Pennine Way
19 stages . 22 nights . Northern England
Hadrian's Wall on the Pennine Way
Pennine Way
Pennine Way
19 stages . 2 rest days . 22 nights

Pennine Way
Self-guided walking holiday

Key information

Start: Edale in the Peak Distict
End: Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders
Season dates: 1 May to 15 Sept 2024
Length: 19 days' walking, 2 rest days
Typical walk: 24km, 620m ascent
Total distance: 435km or 268 miles
Highest altitude: 893m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 2,210 per person

From the Peak District to the Cheviots, from lonely hillsides to bustling farmers' markets, chase along the mountain tops of England's rugged backbone for the trail of a lifetime. The Pennine Way, Britain’s first and most iconic National Trail, was founded in 1965 and makes a fantastic 268-mile journey up the spine of England and into the Scottish Borders. It's a substantial challenge for any long-distance walker.

Starting in the picturesque village of Edale in the Hope Valley, you will traverse the open moors of the Peak District into the peaceful Yorkshire Dales. Walk on the iconic limestone pavement at Malham. Admire the calm beauty of Swaledale and its field barns as you move further North. Finally, from the North Pennines and Hadrian's Wall, make your way across the distinctive rounded Cheviot Hills into the Scottish Borders where you’ll reach journey’s end in charming Kirk Yetholm.

From snug country pubs to wild moorland, from literary hotspots like Haworth, home of the Bronte sisters, to fascinating historical sites such as old mining towns, join us for this magnificent journey through Northern Britain.

Our routecards follow the official Pennine Way route and a self-guided trip allows you to complete the official route at your own pace and in your own way. Alternatvely, if you'd like to hike with an International Mountain Leader, we organise privately guided Pennine Way trips. Please contact us if you have any considerations and we’ll arrange a trip to suit your needs.


Alternative trip options
Prefer a different length of trip?
Pennine Way Central - our popular week: 7 stages, 8 nights
Pennine Way South - 6 stages, 7 nights
Pennine Way North - 6 stages, 7 nights
Coast to Coast - 2 weeks not 3, West to East
Our main trip of 19 stages and 2 rest days lets you to complete the route within 3 weeks, though with quite consistently long days. We suggest 2 rest days in the quaint villages of Malham and Alston, which breaks the trip into three separate weeks. The spacing of accommodation limits too many options, but longer and shorter schedules are possible. We explain the most popular options below, and welcome you to ask if you are looking for something a little different!

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 36.9km with 950m ascent and 960m 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.
Pennine Way
1 May to 15 Sept 2024
Hutty Classic Comfy
19 stages
2 rest days
(22 nights)
Please ask
GBP 2,210
Singles 880
220 per dog
Main Trip
GBP 2,460
Singles 970
220 per dog

21 stages
2 rest days
(24 nights)
Please ask
GBP 2,350
Singles 940
240 per dog
GBP 2,600
Singles 1,010
240 per dog
Baggage transfer
To all stops
Please ask us
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

Where we stay
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.

Rest days
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.

Solo Travel
We do not take bookings for solo walkers on self-guided trips. If you are still interested in this trip, we do have availability on our guided trips.

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.
Typical Pennine Way view
Hillside Views along the way
Our approach to the Pennine Way
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!

People at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's latest research on the Pennine Way was led by Pete in April

The Terrain
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
How to get there
Edinburgh skyline
Why not visit Scotland's capital Edinburgh at the end of your trip?

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)
Not included
  • 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 transfer

Our 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.
Got questions about the Pennine Way?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Dan and Rob will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.

Enquiry Form
Pennine Way Self-guided

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Contact Alpine Exploratory
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
Our times 9am to 5pm UK time
Monday to Friday
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Canada 416-548-4819
New Zealand 04 889 4515
USA 646-757-1102

Open to the world
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.

The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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High Cup Nick on the Pennine Way
  High Cup Nick on Stage 12    Photos from the Pennine Way

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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