England Coast to Coast Hiking

Trip Length 9 Days
Group Size 4?14
Activity level
Starting from
$4,799 for REI Members
$5,299 for non-members
Departures Jun 2020-Sep 2021

Spend nine days covering some of the most beautiful parts of England's famous 192-mile Coast-to-Coast walk.

Alfred Wainwright first wrote about this long distance footpath in 1973, and it has been a popular destination for travelers and avid hikers ever since. Its full stretch crosses through three national parks: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Our path takes us from west to east, from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, starting at St. Bees Head and ending at Robin Hood?s Bay. Pass through storybook villages with tiny shops and teahouses, hike through pastures dotted with grazing sheep and stone barns, and explore the ruins of a castle and an abbey. Have a refreshing pint of ale at the end of a long day. Tour the former home of William Wordsworth, one of England?s most beloved poets. The adjacent museum holds the largest collection of Wordsworth?s works in the world. The landscapes may change, but our awe does not. Exploring northern England on foot is one for the books.

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Trip Highlights

  • Hike the highlights of the coast to coast route?from the Irish Sea to the North Sea
  • Experience the stunning landscape of the famed English Lake District
  • Walk scenic landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales National Park
  • Visit villages, cottages and castles; stop in at local teahouses and lively pubs
  • Discover the heather-clad ridges and windswept moorland of the North York Moors

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Trip members should be experienced hikers in good physical condition and capable of hiking 4?9 miles (2?6 hours) each day with elevation gains/loss to 2,600'. We hike on rolling hills or mountainous terrain with some steep ascents/descents, rocky, uneven trails and often muddy or boggy conditions. Strong winds and/or rain are not uncommon and will add to your exertions while hiking.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Accommodation and meals as noted in the daily itinerary; group arrival transfer from Penrith and group departure transfer to York train station; entrance fees to Dove Cottage; private in-country transportation; skilled trip leader.?

Accommodations

Small inns, 8 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to England's Lake District.

Our trip begins in Penrith, England. Arrive at the Penrith Railway station by 11:30am and meet your guide and fellow travelers. Following lunch at a local caf�, we drive to St. Bees on the Irish Sea. This village is the official start of Wainwright?s 192-mile eastbound hiking trail that ends at Robin Hood's Bay on the North Sea. After christening our boots in the Irish Sea (a coast-to-coast tradition), we ascend from the beach to a headland with sweeping views of the sea and town. We then transfer to our Lake District hotel nestled at the foot of Shepherds Crag in Borrowdale Valley, which is our home for the next three nights. Our guides provide a trip briefing followed by dinner. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: 4 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 400'/250'; Terrain: beach walking, grassy trails with some muddy and rocky sections over rolling hills. Driving: 3 hours.

Day 2

Hike to the saddle of Fleetwith and down to beautiful Borrowdale Valley.

Fueled by a traditional English breakfast, we transfer to the shores of Buttermere Lake to begin today's hike. We follow Warnscale Beck along Warnscale Bottom (the Lakeland terms for stream and valley floor) until we climb steeply to crest on to the saddle at Fleetwith. It's a challenging ascent with almost 1500' of elevation gain, but from the top we are rewarded with superb views of Buttermere and Haystacks. Haystacks was Alfred Wainwright's favorite peak in the Lake District and where his ashes were scattered.

Our hike continues westward on an old miner's tramway which was once the straightest mile in Lakeland. We descend to Honister Pass, site of the United Kingdom's last working slate mine, before continuing to Borrowdale Valley. The trail follows the River Derwent, winding through green pastures and tiny villages where we will have an opportunity to sample a traditional afternoon tea. Tonight we head into the lively town of Keswick. Dinner is on your own tonight, and your guides will provide suggestions for their favorite places to dine. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 5 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 1500'/1600'. Terrain: rocky trails?open hiking over exposed hills with some steep sections.

Day 3

Cross Greenup Edge pass and into the village of Grasmere in the Lake District.

Our hike begins by crossing a bridge over the rushing waters of Stonethwaite Beck. We follow a riverside trail until the main valley turns south into a steep-sided V-shaped valley. The trail climbs steadily, gaining nearly 1500' in elevation before we reach the Greenup Edge pass with its rewarding views of Borrowdale. Crossing the pass, the vistas open up to include Ullswater peaks and the Yorkshire Dales. We descend to the quaint village of Grasmere, the former home of William Wordsworth, one of England's most beloved poets. We'll tour his home and discover what life was like at the turn of the 19th century. All meals included.

Hiking: 7 miles; Elevation gain/loss 2400'. Terrain: rocky and grassy trails?open hiking over exposed hills with some steep sections.

Day 4

Hike over a 2000-year-old Roman road.

Today we set our sights on Kidsty Pike (2600?). This is the last, and one of the highest, of the big passes we cross on our journey. Hiking from the village of Patterdale, we traverse a 2000-year-old Roman road built along the mountain tops to link the northern and southern strongholds in the Lake District. We take one last look back at the mountains of Lakeland before descending to the secluded valleys on the eastern boundary of the Lake District. We?ve completed a crossing of the most mountainous region of England! We transfer to Ravenstonedale, a picturesque, traditional stone village in the Eden Valley and our home for the next two nights. All meals included.

Hiking: 7.5 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 2,600'/2,300'; Terrain: grassy and rocky trails with some boggy areas?open hiking over exposed hills with some steep sections. Transfers: 1.5 hours.

Day 5

Explore the Yorkshire Dales National Park, hiking from Swaledale to Gunnerside.

We begin our explorations of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This is a beautiful region of rolling hills, green valleys and rural farmland. Starting from Ravenseat, we hike through pastures intersected by meandering rivers, and dotted with grazing sheep and stone barns. Swaledale?often called James Herriot country?is renowned for its wildflower meadows, limestone landscape and drystone walled fields. Our hike passes through the village of Keld, a tranquil settlement that marks the halfway point on the 192-mile coast-to-coast footpath. We continue to Muker village where we'll enjoy a picnic lunch and have an opportunity to visit the village's small craft stores. Our next stop is at the ancient Ivelet Bridge; if you look carefully, you?ll see a coffin stone set into the verge on the north side of the bridge. This was used by pall-bearers to rest when transporting a coffin on their way from Muker to the church at Grinton. Our trail follows the banks of the River Swale to the lovely Yorkshire village of Gunnerside, our end point for today. All meals included.

Hiking: 9 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 650'/1150'; Terrain: Dirt and grassy trails with some muddy and rocky sections; stone pathways; rolling hills. Driving: 1.5 hours.

Day 6

Discover the Richmond Castle and hike beside the River Swale.

We spend this morning in the historic market town of Richmond. We?ll explore the remains of the 11th-century castle and climb to the top of its keep for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. We?ll also have an opportunity to shop for souvenirs in the quaint local stores. Following lunch, we begin hiking on a gentle path along the banks of the River Swale, stopping at Easby Abbey. Founded in 1152, the abbey fell into disrepair after Henry VIII ordered its closure in the 16th century. Its magnificent ruins have inspired English landscape artists such as JMW Turner. The nearby St. Agatha?s Church dates from the 12th century and features an impressive collection of medieval wall paintings. Our hike continues through open fields and groves before ending at Catterick Bridge. All meals included.

Hiking: 5 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 300'; Terrain: stone pathways, dirt trails. Driving: 2 hours.

Day 7

Traverse from Clay Bank to Blakey Ridge in North York Moors National Park.

We head into the heart of the North York Moors National Park, with its heather-clad ridges, lush valleys and open windswept moorland. The trail begins with an easy climb up to Round Hill, which provides far-reaching views across the high moorland. Continuing on, we hike beautifully paved pathways running through the heather; the trail follows the former Rosedale Ironstone railway track across the moors. It?s hard to imagine trains up here, but they served a vital purpose to the mining industry until 1929.

We end our hike at The Lion Inn on remote Blakely Ridge. This 16th century freehouse is located at the highest point (1325') of the North York Moors National Park and was described by Wainwright as "a bleak and isolated moorland inn". We reward ourselves with a refreshing pint of ale or cup of tea before transferring back to our accommodations. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 8.5 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 1,000'/600'; Terrain: Maintained pathways, muddy and rocky trails?open hiking over exposed heathland; rolling hills.

Day 8

Hike a clifftop trail to the route?s end at Robin Hood?s Bay.

Our final hike starts at the hamlet of Littlebeck and continues into the Scarry Wood, past a fabled cave, and up to beautiful Falling Foss waterfall. After a short transfer, we hike across sprawling fields to reach a clifftop path, with expansive views across the North Sea. We follow this trail to the charming fishing village of Robin Hood?s Bay. We complete our journey at the shore, dip our tired feet in the sea, and savor the achievement of our coast to coast trek. Several nearby pubs offer Wainwright Ale if you fancy a celebratory drink! Our final evening is spent in a lovely hotel perched on the cliff top, offering unobstructed panoramic views across Robin Hood?s Bay and the North Sea; it?s a fitting place to celebrate a truly epic trek across England. All meals included.

Hiking: 7 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 1,000'/1,500'; Terrain: grassy trails with some muddy, boggy, and rocky sections; boardwalks; rolling hills.

Day 9

Transfer provided to the York train station.

After breakfast, our adventure ends with a transfer to the York train station. York is conveniently placed for direct trains to Manchester Airport, London and Edinburgh. This is a fascinating historic city, and well worth exploring if you can extend your time in England. Options include meandering its 14th century timber streets and visiting the impressive gothic cathedral. Breakfast included.

Driving: 2 hours.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary?this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

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Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Copy of Passport (2 Copies, First Page Only)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.