Close
Articles by Year

<<     >>

Articles by Category

UK +44 (0)1768 721 210

England’s Coast to Coast:
The Essential Guide

Walking Wainwright’s Iconic Coast to Coast

Welcome to everything you need to know about England’s renowned Coast to Coast hiking trail. Traversing the country’s width and passing through three of England’s most stunning National Parks, this brilliantly engaging and historic walking route weaves through some of the most captivating English countryside.

Total Distance/Length of the C2C

310 km/192 miles (depending on route)

National Parks

The route passes through 3 of England’s National Parks: the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors

Highest Point

780 m/2,559 feet, the summit of Kidsty Pike

How Many Days Does the Coast to Coast Take?

12-14 days

How Many Steps is England’s Coast to Coast?

440,000 (Based on the average stride)

History of the Coast to Coast Walk

Alfred Wainwright devised the Coast to Coast walk in 1973 by combining various other trails. The route is to become an official National Trail in 2025.

Guide Contents

The Trail’s History

In 1972, writer and illustrator Alfred Wainwright (already renowned for his exquisitely drawn and detailed guides to walking in the Lake District) succeeded in knitting together a trail that crossed England from the Cumbrian coast to the North Sea. The result was his 1973 guidebook: ‘A Coast to Coast Walk’, now a treasured classic of its kind.

Around two-thirds of the route winds through three of England’s dramatic National Parks; the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Wainwright’s trail is an iconic, long distance adventure from mountain peaks to glittering lakes, wild heathery moors to rolling green fields. With wildlife to look out for, tiny welcoming villages to explore, and historic ruins, mines and ancient sites to visit along the way, it makes for the perfect walking holiday.

Wainwright, instead of imposing a definitive and unchangeable route, envisaged his guidebook as an inspiration for other like-minded individuals. While many hikers choose to walk directly in his footsteps, others take the trail and personalise it to make it their own. Whatever your route may be, the well-known saying still rings true – it’s the journey and not the destination that counts.

What Can You Expect?

The Coast to Coast is a walker’s dream, connecting St Bees in the west to Robin Hood’s Bay in the east. Devised by Alfred Wainwright in the 1970s, the 192 miles of pathways, tracks and roads across Northern England are some of the most spectacular in the country. Linked together, they provide an amazing opportunity to just put on your boots and get away from it all. Sinking into the simple routine of walking, eating, and sleeping is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Read on for an insider peek from one of our expert guides, Joanna Roberts, at what it is really like walking coast to coast across England.

What is Walking Coast to Coast Across England Like?

Highlights of the Coast to Coast

Wainwright believed that the joy of the journey is far greater than simply the sum of its part. It is true that what may be one person’s highlights will not necessarily be their partner’s, their friend’s, or their cousin’s auntie’s uncle’s sister. For some, it may be the summit of the first mountain or meeting the sheep farmer who tells you about his second favourite raspberry patch. For others, it may be wild swimming in a lake’s cool, crystal clear water or that perfect picnic spot overlooking the springy purple moors.

The Lake District

Undoubtedly, there will be views that will take your breath away. The Lake District was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017 and is full of lush valleys, high mountains and honey-coloured villages. From the most westerly and remote Ennerdale lake – deep, glacial and surrounded by high fells – to the peaks of Helvellyn and Haystacks (Wainwright’s favourite summit), the Lake District offers a brilliant and engaging start to any adventure.

The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales, first established as a National Park in 1954, is a landscape created during the Ice Age. The result is rolling dales, rugged cliffs, and waterfalls that thunder into deep dark pools. Drystone walls criss-cross tufted green fields as hardy sheep graze beside hedgerows and old sycamore trees. Home to many historic sites, including manor houses, abbey ruins, medieval fortresses and a victorian viaduct, the Dales have no problem piquing, holding and maintaining your interest.

North York Moors

The final section of your walk takes you into the North York Moors, vast in their expanse of heathery hillsides, where larks sing under a big blue sky. The setting for Emily Bronte’s classic English novel, Wuthering Heights, the Yorkshire Moors is evocative and wild. Even if you don’t feel compelled to shout ‘Cathy’ into the wind, you will surely enjoy its history, distinctive topography, and time spent walking through the unique beauty.

Other Things To Do on Wainwright’s Iconic Route

For most people, the epic, two-week walk across England on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast trail is enough of a challenge in itself. Due to the distances involved each day and the number of walking stages on a complete 190-plus-mile itinerary, there isn’t usually much appetite or time for taking a detour or trying to add more in. That said, the Lake District was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017, and it would be a shame not to explore it more fully! We’ve picked the best add-ons to England’s Coast to Coast, presenting additional fells to climb, lakes to visit and towns to explore so that you can get even more out of your walking holiday and time away.

England’s Coast to Coast: Worthwhile Detours and Extras

How Challenging is the Coast to Coast Walk?

The Coast to Coast is a wonderfully rewarding trail. The walking is not very technical so the challenging aspect can be amped up or softened, depending on your personal preference. Some walkers may be setting out to complete it in a specific time or with the idea of achieving certain independent achievements along the way. Others will approach it in a far more relaxed way, perhaps choosing to utilise a support vehicle for parts or avoid certain peaks or areas of trail known to be a bit tougher underfoot.

For those who aim to walk the trail in the most ‘traditional’ sense, expect to be out for around 6-8 hours daily. Confidence hiking on uneven ground is important as not all of the walking takes place on built-up paths. However, the Coast to Coast is a very achievable goal for most walkers, particularly compared to equivalent long distance hikes.

Preparation and Fitness

Having a reasonable level of fitness for your hike across England will make the Coast to Coast walk all the more enjoyable. If you wish, spend some time in preparation doing some longer day walks. If time allows, walk a good distance a few days in a row. Like most things in life, the important thing is to go at your own pace and enjoy it.

Safety and Navigation

Although the Wainwright Society and some community groups have placed signs to help aid walkers with directions, they cannot be relied upon as your sole means of navigation. England’s Coast to Coast trail remains an unofficial route, and will not ‘open’ as a National Trail until 2025. Make sure you have a map and a compass, or choose to walk with a guide.

Doing the Coast to Coast Solo

Looking to go it alone on England’s iconic route, the Coast to Coast? We have plenty of solo travellers joining our group departures.

You might be choosing to travel on your own for various reasons; solo travellers aren’t just single people. If you want to travel solo but not alone, join a guided walking group.

When you travel with Wilderness England on 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.

Hiking as a Solo Traveller on the England Coast to Coast

The Best Time of Year To Walk the Coast to Coast?

The walk can be enjoyed at any time of year, although the weather is likely to be better in the summer than in the depths of winter. This is England, and part of its charm is that British weather likes to keep you on your toes.

A better question to ask is what you would most like to see, or what do you most value? For example, if the answer to the former is bird life, then choosing to walk the trail during springtime, when the birds are nesting and busy, would be a good choice. If the answer to the latter is quiet trails and peace, then perhaps deciding to head out in late summer, at the turn of the season, would be a more sensible option. Kids will have returned to school, and the cooler autumnal days usually mean fewer walkers in the hills.

When to Hike England’s Coast to Coast Path

The Start and Finish Points

Walking hiking out of st bees along the coast

About St Bees

The village of St Bees, situated close to Cumbria’s westernmost point on the Irish Sea, has a history dating back to 850 AD. The name, ‘St Bees’, is said to have come from the Norse name for the village ‘Kyrkeby becok’, which can be translated as ‘Church town of Bega.’ Bega is the village’s local saint, an Irish princess who fled across the sea to escape a forced marriage with a Viking prince. A Benedictine priory was built on the site in the 12th century, and subsequently, an agricultural community established itself here.

These days it remains a relatively quiet, rural village comprising of old farm buildings dating back to the 17th century. Its magnificent, mile-long sandy beach is one of the best on the western Lake District coast and the site of an important ritual when preparing to embark on the Coast to Coast trail: a dip in the sea. Well, maybe a full head-to-toe plunge isn’t strictly necessary, but many do consider at least a shallow paddle to be the only proper way to begin your adventure.

Walking taking a picture of Robin Hoods Bay

About Robin Hood’s Bay

After you have happily traversed the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the captivating Yorkshire Moors, you will arrive in the beautiful village of Robin Hood’s Bay. A narrow, cobbled street snakes its way down to the seashore, where beautiful houses are stacked in a lovely jumble of old stone, white windows and wildflower window boxes. The winding alleys and ginnels, which sailors, fishermen and smugglers would have once walked, are now home to a fabulous mix of cafes, candlelit pubs and small independent shops.

Unlike St. Bees, the origin of the village’s name remains a mystery. What is known is that in the 18th century, Robin Hood’s Bay was the busiest smuggling community on the Yorkshire coast. Its isolated geographical location offered this well-organised and lucrative business the perfect aid. With so many hiding places and secret passageways known only to the locals, it is said that contraband could travel from the bottom of the village to the top without ever leaving the houses. This meant that vast quantities of gin, brandy, tea, tobacco and French lace were spirited away from the ships and sold on the black market. Nowadays, trade leans more towards tourism than treasure, with the village lying on the Cleveland Way footpath and our Coast to Coast trail, where it makes a fitting finale.

If You Only Have 1-2 Days

The whole route typically takes around two weeks to tackle in a single go. This is a significant commitment and a serious undertaking. But what if you only had a day or two? Or wanted to get a taste of the Coast to Coast trail before signing up for a walking holiday across England?

We’ve picked out some of the best day walks for every ability level on the Coast to Coast route. Our selection includes coastal rambles on both sides of the country, easy valley walks and longer loops.

The Best Walks on England’s Coast to Coast If You Only Had 1-2 Days

Best Sections by Region

With an epic route traversing England’s wild north, it may seem impossible to identify the most beautiful bits. But even in the most extraordinary landscapes, certain regions stand out as remarkable. And, of course, each of the national parks has a very distinct unique character. What are the best sections of the Coast to Coast by region?

Best Sections of England’s Coast to Coast Trail

The Coast to Coast Path kicks off with a day full of variety and your first challenge. ‘Mile Zero’ on the path is at the Coast to Coast monument on the Irish Sea shore at St Bees. Get your boots wet, grab a pebble to carry across the country, and, with traditions ticked off, climb the steep red sandstone cliffs to stand 90 m/295 ft above the beach.

A clifftop stroll past RSPB observation points that let you safely peer over the craggy drops and spot the nesting seabird colonies below finishes when you turn inland. A series of quiet roads and tracks lead you through several villages before you tackle the first real climb of the Coast to Coast with a long ascent of Dent Hill (352 m/1155 ft). Pace yourself during the steady haul and picture the views from the top of the western Lakeland fells ahead and the coast behind. If the weather is poor when you summit, you may only have these mental images to enjoy from the small hilltop cairn, but if you’re lucky, and on a clear day, you can see to the Isle of Man and into Scotland from here.

Afterwards, a quicker, steeper descent drops you into the Nannycatch Valley, a lovely meadow with a small stream. Your first stage ends with a short walk alongside the road that enters Ennerdale Bridge, finishing in the unspoilt village.

C2C Section 1: Highlights Read More
  • St Bees Head: The RSPB have a coastal seabird reserve at St Bees. This protected site supports northwest England’s only cliff-nesting seabird colony. Three viewing points give you superb look-out sites with the chance to see thousands of birds hugging the narrow cliff ledges, in the air or on the water. During spring and summer, you might spot fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills, cormorants and herring gulls. This is also the only place in England where black guillemots breed.
  • Dent Hill: From the summit, soak up the wide-reaching views of the Lake District fells ahead of you and, on clear days, even Scotland’s Galloway Hills and the Isle of Man.
  • Ennerdale Bridge: Lakeland might be full of pretty villages, but leafy Ennerdale Bridge, set in a beautiful location spanning the River Eden, is right up there with the most picturesque.
C2C Section 1: Nearby Culture & Activities Read More
  • St Bees Lighthouse: A lighthouse has been located on the cliff top of the North Head of St Bees since 1718, although it has been replaced twice. Opposite the lighthouse is the decommissioned fog horn station, erected on the very edge of the cliff, 102 m/335 ft above the sea.

Your second day on the Coast to Coast walk is the first real Lakeland stage of the trail. It’s also one of the most spectacular. Leave Ennerdale Bridge and pick up the southside path that skirts Ennerdale Water. Follow the rocky track as it climbs over Robin Hood’s Chair and passes through a mossy forest. The gradual trek into the hills begins at the eastern end of the lake.

Initially, you’ll follow a forest track and then, above the treeline, hike through a craggy, rock-strewn stretch to reach the isolated bothy that is now YHA Black Sail. The building is hunkered down into the hillside in a wonderfully remote location with impressive views. You have a little more climbing to do beyond the bothy, initially alongside Loft Beck and then following a series of cairns, remembering to pause to enjoy the views. The eventual appearance of large piles of stones and slates means that you’re close to Honister. A disused quarry tramway then drops you out of the quiet hills and into the bustle of Honister Slate Mine Visitor Centre with all its attractions and facilities.

From here, we transfer you to Grasmere on our guided trips, omitting the immediate onward section of the path. Wainwright’s official Coast to Coast path, though, continues from Honister to explore the Borrowdale Valley. His onward riverside route connects Seatoller and the traditional slate-roofed, white-washed stone farmhouses of Longthwaite, Rosthwaite and Stonethwaite. Beyond Borrowdale, there’s a climb through classic Lake District scenery with some scrambling to Lining Crag and the broad col of Greenup Edge. You then descend to Grasmere via either a straightforward main path or a more dramatic trail over Helm Crag.

C2C Section 2: Highlights Read More
  • Ennerdale Water: Ennerdale is the most westerly and least visited of the Lake District’s major lakes, possibly because it is the only lake that doesn’t have a road running along its full length. It is a deep glacial lake, 2.5 miles long, ¾ of a mile wide and 148 feet deep. Its water is exceptionally clear and contains a variety of fish.
  • YHA Black Sail: The youth hostel at Black Sail was once a shepherd’s bothy but has been reimagined as the most isolated youth hostel in the country. It has a spectacular location, at the foot of Haystacks, a 597 m/1959 ft Wainwright. The mountain was made famous by the author, who claimed it to be his favourite fell. He went so far as to request that his ashes, after his death, be spread on Innominate Tarn, an attractive and quiet lake on the 520 m/1706 ft contour of the mountain, just above the hostel, in a serene setting.
C2C Section 2: Nearby Culture & Activities Read More
  • Honister Slate Mine: The Honister Slate Mine is England’s last working slate mine. Quarrying for Westmorland green slate has been taking place since 1728 and continues on a small scale today. Take an underground tour of the mines or try one of the adventure activities also on offer, from scaling their Via Ferrata to tackling the longest high-wire bridge in Europe. There’s a cafe too.

This is a superb day among the Lake District fells with some classic views of big peaks to enjoy. You’ll start in Grasmere, synonymous with the poet William Wordsworth who described this valley as ‘the fairest place on earth’. Follow in his footsteps and head through farmland into the heart of the rugged hills. A straightforward climb brings you to the pass at Grisedale Hause. From the corrie here, Grisedale Tarn, there are great views back to Grasmere and onward across Grisedale to Patterdale, with the lake of Ullswater glinting in the north. Helvellyn, at 950 m/3117 ft, the third highest peak in England, lies to the north too. There is a high-level alternative route that tests your mettle as you claim the summit and descend via the vertiginous Striding Edge ridge. On the other side of the valley, another alternative crosses St Sunday Crag, which is not quite as challenging. The main descent from the pass through Grisedale valley is uncomplicated and provides fabulous views over Ullswater as you work your way down to the small community of Patterdale.

C2C Section 3: Highlights Read More
  • Grisedale Hause: As you ascend to the pass, the scenery gets grander by the step. The imposing Lakeland fells of St Sunday Crag and Fairfield tower above Grisedale Tarn to the east while the great Helvellyn massif looms to the north. Wainwright waxed lyrical about this peak and described the tricky Striding Edge ridge walk as the ‘best quarter mile between St Bees and Robin Hood’s Bay’. The sheer drops along the ridge are precarious and can be very dangerous.
  • Gingerbread Shop: This Lakeland institution has been baking delicious Grasmere Gingerbread daily since 1854. The unique spicy-sweet recipe for the moreish treat, part biscuit, part cake, is a carefully guarded secret.
C2C Section 3: Nearby Culture & Activities Read More
  • Dove Cottage: William Wordsworth spent almost ten years at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, writing and developing his poetry. Explore the restored house and garden orchard, and visit the onsite museum with original handwritten letters and manuscripts. Let the poet’s words inspire you in the very place they were written.

Today, you’ll leave the Lake District and put some of the steeper gradients and bigger hills behind you as you enter a new landscape of rolling hills and pastures.

Following the official trail, you can climb Kidsty Pike(780 m/2559 ft). Before starting the descent, get one more glorious look back over the crags, knotts, pikes and fells that have been your companions so far before descending to Haweswater. Follow the trail above the enormous reservoir as it rises and falls to reach the old granite mining town of Shap.

On our guided trip, we opt for a gentler route. From Glenridding, ease into the day with a cruise across Ullswater aboard a refurbished, historic steamship, taking the time to admire the fells spread out around you. From there, it’s a steep but rewarding climb up to the tops, where the route crosses the old Roman road and rejoins the official trail near Brampton.

C2C Section 4: Highlights Read More
  • Ullswater: England’s second largest lake, Ullswater, is said to have inspired William Wordsworth’s poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’. Without a doubt, it’s a beautiful place in a fantastic location. Like other Lakeland lakes, there is lots to do close by, with trails and viewpoints to discover as you trek the Ullswater Way, a 20-mile circular shoreside path. Here you can also take to the water, with options to hire rowing boats or motorboats, or you can board a historic steamer to cruise sedately from Glenridding in the south to Pooley Bridge in the north. Cruise back or pick up the path from the stop at Howtown Pier en route to explore by boat and boot. You can also access the Aira Force waterfall, set among ancient woodland, via a short cruise from Glenridding.
C2C Section 4: Nearby Culture & Activities Read More
  • Shap Abbey: Atmospheric Shap Abbey, set in a peaceful spot by River Lowther, was the last abbey to be founded in England, in 1199. It was eventually dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540 and has since fallen into a ruinous state, with much of the stone pillaged for use in other buildings in the village. The best-preserved section is the western bell tower, built around 1500.

Traditionally the middle section of the Coast to Coast is split into three days, the first of which is a long haul across the Westmorland Plateau from Shap to Kirkby Stephen. We cut it a little shorter on our guided walks and stop at Ravenstonedale, making the day more manageable. With the Lake District behind you, you’ll head further into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Grassy strolls across limestone pavements replace steeper gradients and rocky trails, past the ‘erratic’ boulders dropped by glaciers. The hills become rounder and rolling, and barren landscapes creep in as you traverse a steady, undulating plateau of fields and moorland filled with wildflowers and lined by miles and miles of traditional dry stone walls. As the Howgill Fells mound up ahead, pause in the traditional village of Orton, just off the official trail. The afternoon takes you across tidy, walled fields and Tarn Moor to reach Sunbiggin Tarn, an important bird sanctuary. Later, at Smardale, look out for the attractive Smardale Bridge and views of the impressive Smardale viaduct. Ravenstonedale lies a couple of miles south of the route here.

C2C Section 5: Highlights Read More
  • Orton: Wainwright described the village of Orton as ‘a place of tranquil beauty and unpretentious appeal’, and this quiet, traditional market village dating from the 13th century is still a pleasant place to explore.
C2C Section 5: Nearby Culture & Activities Read More
  • Stone circles: Just off the Coast to Coast trail, after the hamlet of Oddendale, lie two concentric stone circles dating back nearly 6,000 years. There’s another, more impressive stone circle about a mile east of Orton.
  • Sunbiggin Tarn: Sunbiggin Tarn lies in an area of biological interest due to the landscape and geology of its surroundings. There is a wide variety of breeding birds here, including teal, tufted duck, wigeon, little grebe, water rail, sedge warbler, mallard, lapwing, redshank and snipe.
  • Smardale Gill Viaduct: The old Smardale Viaduct was designed in 1861 as part of the railway line that carried coke from County Durham to the iron and steel furnaces in barrow and limestone in Durham. It has 14 arches and is 275 m/902 ft high and 168 m/552 ft long.

On this section, you’ll cross the Pennines, with the spine of England initially rising before you. Typically on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, this stretch is broken into a two day walk, from Kirby Stephen to Keld via a vast boggy plateau and then Keld to Reeth via either a low- or high-level route. To cut out the peat bogs and carry you out of Cumbria and into Yorkshire, we arrange a transfer on our guided walk, from Kirkby Stephen to Keld, where you’ll continue walking.

Initially striding out from Ravenstonedale, you’ll cross fields, stiles and dry stone dykes as you make your way to the prosperous market town of Kirkby Stephen. Beyond, the Coast to Coast walk climbs to the enigmatic cairns at Nine Standards Rigg before there is a choice of paths across the peat; all of them can be wet and boggy. Traverse the vast plateau and descend to Keld. From Keld, there’s a challenging high-level route that crosses moorland to reach Reeth, or a gentler, low-level route that we pick up post-transfer, where you’ll enter the Swaledale Valley and walk alongside the winding river, past waterfalls and through fields of wildflowers. Arriving in the pleasant village of Muker, there’s time for a traditional afternoon tea before a final hike to the village of Gunnerside.

C2C Section 6: Highlights Read More
  • Keld: Sat at the head of Swaledale, where the Coast to Coast walk bisects the Pennine Way, Keld is a tiny, pretty village of solid stone buildings and barns. The river Swale, stained brown by peat, rushes past the village and down several nearby waterfalls, known locally as ‘forces’.
  • Swaledale Valley: One of the more remote northern dales, Swaledale runs west to east. It’s a gorgeous region filled with pretty meadows and famed for its spectacular wildflower displays in June and July. Look out for the ancient dry stone barns synonymous with this area of Yorkshire and a hardy breed of sheep named after the region, herds of which dot the valley sides.
C2C Section 6: Nearby Culture & Activities Read More
  • Nine Standards Rigg: Hartley Fell, close to the boundary between Cumbria and North Yorkshire, is better known by the name of the high point here, Nine Standards Rigg. The trig point atop this vast sweep of moorland marks the watershed divide across England (after which all waterways flow to the North Sea). There are a series of nine substantial dry-stone cairns just north of the trig point. No one is sure how these prominent landmarks came to be here or why they were built, and estimates vary as to how old they are. These silent sentinels, some still close to 3 m/10 feet tall, keep watch over the bogs and marsh, with commanding views across the Vale of Eden.

After a transfer from Gunnerside to Reeth, known locally as the ‘capital’ of Swaledale, you’ll pick up the Coast to Coast for a simple rural walk through tracts of lovely woodland. As you leave the Pennines behind, the gentle trail passes a couple of charming villages en route, including Marrick, a former lead mining community, where you’ll discover a priory that was once home to a small number of Benedictine nuns. A straightforward tramp east through the little village of Marske and through fields and woods around Applegarth leads you to the busy market town of Richmond, dominated by a dramatic Norman castle dating from the 11th century.

C2C Section 7: Highlights Read More
  • Richmond: The smart town of Richmond with its cobbled market square and Norman castle, is a popular destination. Arriving early in the day, you’ll have time for sightseeing and shopping.
C2C Section 7: Nearby Culture & Activities Read More
  • Richmond Castle: Set above the river Swale and with breathtaking views of the Yorkshire Dales, Richmond Castle is an impressive Norman fortress. Built by Alan the Red in the 11th century to subdue the unruly north of England, it continued to function as a fortress until the mid-16th century, when it fell into disrepair. Restored centuries later, it became the headquarters for the North Yorkshire militia and military barracks. Discover the history of this impressive place and climb the 30 m/98 ft tall keep for wide-ranging views.

From Richmond, the official Coast to Coast trail enters a relatively flat stage as it traverses the Vale of Mowbray and bridges the gap between the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. You start by strolling along the Swale’s southern bank, past the sprawling ruins of Easby Abbey. In short order, you’ll come to Catterick Bridge, after which there’s a fair bit of walking along quiet country roads as you head to the hamlet of Danby Wiske, centred on a Norman church.

More tracks and back roads lead to Ingleby Cross, the official boundary of the North York Moors and Arncliffe. We’ll lay on a transfer from Catterick that will help carry you to the foot of the Cleveland Hills and Mount Grace Priory at the southern foot of Arncliffe Wood. From here, the Coast to Coast joins the Cleveland Way for a while. Climb towards views of vast expanses of heather with the chance to spot pheasants and other birds and rise and fall as you cross moors and rounded hills to reach the Lord Stones.

C2C Section 8: Nearby Culture & Activities Read More
  • Mount Grace Priory: Mount Grace Priory is an unusual mediaeval monastery. It is a well-preserved Carthusian priory, where monks lived solitary lives, spending most of their time in isolated cells. In the 17th Century, part of it was remodelled as a mansion in the Arts and Crafts style.
  • The Lord Stones: A set of prehistoric stones form part of a picturesque moorland panorama. The name is misleading though, as it actually refers to several lords whose land met here and a single, significant stone marked with carvings that is typical of boundary markers found on the moors. The stone is one of a number of large kerbstones that define the perimeter of a Bronze Age burial mound

A scenic day will see you climb from the road pass at Clay Bank Top along paving flagstones onto Carr Ridge and Urra Moor. From here, the Coast to Coast separates from the Cleveland Way to cross wide swathes of moorland. You’ll bag the highpoint Round Hill before connecting with the former Rosedale Ironstone Railway that ran north to south across the North York Moors and used to serve the nearby mines some 150 years ago. Follow the disused railway track as it eases across the moor, with occasional views down Farndale, famed for its vibrant displays of daffodils each spring, to arrive at High Blakey Moor. Here you’ll find the isolated, atmospheric Lion Inn standing alone on Blakey Ridge, where you can toast completing another section of the Coast to Coast trail.

The penultimate section of the Coast to Coast walk is a charming exploration of hidden villages among pretty scenery. The route sets out from Blakey Ridge to cross the moor once again. You’ll cross the southern end of the wonderfully-named Great Fryup Dale and stride across Glaisdale Moor past various standing stones. You then descend to reach the village of Glaisdale perched above the Esk Valley. An easy walk takes you past the pretty village of Egton Bridge and down the river to Grosmont. Here you can hop aboard a heritage steam locomotive, featured as the Hogwarts Express in the original Harry Potter films, and chuff the short distance to Goathland Station, which became Hogsmeade Station in the movies.

C2C Section 10: Highlights Read More
  • Glaisdale: The terraced houses of Glaisdale overlooking the River Esk were originally built for workers from the nearby mines. Beggars Bridge, a stone, single-span packhorse bridge dating from 1619, crosses the river. It’s a Grade II Scheduled Monument with an interesting legend of love lost and found attached.
  • Egton Bridge: The picture-perfect village of Egton Bridge is one of the prettiest on the Coast to Coast walk, made up of charming grand houses and St Hedda’s Church, named after a 7th-century saint.
C2C Section 10: Nearby Culture & Activities Read More
  • North York Moors Railway: The locomotives of the North York Moors Railway connect Whitby with Grosmont, Goathland, Levisham and Pickering. They recall the North Yorkshire Moors’ grittier, more industrial past. In Grosmont, explore the sidings and loco sheds, discovering the service’s history, or hop on one of the fabulously preserved steam trains featured in films such as Harry Potter.

If following the official route, the last day of the Coast to Coast walk begins with a sharp pull out of Grosmont before you drop down to the tiny hamlet of Littlebeck. If walking with us, you start from Littlebeck and head straight into a gorgeous stretch of oak woodland filled with birds and wildlife. Look out for the Hermitage, a shelter hewn out of solid rock, and wind your way down to Falling Foss to watch the river cascade over the 20m-high waterfall. A further stretch of open moorland brings you to Hawsker.

The final section delivers you to the North Sea, where you’ll turn south to curl along breezy coastal cliffs. The tumble of Robin Hood’s Bay is hidden behind a headland until the last moment, emerging almost as a surprise. Step down through the town to arrive at the slipway. Complete your walk across England by dipping a toe in the sea as tradition dictates and flinging the pebble you’ve carried from St Bees into the waves.

C2C Section 11: Highlights Read More
  • Little Beck Wood: A stretch of lovely oak woodland is strung along the Little Beck. Hidden in the woods are defunct alum mines dating from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Walk England's Coast to Coast With Us

TripDatePriceAvailabilityBook
Walking - England Coast to Coast23rd Apr - 5th May 2023£3,8958 place(s) leftBook Now
Walking - England Coast to Coast28th May - 9th Jun 2023£3,9953 place(s) leftBook Now
Walking - England Coast to Coast30th Jul - 11th Aug 2023£3,9957 place(s) leftBook Now
Walking - England Coast to Coast20th Aug - 1st Sep 2023£3,99510 place(s) leftBook Now
Walking - England Coast to Coast3rd Sep - 15th Sep 2023£3,99510 place(s) leftBook Now

Food on England's Coast to Coast

The Coast to Coast route passes through Cumbria’s Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Moors. English hospitality in each of these northern regions is renowned, and you’ll be assured of a warm welcome while hiking the trail. After an exciting day of walking, the twin institutions of the tea room and the pub provide plenty of opportunities to refuel and swap stories with other Coast-to-Coasters.

With average daily walking distances of 19 km/12 miles on Wainwright’s iconic Coast to Coast route, you’ll certainly work up an appetite as you tackle the 11 stages of the walk. The traditional hearty cuisine you’ll encounter along the trail is the ideal fuel. Much like the landscapes you’re walking through, these delicious dishes are rugged and bold. Local recipes have endured and been refined, taking inspiration from seasonal produce and the natural bounty available close at hand.

Food & Drink Guide: England’s Coast to Coast

Best Places to Eat Along the C2C

English sausage and blood pudding starter

You’ll doubtless work up an appetite as you walk Coast to Coast along Alfred Wainwright’s epic 192 mile trail. We’ve rounded up a list of the best tearooms, cafes and restaurants along the route to try, whether you’re stopping for a cream tea and proper cuppa, a fish and chip supper or a hearty meal.

Best Cafes & Restaurants

Great Pubs for Weary C2C Travellers

Wainwright's Beer tap

Pubs are a prominent feature of this landscape – and some of these cheery English pubs are locations to visit in their own right. While they tend towards the traditional, not finding too much variety among the staple menus, they’re often attuned to the needs of walkers. Discover our favourites.

Great C2C Pubs

Wainwright’s Coast to Coast FAQs

How many kilometres/miles is the England Coast to Coast walk? Read More

The Coast to Coast walk is about 310 km/192 miles long if you follow the traditional Wainwright route from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay. Of course, the distance you’ll cover while hiking across England will vary depending on how much you choose to venture off-route to explore.

Where does the Coast to Coast start and finish? Read More

The historic trail begins at St Bee’s in western Cumbria, on the shores of the Irish Sea. It winds inland through the Lake District, into the Yorkshire Dales National Park and up onto the North York Moors. It finishes on the east coast of North Yorkshire in the remarkably picturesque fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay.

How long does Wainwright’s Coast to Coast take to complete? Read More

Like any long distance trail, the time it takes to complete is dependent on the individual in question. These days, most people give themselves around 12-14 days, adjusting as necessary to suit their pace.

What is the highest point on the trail? Read More

The summit of Kidsty Pike (780m) in the Lake District is the loftiest summit on the official trail. However, for those who wish, there is also the option of hiking up Helvellyn, which sits at 950 m/3117 ft, making it the third-highest peak in England.

Is the Coast to Coast well signposted? Read More

The presence of signposting varies along the trail, and it is only partially waymarked. We recommend coming prepared with a map, compass, headtorch and ideally a device with GPS, in case you go off route or poor weather makes spotting signposts tricky. The joy of having a guide means you can relax while they take charge of navigation.

Which direction should you walk Wainwright’s Coast to Coast? Read More

Although you can traverse the country in either direction, the traditional route takes you from west to east, keeping the sun and prevailing wind at your back.

What's the fastest time the Coast to Coast has ever been completed in? Read More

British ultra-runner Damian Hall clocked a time of 39 hours and 18 mins for the complete route in 2021, beating the previous record of 39 hours and 36 minutes set by Mike Hartley in 1991.

News & Offers

Be the first to hear about new trips, locations and activities with our monthly newsletter