9. Coast to Coast, United Kingdom
Britain's Coast to Coast is one of the best known walks in England. This hiking trail 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 offers walkers the opportunity to travel through history. The route passes through sites and settlements lived in by the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and later the Normans. Britain’s tumultuous history was played out in this region.
Starting from St. Bees in the Irish Sea, the 307 km hiking trail goes eastwards and ends at Robin Hood's Bay on the North Sea. There are some rough sections where the gradient is steep, such as the high passes in the Lake District and then there are stretches of mostly level ground as well. The number of days required depends on how fit and how quickly or leisurely you want your Coast to Coast walking holiday to be. Aim for around two weeks.
There are many accommodation options along this route, from camping to high end hotels. Bed & Breakfasts are a comfortable middle ground, and you certainly won't go hungry. If you're not into carrying your own pack, numerous companies can deliver your gear to your next night's accommodation.
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.
A.W. Wainwright was the creator of this popular walk which he described in 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. For a more recent publication, Cicerone is excellent, or you could go for our own Almis Simans' Odin's Last Rune, an entertaining narrative that combines trail guide, history and nordic legend.
WHEN TO GO
If you want to avoid the rain, don't go at all! Seriously though, it can rain at any time but Britain's summer months of July, August & September offer you the best chance.
For a list of products that will help you survive the trek, check our gear list.