- Traverse the breadth of northern England on Wainwright’s famous walk
- One of the world’s best long-distance walks
- Personal Mountain guide to accompany you on one Lake District section
- Rich diversity of scenery including dramatic lakeland panoramas
- 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
Alfred Wainwright’s UK Coast to Coast walk has become one of the world’s most loved end to end journeys as it traverses through glorious panoramic scenery and three of the UK’s most stunning national parks including the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.
The route has been adapted over time but the essence remains the same, a ramble that takes you from the Irish Sea at St Bees in Cumbria across the Pennines and Moors to embrace the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay. En route you’ll walk through the best of Northern England with countless small villages, majestic views and warm, welcoming pubs to break your journey.
Like other long distance walks the Coast to Coast gives the opportunity for meeting fellow walkers from all the world.
Our self guided trip breaks down the route into 16 manageable sections with the ability to add rest stops in locations of your choosing (additional cost). 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.
What makes our trip different?
- Specialist advise from our dual Coast to Coast travel expert
- Personal Lake District guide for a stage of the walk
- Trailblazer Coast to Coast guidebook and waterproof polyethylene Harvey maps
- Comprehensive travel pack
- Tailor-made arrangements available
- UK emergency support person contact
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.
Are you a first-time or solo traveller?
We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.
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 by local train from Manchester 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. If time permits visit the Priory.
Day 2: 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. From the official starting point on the beach, follow the footpath north up and over the dramatic red sandstone cliffs of St Bees Head, which is a nature reserve for seabirds. Keep a lookout for kittiwakes, guillemots and puffins nesting on the cliff face. Pass the lighthouse and at the quarry the route turns inland through farmland and the villages of Sandwith, Moor Row and Cleator with their pebble-dashed houses built for coal miners. The Lake District National Park beckons beyond and after passing through Blackhow Wood you climb Dent Hill, (353m), followed by a steep descent to the beautiful little valley of Nannycatch Beck. A delightful stroll along the beck then on road for a short distance will deliver you to the small village of Ennerdale Bridge and your gateway to the Lake District.
Total ascent: 780m / descent 665m
Day 3: Ennerdale Bridge to Borrowdale (24km)
Today (or on another day of your choosing), our Mountain Guide will walk with you through this first hill section of the Coast to Coast Path, explaining the geography, history and flora, fauna as you go. You will learn about safety on the fells and become comfortable with navigation and emergency procedures.
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. There is a choice of two paths, either the traditional south side route or the relatively flat north side path, preferable in wet weather. Both paths converge at the end of Ennerdale Water where a flat walk along a forest track continues to the remote Black Sail Youth Hostel. This is an excellent place to break your journey before ascending Loft Beck after which you climb up over the wild expanse of Honister Pass with fabulous views of the fells and lakes. The Slate Mine Visitor Centre is worth a look to understand the long history of mining in this region which goes back before even Roman Britain. Follow the path 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! You’ll pass through Seatoller village before walking into the wide expanse of Borrowdale Valley to the villages of Rosthwaite or Stonethwaite, your stop for the night.
Total ascent: 765m / descent 785m
Day 4: Borrowdale 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 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 Easedale Gill, (better for inclement weather). The other path to the left skirts along 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 Easedale and Grasmere in the valley below.
Total ascent: 750m / descent 760 via Helm Crag
Day 5: Grasmere to Patterdale (13.5km)
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’. Here 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 in poor weather. The most challenging and arduous 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 faint of heart and involves some scrambling up and down rock pitches.
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 Ullswater. 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.
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
Day 6: Patterdale to Shap (25km)
A long day ahead today as you leave the central lakes and head outside the National Park to Shap. The path climbs out of the Patterdale valley with splendid views of Ullswater and the tall mountains over which you walked yesterday. The trail winds between the crags passing Angle Tarn and continues to climb to the Knott (739m) and Kidsty Pike (780m), the highest point on the Coast to Coast, 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 the lake 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 and then walk on through scenic farmland. On approach to Shap, you will 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.
Total ascent: 1174m / descent 1009m
Day 7: Shap to Orton (13km)
Today’s scenery is quite different from other stages of the trail and the going will be a little easier. We walk across the Westmoreland Plateau 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!
Total ascent: 535m / descent 655m
Day 8: 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 Gill Viaduct where you should look out for the ‘pillow mounds’ – prehistoric sites whose purpose remains unclear. Long dry-stone walls are a constant feature of today’s walk.
After walking up Smardale Fell with views far ahead to Nine Standards Rigg, you drop down the other side to the welcome sight of the attractive market town of Kirkby Stephen. In town don’t miss 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 which dates back to the eighth century.
Total ascent: 535m / descent 605m
Day 9: Kirkby Stephen to Keld (21km)
Leaving the sheltered valley of Kirkby Stephen you’ll be climbing up to the wild moors of the Pennines, the spine of Northern England. Leaving Cumbria and entering Yorkshire, 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. Here you will 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 green marked low route to Keld. There are three seasonal variations to the route Coast to Coast walkers are asked to follow on the walk over Nine Standards Rigg and these are signposted along the way.
Descending from Nine Standards Rigg after White Mossey Hill, the moors become increasingly gentler as we walk down towards the valley and Ravenseat Farm with the chance to indulge in Amanda’s home made scones and cream. Continue to the old Norse village Keld the halfway point on the Coast to Coast.
Total ascent: 780m / descent 575m
Day 1o: 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 with its many waterfalls, and old stone barns 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 to the high route 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 variety of pubs and tea shops to recuperate plus a fine village green to sit out and enjoy. Recommended by locals to do the lower route.
Total ascent: 838m / descent 911m via the higher route. Also 5 hours via the low route.
Day 11: 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 woodland tracts and the lovely villages of the Swaledale Valley such as Marrick and Marske with limestone crags beyond. If you arrive in Richmond early enough you’ll have time to explore the shops and sights of one of the Coast to Coast’s busiest towns.
Richmond is the largest town on the Coast to Coast 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’.
Total ascent: 395m / descent 510m
Day 12: Rest day in Richmond
It’s recommended that you break your journey for a rest day here to catch up on any services such as laundry or just relax and recharge your batteries. This rest day can be switched to another part of the itinerary if you’d prefer to take it elsewhere or even taken out completely from your itinerary though is our recommendation that you take at least one rest day. Richmond is a great place to take a rest day and enjoy the many shops and restaurants around the central cobbled marketplace. Be sure to enjoy a traditional Yorkshire pork pie from the bakery.
Day 13: Richmond to Danby Wiske (22km)
A lovely day of mostly flat 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 a long stretch of road walking along quiet country roads and farmland. Consider a short visit to the historic Jacobean Kiplin Hall for lunch. Continue on through until you reach the tiny village of Danby Wiske with its Norman church, village green and single pub.
Total ascent: 138m/ descent 213m
Day 14: Danby Wiske to Ingleby Cross (15.5km)
Crossing the bridge just outside Danby Wiske you can see the outline of the Cleveland Hills into the distance towards Ingleby Cross. Today is mostly walking through rural areas on road and farm tracks; the lowest point of the Coast to Coast through the Vale of Mowbray. There is a railway line and the busy A19 motorway to cross before our destination for the night, at either Ingleby Cross.
Total ascent: 220m/ descent 120m
Day 15: Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top (20km)
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. 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.
First we follow the path through Arncliffe Wood and a steep climb 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).
Total ascent: 1130m/ descent 1015m
Day 16: Clay Bank Top to Blakey Ridge (14km)
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 Ridge, 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. Enjoy a pint and hearty lunch here, the Lion Inn having been a welcome refuge for over 400 years and a popular tourist stop.
Total ascent: 505m/ descent 375m
Day 17: Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge or Grosmont (19km)
A fine day’s walk coming down off the high moors and into idyllic countryside and villages of Glaisdale and Egton Bridge. First you’ll pass the White Cross of ‘Fat Betty’, a monument to nuns lost on the moors, 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 favourite on the Coast to Coast. This is the area where the TV series ‘Heartbeat’ was filmed and it corresponds to most people’s expectations of timeless English rural life. Enjoy an evening meal at the Postgate Inn, known as The Black Dog in Heartbeat. Alternatively overnight in Grosmont, another 3km from Egton Bridge.
Total ascent: 265m / descent 616m
Day 18: Walk Egton Bridge to Robin Hood’s Bay (28.5km)
Your last day on the Coast to Coast is a suitably long one with many highlights – and ups and downs! This morning follow the old toll 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. The trail climbs steeply out of Grosmont to cross heather moors with views 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. Pass by the ‘Hermitage’ a huge boulder hollowed out to make a home and relax for tea and scones in the garden at Midge Hall near the 20m high Falling Foss Waterfall.
A last area of high moor at Greystone hills brings you finally to the coast, where the last 5km 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 harbour. A final steep descent to Wainwright’s Bar at the Bay Hotel where you may celebrate the end of this 191 mile, 309km, crossing of England with a drink, and as tradition dictates, dip your toes into the North Sea and throw away the pebble you’ve carried from St Bees.
Total ascent: 775m / descent 805m
Day 19: Depart Robin Hood’s Bay
You are free to check-out anytime today before 10am.
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.
- Supported walking with our fully qualified mountain guide for 1 section of the trail e.g. Ennerdale to Rosthwaite
- 18 nights accommodation in hand-picked B&Bs and small hotels
- 18 English breakfasts including full cooked, cereal, yoghurt, porridge and fresh fruit options
- Exclusive use of RAW Travel’s specifically designed Coast to Coast navigational hiking App.
- Pack-free walking with daily luggage transfers to your accommodation (20kg per person)
- 24/7 support from our local UK RAW Travel staff
- Coast to Coast guidebook and map booklet
- RAW Travel document holder for itinerary route notes
- Pre-trip consultation with our Coast to Coast team for added assurance
- Single supplement $950 extra
- Travel insurance
Map & Guide
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.
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.
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
This trip has a difficulty rating of 6-7 out of 10.