The Self-Guided Trip
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.
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.
Get Ready For
- Complete one of the world’s best and most loved long-distance hiking trails
- We include a Lake District hiking guide to accompany you for one section
- Rich diversity of scenery including mountains, lakes and moorland
- Enjoy a pint in character and history-filled inns and freehouses
- Wonder at the mystery and meaning of the centuries-old Nine Standards
- Surprise your inner foodie with great English food at trendy local gastro-pubs
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. 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. The freedom of a self-guided trip is something that, once experienced, is sought time and time again.
The Self-Guided Trip
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
DEPART ROBIN HOOD’S BAY
You are free to check-out anytime today before 10am.
What you get
- Hassle-free walking with exclusive use of RAW Travel specifically designed Coast to Coast navigational hiking app
- 18 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
- Walk pack-free with 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
- Single supplement $990 extra
- Travel insurance
All you need to know about walking Wainwright’s iconic Coast to Coast path across Northern England. Inspiration, travel essentials, practical information, and more!
The iconic Coast to Coast walk in the UK passes through glorious English scenery in three of the country’s best National Parks; the Lake District National Park, Yorkshire Dales National Park and North York Moors National Park. 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. Ready to take a walk on the wild side?
Coast to coast
Coast to Coast
The Guided Trip – Coast to Coast
- Fully guided and pack-free with our qualified mountain guide
- Ramble through Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Be charmed by quintessential English villages and pubs
- Rolling hills, pastures and the world’s most charming sheep
Coast to Coast
Lakeland Ramble – Coast to Coast
- Relax and enjoy cosy B&Bs and pubs along the route
- Wander through charming lakeland villages
- Absorb the remote wilderness of the Lake District
- Listen for cuckoos in the Borrowdale valley
Coast to Coast
Dales and Moors – Coast to Coast
- Walk quiet pathways of England’s most-loved national parks
- Discover the fascinating and mysterious Nine Standards Rigg
- Eat fresh local produce and sample regional ales and ciders
- Explore the almost 1000-year-old Richmond Castle
Coast to Coast
The Slow Walk – Coast to Coast
- Take your time, enjoy life in the slow lane
- Reconnect with nature, yourself or your walking buddy
- Enjoy the warmth of your character-filled accommodation
- Be captivated by woodlands, meadows and mountain views
Coast to Coast
The Swift Walk – Coast to Coast
- Enjoy high fells, wild moorlands and deep lakes
- Fall in love with idyllic rural towns and historic villages
- Mingle with fellow walkers in cosy, centuries-old pubs
- Have fun as you challenge your fitness and stamina
TRIP date selection
when would you like to travel?
Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed