Cross England on foot, trekking from the Irish Sea to the North Sea through three incredible national parks. Immerse yourself in the mystical landscapes of the Lake District, where gemlike lakes reflect England’s highest mountains and poets like William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge drew their inspiration. In the Yorkshire Dales—James Herriot country—hike to storybook villages filled with half-timbered cottages and warmly lit pubs. Then climb into the wild, heather-covered highlands of the North York Moors. Along the way, discover ancient stone circles, medieval castles and monasteries, and the legendary charm of northern England. This is a moderate to strenuous 137-mile hike designed to take in the most beautiful and historic sections of Alfred Wainwright’s famous 190-mile Coast-to-Coast walk.
Set out on one of the ten best long-distance hikes in the world, trekking through three national parks: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North York Moors.
Step back into England’s fascinating history as we explore sites from prehistory to the Roman era to the Tudors and beyond.
Visit the home of poet William Wordsworth in the enchanting Lakeland village of Grasmere.
Stay in picturesque inns that exemplify the character and charm of the region.
Itinerary - 13 Days
Day 1 — Penrith, England/Ennerdale
Travel on your own to the Penrith train station in Northwest England. Your guide will meet you at the station for the transfer to our charming hotel in Cleator. After a trip briefing, gather for our welcome dinner. Ennerdale Country House Hotel (D)
Day 2 — St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge
Our journey kicks off early this morning with a Coast to Coast tradition, dipping a toe in the Irish Sea. Then set off along the sandstone cliffs of St. Bee’s Head. Turning inland, we’ll pause for a typical pub lunch on our way to Ennerdale Bridge, nestled at the foot of the Lake District mountains. (14 miles hiking, 8 hours) Ennerdale Country House Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Ennerdale Bridge to Honister
Today we’ll walk into spectacular Lake District National Park, where glass-like lakes reflect mountains that rise abruptly from their shores. Our splendid ramble traces the southern edge of Ennerdale Water, the park’s most westerly lake—and one of its most remote. After lunch near the Black Sail Hut, climb a 2,000-foot pass and take in the vista of peaks, lakes, and sheep-speckled pastures. We finish in Borrowdale, a short transfer from our hotel. (10 miles hiking, 7–8 hours) Inn on the Lake (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Grasmere to Glenridding
Take a short drive to Grasmere, where the great poet William Wordsworth wrote some of his most renowned works. Visit the poet’s home, and stroll through the village where he found inspiration. Then climb over Grisedale Hause (1,936') enjoying views of Helvellyn, England’s third-highest peak. Hike down the valley toward Lake Ullswater and spend the night in Glenridding. (9 miles hiking, 5 hours) Inn on the Lake (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Lake Ullswater to Shap
The day begins with a scenic cruise on Lake Ullswater to Howtown. From here, we cross a historic Roman road on our way to Bampton. Hike to the 12th-century Shap Abbey. A short transfer takes us to our hotel in the quintessential English village of Ravenstonedale. (12 miles hiking, 6-7 hours) The Black Swan (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Shap to Orton and Ravenstonedale
Today we trek across a limestone plateau dotted with prehistoric settlements, stone circles, and burial mounds. In the charming village of Orton, we’ll stop for lunch and visit the chocolate shop and factory. Continue the hike or transfer back to Ravenstonedale for a wander along the riverside or to try a pint of local ale. (8 or 15 miles hiking, 4–9 hours) The Black Swan (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Ravenstonedale to Gunnerside
Follow a lovely trail across rolling hills to the market town of Kirkby Stephen. After a lunch of fish-and-chips, drive to the hamlet of Keld in the heart of Yorkshire Dales National Park. Hike along the River Swale, discovering waterfalls and enchanting hamlets tucked in among the dales. Pause for an afternoon cream tea in Muker before walking on to Gunnerside. (12 miles hiking, 7 hours) The Black Swan (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Reeth to Richmond
A short transfer brings us to the village of Reeth. From here, continue through the Yorkshire Dales, hiking along fascinating stretches of limestone on the way to historic Richmond. Here, we’ll explore an 11th-century Norman castle. (10 miles hiking, 5–6 hours) The Kings Head Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Richmond to Lord Stones
Our path takes us along the River Swale past the remains of Easby Abbey, founded in 1152. In Catterick Bridge, we’ll hop on our bus and transfer to Mount Grace Priory. Venture into the ruins of this important 14th-century Carthusian priory located at the edge of North York Moors National Park. After lunch, we’ll hike toward the Cleveland Hills in the heart of the moorland. Return to Richmond for free time to explore. (5 or 11 miles 2–7 hours) The Kings Head Hotel (B,L)
Day 10 — Clay Bank Top to Blakey Ridge
A short transfer takes us into North York Moors National Park, where we begin hiking across the dramatic landscape of the Moors. Our high level route allows us to enjoy far-ranging vistas as we hike through the heather this region is known for- lush and green in early summer, deepening to purple in August. (9–13 miles hiking, 5–7 hours) Mallyan Spout Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Blakey Ridge to Grosmont
This morning our hike begins with a descent to Great Fryup Head, an important region during the 19th-century iron ore boom. Continue to Glaisdale where we’ll see Beggars Bridge. Then hike along an old trade route to Grosmont. Today, guests who would like to take a day off from hiking can choose to ride the bus. (9 or 14 miles hiking, 5-8 hours) Mallyan Spout Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Littlebeck to Robin Hood’s Bay
Starting out at the hamlet of Littlebeck, our walk takes us back
into the Scarry Wood, past a legendary cave, and up to the
gorgeous waterfall of Falling Foss. Walk along the cliff-top to the picturesque fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay, and bathe your feet in the North Sea. (12 miles hiking, 7 hours) Victoria Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 13 — York
After breakfast, depart from York for your return flight home. (B)
National Geographic Active Expeditions are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $700 in 2017 and $800 in 2018. International airfare to/from London or Manchester and the transfer to Penrith on Day 1 and from the York train station
on Day 13 are not included in the cost.