Saint Bees Head - Avoid the Honeypots!

Day 2 of our 3 Day trip to the Western Lake District started at Saint Bees Head.  Towering red stanstone cliffs and a gorgeous sandy beach greet you at the tiny town that marks the start of the famous Coast-to-Coast long distance walk.  

The Coast-to-Coast is a 182-mile unofficial and mostly unsignposted long-distance footpath between the west and east coasts of Northern England.  We would touch just a little of it on our hike today, but it gives you a good taste for how spectacular that hike would be.  Maybe one day – if I can get fit enough?!

Follow the link for the All Trails Map we used for our hike.

Distance:  15.3 kms

Time:  5 hours 45 minutes (at a very leisurely pace!)

Highlights:  Saint Bees Head – the start of the famous long distance Coast-to-Coast Walk, Seabirds, Saint Bees Lighthouse

Saint Bees

The walk started in the beach car park at Saint Bees.  At the time of writing, you can park your car there all day for a fiver.  There are public toilets there too. 

The start of the walk leads you uphill to walk along the 200 million year old red sandstone cliffs and gives you great views of this pretty coastline.

St. Bees Head
Saint Bees - Start of the Coast-to-Coast Walk
Saint Bees - Start of the Coast-to-Coast Walk

The beaches here were pretty well deserted.  Even at the hight of mid Summer, you could have had them all to yourself if you wanted.

Flora and Fauna

Saint Bees Head is a great place to spot seabirds and is an RSPB protected area.  Listen for them screaming overhead as you walk and watch them perched on the cliff edges all along the walk.

Saint Bees - Deserted Beaches
Saint Bees - Deserted Beaches
Saint Bees Seabirds on the Cliffs
Saint Bees Seabirds on the Cliffs
Saint Bees Sea birds
Seabird spotting at Saint Bees Head

Saint Bees Lighthouse

Everyone has to do the chores – even if you live in a lighthouse.  Can you spot the washing line in the photo below?!

Saint Bees Head Lighthouse
Saint Bees Head Lighthouse

Lowlight - Sandwith

We were aiming for refreshments at the Dog & Partridge pub in Sandwith – but they were sadly closed, due to Covid.

St. Bees - Dog & Partridge Pub - Sandwith
Dog & Partridge Pub - Sandwith - Closed due to Covid

Shortly afterwards, you pass the signpost where the famous Coast-to-Coast Walk peels off to the left inland.

St Bees - Coast to Coast Walk Signpost
Coast to Coast Walk Signpost


A welcome beer awaited inn one of the pubs in Saint Bees at the end of the walk.  There was just enough left of the afternoon for a short drive to the beach at Coulderton.  A rickety road runs under the railway through a tunnel and out onto the shoreline.  

An unexpected string of bungalows line the beach – an eclectic mix of ramshackle doer uppers and little castles, complete with conservatories and neat flower filled gardens and everything in between.  These little houses are so close to the beach that it makes you wonder if some might once have been washed away?

Saint Bees Head Coastline
Saint Bees Head Coastline

There’s plenty more to see in the Western Lake District.  Read on to Day 3 for the last part of our trip.