The 599 open top bus driving round a corner. There is a grey slate house in the background, and green trees and bushes on either side of the road.

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.

Map of the UK showing where the Lake District National Park is located We are encouraging you to walk, cycle, travel by boat, rail or bus when exploring the Lake District. The Lake District is in the North-West of England, with Manchester to the South and Carlise to the North. 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!

Current and sustainable travel offers

Best ways to get to and around the Lake District:

Current sustainable travel offers

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.

£2 bus fares cap

All bus fares are capped to just £2 per single journey until December 2024 - so why not give the bus a try for some scenic adventures? Follow our social media for ideas and inspiration. Even in autumn and winter many bus services still run in our most popular valleys, including the Borrowdale, Langdale, Grasmere and Coniston and the core services such as the 555 through the heart of the Lake District, the 599 Bowness to Grasmere and the x4/5 Penrith to Keswick, Cockermouth and Workington still run. More details from Stagecoach or Traveline.

Wasdale shuttlebus

A free bus is running from 25 May  - 15 September 2024 on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. Wasdale can get very busy and parking is limited, so why not leave your car and hop on the shuttlebus. More information and timetables can be found on our Wasdale shuttlebus page.

Cockermouth to Buttermere shuttlebus

Running every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday from 4 May to 1 September 2024 the Stagecoach Cockermouth to Buttermere shuttlebus will be running for £2. New early and late journeys will operate daily. For more information and timetables, visit our Buttermere shuttlebus page.

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 year.

Bargain tickets

Check out the Explorer and group tickets which can be great value.

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 and across UK and Europe at Omio:

Buses and coaches

National Express runs 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

Visit Buses around the Lake District | Stagecoach for 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 our 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 one day. The following four lakes have passenger boats with multiple stops:


  • Windermere Lake Cruises (website) stops: Lakeside, Ferry House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Jetty, Bark Barn Pier, Wray Castle, Brockhole and Ambleside.
  • Windermere Lake Guide (PDF) leaflet shows all piers, jetties and towns around the lake.




  • Keswick Launch (website) stops: Keswick, Ashness Gate, Lodore, High Brandelhow, Low Brandelhow, Hawes End, Lingholm, Nichol End
  • Park and Sail (website) 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 (PDF) shows all piers and jetties.


Cyclists by lakeshore copyright Charlie Hedley


For details on taking bikes on buses and boats, as well as places to hire mountain and electric bikes with route ideas for half and full day rides, visit: Cycling


Walkers on Loughrigg fell overlooking Windermere copyright John Morrison


Explore Miles without Stiles, a collection of easy access routes or a guided walk, where volunteers share new routes on gentle paths. Visit Walking


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

  • Take J36 and A590 for the southern end of the Lake District
  • Take J40 and A66 or A592 for the northern end of the Lake District

Average journey times:

  • London and the south east to the Lake District: 5 hours
  • Manchester to the Lake District:1.5 hours
  • York to the Lake District: 2 hours
  • Kendal to Keswick:1 hour
  • Windermere to Keswick: 40 minutes
  • Kendal to Wasdale:1.5 hours

Check out our Lake District Sat Nav codes but beware of following 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