Looking to go it alone on England’s iconic route, the Coast to Coast? We have plenty of solo travellers joining our group departures.
Solo travellers aren’t just single people, and you might be choosing to travel on your own for various reasons. If you want to travel solo but not alone, join a guided walking group.
When you travel with Wilderness England on one of our Coast to Coast walking holidays, you’ll join a small group made up of other solo travellers, couples and friends. That way, you’ll get the authenticity of going away on your own and the benefit of being with like-minded people.
Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about travelling solo on our walking tour as well as some top tips if you’re travelling solo independently.
It will. And by travelling with an experienced guide on a guided walking holiday, you might see even more. They’ll help navigate the route, remove the planning and logistics and let you concentrate on soaking up the scenery.
They’ll be able to bring places to life, fill in the history of what you’re seeing, identify wildlife and show you secret corners and the views they love as well. They’ll help pick out the perfect picnic lunch spot and might just point out their favourite pubs to you too for that end-of-day pint. Check out the full itinerary here.
On our guided Coast to Coast walking holidays, for solo travellers, accommodation is based on sharing a twin room with another solo traveller of the same gender. There are a limited number of rooms for single occupancy available and they are on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to a single supplement. Enquire early about the availability of these.
Yes, you will. As a solo traveller, you’ll still be able to find time and space for yourself. How much ‘me time’ you have on the trip will depend on your own preference.
On our Coast to Coast tours, we generally eat dinner as a group, but if you’d like to make alternative arrangements, you are free to do so. Your guide gets a night off during the trip where they won’t eat with the group, but they’ll recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make reservations as required.
The Coast to Coast hike can absolutely be walked solo. The route is world-renowned, and for good reason. It’s a classic hike across England in the footsteps of the famous fellwalker and guidebook author Alfred Wainwright. Due to its iconic status, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast trail sees plenty of foot traffic. Along the route, you will bump into other Coast to Coasters – solo hikers might prefer to walk with them a while as you fall into step and make new friends.
This means that at times your walk will be solo, with the chance to pensively admire the serenely beautiful landscape and enjoy the benefits of slow travel. At other times, you’ll enjoy the camaraderie of a shared challenge, obstacles overcome and eventually a journey completed.
Of course, a journey of this length — around 192 miles from seashore to seashore — is a challenge for anyone, and there are some demanding sections in both the Lake District and Yorkshire. However, the path is rarely more than a few hours from some sort of habitation. It passes through at least one hamlet or village every day where solo walkers can find somewhere to stay, refuel, resupply or seek assistance if needed.
Another option for solo travellers is to join a guided group trip along the Coast to Coast — perfect for solo travellers to meet up with other hikers who are also travelling on their own. Find out more here.
The Coast to Coast is waymarked to varying degrees. Because it isn’t classified as a National Trail, nor is it a single footpath, the Coast to Coast route is only partially signposted. In the Lake District, the route marking is limited. Once over the Pennines and into Yorkshire, the route becomes more clearly marked, and it should be easier to navigate.
There are several locations, though, where the ground is very boggy, and it can be hard to spot the path. On some occasions, the weather may settle in, and low clouds and mist might make it impossible to see the way ahead. It’s recommended that solo hikers should have a sound grasp of map reading and feel confident using a compass or GPS.
If you don’t wish to handle your own navigation, it’s recommended to join a guided trip of the Coast to Coast trail, leaving the navigation up to your guide, allowing more time to focus on the idyllic landscapes and stunning panoramas. Find out more here.
There is a limited amount of accommodation along the Coast to Coast route. In a couple of the smaller villages, it can be difficult to find somewhere to stay overnight during the busier times of the year.
Most Coast-to-Coasters choose to walk west to east across the country, meaning everyone stops in the same places. So choose your overnight stops, call the hostels, bunkhouses, B&Bs, hotels and pubs on the route and get organised.
This is particularly true during the high season from June to August when booking ahead is essential. The shoulder seasons of May and September can be equally popular with people looking to avoid the school holidays, while weekends, especially in the Lake District, are almost always busy.
With this in mind, our top tip is to choose to walk the route with a travel company. The benefit of travelling with a tour operator is that they will manage the booking logistics, know the best places to stay, have existing relationships and will have secured accommodation for their departures. Check out our England’s Coast to Coast tour.
While travelling entirely self-sufficiently might be inspiring and give you the best flexibility and sense of achievement, you can lighten the load slightly on the Coast to Coast trail by using a luggage transfer service. Several companies are serving the Coast to Coast route that will move your bags for you. (Bookings must be made in advance.)
Or go one step further and book yourself onto a group hiking tour, where all you need to carry is your daypack containing your essentials like lunch, water, and extra layers. This is perfect for solo travellers who don’t want to arrange their logistics but still want the joy of traversing England on their own two feet. Find out more here.
As well as accommodation, there is a range of facilities in the villages and towns the route passes through. Places to eat include cafes, restaurants, pubs and inns. There are shops and supermarkets to buy snacks or picnic lunch ingredients. Most villages have a bank or ATM.
Buses and taxis operate along the route, though be aware that some of these services may be seasonal and can’t always be relied upon. You should get a phone signal in most places, although expect to be out of touch in the mountains and on some of the more remote stages where reception is best described as patchy.
In essence, yes. The villages and hamlets you explore as you walk from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay are renowned for their hospitality and are very well set up for walkers. The route is well-established, and lots of people complete it without incident every year.
However, for anyone with concerns, the best thing to do is join a guided walking tour group where the safety of guests is taken seriously. By travelling solo in a group, you’ll be with other like-minded people, and in the care of an experienced outdoor guide armed with loads of local knowledge, so you can rest assured that you’re in safe hands. Learn more about our Coast to Coast holiday here.
Whenever you’re walking solo, always let someone know the route that you intend to take each day. This is especially important if there are alternative paths, which is the case on a couple of stages of the Coast to Coast where hikers can choose high or low-level routes. It’s smart to give them an indication of how long you expect to take too.
On the walk, stop and chat with other Coast-to-Coasters that you encounter. Meeting people who are undertaking the same challenge as you is part of the appeal of the route but is also a good safety tip. Make sure to take a medical kit, and pack an emergency foil blanket, which is an efficient, lightweight way to keep warm should the weather change unexpectedly.
And most importantly, know your limits before you start. Be realistic about how far you can walk and what your abilities in the mountains are. If you’ve any real concerns, then it’s best to travel with someone else before you decide to go alone.
Be the first to hear about new trips, locations and activities with our monthly newsletter