Car-free holidays in The Lake DistrictCumbria
The Lake District may not sound like an area that would be easy to explore by public transport, but in fact you can arrive on a speedy train (much faster than driving) and then get around on an excellent network of buses. Even better, the buses are often double decker and open-topped, giving you unbeatable views over the lakes and mountains.
How to get to the Lake District and how to get around without a car
Arrive by train and explore by bus, bike, boat or on foot.
- How to get to the Lake District without a car: The railway is a great way to arrive for car-free adventures in the Lakes. Avanti West Coast runs fast trains to Penrith from Glasgow (just over two hours) and London Euston (three hours – about half the time it would take in a car). You can book tickets fee-free through Railsmartr.
- Trains on the branch line for Windermere leave from Oxenholme at least hourly. And the scenic Cumbrian coastal railway from Carlisle to Lancaster opens up some more remote areas, away from the Lake District’s tourist hot spots.
- How to get around the Lakes without a car: A great network of buses connects the major sights and a range of dayrider and explorer tickets that offer you hop-on-hop-off freedom. You can also buy a Bus and Boat ticket, which combines one day’s unlimited bus travel in a specified area with a boat ride on one of four lovely lakes.
- There are bikes to hire at Windermere station and some spectacular walks across the area from gentle stream-side strolls to hiking in the mountains. There’s even a special Rambler Ticket on the bus for groups doing linear walks.
- The Dales Way, the famous Coast to Coast, the Cumbria Way and a host of other routes criss cross the county. And new sections of the England Coast Path have recently opened too.
Where to base yourself for a car-free holiday in the Lake District
With waterside walks and literary connections, moors and mountains, flowering woods or wildlife-rich dunes, the Lake District national park is heaving with great places to visit. Scroll down for more details about stunning staycations in each of these Cumbrian towns and villages.
- Make Windermere your base and you’re at the heart of the action, by England’s largest lake with boat rides, bike rides, and a stylish boat museum on the doorstep and scenic buses from the door to Wordsworth Grasmere.
- Stay in Penrith, just outside the national park, to reach tranquil Ullswater and head west to Keswick with its fell walks, cultural venues, and links to Whinlatter Forest.
- For a totally different kind of Cumbrian holiday, Ravenglass near the coast is close to steam railways, sandy beaches and some of the less touristed western lakes.
Keep reading for more about memorable car-free holidays in each of these places.