If you’re planning to visit the Lake District, but don’t fancy negotiating winding mountain roads, we’ve got good news: it’s perfectly possible to explore this stunning part of the UK without a car. Whether you’re an environmentally-conscious traveller or just want to sit back and enjoy the journey, the Lake District’s public transport is a great way to experience the region’s beauty.
Kick-off at Windermere
We recommend starting your journey in Windermere, easily accessible by train from most major cities. This charming town is not only home to England’s largest lake, but it’s also a central hub for Lake District’s public transport. From here, numerous bus routes fan out across the region, making it a perfect base for your car-free adventure.
The 599 Open-top Bus
One of our favourite ways to see the Lakes is the 599 open-top bus. This scenic route stretches from Bowness to Grasmere and offers stunning views of the lakes and mountains. Be sure to bring your camera!
- Bowness-on-Windermere: Start your trip by hopping on the bus in Bowness. This bustling town is full of shops, cafes, and the must-see World of Beatrix Potter Attraction.
- Ambleside: Next, the bus winds its way to Ambleside. A beautiful stop where you can explore the town’s history, visit Bridge House, or stroll to the beautiful Stock Ghyll Force waterfall.
- Grasmere: Your final destination on the 599 is Grasmere, famous for its connections to Wordsworth. Don’t miss the chance to sample the famous Grasmere Gingerbread while you’re here!
The Coniston Rambler (505 route)
For a trip to the western side of the Lake District, catch the 505 Coniston Rambler from Windermere. This route takes you on a spectacular journey through the heart of the Lakes.
- Hawkshead: A quintessentially English village with cobbled streets and charming whitewashed cottages, Hawkshead is worth a visit. The Beatrix Potter Gallery here offers a glimpse into the life of the beloved children’s author.
- Tarn Hows: Ask the driver to let you off at the Tarn Hows stop. This beautiful spot is one of the most visited in the Lake District, and it’s easy to see why. The tranquil tarn, surrounded by woodland and high fells, offers a circular walking route with stunning views.
- Coniston: End your journey in Coniston, a lovely village with the iconic Coniston Old Man in the backdrop. Hop on a steam yacht gondola on Coniston Water or visit the Ruskin Museum to learn about the area’s rich history.
Exploring the Lake District without a car allows you to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Sit back, relax, and let someone else do the driving while you take in the awe-inspiring views.
Remember, the real joy of the Lake District is discovering your own favourite places. Wherever the bus takes you, you’re sure to find beauty, tranquility, and adventure around every corner.