Why book this trip?
This classic coast to coast challenge cycles through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in the north of England from Whitehaven on the Irish Sea to Tynemouth on the North Sea.
- Sense of achievement– Cross England by pedal power
- Natural beauty– Ever changing scenery from the Lake District to the North Pennines
- C2C route– Cycle the width of England on the famous C2C route.
- DAY 1– Join trip Whitehaven
Arrive in Whitehaven, a small former mining town and port on the Irish Sea, on the western edge of the Lake District. This Georgian town was one of the first post Renaissance planned towns in the country.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Whitehaven at any time.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting, assigning bikes and to make any necessary adjustments. Should you miss the meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. We use 24 gear hybrid bikes, which are ideally suited to the terrain. Maps and detailed route notes will be provided, which means we can cycle at our own pace, either individually or with other group members. Our local guide will transfer the baggage, provide an emergency backup vehicle, and will meet us at various points during our cycling days.
After this, you have the option to have dinner at our hotel.
If you arrive earlier in the day, you might choose to take a wander around the town and harbour or visit The Rum Story, a museum detailing Whitehaven as being the main port for the UK’s rum trade in the 18th century.
- DAY 2– Cycle through the Lake District
After breakfast we’ll freewheel down to Whitehaven Harbour where the official Sea to Sea route starts then leave the town heading east. We’ll soon be travelling along a disused railway line heading towards the rolling green landscape of the Lake District, with stone walls and glorious views of the fells and tiny hamlets with tranquil Loweswater in the distance. Our first real test will come as we make the long climb up to the forested pass at Whinlatter. After 25 miles or so we will stop to grab a sandwich & slice of delicious homemade cake at the visitor centre caf, before the fast descent down to Keswick. We’ll spend the afternoon riding on more disused railways, back roads & quiet lanes, passing through quiet Cumbrian villages and hamlets. Our night stop is in Penrith a simple guesthouse close to the town centre. Tonight we’ll head into town for a well-earned dinner and drinks.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 86 kilometres (total 1509 metres ascent and 1385 metres descent).
- DAY 3– Cross the Pennines by pedal power
After a good night’s sleep and a full English breakfast to fuel us for today’s ride, we head uphill and east out of town. The hill can be quite a challenge early on, but we soon get into our stride, climbing then descending to the River Eden and Langwathby. After about an hour and a half the scenery – and the gradient – changes as we start the climb to Hartside Pass. The road zigzags its way up the side of the hill to the summit at 580m (1903ft). Whilst not the steepest hill on the ride, it’s a steady climb up the 3-4 miles to the top. Then it’s a fast freewheel for several miles down towards the picturesque Pennine village of Alston. The pull out of Alston towards Nenthead is one of the most challenging of the route – let’s not pretend it’s anything other than tough! But it’s over faster than you expect and we’re in Nenthead before you know it with just one more big climb remaining for the day. After Nenthead we reach the highest point of the C2C route, crossing into Northumberland before another good descent, a short gradual climb and then a final descent into Allenheads. Tonight’s accommodation is in a traditional English pub/guesthouse where we can enjoy a pint of real ale and something hearty and filling for dinner.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 54 kilometres (total 1428 metres ascent and 1173 metres descent).
- DAY 4– Cycle to Tynemouth where the trip ends
The final day’s ride starts with another early morning steep climb as we leave the village and climb up through the head of the valley. The reward is open moorland views and the longest most enjoyable descent of the entire route towards Rookhope. After Rookhope comes – yes, you’ve guessed it – another climb followed by a good long descent. The ascent out of Stanhope takes the award for steepest climb but there’s a great little cyclists cafe at the top – formerly the old miners railway station at the start of the ‘Waskerley Way’. From here we follow the disused railway line across open moorland, over cattle grids and through numerous gates as we start to descend towards Consett. Skirting the old steel town we soon join another disused railway line now known as Derwent Walk which takes us all the way to the outskirts of Newcastle. The C2C signs take us round docks and over bridges as we approach the city alongside the Tyne, with the view of the bridges in the centre of the city beckoning us on. It’s tempting to think Newcastle might be the end of the ride, but there’s still another 12 miles to go! With the river on our right we weave our way through Wallsend and North Shields. Before passing a marina, and following the Tyne for the last few miles to the sea. There’s one more very short hill before our final destination – the small bay at Tynemouth with the ruins of Tynemouth Castle and Priory on the headland above, and the end point of our Coast to Coast ride. There’s a great feeling of real achievement as we reach the North Sea, and realise that we just crossed England by pedal power!
Our journey ends at Tynemouth Castle so we leave the bikes and take a short walk to Tynemouth metro station on the Tyne and Wear Metro system, from where it is a 30 minute journey into central Newcastle and the mainline rail station. The earliest your train can depart from Newcastle is 7pm.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 85 kilometres (total 1,093 metres ascent and 1,476 metres descent).