You don’t need to drive to visit the Lake District, Cumbria. Getting around by bus and train has never been so easy and there are some great savings on offer, too! Check out our ten reasons to enjoy a car free trip to the Lake District, Cumbria.

1. Getting here is quick and easy by train

Avanti train

Image: Avanti West Coast

Getting to the Lake District, Cumbria by train via the west coast main line with Avanti is quick and easy, with direct services transporting you to this beautiful part of the country. Sit back relax, enjoy views of the British countryside while you travel, with snacks and drinks available on board.

  • London Euston to Oxenholme, Lake District in 2.5 hours.
  • Birmingham to Oxenholme, Lake District in under 2.5 hours.
  • Glasgow to Carlisle in under 1.5 hours.
  • Glasgow to Penrith – The North Lakes in 1.5 hours.

2. Explore by Bus and Make The Journey Part of the Experience

Stagecoach bus

Image: Stagecoach

Once you’re here, it’s simple and straightforward to continue your journey on public transport, as Stagecoach run regular bus services across the region. Sit back, relax, and take in the stunning scenery along the way – we’re home to some of the most beautiful bus routes in the country. Some, like the 599, feature open top buses. Head for the top deck and enjoy those breathtaking views.

Our bus routes take in the majority of the county’s towns and villages, including Cumbria’s only city, Carlisle.  With great connections and journeys also passing by attractions, hotels and starting points for footpaths, it’s a great way to get around.

3. Save, Save, Save

Opting to travel by rail and bus is a great way to save on your travel costs, too. By booking ahead you can save on Avanti train fares – keep an eye out for mid-week off peak deals! Once you’re here, get around by bus: Stagecoach tickets are capped at £2 per single journey; if you’re doing multiple journeys in a day, buy a Central Lakes Day Rider ticket for just £9.50. Holders of English concessionary passes travel for free after 9.30am. Plus, there’s no need to worry about paying for parking!

4. Money off entry to attractions

Carlisle Castle

Image: Carlisle Castle

Travelling by bus and train is not only a great way to save on travel costs – you can also enjoy money off a range of attractions and activities in the Lake District, Cumbria too!

  • Carlisle Castle - enjoy 20% off entry by showing a train or bus ticket, or a bike helmet on arrival.
  • E-Bike Safaris - 5% discount on hire costs when arriving by public transport.
  • Wordsworth Grasmere – 20% off entry when you arrive by bus. Present your bus ticket to receive your discount.

5. Explore by Boat

Windermere Lake Cruises

Image: Windermere Lake Cruises

A boat ride is a must do when you visit the Lake District - it is the perfect way to enjoy 360 degree views of the Lakeland fells. You can combine a boat trip with your bus journey by asking the driver for a Bus & Boat Ticket when you board the bus. Bus & Boat Tickets are available for Coniston Launch, Derwentwater with the Keswick Launch Company, Ullswater Steamers and Windermere Lake Cruises.

Some boats also offer the chance to experience heritage transport options like the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, which connects with Windermere Lake Cruises at Lakeside. Hop on board and enjoy a short steam train journey to Haverthwaite, where you can catch the Stagecoach X6 bus towards Ulverston and Barrow, or back to the central Lakes.

6. Discover the Flavours of Cumbria

Storrs Hall afternoon tea

Image: Afternoon Tea at Storrs Hall

Cumbria is a fantastic destination for foodies, with a whole host of culinary delights to discover. From local ingredients to handcrafted spirits, cosy country pubs to Michelin star meals, there’s something for everyone. Plenty of great foodie spots can be reached by bus and train; check out our car free itinerary for food lovers and get inspired.

Cumbria is becoming known for its impressive local breweries and distilleries, with many offering tours and tastings. Enjoy them to the fullest and let our bus and train services take the worry out of planning a designated driver.

7. Stay Over and See More

Swan at Grasmere

Image: The Swan Inn at Grasmere

Extend your visit and stay over: you will be spoilt with the choice of accommodation, and many of our hotels are well served by bus routes too. Hop off the bus and into the pool at spa hotels across the region; take the whole family away to a self-catering cottage or apartment; get away from it all at a campsite or holiday park – the possibilities are endless. Train services to our towns and city of Carlisle also make for a great way to reach your perfect place to stay, with accommodation options just a short walk from the station.

8. Explore the Great Outdoors…

West Windermere Way

There is no place like the Lake District, Cumbria for a great adventure. Bus stops serve many of our most popular walks, including challenging Wainwrights as well as accessible routes like the West Windermere way and the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Trail. Keep an eye out for Miles Without Stiles routes: a collection of walks from the Lake District National Park, for those with mobility issues. If you’re new to hiking, try a guided walk to help you explore our landscapes confidently and safely.

Fly through the trees with attractions like Zip World Windermere or Go Ape; enjoy watersports on lakes like Coniston, Ullswater, Derwentwater and Windermere; try your hand at rock climbing, or hire a bike. By night, enjoy some spectacular stargazing opportunities. Cumbria has some of the darkest skies in the country – we’ve even been known to have displays of the Northern Lights!

9. …or head for indoor attractions

Shopping at Rheged Penrith

Our cultural attractions tell the story of the Lake District, Cumbria – from figures like Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth to our modern day artists and creatives, our rich history is on display across the region. Bus and train services transport you to the places where you can learn all about it.

10. Take care of our environment

Travelling to and around our beautiful county is a great way to leave a low carbon footprint and enjoy a sustainable stay. If you add to that a decision to shop local, eat local and use our amazing network of local tourism businesses, you’re helping to ensure the future of our Cumbrian countryside.

Make every journey count - start planning your stay now.




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