This classic coast-to-coast cycle challenge in the north of England.
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.
Coast to Coast - Cycling from the Irish Sea to the North Sea
Sense of achievement - Cross England by pedal power
Natural beauty - ever changing scenery from the Lake District across the North Pennines
On your doorstep - A superb and classic cycle route relatively close to home
Why Book this Tour
If you like a challenge why not try this point to point ride. Leave motorised transport behind and get from one side of the country to the other under your own steam amid beautiful English countryside. Travelling by bike gives you the freedom to get up close to your surroundings, awakening your senses so you experience more.
- Small Group
- 50 plus
Day 1: Join trip Whitehaven
Whitehaven is 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. We meet up here at our hotel in Whitehaven, where you can familiarise yourself with your bike for the trip and make any necessary adjustments. We use 21 gear Ridgeback Meteor hybrid bikes which are ideally suited to the terrain and will provide maps and detailed route notes which means we can cycle at our own pace, either individually or with other group members. There will be a short introductory briefing this evening. Our Explore Leader will transfer the baggage and provide emergency vehicle back up and will meet us at various points during our days cycling. After dinner there'll be time for a drink with fellow riders and to discuss the challenge ahead!
Day 2: Cycle through the Lake District
After breakfast we'll freewheel down to Whitehaven Harbour to perform the customary wheel dipping ceremony 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 café, 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 cafe at the top - the highest in England - for a hot drink and a welcome slice of cake! Then it's a fast freewheel for several miles down towards the picturesque Pennine village of Garrigill. The pull out of Garrigill 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 dorm style rooms with shared facilities and there's a great pub a short way up the valley 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, trip ends Tynemouth
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 here 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.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 85 kilometres (total 1093 metres ascent and 1476 metres descent).
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
Touring with Explore
Explore have been creating award-winning adventures for over 35 years and are experts when it comes to unique travel experiences.
Their small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981 and today, Explore are one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 600 trips to more than 130 countries. At Explore, they are passionate about travel and have developed a wide range of unique activities and experiences which gives their customers an unforgettable adventure with a team of award-winning Explore leaders .
With Explore, you'll get to see your destination from a whole new perspective that takes you away from the typical well-trodden tourist track. You'll have the chance to meet, dine and stay with local people, rest in authentic accommodation with other like-minded explorers and travel to must-see destinations with a unique Explore twist.
From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking on mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore. They will provide their expert knowledge, exciting itineraries and outstanding service as part of their sustainable travel experiences which take you under the skin of the country you're visiting for the adventure of a lifetime.