The Slow Walk
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.
Get Ready For
- A lake District hiking guide to help you explore 1 section of the trail
- Expect a good old fashioned adventure, not everyone walk across a country
- Discover why people love northern England’s wild dramatic national parks
- Take you time to meander in nature and enjoy life in the slow lane
- Relax and enjoy the ambience of your character-filled accommodation
- Soak up the history – we don’t have many 16th century pubs in Australia
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 Slow Walk
Arrive in pretty St Bees village, take a stroll on the wide sea-side promenade and contemplate your upcoming adventure.
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.
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.
Total ascent: 780m / descent 665m
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.
Total ascent: 765m / descent 785m
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.
Total ascent: 750m / descent 760 via Helm Crag
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!
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.
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
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.
Total ascent: 1174m / descent 1009m
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.
Total ascent: 535m / descent 655m
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.
Total ascent: 535m / descent 605m
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.
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.
Total ascent: 780m / descent 575m
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.
Total ascent: 838m / descent 911m via the higher route. Also 5 hours via the low route.
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.
Total ascent: 395m / descent 510m
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!
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.
Total ascent: 138m/ descent 213m
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.
Total ascent: 220m/ descent 120m
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.
5 – 6 hours
Total ascent: 785m/ descent 550m
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.
Total ascent: 505m/ descent 375m
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.
Total ascent: 265m / descent 616m
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.
Total ascent: 775m / descent 805m
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.
You are free to check-out anytime today before 10am.
- 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
- Single supplement $1250 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 and UK walks
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
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
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
The Self-Guided Trip – Coast to Coast
- Traverse northern England on Wainwright’s famous walk
- Discover dramatic lakeland panoramas
- Meander three of England’s most beautiful national parks
- Be charmed by quintessential English villages and pubs
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