Cycle tour Wainwrights route coast to coast
Single / Double
Any Start Date February to November
A six centre self-guided cycling tour coast to coast from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay in Northern England. Includes; 5 days of cycling, 6 nights bed and breakfast in en-suite (wherever possible) guesthouse accommodation, luggage transfers, emergency back-up, tour details and phone app navigation. Bicycle hire is also included.
This cycle tour follows (as close as possible) Alfred Wainwright’s famous coast to coast walking route. A challenging bike ride the route takes you through some of the most beautiful countryside of Northern England. For the more adventurous rider there are some optional off-road sections taking you off the beaten track. The first 2 days are in the spectacular Lake District National Park with an overnight stay in Keswick. Leaving ‘The Lakes’, the route climbs over the remote Pennine Hills before descending into the Yorkshire Dales to ‘Swaledale’ (a real gem). Riding through many picturesque villages along quiet country roads lined with dry stone walls you reach the market town of Richmond. The final section of the route passes through North Yorkshire Moors National Park, renowned for some of the best off-road biking in England. The tour finishes in the quaint fishing port of Robin Hood’s Bay.
START of TOUR: St Bees is on the North West coast of England.
ARRIVAL DAY: Your 1st night’s accommodation is in Whitehaven which can be reached by rail or national bus services. There is also secure car parking available there and many places to eat in the town from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and restaurants. Overnight: Whitehaven, Cumbria.
DAY ONE: Cycle from St Bees to Keswick. Distance approx. 34 miles (55 km). After breakfast you can begin the ride along quiet country roads to St Bees. Arrangements can be made to have you and your bikes transported to the official start of the route. After the traditional dipping of your rear wheel into the Irish Sea, the route heads inland towards the Lake District National Park. A very flat traffic-free section through beautiful Cumbrian countryside gives you time to find your legs before the first big climb. There is a choice of two routes to Keswick; Honister Pass or Whinlatter Pass. Both have a very steep hill to climb with fantastic views and a café at the top. This is England’s best loved National Park with breathtaking scenery and quaint lakeland towns like Keswick, your next overnight stop. This tourist town has a busy shopping centre with cafés, restaurants and traditional pubs for your evening meal. Overnight: Keswick, Cumbria.
DAY TWO: Cycle from Keswick to Kirkby Stephen. Distance approx. 40 miles (64 km). Leaving Keswick the route follows a lovely traffic-free track along a disused railway line crisscrossing the River Greta. With dramatic Lakeland fells all around you, there is another choice of route; a challenging off-road track that uses an old coach road over the fells, or alternatively minor country roads leading to Pooley Bridge. Next to Lake Ulswater, this pretty little town has shops, cafés and traditional pubs providing an opportunity for lunch. From here you will notice a change in the landscape to more rolling hills and lush green farmland. Nestled in the Eden Vale is Kirkby Stephen and your accommodation for tonight. This busy market town has a good variety of places to eat from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and hotel restaurants. Overnight: Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria.
DAY THREE: Cycling from Kirkby Stephen to Richmond. Distance approx. 33 miles (53 km). Today starts with a stiff climb up into the remote moors of the Pennine Hills. Your efforts are rewarded by the breathtaking views over this area of outstanding natural beauty. Descending from the Pennines are river valleys known as ‘The Dales’. The route follows through one of my favourite places Swaledale. You’ll ride through many picturesque villages like Keld, Muker, Gunnerside and Reeth, all providing opportunities for refreshments. On the right day this is a never forgotten bike ride, along quiet country roads lined with dry stone walls, finishing in the large market town of Richmond. Famous for its cobbled market square and castle, Richmond has many shops, restaurants and pubs to ensure an enjoyable evening here. Overnight: Richmond, N. Yorkshire.
DAY FOUR: Cycling from Richmond to Great Broughton. Distance approx. 30 miles (48 km). This is the shortest and easiest section of the tour, very flat compared with the high Lakeland fells and Pennine moors you have passed through. In the village of Danby Wiske there is a pub which is a must stop place. The landlord and landlady are real collectors. During the coast to coast walk people sign a book here and write comments about their trip. As you leave the pub you will see in the distance some hills, these are the Cleveland Hills and at the base of them is your next overnight accommodation at Great Broughton. Riding along minor country roads through lush green farmland, this will be an easy day to enjoy and take in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. Great Broughton has a variety of pubs or you can choose to eat in your hotel for tonight. Overnight: Great Broughton, N. Yorkshire.
DAY FIVE: Cycling from Great Broughton to Robin Hood’s Bay. Distance approx. 32 miles (51 km). The final stage of the tour has a wide variety of scenery from the North Yorkshire Moors and Eskdale valley to the rugged North East coast. This is the third National Park area of the tour and quite different from the others. There are many quaint Yorkshire villages in this area where the popular television series ‘Heartbeat’ was filmed including; Castleton, Danby, Grosmont and Sleights all providing a good opportunity for a lunch stop. Heading to the coast is an option of a detour to the seaside town of Whitby. This very popular tourist town is famous for its Abby, featured in Bram Stokers book ‘Dracula’. The final section of the route follows another disused railway along the dramatic coastline to Robin Hood’s Bay. This picturesque fishing village has a variety of places to eat from fish and chip shops to traditional pubs and hotel restaurants. Overnight: Robin Hoods Bay, N. Yorkshire.
DEPARTURE DAY: Return to Whitehaven. DEPARTURE DAY: Tour ends. Today you can catch a bus to the train station in Scarborough and travel onward from there.
RAIL TRAVEL from LONDON to ST BEES: The nearest rail station is Whitehaven.
RAIL TRAVEL from ROBIN HOODS BAY to LONDON: The nearest rail station is Whitby or Scarborough.
ARRIVING and DEPARTING by EUROLINES or NATIONAL EXPRESS COACH: This is by far the cheapest option for long-distance travel in England, Scotland, and Wales. There are very convenient buses from each major airport. National Express carries over 16 million passengers to 1000 different places in the UK every year, and thousands more from destinations across Europe and Ireland. You can purchase an e-Ticket where you print your travel ticket online in a matter of minutes OR you can obtain an m-Ticket and have your travel ticket sent to your mobile phone - no paper ticket required. You then present this to the driver on arrival.
ARRIVING BY CAR: Please ask for details.
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Discount rail tickets to St Bees and from Scarborough or Whitby
GRADE B cycling: Between 30 - 40 miles (48 - 64kms) a day. The route is principally a hilly ride. We recommend that clients bring their own bicycle equipment helmets, clothing and shoes. If you have clip-on shoes we suggest that you bring your pedals too. You will start cycling about 10am and finish at approx. 4pm. These grades are for guidance only and will depend on weather conditions and your fitness.