Looking up a bus timetable copyright Charlie Hedley>

Transport, driving and facilities

Why not have a carefree day out by leaving the car behind? Many of the Lake District's best loved places are easily explored by bus, boat, bike or boot. Enjoy the views without worrying about traffic or parking and help the environment.

Public transport in the Lake District

Trains

The West Coast mainline runs to the east of the Lake District, connecting Oxenholme, Penrith and Carlisle with London and Glasgow. A direct train runs from Manchester to Windermere. Local trains call at Kendal, Staveley and Windermere. There is also a route following the Cumbrian coastline.

Buses

Towns and villages such as Ambleside, Windermere, Coniston and Keswick are linked by bus, with extra services in the summer. Find out more at: GoLakes Travel - buses (opens in new window)

Minibus tours and bus explorer tickets

There are many companies offering you the chance to sit back and watch the scenery. Take a look at our Minibus tours and bus explorer tickets page.

Steamers and launch trips

Taking a cruise is a great way to experience the beautiful Lake District views. Our on the water section has more details.

Public transport - useful links

All links open in new window.

By car

Map of the UK showing where the Lake District National Park is located

The average journey time from London and the south east is about five hours. It takes about one and half hour from Manchester and two hours from York.

The M6 runs to the east of the Lake District National Park:

  • Take Junction 36 and then A590 for the southern end of the Lake District
  • Take Junction 40 and the A66 or A592 for the northern end of the Lake District

If you're using satellite navigation, check out our Postcodes for Sat Nav page.

Even A roads can be quite twisting so allow extra time for your journey and for finding a space in Car parks in high season. Example journey times are:

  • Kendal to Keswick: one hour
  • Windermere to Keswick: 40 minutes
  • Kendal to Wasdale: one and a half hours

Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass between Eskdale and the Langdales have gradients of 1 in 3 and Honister Pass between Borrowdale and Buttermere is 1 in 4, making them some of the steepest roads in England!

Travelling by car - useful links

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Need holiday accommodation?

Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

We've cosy holiday cottages, quirky boutique hotels, friendly bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels!

Our commission goes towards keeping the National Park special: Browse and book accommodation online here