ironstone on which this area prospered in the 1800s but closed in 1929. In good weather there are nice views into the upper valleys of Farn and Esk Dales, but if it’s a wet or windy day it can be a bit grim up here and the arrival at the ancient Lion Inn is eagerly anticipated.

4.5 hours – total ascent / descent
Meals: B

Day 17: Walk Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (18.5km)

A fine day’s walk coming down off the high moors and into idyllic countryside and villages at Grosmont and Egton Bridge; this is the area where the TV series ‘Heartbeat’ was filmed and it corresponds to most people’s expectations of timeless English rural life. First you’ll pass the White Cross of ‘Fat Betty’ and stones of the ‘Ralph’s’ as you work your way over the moors and on a clear day you’ll get your first view of the North Sea, your finish line tomorrow. Dropping into the Esk Valley you finish at the delightful village of Egton Bridge, a walker’s favorite on the Coast to Coast.

4 hours – total ascent 265m / descent 616m
Meals: B

Day 18: Walk Egton Bridge to Robin Hood’s Bay (28km)

Your last day on the Coast to Coast is a suitably long one with many highlights – and ups and downs! This morning follow a private road to the village of Grosmont, you might get there in time to see one of the local steam engines of the North Yorks Moors railway pull out for its run to Pickering. Truly a grand sight from a bygone age this was also featured more recently in the Harry Potter movie series.

After Grosmont the trail climbs steeply across heather moors with views down to Whitby and its abbey. After passing the five standing monoliths of High Brides Stones you’ll drop down to the lovely forest of the Beck Valley and the village of Littlebeck. Stop for tea at the gardens of the 20m high Falling Foss Waterfall.

A last area of high moor at Greystone hills brings you finally to the coast, where the last 5 km are spent on the coastal cliff path to Robin Hood’s Bay, which is concealed until the last moment. This is a charming village of red roofed houses and narrow alleyways clustered around a fine harbor. Celebrate the end of this 191 mile crossing of England with a drink at Wainwright’s Bar at the Bay Hotel and as tradition dictates, dip your toes into the North Sea and throw away the pebble you’ve carried from St Bees.

7 hours – total ascent 775m / descent 770m
Meals: B L D

Day 19: Depart Robin Hood’s Bay

You are free to check out anytime today before 10am.

Meals: B

Dates

Start date
15 Jul 2019
End date
02 Aug 2019
Price
$4750
Availability
Available
Start date
05 Aug 2019
End date
23 Aug 2019
Price
$4750
Availability
Available

Inclusions

  • Fully guided walk with our qualified UK-based private guide
  • 18 full English/continental breakfasts
  • 18 nights accommodation in B&Bs and small hotels
  • Ullswater Steamer Evening Cruise (weather permitting)
  • 2 dinners (including celebratory dinner Robin Hood’s Bay)
  • Traditional afternoon cream tea
  • Lunch Falling Foss Cafe – Little Beck
  • Richmond Walking Tour
  • Daily luggage transfer (not exceeding 20kg)
  • Trailblazer Coast to Coast guidebook and waterproof polyethylene Harvey maps
  • Comprehensive travel pack
  • UK emergency support
  • Document holder
  • Luggage tags

Not Included

  • Single supplement $600 extra
  • Travel insurance

Options / Add Ons

  • Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread Shop – Grasmere
  • Wordsworth Museum – Grasmere
  • William Wordsworth’s grave – Grasmere
  • Kennedy’s Chocolate Shop – Orton
  • Richmond Castle Tour

Map & Guide

Reviews

Barbara & David Pasfield, Kongorong (SA) – August 2017
The Coast to Coast walk was a challenging but fulfilling experience. The spectacular scenery encountered during this journey can only be truly appreciated if you take the time to walk it. A road trip wouldn’t be near as nice!

Valda Fitzgerald, Chapman (ACT) – August 2017
This trip was a fabulous experience and very well organised. The accommodation was great and the walk was amazing. Sandra did a fantastic job escorting us; it was definitely first-class all the way.

Nerida Murray, Stafford Heights (QLD) – August 2017
I loved the scenery in every one of the three national parks we visited. The accommodation in the B&Bs was exceptional. The little extras we were provided with were a real treat, for example, the cream tea, the dinner out on two occasions, the welcome drinks, the cruise and at the excellent guiding by Neil in the Lake District, especially his tips on climbing the rocky sections of The Haystacks.

Helen Donald, Upwey (VIC) – August 2017
The Coast to Coast walk was the highlight of my first trip overseas. Rachael, our guide, did an amazing job catering for everyone’s dietary needs and supporting us on the walk. I loved the walk, beautiful scenery, B&Bs and hotel accommodation, friendly fellow walkers and the changing scenery each day.

Lysia Okeefe, Sydney (NSW) – August 2017
I’ve walked many trails and I have to say the Coast to Coast is up there with the best. B&Bs were surprisingly good as were the amazing and healthy breakfasts. Our guide, Rachel, guided us effortlessly across the country, up and down dales and across moors, farmland and into our final night at Robin Hood’s Bay, she was wonderful!

Janette White, North Melbourne (VIC) – August 2017
In most instances the accomodation was fantastic. The organisation and luggage etc, faultless. All of which meant I was free to immerse myself in the experience of the beautiful walk.

Joan Elsley, Spring Ridge (NSW) – August 2017
Breathtaking views, great B&Bs.

 

What our Clients Say

In most instances the accomodation was fantastic. The organisation and luggage etc, faultless. All of which meant I was free to immerse myself in the experience of the beautiful walk.

Janette White, North Melbourne (VIC) - August 2017

I've walked many trails and I have to say the Coast to Coast is up there with the best. B&Bs were surprisingly good as were the amazing and healthy breakfasts.

Lysia Okeefe, Sydney (NSW) - August 2017

The Coast to Coast walk was the highlight of my first trip overseas. I loved the beautiful scenery, B&Bs and hotel accommodation, friendly fellow walkers and the changing scenery each day.

Helen Donald, Upwey (VIC) - August 2017

Breathtaking views, great B&Bs. 

Joan Elsley, Spring Ridge (NSW) - August 2017

A fabulous experience, accommodation was great. The walk was amazing. Sandra did a fantastic job escorting us; it was definitely first-class all the way. 

Valda Fitzgerald, Champan (ACT) - August 2017

A challenging but fulfilling experience. The spectacular scenery can only be truly appreciated if you take the time to walk it.

Barbara & David Pasfield, Kongorong (SA) - August 2017

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Trip Expert

Lilia Akhtanenko – Camino & Coast to Coast (UK)

(03) 5976 3763

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Trip Grading

This trip has a difficulty rating of 6-7 out of 10.