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Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Signposting on the Coast to Coast
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Highlights

  • Walking England’s Coast to Coast West from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen.
  • Dramatic upland scenery of the English Lake District.
  • Passing through some of England’s finest villages, such as Grasmere.
  • Wonderful camaraderie between fellow “coast to coasters”.
  • Observing Britain's rarest wildlife, such as red squirrels and otters.

The Coast to Coast West takes you through the dramatic upland scenery of the English Lake District from St Bees, located on the Irish Sea, to the market town of Kirkby Stephen.

Created by Alfred Wainwright, this is one of the world’s great walks and on this particular itinerary, you will complete the western section.

As you walk you will meet fellow “coast to coasters” and enjoy the incredible camaraderie as you bump into the same walkers along the trail and in the charming B&B’s at day’s end. This dramatic and rewarding trail will stay forever in your memory.

For some Coast to Coast inspiration, visit Huffington Post's blog on Walking Wainwright's Coast to Coast for a tale of friendship and adventure.

This is a general stage by stage guide. For all the available day by day itineraries, please see the options on the right.


Arrive in St Bees and overnight.

St Bees is an ancient village set on England's north west coast. It is a great starting point for your classic walk, and many of the charming 17th century buildings along the main street were once farms.


Why not find a local pub in which to have dinner, but don’t turn in too late as the trail tomorrow begins the ascent into the hills of the Lake District.


St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge - 15 miles

Do not forget to dip your toes in the Irish Sea and pop a pebble from the beach into your pocket before setting off this morning! The first section of the Coast to Coast West, begins with a cliff-top walk, continues with an ascent up Dent Hill, providing birds-eye views across the fells of the Lake District, and concludes by following the trail along peaceful country lanes to the pretty Lakeland village of Ennerdale Bridge.


Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite - 16 miles

The first part of today’s walk takes you along the southern section of Ennerdale Water and then enters mossy woodland before ascending Loft Beck. From here is the long descent to Borrowdale, which is made up of three hamlets, Longthwaite, Stonethwaite and Rosthwaite, where you will spend tonight.


Rosthwaite to Grasmere - 9.5 miles

This section is a classic Lake District walk with an ascent up to Greenup Edge (600m), past waterfalls and followed by a walk down the valley into the iconic village of Grasmere,  which Wordsworth called “the fairest place on earth” and where he used to live in Dove Cottage. Enjoy strolling down lanes with quaint cottages, tea and gift shops.


Grasmere to Patterdale - 7.5 miles

This is another classic day with an initial walk up to Grisedale Pass. Reach it by ascending up a bridleway from Grasmere and arrive at the pretty mountain lake, Grisedale Tarn. With more strenuous options up Helvellyn and Striding Edge if you wish, these landscapes are truly stupendous in their drama and you will need to have your camera ready at all times! On your way into Patterdale you may see a red squirrel or two as this is a haven for wildlife.


Patterdale to Shap - 16 miles

Today you will be leaving the Lake District behind, but there will continue to be landscapes full of pikes, crags and fells. A long climb up to Kidsty Pike is followed by a descent down to Haweswater and an undulating section that takes you above the lake’s shore. Come upon the atmospheric ruin of Shap Abbey before arriving in Shap itself, a long narrow village with a 17th century market hall.


Shap to Kirkby Stephen - 20 miles

The walking route today takes you along the Westmoreland Plateau and is the longest walk of the itinerary, but the ascents and descents are minimal, as you stroll down grassy trails through fields and moorlands. Pass a stone circle after Orton and then carry on through walled fields to Tarn Moor and Sunbiggen Tarn, a bird sanctuary. At the crest of Smardale Fell the Pennines rise in front of you, before you make your way into the market town of Kirkby Stephen.   


 

For some Coast to Coast inspiration, visit Huffington Post's blog on Walking Wainwright's Coast to Coast for a tale of friendship and adventure.

Accommodation

We specifically choose the hotels, inns, guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We always try and book your accommodation as close as possible to the trail.


Additional Nights

Many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the walk to sample more of the wonderful walking and attractions available on the Coast to Coast. Rosthwaite is a good choice as there are many walks around Borrowdale and you could visit Keswick which is close by. There is plenty to do in the busy village of Grasmere or if you prefer somewhere quieter Patterdale is a good option.


Accommodation Location

We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in the tour itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability we may have to accommodate you into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. If those listed are unavailable the alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard than those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


We welcome solo walkers on the Coast to Coast West, although you should of course take extra care in the outdoors when walking solo.


Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs or restaurants


Here's some examples of the accommodations that we use:



 

 

 



Abbey Farm - St Bees



Abbey Farm - St Bees

Abbey Farm is a great B&B located at the start of the Coast to Coast in St Bees. Janet and Steve Pearson offer a very warm welcome to Coast to Coast walkers.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Shepherds Arms - Ennerdale Bridge



Shepherds Arms - Ennerdale Bridge

Shepherds Arms is a gem of country house hotel and inn offering home cooked produce and real ales and comfortable rooms.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Royal Oak - Rosthwaite



Royal Oak - Rosthwaite

The Royal Oak is an old 18th Century farmhouse and offers a homely atmosphere with snug bar and sitting room with open fire along with rooms with unique and individual charm.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Old Water View - Patterdale

Old Water View has been welcoming visitors for over 100 years and was one of Wainwright's own personal favourites. It offers comfortable accommodation with lots of extra little personal touches.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Brookfield House - Shap

Brookfield House offers comfortable accommodation with spectacular views across the fells. They are renowned for their personal attention.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Old Croft House - Kirkby Stephen

The Old Croft House is a Grade II listed Georgian town house situated in the market town of Kirkby Stephen in the beautiful Eden Valley.It is full of character and is somewhere a little bit special and different to stay.It has many unusual features with a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere offering an ideal retreat for walkers.


 

 

 

Availability

The Coast to Coast Walk West is available from March to September.


You can start your holiday on any date during the season. If your itinerary includes Grasmere, it may be easier to get availability if you do not start your walk on a Tuesday or Wednesday due to restrictions with weekend availability in Grasmere. Also, if Grasmere is on your itinerary it may be easier to confirm if you add in an extra night here (which we recommend anyway) due to restrictions with 1 night bookings in Grasmere.


No accommodation in Grasmere will allow one night stays on a Saturday night, we would therefore have to book you two nights in Patterdale.


Due to the Appleby Horse Fair all accommodation in Kirkby Stephen is full between 2 - 9th June, please try and avoid staying in this area over these dates.


Grade & Terrain

This holiday is graded moderate to strenuous and is most suitable for those walkers with previous long distance experience.


The route is a mixture of paths, tracks and minor roads. Some of the paths can become very muddy and boggy where progress can often be slow.


Navigation

The route is way marked sporadically so at least one of your party needs to be able to navigate using a map and compass.  We will also provide you with a Coast to Coast Guidebook and a Harvey map to  to assist you.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.  Please ensure that you do not bring more than one bag of 20kg, as if this occurs, the luggage transfer company will ask you to pay an additional fee (approx. £8.00 per day, per bag). This additional payment, should it be necessary, needs to be made locally to the driver and in cash. Any additional bags need to labelled as if they are not labelled we cannot guarantee that they will reach you at the next accommodation.


If you are travelling from far afield and do have more than one bag it is possible to arrange for the extra luggage to be stored whilst you are on the tour for a fee of £25 per bag. These additional bags would be picked up at your accommodation at the start point (St Bees or Kirkby Stephen) and dropped off wherever you finish depending on the itinerary you choose to do. Please contact us if you are interested in this option.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


Walking Direction

Due to baggage transfer restrictions we can only offer this walk from West to East.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to St Bees

The closest airports to St Bees are Manchester and Newcastle. From both airports, the travel time by train is approximately 4 hours. You can also fly into any of the London Airports and take a train north from London Euston (via a change in Carlisle). There are also alternative trains going via Lancaster and Barrow-in Furness.


If you are considering driving please be aware that St Bees has very limited parking facilities. The only free public parking is available at the railway station (only 18 spaces available) but is not intended for C2C walkers). Many B&B’s have parking available for a small fee per night.


Getting from Kirkby Stephen

The closest airports to Kirkby Stephen once again Manchester and Newcastle. From Kirkby Stephen, you can take a train to Manchester via Carlisle. Getting to Newcastle from Kirkby Stephen is more complicated and time-consuming as you have to go via bus and train with a few changes. However it can be done and you would need to check the Traveline website for schedules. The Trainline is also a good resource.


It is also possible to travel by train to London via Carlisle, or via Leeds.


Parking in Kirkby Stephen is limited.  There are some spaces in the Pennine View Campsite, the campsite is secure and you can leave it there for the duration of your walk.


If you do decide to park your car in Kirkby Stephen then we can arrange for your first night’s accommodation to be in Kirkby Stephen instead of St Bees and you can then catch the Sherpa Bus to St Bees the following day to being the walk. Please contact your Destination & Adventure Specialist for further details.

Included

  • Hand picked B&B's, guesthouses and small hotels
  • Door to door baggage transfer.
  • A detailed information pack, map and guide book.
  • Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem.

Excluded

  • Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk.
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.

Extras

  • Single room supplement
  • Solo walker supplement
  • Extra nights

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is rated moderate to strenuous so you definitely should be in excellent physical health and have a very good level of fitness to fully enjoy this tour.  If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

What is the best way to get to the Coast to Coast start/finish?

The best way to travel to the start and finish of the Coast to Coast is by train. Our travel information page has further details on getting to and from the start/end of your walk.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Wainwright's Coast to Coast is extremely popular especially over April/May and September. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

When is the best time of year?

Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better. Although any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.

Which direction should I walk?

We recommend you walk from West to East as all the guidebook is written in this direction and this is also necessary because of luggage transfer restrictions.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport, bus or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureCoast to Coast Walk
 
4.7

(based on 184 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (125)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (58)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Well organised (173)
  • Fun (137)
  • Great accommodations (137)
  • Once in a lifetime experience (110)
  • Challenging (6)

Cons

  • Exhausting (24)
  • Poor accommodations (6)
  • Weather (3)

Best Uses

  • Holiday (118)
  • Trying something new (108)
  • Relaxation (43)
  • Thrill seeking (31)
  • Challenge (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Occasional traveller (74), World traveller (57), Avid adventurer (36), Keen walker (5), Regular walker (3)

Reviewed by 184 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great walk - take your time!

By Fifty but Fit

from Herts

About Me Fifty but fit, World Traveller

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Beautiful Countryside
  • Fun
  • Well Organised

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Holiday

    Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

    This walking holiday is a classic walk. We thought doing 15-20 miles a day would be relatively easy as we walk that distance for fitness already. But we forgot the hills and bogs, which did make that distance tougher. We still did it in 12 days and really, really enjoyed it but it might have been more enjoyable as a holiday if we'd taken 14 days! Some of the accommodation was undoubtedly better than others, but every single host was welcoming and kind. Mac's Adventure created a trip which exactly fulfilled our requirements, meaning we now have a fantastic memory to cherish.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Excellent logistical support!

    By Bob and Jennifer

    from California USA

    About Me Avid Adventurer, World Traveller

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Fun
    • Once in a Lifetime Experience
    • Well Organised

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Trying Something New

      Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

      Accommodations were generally great. A couple were marginal, but these were in villages where options were scarce. Overall, Macs did a great job with the itinerary we specified. We especially appreciated coordination with the Sherpa service, including the forwarding of luggage that had been lost by the airline and forwarding of an item that had been left behind in a room. Overall, Macs gets our highest recommendation!

       
      5.0

      great walk

      By jock

      from melbourne australia

      About Me Occasional Traveller

      Pros

      • Fun
      • Great Accommodations
      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
      • Well Organised

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Trying Something New

        Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

        an exciting two weeks, great memories and yes it was a once in a lifetime experience

         
        4.0

        fantastic time but let down by one or two B&B

        By flossy

        from portsmouth

        About Me Avid Adventurer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Once in a Lifetime Experience

        Cons

        • Poor Accommodations

        Best Uses

        • Trying Something New

        Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

        we thought mac adventure were very good with everything they did but felt we
        were very let down by some of the accommodation they chose, the night we stayed at shap we were late in finishing, didn't arrive until 7.30pm when we asked for food was told, you're too late and the pub was all booked to! so no food that night, also we found some of the drying rooms were poor and the heating turned of as soon as we got into our room. i must add it was only two of the places we stayed and the rest of the accommodation was very good.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        I would definitely use Mac adventures again

        By Mart Wigan

        from Manchester

        About Me Occasional Traveller

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Fun
        • Great Accommodations
        • Once in a Lifetime Experience
        • Very well organised from start to finish
        • Well Organised

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Holiday
          • Trying Something New

          Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

          This was something I had wanted to do for a long time and Mac adventures made it perfect. Our luggage was delivered on time to every next destination. Mac adventures supplied all the detailed information for the walk and the accommodations

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          See England's parks at less than 60 MPH

          By Vertical Pierre

          from Creemore, Ontario, Canada

          About Me Ultra Runner, World Traveller

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Fun
          • Great Accommodations
          • Try something outside your comfort zone
          • Well Organised

          Cons

          • Not enough time to stop and see the sights

          Best Uses

          • Trying Something New

          Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

          I read the reviews that recommended taking a few rest days, which I blithely ignored. In Richmond, we walked past beautiful castle ruins, as we had no time to stop and explore! The walk is surprisingly tough (it is 309K, after all) so practice hiking and prepare for blisters.

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          A great way to experience the best of country England

          By Stephen

          from Sydney, Australia

          About Me World Traveller

          Pros

          • Fun
          • Great Accommodations
          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
          • Well Organised

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Holiday
            • Trying Something New

            Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

            The 'Coast to Coast' isn't for everybody. The first few days through the Lakes District are hard. There is plenty of climbing and you need to be able to walk for at least 8 hours per day...it gets easier through the Dales and Moors...
            That said, the views and scenery are fantastic and the country hospitality and accommodation is/was excellent..We are in our 70's and thoroughly enjoyed it and we met another traveler who was 82.
            We were both sad when the trip ended. We are now both very fit and we each lost about 2.5kgs (5.5lbs) despite enjoying full English breakfasts, many pints of beer and desserts each night.
            PS...We had no rain during our whole 16 days in late August 2017

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            We had an excellent time despite getting drenched !

            By Martin and Gill

            from Bristol

            About Me Occasional Traveller

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Fun
            • Great Accommodations
            • Not "Once in a lifetime" we may to do it again
            • Well Organised

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Holiday
              • Relaxation
              • Trying Something New

              Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

              We saved our own time by letting Mac's Adventures book accommodation. We enjoyed the convenience of having our luggage taken to the next stop each day. Other than that we were totally independent which suited us perfectly. I would advise a little training in advance. Make sure you can walk 20 miles each day for six successive days. On the days you do less there is the equivalent effort in ascending / descending the hills. The B & B's provided packed lunches, but they seemed overpriced and we found our supply of cereal bars were enough for us. There were few opportunities to buy food on route. We loved to collapse on the bed in front of the TV when we arrived each late afternoon ! We missed it on the couple of occasions when there wasn't a TV.

               
              4.0

              yes

              By rob & dave

              from Rugby

              About Me Occasional Traveller

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Well Organised

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Holiday

                Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

                good

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Yes.

                By The Kiwis

                from New Zealand

                About Me Avid Adventurer, World Traveller

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • A criticism re Shap Hotel-no drying room
                • Fun
                • Great Accommodations
                • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                • Well Organised

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Holiday
                  • Trying Something New

                  Comments about macs adventure Coast to Coast Walk:

                  Great holiday- everything except no drying room at Shap was great.

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