england lake district coast to coast hiking tour

Lake District village

The Lake District is still as beautiful as it was 100 years ago. Our coast-to-coast hike begins in Lake District National Park, crosses the wooded valleys of Yorkshire Dales National Park, and ends with a hike over the dramatic North York moors.

Photo by Brian McGilloway

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England Coast to Coast

One of the Best Long-Distance Hikes in the World

England Coast to Coast route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5795  
Length: 14 days
Arrive: Manchester, England
Depart: Manchester, England
Lodging: 13 nights inns, hotels, and B&Bs
Meals: All meals included except 2 lunches and 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: 13 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 6-8 hours a day, van support
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Highlights

  • Hike through three fantastic national parks: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North York Moors
  • Visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and the castle town of Richmond
  • A wealth of Roman roads, storybook villages, friendly country pubs
  • Overnights in village inns and historic hotels


Stunning vistas, fun company and great hikes. We had a blast!Barbara K.—Kenilworth, IL

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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

The coast-to-coast journey across England from the Irish Sea to the North Sea is one of the great hikes of the world. We’ve perfected this classic walk, hiking the most spectacular stretches as we cut a swath across England’s historic and literary landscape and through three magnificent national parks. We go west to east, with the prevailing wind at our backs, starting in the impossibly romantic Lake District, still as bucolic as it was when it provided inspiration for Wordsworth and Coleridge. We stride further east among the stone-built villages of the Yorkshire Dales, James Herriot country, then cross the dramatic purple-heather moors of North York, hiking from Bronte country to Robin Hood’s Bay on the wild North Sea. The good cheer of village inns and rural pubs where we relax with fellow hikers add to the charm of this delightful journey.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-6
Irish Sea / Lake District National Park

At Ravenglass, we christen our boots in the Irish Sea (a coast-to-coast tradition), then hike the Lake District’s tranquil landscape of stone walls overhung with berry bush and glistening green fields where flocks of sheep graze. The mountain scenery is magnificent, with colorful fellsides swooping up from crystal lakes. In Grasmere, we visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage.

Days 7-9
Yorkshire Dales National Park

We cross the main watershed of England by way of Nine Standards Rigg, with its mysterious stone cairns and spectacular views, hike along the banks of the River Swale amid stone barns, and enjoy the treasures of ancient Richmond.

Days 10-14
North York Moors National Park

As we hike the moorland escarpment, views are bewitching, with purple heaths fading into a patchwork of golds and greens. Our last hike brings us past the evocative ruins of Whitby Abbey and along blustery cliffs down to the beach at Robin Hood’s Bay, where the North Sea laps our boots and we celebrate the culmination of our hike. Depart for Manchester via medieval York on Day 14.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

The hiking on this trip is rated 4+, moderate to strenuous, according to our trip grading system. The terrain can be rugged, with steep climbs over uneven ground, boggy terrain, open fells, and craggy rocks. The hikes range from 6-8 hours in length, with stops for lunch. Altitudes are not high, and we carry only a daypack, but distances are long on some days, and there are many days with steep ups and downs, especially in the Lake District section of the hike.

We hike the Coast to Coast from west to east, so that the prevailing wind and weather is at our backs. This can make a great difference in the changeable English climate! It does mean, however, that we start the trip with the hardest and highest section, the Lake District. Proper rain gear and gaiters will keep you comfortable no matter what weather blows in, and good conditioning will have you ready for the hike. Due to the steepness of some descents and the rocky surface in some sections of the path, the trip should not be attempted by anyone who has serious problems with their knees or hip joints.

Your feet should be fully prepared for the hikes, accustomed to long days in sturdy, well-broken-in hiking boots with Vibram-type soles and ample cushioning. A good pair of hiking boots is your most important piece of equipment. Your boots should be waterproofed. Hiking poles are highly recommended—they are particularly useful on steep descents.

A Note on Boots: British hiking etiquette requires patrons to remove their boots before entering hotels, guesthouses, pubs, etc. In the interest of both comfort and etiquette, you’ll want another pair of comfortable shoes to change into at the end of the hiking day.

We have designed this itinerary with our veteran Trip Leaders, who have selected the best stretches of the Coast to Coast hike. We do not hike every inch of the trail from one coast to the other—this is not a purist trip following every mile. The itinerary is flexible and adjusted by the Trip Leader’s knowledge and by weather conditions. A day of rain may make one route more desirable than another, for both safety and comfort.

Please note that in Britain, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.

Our accommodations have been chosen to best suit the logistics of our route and do vary a great deal in quality.
The villages we stay in are small and rural. Often there are no large hotels. Most nights we stay at comfortable B&Bs or guesthouses. The accommodations sometimes have laundry services available (for an added fee). All have private bathroom facilities.

“Loo” is the British term for bathroom. On many stretches of the trail, there are no loos, and you will have to find a private spot off the trail. There are sections of moorland and mountain with no cover available, but the Trip Leader will indicate in advance when the party will be walking in open country. If you need a few minutes of private time, please tell the Trip Leader so that he or she can ensure that the group does not get too far ahead.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
May 25-Jun 7, 2014

Jun 29-Jul 12, 2014
Jul 27-Aug 9, 2014
Aug 24-Sep 6, 2014

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$5795 (12-14 members)
$6095 (9-11 members)
$6395 (6-8 members)
Single supplement: $625
Forced single supplement: $425
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader
  • Accommodations in “bed & breakfast” guesthouses, hotels, and inns
  • All meals included except 2 lunches and 2 dinners
  • Land transportation, airport transfers as indicated in the Full Trip Brochure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, internal flights, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, wine at dinner (except at welcome and farewell dinners), airport departure taxes, transfers other than those provided for group flights, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, travel insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, telephone calls).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Minimum fee: None per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Irton Hall

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Eskdale, England

With a long and noble history, Irton Hall is a 19th century house surrounded by 19 park-like acres at the foot of the majestic western fells of the Lake District National Park. Parts of the magnificent hall, including the Pele Tower, date from the 14th century. Both Oliver Cromwell and Henry VI visited Irkton Hall, although it is reputed that Henry VI was refused entry and spent the night under the 1000- year-old oak tree in front of the house, now known as The King’s Oak. Guest rooms are modern and comfortable and the welcome is warm.

Keswick Country House Hotel

Keswick Country House Hotel

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Keswick, England

This hotel of character looks like a set for a BBC series! Set on a four-acre park-like estate, it’s just a few minutes’ walk from the ...
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Inn on the Lake

Inn on the Lake

Day 5 (1 night), Glenridding, England

Centrally located in the Lake District on the shores of Ullswater. this lovely inn offers a warm welcome along with stunning lake views. It is set ...
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Brownber Hall

Brownber Hall

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Kirkby Stephen, England

Brownber Hall, built around 1860, is a welcoming home set amid beautiful, rolling countryside. The guest rooms are comfortable and well furnished, ...
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Kings Head Hotel

Kings Head Hotel

Days 8 to 9 (2 nights), Richmond, England

Originally a gentlemen’s townhouse, the Kings Head Hotel dates from 1717 and has fine red-brick architecture that blends in beautifully in the ...
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Wainstones Hotel

Wainstones Hotel

Days 10 to 11 (2 nights), Great Broughton, England

Located near the North York Moors, the Wainstones Hotel was once an 18th century home. Today it’s a small, friendly hotel with excellent ...
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Forest & Vale Hotel

Forest & Vale Hotel

Days 12 to 13 (2 nights), Pickering, England

In the ancient market town of Pickering, this well-run hotel has top-notch service and a grand dining room. The location puts us in easy walking ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Richard Bell

Departure Dates: May 25-June 7, 2014, June 29-July 12, 2014, August 24-September 6, 2014

Richard Bell was born and brought up in Yorkshire, on the northeast coast of the UK, and has been an avid traveler all his life (he has now explored more than 100 countries). His first job was working as a purser on cruise ships for P&O and Princess Cruises, including a stint on that infamous ...
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Karen Bell

Departure Dates: June 29-July 12, 2014

Karen Bell, born in the northwest of England, is a specialist of all things English and a lover of the country and its varied landscapes. The wife of veteran Trip Leader Richard Bell, she is a medical scientist, world traveler, and keen naturalist who has an uncanny ability to identify just about ...
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Tim Burford

Departure Dates: May 25-June 7, 2014, July 27-August 9, 2014

Tim Burford has written hiking guidebooks to many regions, from Romania to Chile to Alaska, and is the author of the authoritative Travel Guide to Georgia (the former Soviet Union), published by Bradt, UK. Tim’s great passion is for the mountains, trails, and cultures of Central ...
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Skye McDonald

Departure Dates: July 27-August 9, 2014, August 24-September 6, 2014

Skye McDonald was  born and raised in Scotland in a small village called Scone, the ancient crowning place of the kings and queens of Scotland. After studying agriculture at Aberdeen University, she worked as a  volunteer in Tanzania for two years. Her passion is exploring remote and ...
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Client Comments

Stunning vistas, fun company and great hikes. We had a blast! Barbara K., Kenilworth, IL Superb. Your Trip Leaders are why we travel with you. They are knowledgeable, fun, ultra-experienced, deeply committed, and concerned about guests’ enjoyment. Jan W., Tampa, FL I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite day because they were all pleasurable and unique. It was a superb trip! Carol T., Kingston, PA Can’t say enough about the trip or the Trip Leaders. Absolutely wonderful. They made the trip enlightening and fun. Karen N., Carlsborg, WA I loved this trip, with its wide variety of landscapes and terrain and its sense of accomplishing a goal. Carol T., Kingston, PA
Beautiful hikes, gorgeous scenery, nice group, and excellent trip leaders and assistants made this trip extremely enjoyable. Marie-Odile F., Indianapolis, IN I really loved this trip and your company. In the future I will always consider your company first. Janet V., Cupertino, CA Fantastic trip all the way around! Kate F., Santa Monica, CA So many wonderful moments on the trip. Really a remarkable opportunity. Fae E., Salt Lake City, UT This is a great hiking trip and a wonderful way to experience England outside the big cities. The scenery is varied enough to keep it interesting, and we fell in love with hiking in the Lake District. Jim and Carol B., Kensington, MD