Your trip begins on arriving at your B&B in Edale. In the heart of the Peak District, the views of the Pennines begin right away in this picturesque village with two pubs and a cafe.
B&B in Edale (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 24km with 680m ascent, 740m descent
Begin the Pennine Way by crossing two Peak District hills: Kinder Scout and Bleaklow Head. The distance goes quickly on solid paths with gentle gradients. Enjoy the wide views and the sense of remoteness on this excellent introduction to the Way.
Hotel off route at Torside (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 20km with 750m ascent, 565m descent
Black Hill is the major obstacle and feature of this stage. It rises gradually to the North. At 582m its summit is the highest point crossed by the Pennine Way from now until the Yorkshire Dales. Recent years have seen big improvements in the path underfoot, now on old stone slabs, making the black peat morasses that surrounded the summit a thing of the past. A sense of wilderness remains.
Inn in Diggle (off-route at Standedge) (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 26.5km with 380m ascent, 665m descent
This stage is a series of moorland crossings between the major roads linking Yorkshire to the East and Greater Manchester to the West. Around the middle of the day, enjoy striding out along the flat, smooth tracks between Blackstone Edge and Hebden Bridge. End the day with the canal-side walk into Hebden Bridge.
B&B in Hebden Bridge (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 23.5km with 790m ascent, 650m descent
Classic South Pennine views await on the stage as you cross the moors to Haworth. This is Wuthering Heights country; the moorland between Hebden Bridge and Haworth is wild but made easy by solid paths and good stone slabs. While the crossing marks a distinct journey between the catchments of the Calder Valley and the Worth Valley, the time spent on wild moorland is actually quite short.
Guesthouse in Haworth (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 25.5km with 790m ascent, 900m descent
This is a typical South Pennines stage of low moorland crossings and field paths. The views are less dramatic than on previous stages but still interesting. The stage threads a way between the industrial centres of Lancashire to the West and of Yorkshire to the East, crossing the last high ground of the South Pennines.
Inn in Elslack (breakfast)
Blue 3 (grade) 24.5km with 285m ascent, 395m descent
Settle into a steady pace today and the distance will fly by. Field paths are the theme, interspersed with lanes and even a bit of canal towpath near Gargrave. The countryside is pastoral as you cross the Aire Gap, the lowest-lying section of the Pennine Way and the link between the South Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales
Guesthouse in Malham (breakfast)
Malham marks the start of the Yorkshire Dales. A charming village with a good selection of bars and cafes, the main attraction is the surrounding limestone scenery and cliffs.
Guesthouse in Malham (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 25km with 820m ascent, 780m descent
This is a fine stage with more than its fair share of notable Pennine Way features. The limestone cliffs of Malham Cove give way to some intriguing walking before you reach Malham Tarn. Two obstacles then present themselves before Horton: Fountains Fell and Pen-y-ghent. These two hills make for a challenging but rewarding second half of the walk.
B&B in Horton-in-Ribblesdale (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 24km with 435m ascent, 435m descent
This is one of the classic stages and a bold day out across grand Pennine terrain. The village of Horton and the town of Hawes make natural staging posts at either end. The main event in the day is the gradual ascent of Dodd Fell by the long Roman road known as the Cam High Road. On the spine of the hill, views swap from upper Wharfedale in the South to Widdale in the North. Hawes comes into view in its peaceful Wensleydale setting, one of the bigger Pennine settlements and a bustling market town. The famous cheese factory offers tours and a fine shop.
Inn in Hawes (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 21km with 670m ascent, 585m descent
This is a stage of two contrasting parts. The bulk of the day is spent crossing Great Shunner Fell, at 716m a high obstacle. The views are broad and often wild. After the descent enter the hamlet of Thwaite and begin a pastoral and beautiful section of the Way above Swaledale to Keld. The change in scenery maintains the interest throughout this stage. End the day at Keld, a tiny village on its own in a fold of hills, quiet and peaceful. (Keld is the crossing point of the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast.)
Guesthouse in Keld (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 22km with 340m ascent, 375m descent
This stage links the head of Swaledale with the moors of County Durham. It begins with a crossing of Stonesdale Moor to the famous Tan Hill Inn, then crosses Bowes Moor to the valley at Sleightholme Farm and ends with an attractive ramble over fields and past farms into Bowes, a quiet village with an impressive ruined castle.
Inn in Bowes (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 20.5km with 460m ascent, 520m descent
Here is an enjoyable day among open and wild scenery. Two valleys break up the journey: Baldersdale and Lunedale, each holding reservoirs and being sprinkled with dispersed farms and houses. Late in the stage enjoy the panorama above Teesdale and the view down to Middleton-in-Teesdale.
B&B in Middleton-in-Teesdale (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 34.5km with 570m ascent, 600m descent
This long but spectacular stage runs largely East to West instead of South to North, as we cross the Pennine hills. Three famous landmarks of the Way are encountered today: the waterfall at High Force on the Tees, the cascade of Cauldron Snout, and the vast and awesome high glaciated valley of High Cup Nick. After the spine of the Pennines, drop down into the quiet village of Dufton. (Travel off route to Appleby for the nearest accommodation.)
B&B in Appleby (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 33km with 935m ascent, 825m descent
A long day crossing four summits, the stage is really four distinct parts: an ascent to the ridge, the crossing of four peaks, a long descent to Garrigill on a moorland track, and finally a ramble across fields to Alston. This is one of the two particularly high and bold Pennine Way stages, an exhilarating way to finish this portion of the route. Cross Fell (893m), one of today's peaks, is the highest point on the Pennine Way and the highest point in England outside the Lake District.
Guesthouse in Alston (breakfast)
Alston is a market town in Cumbria surrounded by the North Pennines. Explore the village's pubs, cafes and shops or take a ride on the historic South Tynedale Railway.
Guesthouse in Alston (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 28km with 560m ascent, 730m descent
Field paths and moorland crossings make up two distinct themes for this stage. Starting at Alston, the route threads a way through the valley to Slaggyford and Lambley. At Lambley the Way strikes off from the road to continue the Northward direction via Black Hill. The Hadrian's Wall area and the valley of the River South Tyne are both well seen today. Finish the day at Greenhead, one of the bases for seeing the Wall.
Inn in Greenhead (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 12km with 540m ascent, 445m descent
A highlight of the Pennine Way, the walk to Once Brewed coincides with the Hadrian's Wall path. The well preserved Wall is followed for most of the day, often right beside, and there is much up and down. Open moorland falls away North and South.
Inn at Once Brewed (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 24km with 510m ascent, 690m descent
From Once Brewed to Rapishaw Gap, the Pennine Way concludes its route along Hadrian's Wall. We can detour to Housesteads roman fort. From the Gap, our route strikes off North to begin the wild crossing to the Cheviot Hills. It is a stage of forest tracks, moorland paths and a few fields and lanes. This is a classic stage of cross-country walking. The small town of Bellingham is welcome, set in a wide valley in the North Pennines.
Guesthouse in Bellingham (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 24.5km with 525m ascent, 425m descent
The crossing to Byrness is the last of these typical PW days, with more distinct sections. After three minor moorland crossings, the day finishes with a fairly long walk through Redesdale Forest to the valley in Byrness.
B&B in Byrness (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 20km with 940m ascent, 530m descent
This first of two days on the Cheviot Hills is a big final challenge. From Byrness the PW climbs quickly to the ridge, then stays on it as far as Windy Gyle (the highest hill of the day) for the descent to Trows. Much of the walking is on good, solid grassy paths or sections of duckboards and stones. Enjoy this superb ridge walk, the boldest landscape yet met on the Pennine Way. (We organise a pick-up at Trows for a second night at Byrness.)
B&B in Byrness (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 21.5km with 640m ascent, 1150m descent
After a lift back to Trows, climb back up Windy Gyle. This last stage of the Pennine Way completes the traverse of the Cheviot Hills. A detour to the highest point in this area, The Cheviot, is possible. The walking is generally excellent, being on a clear path often laid with stones or boards. The ridge gives a rollercoaster ride ending at The Schil, a famous Cheviot hill. Finally, to roll into Kirk Yetholm is to enter a pastoral scene in contrast to the preceding mountain miles. The hills really feel like they're behind you!
Hotel in Kirk Yetholm (breakfast)
After a last breakfast take the bus to Kelso (pictured above), Berwick-upon-Tweed, Carlisle or Edinburgh and join the rail network. Then Manchester, York or London are easily reached. Congratulations on the Pennine Way!
Make the trip shorter
As the days are already quite long, the best way to shorten the trip is to take out the 2 rest days. This gives 19 stages and 20 nights. For the strongest walkers the trip can be walked in 18 stages by combining the two stages from Greenhead to Bellingham (no night at Once Brewed) which makes for a long day of 35km with 1050m ascent and 1135m descent. Please let us know if you’d like more details of this.
Make the trip longer
For those with more time, we suggest a schedule of 20 or 21 stages with 2 rest days. The 20-stage option splits the long day between Middleton-in-Teesdale and Dufton with a night in Langdon Beck where we stay in a small hotel. For the 21-stage itinerary, we also split the 2 long days between Dufton and Greenhead into 3 shorter days, with break points at Garrigill and Slaggyford. To use the good accommodation in Alston we take the bus from Garrigill to Alston and back, then from Slaggyford to Alston and back. (Due to the rest day in Alston, in fact you'd have 3 nights in Alston). Our 21-stage schedule has no days of more than 30km.
More rest days
Standardly we include rest days in Malham and Alston, two small market towns. You may also like to add an extra rest day in Once Brewed to visit Vindolanda and it's museum, a great way to find out more about the roman history of the area. For those wary of walking the Pennine Way in one go or for those who simply would like to explore the local area, a few other towns and villages along the route make excellent stops for rest days. The other larger and better-connected towns include Hebden Bridge (trains to Manchester and Leeds), Haworth, Hawes (buses to Richmond), Middleton-in-Teesdale and Bellingham. Please also ask us to advise on visiting Manchester and Edinburgh as the natural cities at start and end; the bus or train rides are very scenic too!
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 still adjust the hike to suit your needs. Please ask more about this guided option - thank you.
1 May to 16 Sept 2022
2 rest days
220 per dog
220 per dog
2 rest days
240 per dog
240 per dog
19 stages 2 rest days
Group of 4 or more
220 per dog
220 per dog
19 stages 2 rest days
Group of 1, 2 or 3
|Please ask us|
To all stops
Please ask us
|Please ask us|
Your accommodation along the Pennine Way is a lovely variety from small guesthouses to country hotels tucked away in the hills. We choose friendly hosts, handy locations and comfortable rooms, booking ensuites where possible. We take a small detour off the official route to spend a night in Haworth, a quaint and historic Yorkshire village. There is sadly no accommodation in Dufton, so we suggest travelling off-route to Appleby for a B&B. Towards the end of the trip, you will stay 2 nights in Byrness as there are no accommodation options at Windy Gyle, but we will organise transport for you between the route and your B&B.
Add some comfort to your trip by upgrading your accommodation along the route. In Diggle, Haworth, Hawes and Bellingham we book comfy hotels instead of our usual B&Bs (The Saddleworth Hotel, Ashmount Country House, Simonstone Hall and Riverdale Hall Hotel respectively). We also suggest travelling off route for comfier accommodation in Hathersage (instead of Edale) and Barnard Castle (instead of Bowes). Take the train from your first night in Hathersage to the start of the Pennine Way in Edale. For Appleby and Barnard Caslte taxis to and from the comfier hotels in town and the route are included. Along the rest of the route we opt for comfier rooms in our normal B&Bs where possible. If you'd like us to book executive rooms and suites where possible, please do ask us for details of adding this on.
If you are interested in hiking the Pennine Way using more basic accommodation, such as hostels and bunkhouses for example, we can combine our classic B&Bs with more basic accommodations in Edale, Hebden Bridge, Once Brewed, Greenhead, Bellingham and Kirk Yetholm.
Standardly we include rest days in Malham and Alston, two small market towns. This being said, you may prefer to swap your rest day in Alston for one in Once Brewed. This would give you the opportunity to visit Vindolanda and it's museum, a great way to find out more about the roman history of the area. Please just let us know your preference.
Single Room Supplement
If you would like to stay in single rooms rather than sharing a double, twin or triple room we add our single room supplement. This covers the additional cost of booking single occupancy rooms on a per person basis.
Bring your dog
We're delighted that you can walk with your dog! We’ll follow our normal schedule with a few adjustments to get to dog-friendly accommodation. Sadly, there is no dog-friendly accommodation in Horton-in-Ribblesdale so we use the train to get to Settle, a market town about 6 miles down the road. We’ll provide details of the journey and train times in your itinerary. Similarly, in Dufton we suggest travelling off route to Appleby to reach dog-friendly accommodation.
Our route follows the official Pennine Way. Set off from Edale to cross the High Peaks towards the South Pennine towns of Hebden Bridge and Haworth. Low moors then grassy plains take you to the Yorkshire Dales at Malham where delightful stages to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Hawes, and Keld follow. The North Pennines now beckon and you cross back West to Dufton before climbing Cross Fell. Alston and a low stage lie on the way to Hadrian’s Wall. A day on the wall is diverting, then strike off North into the wilds: bold forests and bleak moors are waiting. The Cheviots come as a final obstacle, almost cruelly so, but immensely rewarding and beautiful. Kirk Yetholm is the final haven; time to celebrate!
The Pennine Way's gradients are for the most part gentle in comparison to much UK mountain walking; this follows the route's nature as a series of moorland crossings. Certain parts of the route involve steep ground, in particular the ascents of Pen-y-ghent and Cross Fell. Underfoot the route is reasonably solid, on dusty or potentially muddy paths and across fields but rarely - except in the Northern stages - on very muddy open moorland.
Is it for me?
The Pennine Way is our longest trek in the UK and the walking days are generally longer too, so it will suit hikers up for a challenge! However, the raw figures of daily distance and ascent can in many cases mislead; the miles pass quickly on the sections of walled track or of smooth open moor. Nevertheless, it will greatly help your enjoyment of the walk to arrive fit at the start, used to days of similar distance and height gain to those that you are about to face.
The Pennine Way is generally easy to follow with wooden sign posts and the acorn symbol denoting a National Trail. The sections over higher ground are not always so obvious and when the clouds descend a map, compass and knowledge to use them will be necessary.
Of course, the Pennine Way can be tackled over two or more trips. We suggest a way to break it into three manageable week long holidays: our Pennine Way South trip from Edale to Malham, our Pennine Way Central trip from Malham to Alston, and our Pennine Way North trip from Alston to Kirk Yetholm.
The emphasis of the Pennine Way is on distance rather than rockiness or technical difficulty. Compared to our other UK walks the Pennine Way spends more time on high, wild ground, and is overall a little tougher.
Whilst ascents and descents are generally gradual, there are 2 noticeable exceptions: The ascent of Pen-y-ghent involves two short steep rocky sections and the route to Cauldron Snout crosses two short boulder fields beside the River Tees and then climbs steeply up the rocks beside the waterfall. These sections should be no problem for regular walkers and they add interest to their respective stages.
For an even more detailed read, please see our Pennine Way Walking Guide
Your holiday starts in Edale and ends in Kirk Yetholm. Edale is on the train line between Manchester and Sheffield; Kirk Yetholm is linked to a good bus network to Berwick-upon-Tweed and Carlisle where trains run North and South. If flying, we suggest Manchester for the start and Edinburgh or Manchester for the end.
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 hikers 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 PEW1-19 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
- The 2 topographical maps needed
- 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 UK time)
- 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 Pennine Way takes your bag to each night's accommodation. In the morning, simply leave your bag with your host or at reception and we will make sure that it will be waiting for you at your next accommodation.
Pennine Way 2023 enquiry form
If you prefer, please feel welcome to email or call us. Thanks!
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Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.