C2C Coast to Coast Cycle Route and the mountain bike C2C

140 miles in length the C2C, Coast to Coast, cycle route begins in West Cumbria in either Whitehaven or Workingham and finishes at the North East coast in either Newcastle or Sunderland.  Hostels and bunkhouses are a popular choice of accommodation among participating cyclists since they offer groups sized rooms and a sociable atmosphere where guests can mingle and chat about the days events.

Coast to coast socialising in hostel / bunkhouse style accommodation
Coast to coast socialising in hostel / bunkhouse style accommodation

By tradition, the route is commenced by dipping the back wheel into the Irish Sea in Cumbria followed by dipping the front wheel in the shores of the North Sea. The route takes under a week, on average to complete, and due to the kinder gradients and prevailing winds, is usually completed from West to East.

Coast to Coast cyclists at Castle Creavie bunkhouse style accommodation
Coast to Coast cyclists at Castle Creavie bunkhouse style accommodation

Route of the Coast to Coast

The route passes through the English Lake District, the Eden Valley and the Pennines, uncovering some of Britain’s most magnificent scenery and jaw dropping landscapes while revealing unspoilt villages and hamlets along the way.  Hostels and bunkhouses offer a friendly and convenient place to stay for cyclists at half the price of a B&B or a hotel. You will likely meet and exchange stories with other cyclists and maybe even share a few useful tips when planning your next leg of the route.

The main routes are the Sea to Sea  route from Whitehaven, Egremount or Workington in the Lake District to Tynemouth or Sunderland on the Durham coast, and the Mountain Bike Coast to Coast which take a similar route over more adventurous terrain.  This article shows the locations of youth hostels, independent hostels and bunkhouses along both routes and suggests an itinerary for completing the ride using  independent hostels for your accommodation.  The maps in the article only shows hostels and bunkhouses which are easily reached from the routes.  Details of all the hostels and bunkhouses in the North of England are available on our Lake District,  Yorkshire,  North Pennines and Northumberland and Tyneside maps.

 Sea to Sea ( C2C ) Coast to Coast Cycle route.

The Sea to Sea ( C2C ) coast to coast bike route, which starts in Whitehaven, Egremont or Workington in Cumbria, covers 136 miles over the Pennines finishing in Sunderland or Tynemouth on the North Sea Coast. This coast to coast cycle ride, developed by Sustrans and it’s partners, has been open since 1994 and is one of England’s most popular cycle challenges.  The route utilizes National Cycle Network Routes 71, 7 and 14 which travel along unused railway line, purpose built cycle paths, unmade roads and quiet lanes.

C2C Map
Coast to Coast Walk and C2C Sea to Sea cycle route showing bunkhouses and hostels

For details of Wainwrights Coasts to Coast Walk look here.

Location of accommodation on the Sea to Sea C2C coast to coast cycle ride (West to East).

SWALLOW BARN camping barn is right on the Sea to Sea cycle route.  Swallow Barn lies in the picturesque Loweswater Valley and couldn’t be more convenient being right on the door step of the Coast to Coast cycle path. The camping barn is situated on a working beef and sheep farm and dates back 1670.

DERWENTWATER INDEPENDENT HOSTEL on the route, 2 miles south of Keswick.

DENTON HOUSE on the route in Keswick

HAWSE END CENTRE Accessible via launch from Keswick on the C2C cycle route

THE WHITE HORSE INN bunkhouse is on the route at Scales, 6 miles beyond Keswick.

BLAKEBECK FARM  camping barn  is on the route at Mungrisedale 8 miles beyond Keswick on the C2C route.

WAYFARERS INDEPENDENT HOSTEL On the route in Penrith.  The Coast to Coast cycle route passes 100m from the doorstep, secure indoor bike storage, a drying room, and cleaning and maintenance facilities make this an ideal place to stay after a hard day’s ride.

GREENGILL BARN is 6 miles south of the traditional C2C Sea to Sea cycle route and is included on the  Wiggo’s Loop extension of the C2C.

NEW ING LODGE  9 miles from the route at Shap.

HAGGS BANK bunkhouse and camping on the route in the North Pennines

ALSTON Youth Hostel is on the route at Alston

MILL COTTAGE bunkhouse is on the route at Nenthead.

NINEBANKS Youth Hostel is approximately 7 miles from the route in the North Pennines

BARRINGTON Bunkhouse is on the route at Rookhope. Nestled within the north Pennines and close to attractions such as the Beamish open air museum and Killhope mining museum, Barrington Bunkhouse offers cyclists comfortable accommodation in an area of outstanding beauty. The bunkhouse is popular with cyclists riding the Coast to Coast route and walkers on the Weardale way.

EDMUNDBYERS Youth Hostel is on the route at Edmundbyers

ALLENDALE Bunkhouse approx 10 miles from the ride in the North Pennines

HOUGHTON NORTH FARM.  North West of the C2C as it approaches Tyneside.

ALBATROSS  Close to the end of the Sea to Sea C2C route in Newcastle.  After dipping your front wheel into the North Sea to mark the end of the 140 mile Coast to Coast cycle ride, why not spend your final night(s) in this centrally located backpackers hostel. The vibrant hostel is located on Grey Street, one of Newcastle’s most prestigious and architecturally pleasing streets.

Sea to Sea C2C from White Horse Inn Bunkhouse along gated road to Mungrisedale
Sea to Sea C2C from White Horse Inn Bunkhouse along the gated road to Mungrisedale

Suggest itinerary for cycling the Sea to Sea C2C coast to coast route in 5 days (West to East)

Starting on the West Coast this challenging route begins in the North Lake District passing Bassenthwaite Lake if you travel the northern route or Loweswater on the southern route.  It is possible to get to Workington by train (Use National Rail Enquiries Plus Bike service to book your trains). For those who fancy a first night close to the start, SWALLOW BARN CAMPING BARN is right on the C2C route.

Day One Keswick is a great first night stop off after around 30 miles.  Two mile south of Keswick on the C2C route is  DERWENTWATER INDEPENDENT HOSTEL a perfect overnight choice. The HAWSE END CENTRE is accessible from the C2C route in Keswick via a regular Lake Launch and DENTON HOUSE on the C2C route in Keswick itself.   Six miles beyond Keswick on the C2C route is the THE WHITE HORSE INN BUNKHOUSE.    A couple of miles further along the route is  BLAKEBECK FARM CAMPING BARN on an idyllic lakeland farm with stunning views over Blencathra and full bedding and breakfast provided for cyclists.

Blakebeck Farm Camping Barn on the Sea to Sea C2C route at Mungrisedale
Blakebeck Farm Camping Barn on the Sea to Sea C2C route at Mungrisedale

Day Two Sea To Sea Day two takes you the 20 miles to Penrith where WAYFARERS INDEPENDENT HOSTEL is set up to welcome C2C cyclists, with secure bike storage and bike repair facilities.  If you are cycling with a group GREENGILL BARN is only 6 miles away and is on the Wiggo’s Loop of the C2C. The award winning NEW ING LODGE is 9 miles of the coast to coast cycle route at Shap.

Wayfarers Hostel bike repair on the coast to coast bike route.
Wayfarers Hostel bike repair on the coast to coast bike route.

Day Three is 22 stunning miles through to the “Roof of England” up into the North Pennines AONB.  After this hard day of cycling the wonderfully isolated HAGGS BANK BUNKHOUSE & CAMPING, right on the C2C route, will provide a comfortable bunk and safe cycle storage, whilst ALSTON YOUTH HOSTEL on the C2C route at Alston has private rooms and MILL COTTAGE BUNKHOUSE  on the route at Nenthead sleeps up to six in its cosy bunk room as is a short walk from the Miners Arms for evening meals.  If you fancy going  little further from the C2C route try NINEBANKS Youth Hostel (approx 7 miles) or ALLENDALE BUNKHOUSE (approx 10 miles).

Haggs Bank Hostel on the Sea to Sea C2C route
Haggs Bank Hostel on the Sea to Sea C2C coast to coast bike route

Day four starts out with an ascent to the NCN’s highest point of Black Hill on the Cumbrian / Northumberland border. From then on the route begins to descend to Rookhope (22 miles)  where BARRINGTON BUNKHOUSE provides a continental breakfast and meals are available in the nearby Rookhope Inn.    EDMUNDBYERS YOUTH HOSTEL AT LOW HOUSE HAVEN is five miles further along the coast to coast cycle ride on the C2C route and has private rooms or camping.

Day Five The last day of the Sea to Sea route is the mostly off road former railway track route to Sunderland or via Newcastle to Tynemouth. (43 miles). Accommodation is available in Newcastle at ALBATROSS Backpackers or you can venture Northwest of the city to HOUGHTON NORTH FARM ACCOMMODATION.

Albatross in Newcastle by the Sea to Sea C2C
Albatross in Newcastle by the Sea to Sea C2C

Mountain Bike Coast to Coast.  MTB trail Coast To Coast – The Tim Woodcock Route.

This 207 mile route from St Bees (Egremont) on the Cumbria coast to Robin Hoods Bay on the Yorkshire Coast, uses bridal ways and mountain bike trails to take a slightly different route from the Coast to Coast walk.  Exploring wild ground, with  total of 23,000 feet in climb, the route earns the glorious views over wild landscapes.  You can find the GPS for the route here.

Location of accommodation on the Mountain Bike Coast to Coast (West to East)

LOW GILLERTHWAITE FIELD CENTRE  Ennerdale.  Close to the start of the Mountain Bike Coast to Coast.   A few miles off route.

ELTERWATER  HOSTEL, Elterwater.   On the Mountain Bike Coast to Coast route

RYDAL HALL YOUTH CENTRE,  Rydal.   Group accommodation on the MTB C2C

Now Closed:  AMBLESIDE BACKPACKERS, Ambleside.  On the MTB coast to coast.

MAGGS HOWE CAMPING BARN, Kentmere.  Camping Barn and B&B on the Mountain Bike C2C route

NEW ING LODGE, Shap.  Provides meals, beer and accommodation on the MTB Trail Coast to Coast.

KIRKBY STEPHEN HOSTEL, Krikby Stephen.  In the centre of the village on the Mountain Bike Coast to Coast route.

DALES BIKE CENTRE, Fremington.  Half a mile East of Reeth on the Mountain Bike Coast to Coast

Now Closed:  RICHMOND CAMPING BARN, was 3 miles west of Richmond.

BROMPTON ON SWALE BUNKBARN, 3 miles east of Richmond.

COTE GHYLL MILL, Osmotherly.  On the MTB Trail Coast to Coast.

BANK HOUSE FARM HOSTEL, Glaisdale.  One mile from the Mountain Bike Coast to Coast  and route one mile west of Glaisdale.