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Location

Departs St Bees, Cumbria

Difficulty

6-7

Challenging to Strenuous

Length

23

Trip Cost

from $3950 pp
twin share

Overview

  • Experience the iconic landscape of England’s world famous Lake District
  • Expect a good old fashioned adventure, not everyone gets to walk across a whole country
  • Discover why so many people love these wild and dramatic national parks, each renowned for their stunning scenery and unique diversity
  • Soak up the history of England, we don’t have many 16th century pubs in Australia
  • Enjoy gorgeous woodlands, lush meadows, epic mountain views and charming rural market villages
  • Relax and enjoy the warmth and ambience of your character-filled accommodation at the end of each day
  • Take you time, enjoy life in the slow lane, reconnect with nature, yourself or your walking buddy

Take it slow. Wainwright’s famous 303km walk across rural England is to be savoured. Meander your way across the much loved Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks. Immerse yourself in village life, visit quaint tearooms and traditional pubs. Take your time. Stroll country lanes, gentle pathways, drink in soaring views, pick wild summer fruits or indulge yourself in grouse filled wild moorlands. Whatever you do, do it slowly.

This walk is for those seeking a closer connection with nature and the opportunity to slow down, and immerse yourself in the great outdoors. We want you to relax, take your time and discover the simple joy of taking it slow as you walk through the diverse and stunning beauty of the English countryside.

Appreciate having time to talk with locals, sit back and watch village life and relish the magic of making memories away from the distractions of modern life. The enjoyment can be in the small things, like wildflowers in a field, the beautiful architecture of a dry-stone wall, the sound of birdsong, perhaps even the exhilaration of being caught in a rainstorm. After all, there’s nothing quite like a hot shower followed by a delicious meal, relaxing and enjoying the cosiness of a traditional English pub.

What makes our trip different?

  • Specialist advice from our dedicated Coast to Coast team
  • Your own personal Lake District guide for one day of the walk
  • Trailblazer Coast to Coast guidebook and map booklet
  • Comprehensive travel pack
  • Flexible custom-made arrangements available
  • 24/7 support from our locally based UK team
  • We personally book your accommodation to maintain full quality control rather than going through a third-party supplier
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

This self-guided walking tour requires individuals to use problem-solving skills, be adaptable and have a keen eye. It is recommended that you are comfortable map reading, referring to route notes and that you have a good sense of direction (or are willing to work on improving this!). Sometimes route finding, losing your way, finding it again and asking the locals for help is all part of the adventure.

If this is your first self-guided trip, after the first couple of days you will get the hang of it as the vast majority of our first-time travellers attest. Please be assured that our written material issued to you for route finding is updated regularly and we provide a 7-day service hotline in the event of any problems. Using directions and maps can be more difficult for solo travellers as often two heads are better than one when it comes to finding your way. There is a certain level of the unknown that comes with self-guided trips; however, with a methodical approach, potential problems will be averted. The freedom of a self-guided trip is something that, once experienced, is sought time and time again.

Day 1: Arrive St Bees

Arrive in pretty St Bees village, take a stroll on the wide sea-side promenade and contemplate your upcoming adventure.

Day 2: St Bees

Enjoy your free day in St Bees by discovering its remarkably rich history, most of it centred around the beautiful St Bees Priory Church. This magnificent 12th-century church features gorgeous stained-glass windows and is built from beautiful local red sandstone. The church is also famous for one of the most extraordinary archaeological finds – a near perfectly preserved body of 700-year-old ‘St Bees Man’. You’ll also notice the red sandstone at the beginning of the Coast to Coast Path at St Bees Head, which is one of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) largest reserves for sea birds. Make sure you take your binoculars if you love birdwatching.

Day 3: St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge (22.5km)

The Coast to Coast begins with a spectacular walk out of St Bees along cliff-top pathways with stunning views over Fleswick Bay and the Irish Sea. The trail has three RSPB viewing points to northwest England’s only cliff-nesting seabird colony. As you turn inland from the sea, enjoy the quiet lanes and villages of Sandwith, Moor Row and Cleator where you can sit by the banks of the River Eden and enjoy a break. Absorb the wonderful views from Dent Hill, then head downhill to the wonderfully named Nannycatch Beck which leads to Ennerdale Bridge and your first glimpses of the incredible Lake District. If you have time sit, relax and sample locally made ice-cream at ‘The Gather’ the delightful community owned and run cafe, shop and creative space.

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

Day 4: Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite (24km)

Sometimes it’s hard to describe beauty, you just have to see it with your own eyes. The stunning landscape of the Lake District is one of those times, and after todays walk you will better understand why Alfred Wainwright dedicated every single night for 13 years to writing his chronicle of guidebooks. Your private mountain guide for the day, will lead you along the beautiful shores of Ennerdale Water. As you walk, notice the National Trust rehabilitation project ‘Wild Ennerdale’ dedicated to returning the area to its natural wilderness. Your guide will discuss various route options but we suggest the route over Haystacks to Innominate Tarn, Wainwright’s favourite fell and final resting place. This is also a great place for your guide to discuss some basic navigation and information on how to keep safe on the fells, something we take seriously as sign-posting along the trail is quite poor, especially in the Lake District.

7 hours
Total ascent: 765m / descent 785m
Meals: B

Day 5: Rosthwaite to Grasmere (14.5km)

This morning you will travel alongside Stonewaite Beck as you begin todays short but stunning walk to the gorgeous village of Grasmere. The path is not without challenges, including a sometimes soggy scramble up Greenup Gill (the Norse word ghyll refers to a deep gully usually with a stream at the bottom). Once you’ve reached Easdale Head there are wonderful views down the valley. From here you have a choice of paths, the easier and recommended path, especially for inclement weather, descends into the valley and follows the line of Easdale Gill into the village.

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

Day 6: Rest Day Grasmere

The poetry of William Wordsworth is a love-letter to nature. He intrinsically understood the importance of spending time surrounded by natural beauty. He was so charmed by Grasmere and the Lake District he decided to make it his home. This delightful village is perfect for your rest day, make sure you meander past pretty shop windows, sit in cafes, visit Dove Cottage or the lovely St Oswald’s Church where Wordsworth is buried. But most importantly, make sure you sample the amazing gingerbread at Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread shop. We are not kidding, this is the best gingerbread ever, thank us later, or better still bring some back for us!

Meals: B

Day 7: Grasmere to Patterdale (13.5km)

Today there’s a lovely climb to Tongue Gill waterfall which is the perfect place for picnicking and photo opportunities. After a short climb you’ll reach the head of Grisedale Tarn where you have the choice of 3 possible routes. If the weather is fine the ridge walk along St Sunday Crag is highly recommended and some say provides the best views of the entire Coast to Coast. The most challenging route is to the summit of Helvellyn and Striding Edge – so called because of its precipitous drop off. Probably England’s best known stretch of mountain, it is a well photographed area and for good reason. It is not for the feint of heart and is not a Raw Travel recommended route. The official Coast to Coast path and best poor weather option, is to continue down the Grisedale valley path, into Patterdale which sits on the shores of peaceful Ullswater Lake.

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; 4 hours if taking the central route down the valley
Meals: B

Day 8: Patterdale to Shap (25km)

Today the trail leaves behind the Lake District but not before a steady climb from Patterdale with lovely views back over Ullswater and the beautiful Lakeland mountains. You’ll pass beautiful Angle Tarn as you head steadily upwards towards Kidsty Pike, the highest point of the Coast to Coast at 780m. From here, begin your steep descent to the still shores of Haweswater Lake, all the while keeping a look out for endangered shy red squirrels. Pass the tiny village of Burnbanks where, just over the stile, there usually sits an ‘honesty box’ with chocolates and drinks for thirsty Coast to Coasters. The trail flattens and criss crosses pretty becks and fields as it moves past the 12th-century Shap Abbey and the River Lowther before entering the village where you can pick up supplies from the small supermarket.

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

Day 9: Shap to Orton (13km)

A day to take it slow and absorb the change in scenery. The path embraces wide open moorland with big skies, limestone escarpments, lush pastures and scattered farmhouses. The limestone plateau east of Shap has yielded many archaeological finds from over 200 sites dating back some 2,000 to 9,000 years ago. The path is relatively flat and easy going except for a few small boggy bits which can be easily skirted. There’s plenty of time for photos with fine views of the North Pennines and Hardendale Nab, a minor limestone summit worth a look. The quaint village of Orton has many historical buildings and Kennedy’s Fine Chocolate shop is worth a visit for those with a sweet tooth or seeking a hot chocolate drink at the end of the day’s walk.

4 hours
Total ascent: 535m / descent 655m
Meals: B

Day 10: Orton to Kirkby Stephen (20km)

Your walk today takes you into one of the least populated areas of England, up over wild moorlands to take in the dramatic remains of Victorian rail engineering. This is a longer day but with easy gradients and glimpses of a prehistoric past, these now 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 descend into the welcome sight of the lovely market town of Kirkby Stephen.

5.5 hours
Total ascent: 535m / descent 605m
Meals: B

Day 11: Kirkby Stephen

Kirkby Stephen is an ancient market town which sells everything from clothing to meat and local produce from nearby farms. It is also the second biggest town along the Coast to Coast after Richmond. It is most famous for the parish church of St Hedda which has several interesting features including a Norman coffin, the tusk of the last wild boar in England and a stone depicting Loki the Viking God of Mischief dating back to the 18th-century. There are also a couple of very good adventure stores if you’re looking to stock up or change your hiking gear. Interestingly, there is a flock of parrots belonging to a local conservation charity which fly around the village during the day before returning home at nightfall, so keep a look out.

Day 12: Kirkby Stephen to Keld (21km)

Today is a watershed day as you leave Cumbria crossing the Pennine Hills into the Yorkshire Dales National Park before arriving at the town of Keld. You also pass by the mysterious Nine Standards, a highlight of the walk for many but whose origins and reason remain unknown. They do, however mark the invisible divide that dictates whether water will flow West into the Irish Sea, or East into the North Sea. Three seasonal routes have been introduced to help protect the delicate biodiversity of the area from thousands of walking boots. One thing you will notice is the peat bogs, they’re almost unavoidable and we recommend gaiters for this section if you have them. The good news is you’re walking towards the beautiful rivers and meadows of delightful Swaledale.

6 hours
Total ascent: 780m / descent 575m
Meals: B

Day 13: Keld to Reeth (18.5km)

Keld sits quietly at the head of the Swaledale Valley, however, in the mid 19th-century it was the heart of a thriving lead mining industry. Today’s high route passes the remains of this legacy through an area littered with mining ruins. In some parts the ground has been stripped away completely to leave a scarred and desolate landscape. The alternate low route option (better in poor weather) is a pretty trail via the mines. There is also a good village pub in Gunnerside on this lower route, consider the 10-minute detour across the Swale River for morning tea at Muker before returning back over the bridge to rejoin the path to Gunnerside. The walk finishes in Reeth with its excellent variety of pubs and tea shops to recuperate in plus a fine village green to sit out and enjoy.

5 hours
Total ascent: 838m / descent 911m via the higher route. Also 5 hours via the low route.
Meals: B

Day 14: Reeth to Richmond (17km)

Today you’ll understand why the Yorkshire Dales is such a much-loved walking destination. After leaving Reeth, the River Swale meanders reassuringly beside you providing company as you stride out on wide easy pathways to Marrick Priory. This once Benedictine nunnery, now an outdoor education centre, was in use from 1140 to 1160 and is considered one of the best preserved in the UK. From here the path follows the Nun’s Steps through gorgeous woodland and lush farmland to charming Marske where wildflowers seem to peek from every village garden. On your way to Richmond also note the changing geology as you pass by some of the limestone cliffs for which the Yorkshire Dales is famous.

5 hours
Total ascent: 395m / descent 510m
Meals: B

Day 15: Rest day in Richmond

Richmond is the perfect place to put your feet up, finish laundry or indulge in a massage. Alternatively you may be more enticed to discover its winding streets, cobbled market place and Norman castle for which it is famous. You can also shop for artisan gifts or sample local produce such as cheese, honey and fudge at ‘The Station’, the town’s former railway station. There’s also ‘The Noted Pie Shop’ in the market square, which comes highly recommended by the Coast to Coast team at RAW Travel and the British Pie Association – don’t miss it!

Day 16: Richmond to Danby Wiske (22km)

It’s probably fair to say that Alfred Wainwright put Danby Wiske, with its population of just over 300, on the map. This tiny village is the halfway point between the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors and is the lowest point on the Coast to Coast path. The River Swale is your companion again as you leave Richmond for the agricultural fields of the Vale of Mowbray. There’s the pretty church at Bolton-on-Swale where you can buy refreshments and ponder your journey. Also look for the monument of local man Henry Jenkins who reputedly lived to age 169! From here it’s a gentle stroll along quiet country lanes and fertile pastured fields before a warm friendly welcome from the villagers at Danby Wiske.

5.5 hours
Total ascent: 138m/ descent 213m
Meals: B

Day 17: Danby Wiske to Ingleby Cross (14.5km)

The Cleveland hills beckon tantalisingly in the distance, but there’s no need to rush. Enjoy a relaxing walking pace along back country roads while enjoying the sights and sounds of rural England. Treat yourself to coffee and cake at the Joiners Shop Cafe in the idyllic village of Ingleby Arncliffe before settling in for the night to prepare yourself for tomorrow’s stunning climb to the gorgeous North York Moors.

4 hours
Total ascent: 220m/ descent 120m
Meals: B

Day 18: Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top (20km)

Today you’ll follow the Coast to Coast path through Arncliffe Wood before a steady climb brings you to the stunning expanses of the North York Moors. If you’re walking in late summer you’ll enjoy a beautiful carpet of purple heather. Watch out for shy grouse who live among the moorland. There’s a long ascent to Live Moor and Carlton Bank but the scenery is so lovely you’ll barely notice. Break your journey at the delightful and much loved Lord Stones Café, a local landmark specialising in locally sourced produce. After a succession of hilly climbs, you’ll enjoy the wonderful views back over the Pennines and through to the North Sea. Once you arrive at Clay Bank Top your hosts for the night will transfer you to nearby Great Broughton or Chop Gate.

6 hours
Total ascent: 1130m/ descent 1015m
Meals: B

Day 19: Clay Bank Top to Blakey Ridge (14km)

This short easy walking day over heath covered grassland has been carefully considered because we think everybody should experience the remote Lion Inn. The family owned inn sits atop the moors at Blakey Ridge surrounded by heathland wilderness. Built in 1553, the pub is cosy, rustic and oozes history. The low beamed ceilings, wide open fireplaces and ancient stone walls will charm the pants off you, plus the food is great and the views are spectacular.

4.5 hours
Total ascent: 505m/ descent 375m
Meals: B

Day 20: Blakey Ridge to Grosmont (22km)

High on Blakey Ridge you can take in the surrounds as you stroll down the Esk Valley past the medieval stone markers of Young Ralph and Fat Betty. There are numerous myths and legends around Fat Betty including that the cross marks the place where two nuns from nearby Rosedale Abbey lost their lives on the misty moors. As you head towards Glaisdale Moor and the village of Egton Bridge and Grosmont, the wide unenclosed vista inspires you to stride out with an unbound sense of freedom and adventure.

6 hours
Total ascent: 265m / descent 616m
Meals: B

Day 21: Grosmont to Robin Hood’s Bay (24km)

One of the best last days of any walk! Before you begin your climb out of Grosmont look out for steam trains at the vibrant village station. You can catch glimpses of Whitby Abbey in the distance. If your steps start getting slower as you move towards Robin Hood’s Bay, we completely understand – you won’t want this special walk to end. But there’s much to look at on your final walking day, including the last of the captivating moorlands and pretty Little Beck Woods. Enjoy morning tea or lunch at the delightful Falling Foss Tea Gardens before, finally, meeting the North Sea and stunning cliff-top views as you walk the last few kilometres and head straight to Robin Hood’s Bay and Wainwright’s Bar to celebrate your achievement.

8 hours
Total ascent: 775m / descent 805m
Meals: B

Day 22: Robin Hood’s Bay

The former fishing village and smugglers haven is undoubtably one of the most photographed villages in the UK. Robin Hood’s Bay’s beautiful winding cobbled streets invite exploration of its many interesting gift shops, antique and bookstores. Meandering slowly through its back streets exploring every nook and cranny, it’s easy to imagine smugglers using the narrow streets to hide their contraband.

Meals: B

Day 23: Robin Hood’s Bay

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

Meals: B

Dates

Self-guided trips offer flexibility, independence and choice. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the logistics. Our self-guided walking holidays are fully flexible which means you can normally start your walk on any day during the season and customise by adding extra days for resting or sightseeing. As you’re walking independently, you’re free to follow the trail at your own pace. You set your own speed as you are not limited by the constraints of group travel.

Note that if booking for a trip that leaves in 30 days or less, please be aware we cannot guarantee that your departure will be possible unless we have confirmed this via email first.

 

  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY

Inclusions

  • Hassle-free walking with exclusive use of RAW Travel’s specifically designed Coast to Coast navigational hiking app
  • 22 nights’ accommodation in warm character-filled country inns and B&Bs – all hand-selected by our team
  • Fresh fruits, yoghurts, cereals or a traditional hearty English breakfast to support you each day on the trail
  • Your own personal Lake District guide for one day of the walk
  • Daily luggage transfers (max 20kg per person)
  • Local 24/7 UK support from RAW Travel staff
  • Comprehensive information pack with Coast to Coast guidebook and map booklet
  • Advice and support from our experienced Coast to Coast team

Not Included

  • Single supplement $1100 extra
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights

Map & Guide

Reviews

Andrew and Gabrielle Tagg, East Killara (NSW) – June 2019
I just wanted to say that Gabrielle and I both agreed this Coast to Coast walk is fabulous and is arguably the best walk we have done to date. The scenery and the joy of walking in such secluded, pristine, beautiful and ever-changing vista, constantly reminded us how fortunate we were to be there. We were lucky with the weather, plus no injuries or blisters. The locals and fellow walkers we met and with whom we chatted were amazing and the places in which we stayed were always cosy, inviting, welcoming and a joy to be there. We both agreed at the end we could have easily continued walking such were the delights this walk evokes within you.

Sarah Beadman, Suffolk Park (NSW) – June 2019
Great way to see England’s countryside. The locals so welcoming and keen to help you. Challenges you mentally and physically. Didn’t want it to end.

Maureen Baker, Redcliffe (QLD) – May 2019
We just wanted to thank you for your great organisation of our Coast to Coast walk across England. Absolutely everything went like clockwork. We had good weather – no driving rain. Yes, at times it was cold but that is to be expected. All hosts were lovely. Plenty of food, especially the lunches. One lunch between two of us was more than ample. I would recommend RAW Travel to anyone interested in the Coast to Coast walk.

Julie Kidd, Bunyip (VIC) – June 2018
A truly wonderful experience of walking in remote parts of England.

Dave & Kerry Stevenson, Glendale (NSW) – May 2018
All went well. The weather was almost perfect; it only rained at night. A very minor issue was the ‘breeze’ up on Kidsty Pike – let us say it was strong enough to blow you away if you were not careful. The accommodation was excellent all the way along the trail. The different B&B hosts were great and added good memories to the experience. Packhorse was flawless in moving our luggage around. The trail was a little harder underfoot than we expected with more rock hopping than we trained for, but a lot less mud. I only made one navigation error of note at Kidsty Pike in the cloud and wind but that was quickly corrected using a GPS app on my phone. I recommend the GPS app as a cheap alternative to getting a proper GPS like a Garmin Etrex. Although one lady we met used one and said it made navigation a breeze. At each decision point on the trail she knew within about 10m if she was on the right track or not. She said she hired it in Amsterdam for about 40 euros for the trip. Maybe there is somewhere in Australia that may hire GPS units, I certainly never thought of it. With Coast to Coast done and dusted we are looking forward to the Camino from Portugal. Thanks for your help with the trip and also to Ros and the rest of the team.

Matthew & Catherine Gibney, Invermay (VIC) – August 2017
Brilliant trip! One of our best ever holidays. Invigorating and relaxing at the same time. Lovely scenery, lovely people on the way, well organised with good accommodation. We loved the challenge and the interaction with locals and other travellers. We often took the harder ‘high road’ as we are all very fit. This was wonderful.

Joanne Ham, Windermere (VIC) – August 2017
We had a great walk, varied scenery and excellent accommodation.

Jane McInnis, Glen Iris, VIC – May 2017
I am so glad to have had the experience of walking Coast to Coast – it gave me the life space I was after, in a most wonderful series of natural spaces. I walked every day at my own pace, except for the 3 days guided in the Lakes District. Guide Neil was spot on in terms of the kind of person you would hope to have in this role. I would not have been without this aspect of my walk – I gained confidence, learnt key compass skills, and got answers to a wide range of questions (plants, animals, geology, local lives etc), and it enabled me to experience climbing Helvellyn and clambering down Swirral Edge – brilliant! There was a blend of old style and more funky accommodation – all absolutely fine. Lots of climbing up and down, big skies, hillsides of bluebells, babbling streams, swathes of native garlic in the woods. Rain, fog, mist, cloud, sun and wind! Rockwalls, kissing gates, latches of all kinds and ingenuity, and so much more. Thank you.

Jenny Fessl, St Leonards, NSW – May 2017
Thanks Sandra for all your help and organisation so that I was able to do this wonderful walk. The last day into Robin Hood’s Bay was a long but very rewarding day. It was a very special moment when we reached the North Sea and wet our boots and threw the stone into the sea. The achievement of what we had done was well rewarded at the pub afterwards.

Perry Shears
The service was absolutely first class. It was an absolute treat  to know that a new host awaited me at the end of each day… I cannot recommend your company enough and have sold its praises to everyone who has asked me about the walk.

Barbara Durmanic
The trip was excellent. Everything worked brilliantly, including accommodation and bag drop off. I really enjoyed the mix of B&Bs and hotels – all welcoming and of a high standard. Well done.

What our Clients Say

This Coast to Coast walk is fabulous and is arguably the best walk we have done to date. The scenery and the joy of walking in such secluded, pristine, beautiful and ever-changing vista, constantly reminded us how fortunate we were to be there.

Andrew and Gabrielle Tagg, NSW – June 2019

Great way to see England's countryside. The locals so welcoming and keen to help you. Challenges you mentally and physically. Didn't want it to end.

Sarah Beadman, NSW – June 2019

We just wanted to thank you for your great organisation of our Coast to Coast. Absolutely everything went like clockwork. All hosts were lovely. Plenty of food. I would recommend RAW Travel to anyone interested in the Coast to Coast walk.

Maureen Baker, QLD – May 2019

Lilia Akhtanenko – Camino, Coast to Coast (UK) & Nepal

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Trip Grading

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