Visitors to the Lake District have a good number of options for getting around, despite the very rural nature of much of the area. If you opt for travelling by car, then expect some pretty narrow roads and traffic jams in places, depending on the time of year.
However, if the idea of leaving the car at your accommodation, or even back at home appeals, then there are some enticing options to enable you to fully enjoy the scenery that the Lakes has to offer.
The Lake District boasts good public transport links and the local authorities recently launched a project to encourage more visitors to try a car-free holiday. The Give the Driver a Break initiative is well worth checking out with a range of leaflets to flag up the most scenic routes, plus options for touring on public transport, from local tourist offices.
More information from www.golakes.co.uk/information/give-the-driver-a-break.aspx.
So whether you want to take to the water on a scenic steamboat cruise, or let the bus driver do the work while you peruse the peaks, read on for more transport advice.
Getting around by car
If the independence of a car appeals, but you don’t want the hassle of driving there and back, you can hire a car in situ. See my Lake District car hire page for more information.
Getting around by taxi
You will find numerous taxi firms located across the Lakes. Taxis often wait near major rail stations for arriving passengers – try Oxenholme for a short taxi run to Kendal or Windermere.
Remember, once in the area, you cannot flag down a licensed taxi on the street. You have to call the taxi firm beforehand to book, or ask the b&b owner to call for you.
Getting around by bus
Stagecoach Cumbria runs a network of rambler bus services. For timetables, check out www.stagecoachbus.com.
Buy a North West Explorer ticket for travel on all Stagecoach buses in Cumbria and Lancashire; tickets can be bought on any Stagecoach service.
Cumbria Goldrider offers unlimited travel on any Stagecoach service when travelling anywhere within Cumbria, with seven or 28-day tickets available. These can be purchased from Stagecoach, travel shops or selected tourist information centres.
For a real taste of history on the Lakes borders, try the Hadrian’s Wall Bus (AD122), operating along the course of the wall between Easter and October. This nifty vehicle can also accommodate up to two bicycles free of charge. See www.nationaltrail.co.uk/hadrianswall for more information.
Getting around by tour
Try the following for an organised sightseeing excursion:
- Lake District Tours (+44 1539 552106; www.lakedistricttours.co.uk) offers half- or full-day trips, with the emphasis being on nature
- Lakes Supertours (+44 1539 442751; www.lakes-supertours.com) offers half-day and full-day tours in 16-seater coaches, including excursions to the literary hotspots of the area
- Mountain Goat (+44 1539 445161; www.mountain-goat.com) offers full holidays, half-day and full-day tours of Lakes delights.
Getting around by train
To let off some steam on a scenic rail trip, options include the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway (Lakeside LA12 8AL; + 44 1539 531594: www.lakesiderailway.co.uk), or the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway (Ravenglass CA18 1SW; +44 1229 717171, www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk).
A particularly scenic trip runs along the coastline of Cumbria, heading from Barrow-in-Furness in the south up to Carlisle in the north; details from Northern Rail (www.northernrail.org).
Getting around by boat
When in the Lakes don’t pass up the opportunity to take to the water with an A-to-B sailing, or a more relaxing lake cruise between key sites. The key operators are as follows:
- Coniston Launch (Coniston LA21 8AJ; +44 1768 775753; www.conistonlaunch.co.uk); Steam yacht Gondola (Coniston Pier LA21 8AN, +44 1539 463831; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gondola)
- Keswick Launch (Keswick CA12 4AB; +44 1768 772263; www.keswick-launch.co.uk)
- Windermere Lake Cruises (Bowness LA23 3HQ; +44 1539 443360; www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk)
- Ullswater Steamers (Glenridding CA11 0US; +44 1768 482229; www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk).
Finally, for general public transport enquiries, contact Traveline North East & Cumbria (+44 0871 200 2233; www.traveline.info).