Train at Windermere station copyright LDNPA

Getting to and around the Lake District

Help us look after this spectacular landscape by leaving the car at home and choosing alternative ways to explore the national park. We are encouraging people to walk, cycle, travel by boat, rail or bus when exploring the Lake District.

From sitting back watching the landscape go by on a train to connecting with the National Park by boat, let the journey be part of your adventure!

Map of the UK showing where the Lake District National Park is located The Lake District is in the North-West of England, with Manchester to the South and Carlise to the North.

Best ways to get to and around the Lake District:

Summer 2022 sustainable travel options

Make the journey part of your adventure! Arriving by boat, bus or bike helps reduce traffic and parking pressures and means you can enjoy more views and some stress-free, sustainable travel.

Buttermere Shuttle Bus from Cockermouth

Catch the free shuttle bus from Cockermouth to the beautiful Buttermere valley. Spring bluebell timetable 7 May - 5 June. Summer timetable starts 23 July.

Park and Sail from Keswick to Derwentwater West shore and Catbells

Park at Keswick Rugby Club and get 15% off travel on Keswick Launch for access to Cat Bells, Derwentwater lakeshore and the fells beyond. Direct shuttle service to Hawes End for Catbells as well as the regular stops around the lake. Available all summer.

Cat Bells Shuttle Bus

Shuttle bus from Keswick to the foot of Catbells, runs throughout summer holidays.

Wasdale Shuttle Bus

The Wasdale shuttle bus is back for summer 2022 after a great trial last year. Regular buses from Netherwasdale and connecting with trains from Ravenglass to take you into the dramatic Wasdale valley and Wastwater.

Special summer bus fares

Ullswater group/family bus ticket

Take a group of upto 5 on the Ullswater bus all day, from Penrith through to Glenriding, for just £17.

Borrowdale group/family bus ticket

Take a group of upto 5 on the 78 Borrowdale open top bus and on the 77 Honister Rambler route, for just £17.

Park and Explore

For just £18 park in one of five car parks in the Central Lakes area and take any bus in the Central Lakes Dayrider zone with Park and Explore.

Boat and Bus tickets

Ride the bus all day, and enjoy a cruise on either Windermere, Ullswater, Coniston Derwent or Derwent water with combined bus and boat tickets.

Bike Hire

We've got electric and mountain bikes to hire at two locations in the Lake District; Hawkshead and Coniston Boating Centre. With suggested quiet and off-road routes including to the Western shore of Windermere, along Elterwater and even into the stunning Langdale valley, cycling is the perfect way to see the Lake District with no parking problems!


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

Search and book trains across the UK at Trainline

Search and book trains across the UK and Europe at Omio

Buses and coaches

National Express run coaches to various towns in the Lake District from all over the UK.

Map showing bus routes across the Lake District National Park

Stagecoach buses across the Lake District

Plan your journey at

Or download the Lakes by Bus pdf guide, with maps, timetables and details of bus and boat trips and open-top bus tours, it has everything you need to explore the Lake District.

Minibus tours and bus explorer tickets

There are many companies offering you the chance to sit back and watch the scenery, with half day, full day and bespoke tours around the lakes and fells. Take a look at our Minibus tours and bus explorer tickets page.

Steamers and boat cruises

Taking a cruise is a great way to experience the beautiful Lake District views. Combining a one-way cruise with a bus, walk or cycle can be a great way to travel around a lake in a day.

These lakes have passenger boats with multiple stops:


Windermere Lake Cruises - stops at Lakeside, Ferry House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere Jetty, Bark Barn Pier, Wray Castle, Brockhole on Windermere and Ambleside.

Windermere lake guide shows piers, jetties and towns around the lake


Ullswater Steamers - stops at Glenridding, Aira Force, Howtown and Pooley Bridge.

Ullswater lake guide shows all piers, jetties and boat routes


National Trust Gondoloa - stops at Coniston Boating Centre, Brantwood and Lake Bank Jetty.

Coniston Launch - stops at Coniston Boating Centre, Waterhead, Brantwood, Sunny Bank, Lake Bank Jetty.

Coniston Water lake guide shows all piers, jetties and boat routes


Keswick Launch - stops at Keswick, Ashness Gate, Lodore, High Brandelhow, Low Brandelhow, Hawes End, Lingholm and Nichol End.

Park and Sail - park at Keswick Rugby Club for just £4 a day and get 15% off Keswick Launch tickets. The best way to reach the West side of the lake and Cat Bells, where there is very limited parking.

Derwentwater lake guide shows all piers and jetties


Cyclists by lakeshore copyright Charlie Hedley


Our cycling in the Lake District page has details on taking bikes on buses and boats, as well as places to hire mountain and electrict bikes with route ideas for half and full day rides.

Cycling in the Lake District


Walkers on Loughrigg fell overlooking Windermere copyright John Morrison


Walking is a wonderful way to explore the Lake District landscape.

Try our Miles without Stiles routes, a collection of easy access routes suitable for all.

Book a guided walk, let our volunteers introduce you to new routes on gentle paths.

Walking in the Lake District


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

Average journey times:

  • London and the south east to the Lake District is about five hours
  • Manchester to the Lake District: 1 and a half hours
  • York to the Lake District: 2 hours
  • Kendal to Keswick: 1 hour
  • Windermere to Keswick: 40 minutes
  • Kendal to Wasdale: 1 and a half hours

Check out our sat nav codes for places in the Lake District but beware of following the sat nav at all costs on small country roads

See car parks across the Lake District

Lake District Kind


Things to know before you go, tips to plan a great trip and help us look after the landscape you love.

Be Lake District Kind

Need holiday accommodation?

Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

Booking here, supports here

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

Our commission helps keep the National Park special: Browse and book Lake District accommodation online