What is the C2C Coast to Coast cycle route?
How long is the C2C? How many days does it take to cycle? Where does the C2C route go? And more…
- The C2C is 136 miles long from Whitehaven on the west coast of England to Sunderland on the east coast
- Most cyclists take 3-4 days to complete the ride, almost always from west to east
- There is an alternative start at Workington and an alternative finish at Tynemouth (passing through Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
- There are testing hills and there is beautiful scenery as the route passes through the Lake District and the Pennines on the way to the North Sea
- It is estimated that up to 15,000 people cycle the route every year, so there can often be a real camaraderie along the way
- There is accommodation along the way, but they do get booked up, so best to book your own accommodation in advance
Have a read of Richard Peace’s blog post: 5 Reasons the C2C is so popular.
The C2C Coast to Coast Cycle Map and Guide Books
There are two C2C Coast to Coast cycle maps and two guide books covering this iconic coast to coast cycle route across the north of England.
We have each of them for sale in our webstore, so if you are looking to buy a C2C map or guide book, you are in the right place. You will also find information on route changes below.
More details below.
The C2C Route
The route is generally done West to East, and this is how the C2C map and guide books work, with start points at Whitehaven and Workington, and end points at Tynemouth and Sunderland.
The Whitehaven branch of the C2C starts gently, before some hills taking you to the edge of the Lake District, with wonderful views of Loweswater and Crummock Water, before arriving at the village of Lorton (nice little shop/tea shop here).
The Workington branch meanders up and down to Cockermouth, before setting off for Lorton (see route alterations below).
There is then a stiff climb to Whinlatter Visitor Centre before dropping to Keswick.
(Note: route alterations in place as a result of the 2015 Cumbrian floods. You can find details if you scroll down on this page.)
After Penrith, the main hills of the route start, as you cross the Pennines. Some of these climbs are a real challenge, and they do come thick and fast!
Then the route drops and finally becomes pretty flat as it heads for the coast and you re-enter towns and cities.
Both the finish to the route in Tynemouth via Newcastle and the route to Sunderland are very good, and the final end points at the North Sea are grand!
It’s about here that you can feel quite proud of your achievement, crossing the width of England, coast to coast, before wondering “What next?”
Off-road sections of the C2C
Off-road alternatives are often available, some of them a bit rugged for standard bikes. Other off-road sections are on converted railway lines, and are really excellent.
Personally I would recommend doing the off-road sections: the views tend to be great. You can take advice on which in one or other of the guide books.
The C2C Coast to Coast Cycle Maps and Guide Books
I would strongly recommend cycling the route with a map. Having lived in Cockermouth, it is not uncommon to come across C2C cyclists without one and looking slightly lost!
While there is generally pretty good signposting along the route, it is not complete and is sometimes confusing. The signposts won’t tell you how far you have to go to your next stop either!
You can buy them singly or as a package of map and guide book.
The Footprint C2C Cycle Route Map is printed on waterproof paper and comes in a plastic wallet. The mapping is clear and helpful.
The Ultimate C2C Guide – Coast to Coast by Bike, published by Excellent Books, written by Richard Peace
Richard’s guide book has introductory sections including:
- The Route
- Route surface and signage
- How long should I take?
- When should I go?
- Supported or unsupported
- Riding information and advice
- Travel information
There are then separate sections on each part of the route, eg Whitehave – Keswick, each containing:
- Route info
- Height chart
- What to see and do
- Where to stay
- Colour photos
Jeremy’s guide has introductory notes on:
- Why do it
- Choosing your route
- When to go
- Getting there and getting back
- Planning your itinerary
- Specialist C2C companies
- Where to stay
- Choosing your bike
- What to take
- Food and drink
- What to wear
There are then separate sections on each part of the route, covering:
- Description of route
- Colour photos
You can buy the C2C Coast to Coast Cycle Maps and Guide Books by clicking here. Or put them in the basket below.
You can also read more about the route at The Guardian newspaper’s website