Cycling in the Lake district

Our Top Tips for Visiting the Lake District without a Car

28 June 2021 Local area

Car-free holidays in The Lakes

We’re often asked whether it’s possible to visit The Lakes via public transport and you’ll be pleased to learn the answer is a resounding YES! Thousands of holidaymakers enjoy a car free holiday in Cumbria each year, choosing to explore our beautiful region at a slower pace. To help you with your planning, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for visiting the Lake District without a car. Here we share our favourite bus routes and a selection of attractions that can be accessed by car, boat, bike, train or foot.

Please note: due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic some public transport providers have altered their routes and now require tickets to be purchased in advance. We advise looking at their websites prior to travelling to stay up to date with any changes that may have occured.

How to get around the Lake District without a Car

keswick rambler bus

Lake District bus service

There is an excellent bus network in The Lakes, which connects towns and villages to various points of interest throughout the National Park. Of course, the service doesn’t extend to every corner of the county, but we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to travel around the Lake District by bus.

Stagecoach Buses have a number of routes and we’re pleased to have a bus stop just a short walk from the entrance to Park Cliffe Caravan Park. In the summer we highly recommend a ride on the 599. From the top deck you’ll have an excellent vantage point for taking photos and will learn some really interesting facts by listening to the pre-recorded audio guide.

Better still, you can purchase a ‘Bus and Boat’ ticket which entitles you to unlimited bus travel and a single boat ride on Coniston, Derwentwater, Ullswater or Windermere. This is a great way to combine different modes of transports and enables you to see the beautiful scenery from two very different perspectives.

Photo credit: Andrew Bowden, Flickr

Lake District Wastwater

Private tour companies

There are a number of companies offering private mini bus Tours of the Lakes. This is a great way to experience the beautiful scenery without having to worry about keeping an eye on the road. Simply sit back and relax while someone else does the driving!

Some tour operators include a commentary, providing you with plenty of local information and stories. Most stop at points of interest for photos, toilet breaks and refreshments.

Exploring The Lakes by boat

If you’re planning a car-free getaway in The Lakes, we highly encourage you to get out on the water during your stay. Travelling by boat is a convenient way to get around and allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy summer roads.

Make your way to the various passenger terminals around the lakes and explore the spectacular scenery at a leisurely pace. Most companies operate a hop on, hop off service and do not require tickets to be booked in advance.

In some places it’s possible to combine your ticket with entrance to nearby attractions. For instance, Windermere Cruises sell tickets that include admission tor Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway and the Aquarium of the Lakes. Private cruises are also available.

Park Cliffe Lake District Children on bikes

Cycling Holidays in the Lake District

If you’re looking for a sustainable way to travel in the Lake District, our Pod ‘n’ Pedal holidays, might be the perfect option for you. Park Cliffe Caravan Park, along with The Quiet Site and Castlerigg Hall have combined forces to offer keen cyclists a memorable way to experience some of the Lake Districts best-loved sights.

Over the course of four days, you’ll cycle 70 miles, travelling from the north of the county to south. Each night you’ll stay in modern and comfortable camping pods and experience 5-star hospitality at some of the best independently owned holiday parks in The Lakes.

The route starts and finishes at a train station so you won’t need to bring a car. It’s suitable for both road and mountain bikes and passes through picturesque countryside, historic towns and offers spectacular lake views. Highlights include Ullswater, Aira Force, Sizergh Castle & Gardens and Dove Cottage.

Pod ‘n’ pedal holidays are closed for 2021. They will resume in 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you visit the Lake District without a car?

Absolutely! The Lake District is well connected to major towns and cities via rail and bus. There is direct train from Manchester to Windermere and the West Coast Mainline passes through Oxenholme Railstation. Connections are possible from London, Edinburgh, Leeds, York and Glasgow.

How to get to the Lake District without a car?

There are many ways to get to the Lake District without a car – The Lakes are well served by public transport. Train is one of the most convenient ways to travel. There is direct train from Manchester to Windermere and the West Coast Mainline passes through Oxenholme. There are regional stations at Penrith, Barrow and Kendal.

When is the best time of year to visit the Lake District by public transport?

If you’re relying on public transport for your holiday in the Lake District we recommend visiting in spring, summer or early autumn. Outside of this time many services operate a reduced service and trains, buses and boats are less frequent. You will be restricted as to where you can go and it will often take longer to get there.

Where are the best places to stay in the Lake District without a car?

Of course, we might be biased but we think Park Cliffe Caravan Park is one of the best places to stay in The Lakes without a car! We have a range of self-catering accommodation options well-suited to guests visiting via public transport or during a walking or cycling holiday. Stay in our static caravans, camping pods or Shepherd’s hut. You could even pitch a tent in our scenic grounds.

What are the best things to do in the Lake District without a car?

Plenty of attractions can be accessed via public transport, depending on where you choose to stay. From Park Cliffe it’s easy to reach Fell Foot Park, Wray Castle and the Jetty Museum without a car.

We hope we’ve inspired you to leave the car at home and explore The Lakes by alternative means of transports. If we all do our bit to travel more sustainably, we can ensure the National Park is well looked after and can be enjoyed for generations to come.

If you have any further questions about using public transport during a stay at Park Cliffe Caravan Park please speak to one of our friendly reception team. They’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction and help you get where you need to go.

Park Cliffe is an award-winning caravan park with views over Lake Windermere. We have a wide range of accommodation including static caravans, camping pods, camping pitches and our luxury shepherd’s hut. Facilities include an on-site bar and restaurant, children’s play area and private bathrooms. The perfect base for a car-free holiday in The Lakes.