(Coast to Coast West) The coastline at St Bees
COAST TO COAST WEST (SELF-GUIDED)   6 stages . 7 nights . Lake District   Booking

Coast to Coast West
Self-guided trekking holiday

+ Complete Wainwright's classic long-distance trail
+ Expert advice to find your ideal itinerary
+ Friendly and comfortable guesthouses, inns and hotels

Latest news November 2019
Our 2020 dates and prices are up! Availability is great at this early point. Please ask us about a trip - thank you.

Walk the spectacular Coast to Coast path under your own steam on a self-guided trekking holiday. Our package lets you walk at your own pace, takes away the work of planning and gets you straight to the best bits.

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.


Map showing the route of Alpine Exploratory's Coast to Coast West Self-Guided walking holiday


Alpine Exploratory
CCWsg Coast to Coast West (Self-guided)
3 May to 18 September 2020
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
6 stages
(7 nights)

Please ask 620
Singles 175
10 per dog
Singles 210
70 per dog
7 stages
(8 nights)

Please ask 690
Singles 200
80 per dog
Singles 240
180 per dog
Specialised schedules
5 stages
(6 nights)

Please ask 550
Singles 150
60 per dog
Singles 180
60 per dog
Baggage transfer
All stops
Baggage transfer


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.

Baggage transfer

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.

Alternative schedules
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.

Rest days
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.

The route

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.

Happy Clients

"We loved it, and want to complete the CTC as soon as we can, and do other trails..."

Kate Horne, UK
(Coast to Coast West)

Key information Summer 2020

Trip name: Coast to Coast West
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: CCWsg
Route: The Coast to Coast (Walking guide)
(Prefer one week on the East or the full CTC?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 6 days' trekking
Start: St. Bees in Cumbria
End: Kirkby Stephen in Yorkshire
Typical walk: 23km, 600m ascent
Total distance: 136.5km or 85 miles
Highest altitude: 792m
Grade: Red3 (Walking grades)

Prices Summer 2020

6 stages, per person:

CCWsg Classic
GBP 620 (singles 175, dog 70)
Coast to Coast West (self-guided)

Research Summer 2020

People at Alpine Exploratory Alpine Exploratory's 2019 research on the Coast to Coast was led by:
Pete Ellis in March

Recces 2020

Dropping into Patterdale on the Coast to Coast walk
Patterdale (Photo gallery)

Alpine Exploratory's service

7 nights, staying in:
B&Bs and guesthouses (4)
Inns (3)

Accommodation and itinerary
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards CTC1-6 of the Exploratory system
Maps and local information

Season for self-guided treks
3 May to 18 September 2020
Trek on your ideal dates

The Coast to Coast on the edge of forests by Ennerdale Water
Ennerdale Water (Photo gallery)

Find out more

About our walking holidays Our FAQs page covering equipment, weather, insurance and more about how our trips work

Walking guides Our CTC background page

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Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.
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