We use cookies to track usage and preferences. You can view our cookies policy here.

Getting to the Lake District by Train

The Lake District is an oasis of natural beauty and a place where you can truly get away from it all. Did you know that it’s possible to explore it without a car, too? Here’s our guide to the Lake District by train, including a look at which stations are in the Lake District, and which ones give you great access to the National Park.

How do I get to the Lake District by Train?

For most people, trying to navigate the wilds of the Lake District by train and bus wouldn’t be an obvious choice. It’s not as hard as you might think, though! Did you know that dozens of trains serve the Lake District National Park every single day, and that there’s a network of buses joining up the bits that trains can’t quite reach?

You can get to the heart of the Lake District from London or Glasgow with just one change of train. Direct trains even run from the likes of Manchester and Preston! Let’s take a look at what the options are.

What’s the easiest way to get to the Lake District by Train?

The easiest and most frequent way to head for the Lake District by train is to take a train to Oxenholme Lake District. You can catch direct Avanti West Coast trains from London, Birmingham and Glasgow to Oxenholme, as well as TransPennine Express services from Edinburgh and Manchester.

You can connect in Oxenholme with Northern trains to beautiful Windermere. In fact, they run a handful of direct trains each day from Manchester Airport to Windermere. Once you’re there, it’s just a 15-minute walk down to the lake in Bowness:

lake windermere in the lake district, which can be accessed by train

Looking to go a little further? Not a problem. This is as far as you can go in the Lake District by train, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck when you’re without a car. Think about taking these key bus routes:

  • You can take the Open-top 599 bus to Bowness, Ambleside and Grasmere. It runs up to every 20 minutes during the Summer season
  • The 555 links Windermere to Ambleside, Grasmere and Keswick up to every 30 minutes
  • Bus 505 will take you to beautiful Hawkshead and Coniston. It runs up to six times a day from Windermere, but if you head for Ambleside first, it runs every hour from there.
  • Finally, the 508 goes to Penrith via Glenridding and the Kirkstone Pass every two hours.

All of the buses leave from outside of the railway station in Windermere, so it’s a really easy connection to make.

Are there any other stations in the Lake District?

There are a couple of other stations in the Lake District itself that you might find useful, aside from Windermere:

  • Staveley is near to the starting point of a number of different walks around the Lake District. You’ll also find the Hawkshead Brewery and a plethora of independent shops and cafes to explore! The vast majority of trains between Manchester, Oxenholme and Windermere stop there:
staveley railway station in the lake district

  • Silecroft is home to Silecroft Beach. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the station to the sea
  • You can start doing some fell-walking in Bootle! There’s more information here.
  • Ravenglass is where you can start your trip on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. At seven-miles long, it’s of the longest Narrow Gauge railways in Britain.

If you’re heading to Silecroft, Bootle or Ravenglass, then it’s worth taking the train from Barrow or Lancaster. The Cumbrian Coast Line spends most of its time hugging the edge of the Lake District, such as here in Kirkby-in-Furness:

kirkby-in-furness station, on the edge of the lake district

Can I get to there another way? Are there stations nearby?

There are plenty of other railway stations which have direct buses to the Lake District. Here are a couple of the key connections when it comes to reaching the Lake District by train and bus:

  • The 6 and X6 will take you from Barrow and Ulverston to Haverthwaite, where you can start your trip on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway. From here, you can take a trip on Lake Windermere, as well
  • If you want to go to Glenridding and Aira Force, then the 508 runs from Penrith station up to every hour in the summer season.

How much does it cost to get to the Lake District by Train?

When it comes to the train, it can very much depend on how far in advance you book and where you’re travelling to and from. Let’s take a look at what we can expect for both London and Manchester to Windermere when you book your train ticket with us.

London to Windermere by train starts at £32.70 one-way without a Railcard. We’ve found fares for £40 or less when booking one month in advance:

fares from london to the lake district by train on railsmartr (windermere)

A day return from Manchester is £29.00 if you travel after 08:44 on weekdays (any time at weekends and on Bank Holidays). Advance fares start at £7.50 one-way.

When it comes to the bus, you can have two options. You can get a Windermere PlusBus if that’s where you’re headed by train. It’s £7.00 for the day (Railcard discounts are available) and will cover you on the bus to Ambleside and Grasmere. Just go to any staffed ticket office and show your rail ticket.

Alternatively, Stagecoach sells its own range of tickets on the bus. You can buy day tickets that cover the whole of the Lake District, for example. There’s more information available here.

Is there anything else I should know?

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your tickets when you want to get to the Lake District by train. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ when it comes to rail fares. Not only that, but we’ll show you the slower, but cheaper options that some websites won’t.

Don’t forget that we don’t charge any fees, either. That includes if you change your mind and want to travel on a different day. If your ticket is refundable, we’ll refund it fee-free, too!

All information is issued in good faith and was correct at 18/07/2023. All fares are for ONE adult without Railcard discount and were correct at the time of publication. All information and fares are subject to change at any time and Railsmartr are not responsible for any loss or disappointment incurred as a result of the information provided.