Help us look after this spectacular landscape by leaving the car at home and choosing alternative ways to explore the national park. In a bid to reduce the number of visitors arriving by car, 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, plan your visit using our suggestions below.
The Lake District is in the North-West of England, with Manchester to the South and Carlise to the North.
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.
National Express run coaches to various towns in the Lake District from all over the UK.
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.
Catch the free shuttle bus from Cockermouth to the beautiful Buttermere valley, every day this summer from 17 July til the 5 September.
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.
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.
Ullswater Steamers - stops at Glenridding, Aira Force, Howtown and Pooley Bridge.
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.
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.
Our cycling in the Lake District page has details on taking bikes on buses and boats, as well as places to hire bikes and some ideas for great cycling routes.Cycling in the Lake District
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, from family rambles to high fell summits.Walking in the Lake District
The M6 runs to the east of the Lake District National Park:
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
The nearest airports are Manchester to the south and Glasgow to the north. There is a railway station at Manchester airport with services that run to Oxenholme next to Kendal, Kendal, Staveley and Windermere.
Carlisle Lake District Airport is now open, offering flights from Dublin, Belfast and London Southend.
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