The Lakes District National Park is located in north west England, very close to the border of Scotland. For those in London, traveling to the Lakes District is quite easy. There are frequent trains from London to the Lakes District, taking approximately 3.5 hours to reach the Lakes District depending on your end destination. Trains depart from London Euston to Windermere approximately every hour, typically requiring one change in Oxenholme Lake District towards the end of the journey. The train from Oxenholme Lake District to Windermere is quite short, only 20 minutes. This train also stops in Kendal and Staveley if choosing to stay in one of these towns.
Since the transfer time is short (approx 10 - 15 minutes), if you miss your transfer and cannot wait until the next train, you can book a taxi with Lakeside Taxis (015394 88888 or lakesidetaxis.co.uk or download the app). You can also use uber which will pick up from local taxis to take you to your end destination.
The train for Oxenholme Lake District and Windermere is especially convenient for those staying in Windermere or Bowness-on-Windermere. If staying in another area of the Lakes District, a car may be easier to access your end destination.
Depending on where you stay will impact how you get around. The ideal situation would be to have a car to provide flexibility in reaching different hikes and exploring various towns. However, it is possible to do the Lakes District without a car. If looking to explore without a car, it is best to stay in Windermere or Bowness-on-Windermere as both towns are easily accessible by train and have local buses passing through the area. If willing to take a bus from the train station (or taxi), Ambleside is a cute village, just a bit up the road on the north side of Lake Windermere.
The Lakes District has a good bus system to provide you options on traveling to different spots outside the town you are staying. Taxis are also available to bring you to different destinations, but you will pay a premium for a taxi. Lakeside Taxis
has its own app or you can call their local number (015394 88888) to book a taxi.
For those traveling to the Lakes District without a car, consider staying in the town of Windermere, Bowness-on-Windermere or Ambleside. The train station is located in Windermere, so staying here will make it very easy to travel to and from your accommodations. Bowness-on-Windermere is slightly south of Windermere, but easily accessible from Windermere with a quick bus or taxi. It is walkable as well, but not desirable to walk with bags from Windermere train station. The town of Bowness-on-Windermere is larger than Windermere with more restaurants and shops, but both are a good option.
Ambleside is the most charming town of the three, with cute pubs and shops throughout. It is located north of Windermere and requires a bus ride or taxi to reach. The drive is about 15 minutes and the town itself sits towards the top of Lake Windermere.
Check out Laik for properties around Windermere to stay in when visiting.
This is a classic Lakes District hike with beautiful views throughout the entire walk. Although long, there is nothing technically challenging about this hike. All who can take on the distance will be able to complete this walk, simply plan to adjust the pace to your liking. A benefit of this route is that it is a loop trail, providing different scenery throughout the entire hike. Be sure to pack enough water and snacks to last you for the entirety of the hike.
Wander the streets of Windermere with a coffee or pop in a pub for a drink on a warm afternoon.
Larger town with more shops and restaurants, Bowness is on Lake Windermere. Many boat cruises depart from Bowness and the town itself is livelier with more happening than its neighbor, Windermere.
Lake Windermere is the largest lake in the Lakes District and in all of England and is 10.5 miles long. There's different spots to get in for a swim. Millerground is closest to the town of Windermere and is a great point to jump in for a swim or get out for open water swimming.
Pack snacks and drinks and bring a picnic down to the Lake to watch a sunset
Great spot in Windermere for brunch and coffee
Cozy bar with a variety of craft beers
Tasty ice cream with a variety of flavors, perfect for a snack on a hot afternoon
The Lakes District can be a very wet place to visit in the winter months and thus, the best time to enjoy this national park is in the late spring, summer, and early autumn months. At this time of year, you will have longer hours of daylight and a higher likelihood for better weather.
A long weekend is the perfect amount of time for a first visit to The Lakes District. However, keep in mind you will only scratch the surface of all the Lakes District has to offer. There are endless hiking trails to explore, along with many quaint English towns. There are all different types of activities available to visitors beyond hiking including cycling, water sports, enjoying a boat ride, visiting a spa, and more.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks