Leave thecar behind - How to travel sustainably through South Lakeland

From the stunning central lakes through to the foodie Furness peninsula, South Lakeland is a special slice of Cumbria renowned for its spectacular views, divine restaurants, and depth of cultural and heritage attractions.

However as we become more environmentally conscious, the way we choose to travel is changing. Swapping the trusty motor car for more sustainable travel methods makes a huge difference in reducing your carbon footprint AND helps to protect the spectacular landscapes that we are so famous for.

Why not make this the year you fully embrace public transport during your holidays?

Thankfully here in the Lake District, you don’t need a car to explore! Getting here by rail is easy and once you arrive there are plenty of transport links that allow you to sit back, relax and admire the beautiful scenic views rolling past.

Read on to find our top tips to ditch the car on your next visit…

By Rail 

Exploring Cumbria by train isn’t just convenient, it’s a way of tapping into history! The arrival on the railroad in the 1840’s marked the birth of modern tourism in the UK as it brought holidaymakers in huge numbers to our picturesque holiday spot.

And you can still travel along the same routes today! Cumbria is a mere three hours from London, two hours from Edinburgh and just over an hour from Manchester on the high-speed West Coast Main Line.

Leave the car behind - Grange-over-Sands promenade

For a coastal escape, why not start your journey at the elegant seaside town of Grange-over-Sands? Northern Rail operates direct services from Lancaster (24 minutes) along the Furness Line which wraps tightly along the South Lakeland Coast and takes in spectacular views across Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland fells along the way.

Arriving at Grange you will be delighted at the excellent selection of cosy cafes and family-run shops. This charming seaside town has beautiful views across the estuaries and is home to some of the finest parks and gardens on the Cumbrian Coast, perfect for a morning stroll.

From here there are easy rail links to the traditional village of Cartmel. Stroll to the magnificent Holker Hall with its 25 acres of romantic formal and woodland gardens, or stop at the Cartmel Village Shop for morning tea and try a traditional Cumbrian sticky toffee pudding.

Hop back on the train and continue along the South Lakeland Coast, there is something for everyone in this beautiful part of Cumbria, with many picture-perfect seaside resorts to stop at along the way.

Leave the car behind - Ulverston

Nearby Ulverston buzzes with a huge variety of year-round festivals and specialist events, plus a great selection of independent retailers scattered amongst the town’s cobbled streets.

Leave the car behind - Laurel & Hardy Museum, Ulverston

Head to the famous Laurel and Hardy Museum which started as one man’s small collection of memorabilia dedicated to the comedy legends, Stan and Ollie. Located in the 1930’s period ‘Roxy Cinema’, this homage to Stan and Ollie is well worth the detour.

Spend the afternoon at Shed 1 Distillery, where you can unwind with a contemporary style gin or a botanical inspired Afternoon ‘G&Tea’ in the stylish bar.

We also love the hands-on ‘make your own gin’ experience but make sure you plan ahead and prebook for this one!


If getting here by rail doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are plenty of ways to get onboard with sustainable travel once you arrive!

Why not leave the car at your hotel and jump on a bus? Stagecoach operates a huge number of routes throughout Cumbria, linking the best of our must-visit highlights.

You can purchase your ticket directly from the driver or online, and there are flexible ticket options to suit your length of stay.

Bus 6/X6 is the perfect route to suit everyone from families to history buffs.

Connecting the bustling market town of Kendal all the way through to Barrow on the west coast – with plenty of stops along the way including Grange and Ulverston, where you can immerse yourself in culture, good food, fun attractions and more.

Leave the car behind - Kendal

Choose your starting point and prepare for a full day of heritage highlights! Find a few more of our top picks below…

Brewery Arts Centre – Kendal’s centre for world-class theatres, music, art, cinema, and events. Not to mention the fantastic café and bar onsite.

Quaker Tapestry Museum – Located close to Kendal’s main bus station, visit this architecturally stunning and original Georgian meeting house where 350 years of social history and Quaker stories are brought to life with vibrant embroidered panels.

Kendal Castle – Built around 1200, the ruins of Kendal Castle perch above the town. This short stroll has rewarding 360-degree views once you reach the top.

Lakeland Motor Museum – Stop off nearby Newby Bridge to this museum which is home to one of the finest public displays of automotive memorabilia in the country. With over 30,000 exhibits including historic cars, motorcycles, and replicas of the famous Bluebird boats.

Electric Vehicles

Prefer to head out in your electric vehicle? No need to worry as Cumbria County Council has EV charging points conveniently located in carparks around the South Lakeland area, making it easier than ever to explore without fear of running out of battery!

  • 2 charging points (Rapid 50KW) at Brewery Street in Ulverston
  • 1 charging point at Low Fold in Ambleside (Rapid 50KW)
  • 1 charging point County Offices carpark in Kendal (Rapid 50KW Fast 7KW)

Find full details here

Supported by HM Government, ERDF and South Lakeland District Council

The Welcome Back to High Streets Project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and HM Government as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. More information here.




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