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Wainwright's Coast To Coast - Western Route

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.

From£1,059

  • England

  • 8 nights
  • Continuous Walks

    Pioneer

  • May

    Sep

Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 77908

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Our holiday walking grades

Moderate

Grade 6

Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent.

These walks are in more remote areas such as Andorra or northern Portugal.

Similar to Grade 5, but with most of the walks at the upper level of ascent/descent, time and distance.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Tackle the western trail of this iconic route from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen.
  • Seven days walking covering 85 miles.
  • Begin on the Cumbrian coast at St Bees with a spectacular clifftop walk.
  • 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.
  • Sections include St Bees to Ennerdale, Ennerdale to Seatoller, Seatoller to Grasmere, Grasmere to Patterdale, Patterdale to Burnbanks, Burnbanks to Orton and Orton to Kirkby Stephen.

Guided Walking Holidays - Wainwright's Coast to Coast - The Western Route

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 40 years ago.

This holiday tackles the western section of the trail crossing the Lake District from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen in seven walking days of 9 – 15½ miles a day. We'll be walking, on average, just under 13 miles a day throughout the walk with our longest days being 15½ miles.

We’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...

Intended route (with approximate daily walking distances):

Day 1 Overnight St Bees
Day 2 St Bees - Ennerdale Bridge (15 miles)
Day 3 Ennerdale Bridge - Seatoller (14 miles)
Day 4 Seatoller - Grasmere (10 miles)
Day 5 Grasmere - Patterdale (9 miles)
Day 6 Patterdale - Burnbanks (11½ miles)
Day 7 Burnbanks - Orton (12½ miles
Day 8 Orton - Kirkby Stephen (13 miles)
Day 9 Depart after breakfast
  • En suite accommodation in hotels and B&Bs throughout
  • Breakfasts and dinners each day.
  • Any necessary transport between overnight accommodation and daily walks.
  • Baggage transport between your accommodations each day.
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

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

St Bees

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

Independent travel to The Seacote Hotel in St Bees. Check in is from 3pm. Meet your tour leader at approximately 6.30pm in the hotel for a briefing before dinner.

Day 2

St. Bees

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    7 hours

  • Distance

    15 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    680m

St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge. From the sea front at St. Bees, having wet our boots and collected a pebble, we follow the coastal, cliff top path before heading inland across farm land and through villages before crossing our first Lakeland hill, the outlying Dent Hill. We will continue to the village of Ennerdale Bridge.

Day 3

Ennerdale Bridge

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    8 hours

  • Distance

    14 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    720m

Ennerdale Bridge to Seatoller. The majority of today we will spend walking of the length of Ennerdale, known as the remotest valley in the Lake District. Initially we will follow a small path along the southern shore of the Water and then onward through the Ennerdale Forest to Black Sail Youth Hostel. As we walk we are under the shadows of some of the highest mountains in England, Great Gable and Pillar and we pass close to Hay Stacks. On climbing out of Ennerdale, we will make our way to Honister Hause and descend the old road to Seatoller in Borrowdale.

Day 4

Seatoller

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    8 hours

  • Distance

    10 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    550m

Seatoller to Grasmere. Following a pleasant stream or two we will gradually ascend to Greenup Edge the slopes of High Raise where we have a choice of two routes. Dependent on the weather, we can tackle the ridge walk to Helm Crag, or else take the more direct, lower route, and descend alongside Easedale Gill as we make our way to the delightful Lakeland town of Grasmere.

Day 5

Grasmere

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    9 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    680m

Grasmere to Patterdale. We will walk on lanes and a bridleway to Great Tongue, and on the toss of a coin fork to the right or the left, the paths meet later and take us to Grisedale Tarn which nestles under the shadow of Helvellyn. Crossing the outflow from the Tarn we can either follow the beck as it tumbles downwards or climb up to walk the St Sunday Crag ridge before descending into Patterdale.

Day 6

Patterdale

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    6 hours

  • Distance

    11.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    870m

Patterdale to Burnbanks. On leaving Patterdale we will begin our ascent for the day, passing Angle Tarn, the slopes of Rest Dodd and The Knott crossing the course of the Roman road and to the highest point on the walks; Rampsgill Head and Kidsty Pike (780m/2,559ft). We walk down the East ridge before a steep descent to reach Haweswater. A path, which improves as it goes, takes us the whole length of the lake, and we will then walk into the hamlet of Burnbanks originally built.

Day 7

Burnbanks

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    6 hours

  • Distance

    12.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    327m

Burnbanks to Orton. After the rigours of the Lakeland Fells today’s walk will seem more leisurely, as we follow paths and lanes to the ruins of Shap Abbey, through the now quiet town of Shap and then continue over and around gentler, limestone hills to the village of Orton.

Day 8

Orton

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    6 hours

  • Distance

    13 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    315m

Orton to Kirkby Stephen. With limestone scars above us to the north we complete our journey on lanes and paths over gritstone, and limestone moors, some heather clad, as we make our way past the Iron Age enclosed field systems of Severals Settlements, across Smardale Fell, looking out for a wonderful Victorian rail viaduct, to the market town of Kirkby Stephen.

Day 9

Kirby Stephen

Meals

Breakfast

After breakfast, we say our farewells and depart Kirkby Stephen. Check out of the Black Bull Hotel by 10am.

From (GBP)£1,059

Departure dates for your selected tour

2nd May 2020 - 10th May 2020 (8 Nights)

5th Sep 2020 - 13th Sep 2020 (8 Nights)

Travel Details

Transport to and from the trailheads, if necessary, is included.

Your baggage is transported (one bag per person, maximum weight 20kg) from inn to inn for you.

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each nights' accommodation for each departure date.

The Seacote Hotel, St Bees

Wonderfully situated on the West Cumbrian Coast, on the edge of the Lake District National Park. Guests will find the Seacote Hotel perfectly positioned for exploring the Western Lakes and Fells. The hotel borders on the mile long beach and iconic headlands of St. Bees.

The Seacote Hotel has 70 bedrooms. Rooms are available as Superior Kingsize, standard doubles, twins or family rooms. The hotel has a choice of two bar areas, a restaurant and a beer garden.


The Kings Arms Hotel, Keswick

The family-owned and run three star Kings Arms Hotel in the very centre of Keswick, a true coaching inn of that period. The hotel has 13 appealing rooms, superb hospitality, fine fayre and lively entertainment in the bar and restaurant. 

The Inn at Grasmere, Grasmere

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!

Shap Wells Hotel, Shap

Situated in a secluded, wooded valley, high in the Shap Fells and surrounded by mountain streams, the hotel is the ideal place to explore the Lakes, Dales and the English and Scottish Border Counties. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the entire hotel including all public areas, conference rooms and guest accommodation.

The Black Bull Hotel, Kirkby Stephen

This friendly, family run pub and hotel offers year-round bed and breakfast accommodation, restaurant and bar meals and a well stocked bar with traditional cask ales and wines from around the world.

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This is a Grade 6 moderate holiday which includes full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent with walks in some remote areas. Paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.

Walks & Excursions

Alfred Wainwright, the legendary walker, guide book writer and illustrator, devised a long-distance footpath from North England’s Cumbrian coast to the North Sea. Despite not being an official National Trail, the Coast to Coast has become the most popular long-distance footpath in England. 

This holiday provides the chance to tackle the Western section of the trail from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen in seven days’ walking (holiday code 77908), and the Eastern section from Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay in eight days’ walking (holiday code 77919), or the whole route with a rest day at Kirkby Stephen (holiday code 77920). We will be walking, on average, just over 13 miles a day throughout the holiday with the longest day being around 16 miles. The total distance we will walk if you choose to carry out the whole route is just over 194 miles, the Western section will be approximately 85 miles and the Eastern section will be approximately 109 miles in total. 

Our luggage (one bag per person only - maximum weight 20kg) will be transferred for us to our accommodation each day so we are only required to carry a daysack on the walks.

The programme of walks will be broken up into sections which we will plan to complete each day.  The sections described in the itinerary section will give an indication of the nature of the walking terrain and the format of the holiday. However, the routes may be subject to change and often at short notice. We may also end a walk at our accommodation as opposed to the town or village suggested.

Unlike most National Trails the Coast to Coast walk is not a definitive route, there are many places where alternatives exist, in fact, Wainwright encouraged walkers to seek and try different ways. For this reason, the figures for ascent and distance stated in the itinerary vary from one guide book to another and may not agree with those we have stated. Your leader will choose the best route to suit the conditions.

Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.

Tipping

Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

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 you may do so free of charge at the Seacote Hotel. If this is your intention 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.  Each journey will cost around £22. 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

Meeting your tour leader and fellow walkers:

Please aim to arrive at the hotel in St Bees at or before 6.30pm your Ramblers Worldwide Holidays tour leader will be there to introduce themselves and inform you of the evening’s dinner arrangements. Your leader will brief you with an outline of the planned programme for your holiday and you will have the opportunity to meet your fellow walking companions.

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

Passport Information for United Kingdom

Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.

Meals

Breakfasts and dinners included each day.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks. 

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:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • 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)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

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

Baggage Weight Limit

Please note that our luggage transfer provider will only transfer one bag per person and it must not weigh more than 20kg. Please therefore ensure the weight of your bag doesnt exceed 20kg to avoid your bag not being transported.

National Trust & English Heritage

If you’re a member of either of these organisations don’t forget to bring your membership cards as this holiday may include sites relevant to these memberships or you may wish to visit any local sites on a free day should they be nearby.

Traveling Light

You should be able to lift and carry and handle your own luggage. At some hotels, the coach may have to stop some distance short of the hotel entrance. Also, within some of the hotels themselves, there may be some long walks between the rooms and entrance area which could include some steps.

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

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

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)

The Map Shop

Maps and guidebooks relating to your the areas you will be walking in may be brought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk

Weather

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

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

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

Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.

Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

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.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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