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Wainwrights Coast to Coast - Western Route (Self-Guided)

A hike across the Lake District from St Bees on the coast to Kirkby Stephen on Cumbria's eastern border covering the western part of Wainwright's famous Coast to Coast.

  • England

  • 7 nights
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Long Distance Paths

    Landscape

  • April - October

Challenging

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Tour codes: 60220

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Walking grade

Grade 6

Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent and longer distances covered.  Whilst you will be mainly on paths, these may be rough, steep, and loose at times. We take the whole day to enjoy some fabulous walks.  

Usual daily walks - Distance: 8 miles; Ascent/Descent 850m; Terrain: sometimes rough, loose or steep sections; Walking Time: 8hrs / Full Day walks.

The above statistics are generalisations of a day’s key walk, it does not include distance covered during general sightseeing or daily activity. Detailed information of the daily walking requirements are specified in the specific holidays ‘Daily Itinerary".

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Self-Guided Collection

Expertly planned, flexible walking itineraries, led by you, with accommodation, route plans, and luggage transfers all taken care of by us.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Begin on the Cumbrian coast at St Bees with a spectacular clifftop walk
  • Tackle the western trail of this iconic route from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen
  • A walk largely through The Lake District National Park
  • Memorable mix of valleys, plains, mountains, dales and moors

The 200 mile Coast to Coast walk from St Bees on the Cumbrian coast to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea shore has attracted hikers looking for a long distance challenge with the added attraction of three national parks and some of the country’s most inspiring scenery. Despite its fame, this route remains unofficial and has only experienced some minor adjustments since being devised by Alfred Wainwright in 1973. 

This self-guided tour tackles the western section of the trail crossing the Lake District from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen in six walking days of 9 – 20½ miles a day. You'll walk from inn-to-inn staying in B&B's, guesthouses and small hotels with your baggage being transported for you each day leaving you to carry only what you need on the trail each day.

The route starts with a spectacular clifftop walk before heading inland towards Ennerdale and the first of the lakes encountered on this walk and the first mountain pass beyond. Before leaving the Lake District National Park you’ll have experienced some of the best high level hikes, lake shore walks and spectacular views England has to offer...

We also offer the Eastern Section  and Complete Route.

  • 7 nights´accommodation (small hotels, lodges, pubs, and B&Bs) on a B&B basis
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred between your accommodation daily, not exceeding 20kg
  • Detailed route descriptions and maps
  • 24-hour telephone assistance
  • Routes in digital format (.gpx) for GPS or mobile devices
  • Dinners, lunches and drinks
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Admission fees
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls, car parking
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • Travel insurance

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival day - St Bees

Accommodation

Independent arrival in St. Bees. Check in to your accommodation and arrange a suitable place for your evening meal. 

St Bees includes St Bees Head, the most westerly point of Cumbria, on the coastal strip between the Lakeland fells and the Irish Sea. It has a history going back over 1,000 years and has been a popular holiday destination for over 150 years.

Day 2

St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

  • Time

    6 hours

  • Distance

    14.3 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    645/547m

Set off along the coast before turning inland towards the village of Sandwith. Once you’ve passed through the sleepy villages of Moor Row and Cleator, you reach the first climb of the trip: Dent Fell, before arriving at the small village of Ennerdale Bridge.

Luggage Transfer included to Ennerdale Bridge.

Day 3

Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

  • Time

    8 hours

  • Distance

    14.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    1028/1044m

You are now in the Lake District National Park and the day starts with a walk along Ennerdale Water with superb views of the approaching fells.

From here, you have a choice: either go high up to Red Pike and over High Stile onto the iconic Haystacks and past Innominate Tarn (where Wainwright’s ashes were scattered) or follow a gentler route up to Black Sail Youth Hostel and then up Loft Beck. Both routes take you to Honister Slate mine, the last working slate mine in England, before a descent into the village of Rosthwaite followed by Stonethwaite (both located in the Borrowdale Valley).

Luggage transfer included to Stonethwaite.

Day 4

Rosthwaite to Grasmere

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

  • Time

    5.5 - 6 hours

  • Distance

    9.3 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    547/563m

A shorter stage today, but the ascent to the day's only peak, Greenup Edge, is steep and demanding. The view from here is another iconic picture of the unique and beautiful landscape of the Lake District.

Overnight in pretty Grasmere where there is lots to explore including the Wordsworth Museum and the poet’s former residence, Dove Cottage.

Luggage transfer included to Grasmere.

Day 5

Grasmere to Patterdale

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 - 6.5 hours

  • Distance

    8.6 - 10.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    541/458m

All walkers along the Coast to Coast climb up to Grisedale Hause with gorgeous views back towards Grasmere. From here, you have the option to go even higher and up the famous Helvellyn peak or St Sunday Crag – with far reaching views as far as Ullswater – before coming down Grisedale into Patterdale. Alternatively, take the direct route down Grisedale to the village.

Luggage transfer included to Patterdale.

Day 6

Patterdale to Shap

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

  • Time

    7.5 hours

  • Distance

    16.7 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    900/798m

The day starts with another climb and impressive panoramic views across to Fairfield, Helvellyn, Hartsop and Kirkstone Pass. You continue beside Angle Tarn, across the old Roman path of High St and onto Kidsty Pike – at 780m, the highest point on the Coast to Coast walk. From here you can have amazing views down to Haweswater and Riggindale. 

Descend to Haweswater – formed in the 1930’s to provide water to the cities of the North West – for an undulating onward walk through the charming village of Bampton and continuing past Shap Abbey, the ruins of a monastery founded in the 13th century. The monks abandoned it to Henry VIII in 1540 and since then it has served as a memory of a bygone era. From here, it's a short distance to the village of Shap.

Luggage transfer included to Shap.

Day 7

Shap to Kirkby Stephen

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

  • Time

    8 hours

  • Distance

    20.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    452/532m

The route from Shap crosses into the Westmorland Fells in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. From here, the vistas change from dramatic granite rocks to an open limestone landscape as you continue past the tiny village of Orton. Continue through open countryside with occasional villages, remote houses and secluded farms - and a wide panorama towards the distinctive Howgills and the distant Pennines. 

Pass Smardale Bridge, a stunning piece of Victorian architecture from a long-gone railway. Then it’s onto the small, yet lively town of Kirkby Stephen, with its welcoming pubs, cafes and restaurants, in the heart of the lovely Eden Valley.

Luggage transfer included to Kirkby Stephen.

Day 8

Departure day

Meals

Breakfast

Your tour finishes after breakfast at the accommodation.

Travel Details

You can get to St.Bees via train, you can use the main line from any of the airports. Most customers travel to Manchester airport then take the train to St.Bees by changing at South Lakes or Carlisle.

From Kirkby Stephen, you can take a train to Leeds for your onward travel to Manchester or London, or travel via Kendal.

 

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is an example of the type of accommodation you will be allocated on this holiday. Your final accommodation list will be confirmed on your travel documents, these will usually be with you around two weeks prior to departure.

Stonehouse Farm, St Bees or similar

Stonehouse Farm is situated in St Bees, the start point of the Coast to Coast walk. Rooms each have their own seating area with ensuite facilities, TV and Wi-Fi. Breakfast is served in the dining room and includes a full English breakfast.  

The Shepherds Arms, Ennerdale or similar

The Shepherds Arms is a small award winning village inn located in Ennerdale. All rooms are either twin/double bedded rooms with ensuite facilities. tea/coffee making facilities, TV, free toiletries. bath robe, hairdryer and Wi-Fi. The inn has its own bar and restaurant to enjoy a local ale and hearty meal after your long days walking. 

The Langstrath Country Inn, Stonethwaite or similar

The Langstrath is a traditional family run country inn set in the jaws of the Langstrath valley in the unspoilt Lakeland village of Stonethwaite. The inn has 11 comfortable bedrooms which are equipped with ensuite accommodation, tea/coffee facilities, clock/radio, hairdryer and free wi-fi. The inn has its own restaurant service hearty meals as well as a residents lounge where you can sit a browse a variety of books and magazines. 

The Inn at Grasmere, Grasmere or similar

The Inn at Grasmere - an historic Lake District Inn, enjoying village centre location and breathtaking views of the surrounding hills. Enjoy recently refurbished bedrooms, dine in the 1769 bar & restaurant. Enjoy access to the fitness room, sauna, Spa bath, power showers and an indoor swimming pool!

Old Water View, Patterdale or similar

The Old Water View has been welcoming walkers for over one hundred years with Alfred Wainwright himself staying at the hotel several times whilst creating the world famous coast to coast walk which passes 100m from the hotel door. All rooms are furnished to a high standard with ensuite facilities, Wifi, TV, CD player, hairdryer, Iron/ Ironing board and tea/coffee making facilities. The hotel also has its own bar where you can relax in the evening and enjoy a drink. 

New Ing Lodge, Shap or similar

New Ing Lodge is a serviced bed and breakfast with 9 bedrooms and a breakfast room. Guests will find rooms equipped with tea/coffee making facilities, ensuite bedrooms and free Wi-fi. The bed and breakfats also has its own bar which is open until 8pm most evenings where you can enjoy local craft beers. 

The Jolly Farmers, Kirkby Stephen or similar

The Jolly Farmers is a small guest house located in Kirkby Stephen which was an old coaching inn and used to belong to the local manor house. The guest house offers en suite accommodation with a TV, tea/coffee making facilities, hair dryer and free Wi-Fi. 

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent and longer distances covered.  Whilst you will be mainly on paths, these may be rough, steep, and loose at times. We take the whole day to enjoy some fabulous walks.  

Usual daily walks - Distance: 8 miles; Ascent/Descent 850m; Terrain: sometimes rough, loose or steep sections; Walking Time: 8hrs / Full Day walks.

The above statistics are generalisations of a day’s key walk, it does not include distance covered during general sightseeing or daily activity. Detailed information of the daily walking requirements are specified in the specific holidays ‘Daily Itinerary".

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

As you plan your holiday budget, it's essential to account for expenses such as drinks, meals not covered in the holiday price, entrance fees not included, optional local excursions, and any souvenirs or additional services like laundry. For a rough estimate, budgeting around £10-£20 per person per day for lunches and drinks is a helpful guideline.

If your holiday does not include dinners (see itinerary) we recommend budgeting an additional £25-30 per day.

Tipping

Tips are not included in the holiday price. Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high.  We strongly recommend when receiving good service you make a tip to the local supplier.

Your Travel Details

To reach St Bees...

By car:

From the south: Continue on the M6 to Penrith, and then take the A66 to Cockermouth, then the A595 to Whitehaven. Follow local signs from here to St Bees.

Or M6 to junction 36 (South Lakes turn off), then the A590, followed by the A595 towards Whitehaven, and then turn off at Egremont for St Bees.

From the East: Take the A66 to Penrith, then the A66 to Cockermouth and the A595 to Whitehaven. Follow local signs from there.

From the north and north east: head for Carlisle (A69 from Newcastle way, the A74(M) from Glasgow direction, or the A7 from the Scottish borders). Then take the A595 to Whitehaven. Follow local signs from there.

By rail: There is a train station at St Bees which is served by trains coming in the direction of both the north and south.

From the north there is a mainline train from Carlisle, then a coast line train to St Bees. Some Carlisle trains terminate at Whitehaven (approx. 4 miles north). You would then need to get a taxi or bus to St Bees.

From the south trains travel via Barrow-in Furness, with some through trains starting from Lancaster. Otherwise change at Lancaster or Preston for Barrow. There are direct trains from Manchester Airport and London to Carlisle and Barrow.

Taxi contacts: A2B Taxi Whitehaven: 01946 599407

By coach: there is no direct bus or coach services to St Bees. National Express operates a service departing from many destinations in the UK as far as Whitehaven.

Parking facilities: If you wish to drive to St Bees we wish to make you aware that your vehicle will be left at your own risk and we cannot be held responsible for it. We therefore advise you to arrive at your destination using public transport. If you however decide to leave a vehicle in St Bees and you need to get back to St Bees at the end of your holiday to collect your vehicle, there is a bus service from Robin Hood’s Bay to Richmond which operates each afternoon by Sherpa Van. The following morning you can continue your journey with Sherpa Van from Richmond to St Bees. For more details please contact: www.sherpavan.com/company/svpbus.htm

To return from Kirkby Stephen...

By car: take the A685 from Kirkby Stephen for 12 miles, then onto the M6 at Junction 38 or the A685 towards Brough. Then take the A66 east west route towards Penrith.

By rail: rail connections are direct to both Leeds and Carlisle, from where you can continue on to your final destination. Please note that Kirkby Stephen station is some 2 miles from the actual town.

By coach or bus: the following local buses operate from Kirkby Stephen: the 564 service operated by Kirkby Lonsdale Coaches travels as far as Kendal. The 569 service Operated by Cumbria Classic Coaches travels as far as Hawes, and the 570 service operated by the same company travels from Hawes to Ribblehead. A National Express services operates from Kendal (but not from Kirkby Stephen) travelling onwards to many destinations in the UK.

You can obtain more information on the transport options above as follows:

UK rail information - www.nationalrail.co.uk

UK coach information - www.nationalexpress.co.uk

Travel information - www.rome2rio.com

Personal Details Check

To ensure the accurate administration of your holiday arrangements, kindly verify that the personal details we have for you are current and correct. Confirm that you've given us all the necessary information for securing your travel and accommodation. Please review your passport details, date of birth, and any other pertinent information crucial for the management of your holiday.

Additionally, please make us aware of any dietary allergies or intolerances you may have. Your well-being is important to us, and this information will help us make appropriate arrangements for your meals during the trip.

You can access and update the provided information or add missing details through the "Manage My Booking" feature on our website at www.rambleworldwide.co.uk. Alternatively, reach out to our Sales and Reservations team at +44 (0)1707 331133. Upon receiving your booking confirmation, promptly check the details. Your cooperation ensures a seamless and enjoyable holiday experience.

Documentation

After booking your holiday, expect to receive a confirmation and holiday information sheet soon after.

Once you've settled your balance, about 2 weeks before your holiday, you'll get instructions on how to log into your ActiveNav App. Grab your Apple or Android smartphone and head to the app store for a quick download. Once installed, the app grants you access to all route information and provides guidance on how to navigate it.

Around 2 weeks prior to your departure, you'll also get a destination manual & road book. This comprehensive guide includes detailed information on your walking route and interesting facts about the areas you'll stay in. Alongside, a trip voucher will confirm all the services booked for you, complete with the names and addresses of your hotels and other service providers. Be prepared to present this voucher as confirmation at your accommodations, and don't forget to bring along a valid form of ID.

Meals

In general all of our self-guided holidays are on a bed and breakfast basis with breakfast provided at your accommodation. Depending on the route you are walking and access to local services such as restaurants, cafes and supermarkets, your itinerary may include packed lunches, dinners or a mix of both. Please refer to the individual itinerary and what is included for accurate information.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Footwear is a walker’s personal choice; however, we suggest lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good, moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support and may be essential for some walks.

Luggage Transfers

On a self guided holiday, the days you walk from one property to another, your main luggage will be transferred for you as part of your holiday arrangements. This leaves you free to just carry what you need for the day. Please refer to your individual itinerary for which days your luggage will be transferred. Before you leave your accommodation in the morning, please speak with your host for where the luggage should be left and by what time. 

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Compass
  • Map case
  • Whistle
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Water bottle - at least 2 litre capacity (more may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat
  • Mobile
  • Power Bank for charging mobile if needed.
  • Phone charging lead

This list is not exhaustive, and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Holiday booking confirmation document
  • Travel insurance details (if applicable)
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

Opting for filtered water from a reusable bottle with its built-in water filter, like the Water-to-go bottle available at www.watertogo.eu, is a sustainable alternative to single-use sealed water bottles. Simply refill it from any water source and contribute to saving the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

Exciting news: Water-to-go has introduced two new bottles to their collection. The Active bottle is designed to fit bike water bottle holders, and the Sugarcane bottle is an even more planet-friendly option. Crafted from fibrous cane, a by-product of liquid extraction, it undergoes a process to create plant-based plastic. Explore the details on the Water-to-Go website for this innovative new range.

As a token of appreciation for your commitment to the environment, we've secured an exclusive 15% discount with Water-to-Go for you. Visit www.watertogo.eu and use the code RWW15 during your order.                        

Note: If you're booked on a long-haul holiday departing after November 1, 2023, you'll receive a complimentary Water to Go bottle, sent to your home address 2 or 3 weeks before your holiday. Thank you for being a part of our sustainable journey!

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

Our intended walks are covered by the following maps:

Harvey’s Coast to Coast West 1:25,000
AZ Adventure Coast to Coast Walk – 1:25,000 maps of the whole route in a very neat little book
For all of this section of the trail you will need OS Explorer 1:25,000 sheets 303, OL3, OL4 and OL19
Coast to Coast Path: St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay by Henry Stedman (1 Apr 2012) Publisher – Trailblazer Guide
Coast to Coast Walk (A Coast to Coast Walk) by Martin Wainwright (1 Jun 2012)

We supply a copy of the A-Z adventure series map book as part of your walking package.

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements in destination can change, and it's crucial for you to take responsibility in staying informed. Ensure that you consult a professionally qualified source and comply with any health requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before your departure. Your GP can provide advice on vaccinations. Stay proactive about your health preparations to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

Health Advice for United Kingdom

No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

It’s a condition of booking that you obtain adequate travel insurance, from a reputable provider, to undertake the holiday, including UK trips chiefly due to the cancellation element of cover.

The policy must cover the period from the date of booking to the last day of your trip and should include, as a minimum, cover for: medical expenses (including the consequences of a Covid positive test result), mountain rescue including helicopter rescue, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and shall not have exclusion clauses limiting cover for the activities you will partake in on your trip, including altitudes reached in the holiday arrangement. It is your responsibility to check that your policy is adequate for the nature and destination of the holiday booked.

Once you have obtained your travel insurance, please provide us with the name of your travel insurer, the policy number and the insurer’s 24 hour emergency assistance number.

In the event that you fail to obtain suitable Travel Insurance we shall not be liable for any costs incurred or claims made against us due to your failure to comply with this term.

If travelling outside the UK you must carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if reasonably requested to do so by RWH Travel staff, tour leaders or suppliers. No refunds will be made should you be excluded from the walking programme through being uninsured or you being unable to demonstrate that you are insured.

Our house broker MPI should be considered for whom we are an affiliate and contact information is on our website and will be referred to in your booking confirmation.

If you are travelling to an EU country or Switzerland please also ensure that you have either an existing valid EU EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) or a valid UK GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). You can apply for a UK GHIC free of charge on the NHS website at https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/cra/start.


Personal Safety

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is your go-to for the latest info on security, local laws, and the nitty-gritty of passports and visas at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Make sure to take a quick peek at the current advice for your upcoming destination—it'll only take a few minutes.

When you're out and about, stay aware of your surroundings. Take smart precautions with your credit cards and passport, and maybe tone down the flashy accessories. Less is more, especially when it comes to carrying cash—just enough for the day will do. Consider using a money belt for that extra layer of security. Stay alert, stay safe, and make the most of your travels!

Cultural Awareness

The Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust

Unlike many other tour operators, we take pride in our unique approach. Ramble Worldwide channels its surplus profits back into various outdoor, walking-related, or environmental conservation projects in the UK through our own trust. When you choose us, you contribute to this impactful initiative.

The primary focus of our Trust's financial support is directed towards Britain's premier walking charity, The Ramblers. They play a crucial role in advocating the benefits and significance of walking to the British public. Additionally, our Trust invites applications for small grants from local organizations in the UK that require support for walking-oriented activities. This encompasses initiatives such as establishing footpaths and bridleways, funding for the reconstruction of bridges and refurbishing huts, and bursary funding for organisations that support individuals to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors..

For more comprehensive details, please visit the 'About' section on our website and click on the Charitable Trust link. Your choice to travel with us goes beyond a memorable vacation; it contributes to meaningful projects that have a positive impact on our community and environment.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

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