The English Coast to Coast Walk – Classic Walks

Coast to Coast: A Classic Walk across the North of England:

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Ennerdale Water, at the edge of the Lake District, UK


Britain’s Coast to Coast Walk
is one of the best known walks in England. This walking route across the northern part of England takes walkers through three of the country’s most famous and scenic national parks: the Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North York Moors National Park.

In addition to the scenery, the journey along the Coast to Coast trail also offers walkers the opportunity to travel through history. The route passes through sites and settlements which once the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and then Normans made their own. Parts of Britain’s tumultuous history were played out in this region.

A.W. Wainwright was the creator of this popular walk which he described his 1973 book “A Coast to Coast Walk”. Although the path has changed a little since Wainwright designed it, his book is still regarded as the Holy Bible amongst walkers.

The Coast to Coast route is 307 km long and for those contemplating this trail for their walking holiday in England, careful planning is required. Apart from the duration of the walk, the weather can present unexpected challenges.

Some general information about the walk: Coast to Coast Route: Starting from St. Bees in the Irish Sea, the 307 km trail goes eastwards and ends at Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea. There are some sections where the grounds are rough and gradient is steep, such as the high passes in the Lake District and then there are stretches of mostly level ground as well.

Some Highlights: High Street, the old Roman road,  just comes up over the great hill seemingly without any effort. And then there’s Richmond Castle built by Alan Rufus, one of William the Conqueror’s lieutenants.  At Grasmere, make sure you take the opportunity to visit Dove Cottage, one of William Wordsworth’s homes.

Walking Route Planner: The number of days required depends on how fit and how quickly or leisurely you want your walking holiday to be. Work out the average number of kilometres you are prepared to do in a day, taking into account the landscape and the town or village in which you will end your day.  It’s also nice to plan on arriving a little earlier in a village if there are interesting attractions you may like to visit, such as in Grasmere.   I did the walk in 17 days, however it’s also possible to do it in about 12 days.

Luggage transfer: This efficient service is readily available and can be organized through a number of tour operators on the ‘self-guided’ itineraries.

Your Coast to Coast Accommodation: This is usually in B&Bs or inns and can be booked ahead.

Food: Mostly good quality traditional English food is served up at B&Bs and village inns and there are wide choices in their menu. Cider and ale are common. (Comment here on food for vegetarians or people with other food preferences.)

When to go? The northern spring or autumn seasons are recommended as accommodation is easier to obtain and the tourist numbers are lower.

Walking Gear: Good walking boots and socks are critical. Your shoes should have been broken in. Also important is what rain gear to take.

Our Take: There is a lot to see on this 307 km journey across northern England, so don’t forget to bring your camera. Be prepared for rain and the wonderful walking. See you on the track.

See the Coast to Coast itinerary here

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