+ Complete Wainwright's classic long-distance trail
+ Expert advice to find your ideal itinerary
+ Friendly and comfortable guesthouses, inns and hotels
Latest news September 2019
Please ask us about a trip. We are now taking bookings for our 2020 season. Thank you!
Wainwright devised his 314km (196 mile) Coast to Coast route to cross England via the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. The route is a delight throughout and one of the classics of the walking world. The obvious drama and charm of the Lake District stages show only one side of the walk; engrossing views in the Dales and North York Moors later in the trek reveal many more aspects of Northern England.
Each morning, set off after a good breakfast and pick up the trail. Arrive at your next accommodation and settle into a nearby pub or restaurant for the evening. There's great satisfaction to be had from this footloose yet purposeful life; a sense of moving through the landscape. We plan it all for you and give you our detailed routecards, the proper maps and lots of local information.
Your accommodation is in a mix of guesthouses, B&Bs and inns that we hope will invigorate and entertain. The Coast to Coast, as much as any long distance trail in the UK, offers some authentic and memorable overnight stays. One night you could be staying above an inn in the middle of a small village; the next you could be guests in a friendly home hidden away in the hills.
CCWsg Coast to Coast West (Self-guided)
5 May to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
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10 per dog
70 per dog
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80 per dog
180 per dog
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60 per dog
60 per dog
Here is our normal schedule of 6 stages:
Arrival day: Arrive in St Bees
Your trip starts on arriving in St Bees. Explore the village; stroll to the beach where the CTC starts. There are good pubs for a first dinner.
Guesthouse in St Bees
Stage 1: St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge
Red3 grade, 24km with 570m ascent, 520m descent
Start the Coast to Coast on the beach! There is a highly scenic stretch along the cliffs. The route turns inland and threads a course along an old railway before climbing the small hill Dent (352m). With the Lake District ahead, complete this rolling stage into the village of Ennerdale Bridge.
Inn in Ennerdale Bridge
Stage 2: Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite
Red3 grade, 25km with 600m ascent, 605m descent
Walk the length of Ennerdale Water as a prelude to wild Ennerdale. The Black Sail hut (refreshments) is near the head of the valley. It's at this point that the CTC starts climbing, to reach Honister Pass. Paths are faint on the ground. Drop into Borrowdale, one of our favourite Lakeland valleys. We stay in the charming village of Rosthwaite.
Inn in Rosthwaite
Stage 3: Rosthwaite to Grasmere
Red3 grade, 12.5km with 585m ascent, 615m descent
The first of two short but steep stages links Borrowdale with the village of Grasmere. A steady climb brings the CTC to two grassy cols. Then it's a long rolling descent to Grasmere, farms and dry-stone walls appearing as we near the village. An option is the entertaining ridge walk to Helm Crag.
Guesthouse in Grasmere
Stage 4: Grasmere to Patterdale
Red3 grade, 13km with 590m ascent, 515m descent
Leaving Grasmere, climb steeply to Grisedale Hause where the large tarn of the same name sits in the col. Roll downhill towards Patterdale, another superb Lakeland valley descent. Options are given today to climb St Sunday Crag or Helvellyn on the way to Patterdale.
Guesthouse in Patterdale or Glenridding
Stage 5: Patterdale to Shap
Red3 grade, 26.5km with 920m ascent, 810m descent
Some of the highest walking of the CTC is over the High Street mountain range. The CTC's high-point of Kidsty Pike (792m) comes just before the long drop to Haweswater. We walk the length of this reservoir and beyond through fields to Shap.
Guesthouse in Shap
Stage 6: Shap to Kirkby Stephen
Red3 grade, 33km with 495m ascent, 585m descent
With the Lakes firmly behind you, enjoy this long, gentle stage across low moorland and through fields. On the way, detour to Orton for supplies. Arrive in bustling Kirkby Stephen, one of the largest villages on the route and boasting several pubs.
Guesthouse in Kirkby Stephen
Departure day: Depart from Kirkby Stephen
After a last breakfast take the train towards Leeds and then onto the main lines. Manchester, York or London are easily reached.
Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.
Let us deliver your bag to each stop on the Coast to Coast. Each morning simply leave your bag with your host or at reception.
We don't have set schedules or start dates - instead we can book your trip to suit you.
Our normal 6-stage trek is fairly strenuous. It can be made quicker still, but of more appeal might be to make it slower. Here are some itineraries that we book. Firstly, walking through Grasmere direct to Patterdale makes it a day shorter at 5 stages and 6 nights. Or, for a slower finish, add a night in Orton for 7 stages and 8 nights.
Add one or more rest days, to recuperate during the route and to see more of the Lakes.
Coordinating with travel
As normal we include your accommodation in St Bees and Kirkby Stephen, both of which have train stations. Please ask us to advise if you'd like to come by car or if you'd like to combine traveling with your first or last trek days. We know some excellent solutions.
Please let us know if you fancy a more comfy or more basic trip. At many villages on the Coast to Coast West we can adjust your schedule, for example by booking smart little hotels or good youth hostels.
Our approach to the CTC West
Your route follows the Coast to Coast, as officially as the slightly relaxed nature of the route allows, as far as Kirkby Stephen. Set off from St Bees and reach the headland above cliffs before breaking away inland towards Ennerdale. Cross the centre of Lakeland, past the Black Sail hut into Borrowdale, then through Grasmere and across to Patterdale. Over the ridges of High Street reach Shap and some gentler ground. Pass Orton and later reach Kirkby Stephen in the valley.
The Coast to Coast involves a broad mix of England's walking terrain. Most miles are across relatively forgiving terrain such as field paths, tracks, rockier paths or country lanes. On the four Lakeland passes, terrain is rougher: either rockier or boggier. The path might not be visible on the ground for short stretches, meaning reliance on good navigation if the cloud is low.
How to get there
Your holiday starts in St Bees and ends in Kirkby Stephen. The train is best for both ends; St Bees is on the train line around the edge of Cumbria, terminating in Carlisle and Lancaster, while Kirkby Stephen is on the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle train line. If flying we suggest Manchester for both directions and to transfer by train.
Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
Key information Summer 2019
Trip name: Coast to Coast West
Prices Summer 2019
6 stages, per person:
Research Summer 2019
Patterdale (Photo gallery)
Alpine Exploratory's service
Find out more
Ready to book?
Our booking form to get things started: