Lakes and Mountains - St Bees to Kirkby Stephen

St Bees to Kirkby Stephen in 5 Days Walking Code: CCL6

The first half of the Coast to Coast Path is a west to east traverse of the Lake District taking in most of the major lakes, valleys and mountain ranges of the north Lakes. This is a great route in its own right taking in many of the highlights of the Lake District. We have 3 itineraries covering this stretch.

This is our shortest itinerary for the western section of the Coast to Coast, with some long days in the hills. The Rosthwaite to Patterdale day involves 2 climbs and descents dropping down into Grasmere in the middle. It’s a great itinerary if you are fit and looking for a challenge, otherwise we would recommend taking more days for the walk!

Miles Km
Day 1 Travel to St Bees for your first nights accommodation
Day 2 St Bees to Ennerdale 14 23
Day 3 Ennerdale to Rosthwaite 15 24
Day 4 Rosthwaite to Patterdale 18 29
Day 5 Patterdale to Shap 16 26
Day 6 Shap to Kirkby Stephen 21 34
Day 7 Depart from Kirkby Stephen after breakfast

St Bees to Grasmere: Into the Heart of the Lake District

The route starts on the shores of the Irish Sea in the village of St Bees. After climbing the impressive sandstone cliffs of the headland, the path turns inland and over agricultural land and foothills to Ennerdale Bridge and the start of the Lake District.The path continues up Ennerdale beneath Pillar Rock before climbing up to Brandreth, high in the fells with fantastic views of Great Gable and the Buttermere valley.

The route then drops into Borrowdale via Honister. With another day of climbing as the trail heads up the remote Greenup Gill and then down either the valley of Far Easedale or over the Lion and the Lamb, to Grasmere. This is a memorable day with views of Lakeland fells in all directions.

Grasmere to Kirkby Stephen: Eastern Lakes & Upper Eden

From Grasmere there is more climbing, either over the pass at Grisedale tarn or, for the more adventurous, via the summit of Helvellyn, England’s third highest mountain, before dropping down to Patterdale on the shore of Ullswater. The remotest walking of the tour leads from Ullswater over Kidsty Pike, with a tremendous viewpoint of the Lakeland fells then down to Haweswater and onwards to Shap.

Having left the Lakes, the route between Shap and Kirkby Stephen is undulating rather than mountainous, following limestone scarps and moorland paths. It passes the delightful village of Orton and travels onwards past numerous prehistoric sites to the market town of Kirkby Stephen.


The first half of the Coast to Coast is a lot more demanding than the second half as this trail has some remote and mountainous sections. It is, however, completed by thousands of ordinary people every year. A degree of walking fitness, the right equipment and common sense should get you there!

Terrain: The walk passes over some of the high fells of the Lake District and, in a couple of places, the path is not particularly well defined. At other times the paths are muddy, wet, rough and steep (although not often all at the same time!).

What’s it like underfoot? Varied! Much of the route is on well defined paths, tracks, and country lanes, but there are sections that can be muddy, wet, rough, and steep (although not often all at the same time!)

How Much Up & Down? Quite a lot in the Lake District. Be prepared for a considerable amount of ascent and descent.

Signposting: Some but by no means comprehensive. You will need to use your map and guidebook and be able to navigate with a compass

Weather & Navigation: Bad weather can be encountered, even in the summer months, so the ability to navigate is essential. You may be lucky enough to encounter warm, dry weather over the whole route and enjoy dry paths and tremendous views. Although you must always be prepared because the weather can change quickly


All Holidays
Accommodation Overnight Bed and Breakfast accommodation in selected hotels, farmhouses, village inns, guest houses and family B&Bs.Full English or Continental breakfast.
Guidebook A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.
Information of Services Along the Route A comprehensive Service Info sheet, including services such as cash points, banks, post offices, village shops, inns, cafes and taxis.
Maps A Harvey Maps (1:40000) covering the whole route.
Personal Itinerary A personal itinerary setting out each overnight stop, including large scale maps of each accommodation, to ensure you find it easily.
Emergency Telephone Support If you get in to difficulties during your holiday, we are always available to help, even out of office hours.
12.5% discount at Cotswold Outdoors We will issue you with a 12.5% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores, and online, for the whole year on confirmation of your booking.
Luggage Transport We will transfer your luggage between each overnight stop – if you leave your luggage at the accommodation when you set off in the morning, it will be moved on to your next B&B. You only need to carry a small day sack with the clothes and provisions you require during the day’s walk.
Packed Lunches
Provided for each day’s walking and recommended on this holiday as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.
Off Road Parking If you are travelling by car we can usually arrange off road parking for the duration of your trip. (There may be a small charge for this).
Arrangement of return transport We can also arrange your transfer back to your car, (or advise you when public transport is a better option)!
What’s not Included
Evening Meals Your evening meal isn’t included in the package, but we include full details and recommendations for each evening meal in your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about £20.00 per night.
Transport to the Start & Away from the Finish Have a look at the “Travel Info” tab above for suggestions. If you’re still struggling, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.
Travel Insurance Even if you are based in the UK travel insurance is worth having.


Good accommodation and friendly hosts are an essential part of any holiday. We understand this and go out of our way to find the best. We put a great deal of effort into hand picking our accommodation and matching it to individual customer requirements. As well as visiting the accommodation ourselves, we ask all our customers to complete a short evaluation on each night’s accommodation, which then gives us an insight into the day-to-day operation and lets us spot any potential issues before they become a problem.

We use a variety of accommodation. Over the course of your trip you might stay in a village inn, a bed and breakfast in a converted barn, a Victorian guest house, or on a working farm. In selecting the accommodation we look for helpful, friendly hosts with good quality, characterful accommodation close to the trail. Occasionally we may use a chain hotel.

We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday, (especially if the booking is made at short notice), but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case.

We are happy to book single rooms on our holidays but cannot normally book more than two for any one group. Single room bookings include a supplement.

Here are some examples of the accommodation we use along the Coast to Coast Path:

LangstrathThe Langstrath County Hotel is set in the Lakeland village of Stonethwaite. It is a small, local and family-run haven for walkers and lovers of the countryside. It was built around 1590 as a miners cottage and is now a quality hotel offering comfortable bedrooms and excellent service. The restaurant serves quality Lakeland dishes using the finest local ingredients. Visit their website

Wainstones Coast to Coast

With the atmosphere of a Yorkshire Country Inn The Wainstones Hotel is known for its attentive staff and excellent food. An 18th century building in a very picturesque location, this hotel is popular with walkers on the Coast to Coast path who can relax in the bar or treat themselves to a delicious meal in the restaurant. Visit their website



The Old Croft House is a bed and breakfast full of character. A wonderful old building in the centre of Kirkby Stephen with individually designed, quirky bedrooms that are a treat to stay in. Nick and Rachel take very good care of their guests, welcoming with home made cakes and open fires. Visit their website

General travel information on the Coast to Coast area will be in your holiday pack including train and bus timetables where available.

Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s accommodation by car, or on foot from the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps.

To view train times please visit trainline where you can also purchase tickets in advance. For information on bus timetables please visit traveline

If you require secure car parking whilst walking this route, please contact us for detailed information – we can arrange car parking either at the start or end locations.

Getting There:
By Air
: Your nearest international airports are Manchester (MAN) and Newcastle (NCL) you can then take a train to St Bees (approx 3.5 hours).
By Public Transport: There is a train station in St Bees Village (SBS). Most train journeys will pass through Carlisle (CAR) where you will need to change for St Bees. If travelling on a Sunday take the train to Whitehaven. It is then a short journey by taxi to St Bees (costing approx. £5).
By Road: St Bees is on the Cumbrian coast approximately an hour’s drive from junction 40 on the M6. From the M6 you follow the A66 then the A595.

Returning from Kirkby Stephen:
The train station is 1.5 miles from the town centre – a list of taxi numbers are included in your holiday pack. Kirkby Stephen is on the northern rail line with connections to most UK cities.


Patterdale offers spectacular scenery in a peaceful location. This tiny village in the heart of the English Lake District will give you a well earned rest before heading onwards on your walking route. Boat trips can be taken on the Ullswater Steamers to Pooley Bridge, with several opportunities to disembark and explore the lakeshore attractions along the way.

Kirkby Stephen

Kirkby Stephen is a traditional market town of historic buildings, cobbled yards, quaint corners and interesting shops. It is situated in a landscape of pastoral rural scenery with wild uplands. Being remote from large towns and population centres, Kirkby Stephen has developed a strong and self-sufficient identity and a vibrant sense of community.

Prices GBP (£)
Accommodation, map & guidebook only £698
with Luggage Transport £743
with Packed Lunches £753
with Luggage & Lunches £795

Other Options

Extra Nights (per night) £90
Single Supplement (per night) £58
Solo Luggage Supplement (per day) £0