Your trip starts at the westernmost point in Cumbria, St Bees. Explore the village and take a stroll down to the long sandy beach where the CTC starts. There's a couple of good pubs in town for a first dinner.
Guesthouse in St Bees (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 24km with 570m ascent, 520m descent
Start the Coast to Coast on the beach followed by a highly scenic stretch along the cliffs. The route turns inland and threads a course along an old railway before climbing the small hill called Dent (352m). With the Lake District in view ahead, complete this rolling stage into the village of Ennerdale Bridge.
Inn in Ennerdale Bridge (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 25km with 600m ascent, 605m descent
Walk the length of Ennerdale Water as a prelude to wild Ennerdale. Stop for refreshments at the Black Sail hut before the trail starts climbing up to Honister Pass, our first Lakeland col of the trip. Once at the top, drop into Borrowdale, one of our favourite Lakeland valleys and continue to the charming village of Rosthwaite.
Inn in Rosthwaite (breakfast)
Red 3 (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 in our routecard is the entertaining ridge walk to Helm Crag.
Guesthouse in Grasmere (breakfast)
Red 3 (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 (breakfast)
Red 3 (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 (breakfast)
Red 3 (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
Red 3 (grade) 18.5km with 590m ascent, 440m descent
A distinct section of the route starts today with an ascent of Nine Standards Rigg, a moorland ridge. Now starts the Yorkshire Dales. The hilltop has traditionally hosted some of the boggiest walking of the route but new stone slabs have made it better. Drop over the moors to Keld, a pretty hamlet in a fold of hills, and the intersection with the Pennine Way. We are at the top of beautiful Swaledale, famous in the Dales.
Guesthouse in Keld (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 17.5km with 570m ascent, 690m descent
Follow old moorland mine tracks to Reeth. This is a rolling stage of low moorland ascents, in and out of mining valleys. We see much evidence of mining history. The village of Reeth sits around a notably large green. (An easier alternative follows the Swale through the valley, visiting Muker.)
B&B in Reeth
Blue 3 (grade) 17km with 435m ascent, 515m descent
Gentle walking with a mix of woodland and open fields leads all the way to Richmond. Arrive in Richmond with time to see the castle. A market town, Richmond is the largest place on the CTC and an ideal chance for new cuisine and bigger shops.
Guesthouse in Richmond (breakfast)
Blue 3 (grade) 25.5km with 125m ascent, 210m descent
Start the two-day crossing of the Vale of York, a flat agricultural area between the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Fields and country lanes make it easy going for the distance.
Inn in Danby Wiske
Blue 3 (grade) 20km with 275m ascent, 150m descent
Watch the North York Moors draw closer. The terrain is flat for much of the day but rises into woodland before you drop to Osmotherley, a charming village on the edge of the hills.
Inn in Osmotherley (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 18.5km with 850m ascent, 745m descent
Three tough days in the North York Moors start with an undulating route on the edge of the hills. Today is a surprisingly hilly day. We follow the crest on good paths. At Clay Bank Top, the natural break in the walking, there is no accommodation so we detour North or South to a small hotel or B&Bs.
B&B near Clay Bank Top
Red 3 (grade) 38km with 450m ascent, 640m descent
Rejoining the CTC at Clay Bank Top we walk over generally easy moorland tracks to the isolated pub at Blakey Ridge. This makes a super lunch stop. Carrying on, the miles go quickly over the moor and down to Glaisdale. Valley paths and the railway link Glaisdale with Egton Bridge and Grosmont.
Inn in Grosmont
Blue 3 (grade)25.5km with 480m ascent, 555m descent
This is a rolling cross-country day to finish. Walk through old woodland and up onto the moor, to reach the sea. The final clifftop miles mirror those of St Bees at the start. Robin Hood's Bay, the village, narrows and steepens as it drops to the sea, improbably small houses nestling together on the steep lanes.
Guesthouse in Robin Hood's Bay (breakfast)
After a last breakfast take the bus to Scarborough and join the rail network; Manchester, York or London are easily reached. Congratulations on the Coast to Coast!
For seasoned long-distance trekkers, we can recommend walking the entire Coast to Coast trail in just 11 stages. Please note that this will include walking over 30km per day most days. It's worth remembering that even our normal 14-stager is an unusually tough walk, and is easy to underestimate. As an in-between we also offer a 12 and 13-stage option; please contact us for details and specific schedules.
Make the trip longer
For a more relaxed pace, we can break up some of the longer stages to suit your preferences. A popular trip is our 15-stage one, splitting the long day from Clay Bank Top to Grosmont in the North York Moors. For a longer trip still, making it 16 stages lets us take 3 days over the 2 long stages from Patterdale to Kirkby Stephen.
Additional rest days
We do not include a rest day as standard on the Coast to Coast. However, if you have the time then we recommend adding one in. You'll know whether you're happy to keep walking for two weeks or you prefer a break after 7 days, or 4, and so on. With one rest day, spend 2 nights in Richmond which is the liveliest town on the route, or make it Kirkby Stephen which is nearer half-way and is a solid base. With 2 rest days we suggest Grasmere then Richmond. Please ask us for details.
As normal we include your accommodation at both St Bees and Robin Hood's Bay. If travel time is short, we can suggest ways to fit journeys in before your first stage or after your last. If driving, there are ways to minimise time needed to return to your car, for instance by using Kirkby Stephen as a base to go out and back. Please ask us about these options.
Hike with a leader
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and all arrangements taken care of. You're welcome to walk on any date within our season and we can adjust the hike to suit your needs. If your group would like a guide for your trip, please get in touch for more details.
Coast to Coast
1 May to 16 Sept 2022 and 1 May to 17 Sept 2023
200 per dog
200 per dog
1 rest day
220 per dog
220 per dog
2 rest days
290 per dog
290 per dog
Group of 4 or more
200 per dog
200 per dog
Group of 1, 2 or 3
|Please ask us|
To all stops
|GBP 140 per bag|
|GBP 40 per bag|
Your accommodation is in a mix of guesthouses, B&Bs, hotels 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 in the hills. We book ensuite accommodation where possible.
Add some comfort and upgrade your accommodation in some towns and villages along the way. For our comfy trips we book hotels and a guesthouse in Borrowdale, Grasmere, Glenridding, Kirkby Stephen, Reeth and Richmond, rather than our usual B&Bs. For your first night we book a country house hotel in Cleator and include a taxi from Cleator to the start of the route in St Bees.
Contact us for details of our basic accommodation on the Coast to Coast. We book hostels and bunkhouses in Borrowdale, Grasmere, Patterdale, Shap, Kirkby Stephen, Osmotherley and Robin Hood's Bay. Depending on your particular schedule, more nights than this might have basic accommodation available and we would reduce your price further.
We welcome dogs on our Coast to Coast trips. On a doggy CTC schedule we have to split the long Richmond to Osmotherley section in two by using taxis. This is because there is sadly no dog-friendly accommodation between these two stops; Danby Wiske is our normal stop but is a dog-free zone. Therefore, we suggest 2 nights in either Richmond or Osmotherley. We will organise taxis from Danby Wiske and then back in the morning, and we will cover the cost of these. In addition, on our longer schedule which adds a night in Orton, we have to arrange taxis due to the lack of dog-friendly accommodation in Orton. Here we propose 2 nights in Kirkby Stephen with taxis included.
The single supplement covers the difference in cost between a single room and a double room on a per person basis.
Your route follows the Coast to Coast trail, as closely as the slightly relaxed nature of the route allows. 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 to reach Kirkby Stephen, then cross into the Yorkshire Dales on Nine Standards Rigg, the barrier between East and West and a major milestone. Swaledale beckons, all the way to Richmond, past Keld and Reeth. Cross the Vale of York to Ingleby Cross and Osmotherley before setting off for the last section on the North York Moors. High and open walking on good ground leads you past Blakey Ridge and down to Glaisdale and Grosmont. A final stage leads to the coast with a few short clifftop miles left before Robin Hood's Bay.
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 and to a lesser extent on Nine Standards Rigg and on the North York Moors, terrain is rougher: either rockier or boggier. The path might not be visible on the ground for short stretches, necessitating good navigation if the cloud is low.
Is it for me?
The Coast to Coast is a long-distance trail, suited to most walkers who are fit and have the stamina for 14 days of walking. The scenery is immensely varied as you pass through three National Parks, from the mountains of the Lake District, to the rolling moorland in the Dales and the steep valleys of the North York Moors. This is a famous trail and there is undoubtably a great sense of achievement is completing the full walk across the width of England. For those short of time or who would like to try a section before committing to the full route, we offer the East and West sections as fantastic trips in their own right.
The Coast to Coast's emphasis is on distance rather than steepness. The terrain and weather can combine to create another challenge: navigation on the Lake District stages can be tricky in mist, and those used to climbing hills in the Lakes will know what to expect. In any case it will greatly help your enjoyment of the walk to arrive fit at the start, and be used to days of similar distance and height gain on this route. There is no climbing or scrambling, but there are some steep rocky paths, especially in the Lakes. It is all par for the course in the sphere of hill-walking in the UK. On some days there are easier and harder alternatives, which you can decide on the day depending on weather conditions and whether you feel up for a more challenging day.
For an even more detailed read, please see our Coast to Coast Walking Guide
Your holiday starts in St Bees and ends in Robin Hood's Bay. We suggest the train to St Bees, which is a station on the coastal line that links Carlisle and Lancaster. From Manchester, change trains at Lancaster. Coming back, Robin Hood's Bay has no station but is linked by a regular bus to Scarborough, for trains to York, Leeds and Manchester. For London, change at York. If flying then we suggest Manchester for both directions and then 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.
- Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
- Breakfast every morning
- Detailed Routecards CTC1-14 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
- 2 topographical maps of the route
- Expert advice and local information
- A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
- Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (8am until 8pm in the UK)
- Travel to and from your trip
- Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
- Travel insurance
- Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals
- Baggage transfers (available as an extra)
Baggage transferOur baggage option on the Coast to Coast takes your bag to each night's accommodation. Each morning simply leave your bag with your host or at reception, and it will be delivered to your next accommodation. If you are traveling onwards in the UK but don't need your bags during the trek, then instead take our direct baggage option to Robin Hood's Bay.
Coast to Coast 2023 enquiry form
If you prefer, please feel welcome to email or call us. Thanks!
|Contact Alpine Exploratory|
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Monday to Friday
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Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.