If you decide not to drive around the Lake District, an excellent public transport system will take you to the major attractions.
The Lake District is home to some of the best attractions in England. The North West Lakes are within easy reach of Keswick and include beautiful Borrowdale valley, Derwent Water, Buttermere and Bassenthwaite Lake.
Various bus and boat services throughout the area will transport you to all the major attractions. In the South West Lakes the popular village of Coniston attracts visitors from all over Europe. The famous beauty spot of Tarn Hows and the Duddon and Esk Valleys are well worth seeing. Take your time to visit the coastal areas around Ravenglass.
In the South East Lakes, the popular towns of Bowness, Ambleside, Hawkshead and Grasmere, England's largest lake, Windermere and a number of historic houses, many associated with William Wordsworth or Beatrix Potter are worth visiting.
Windermere is an excellent place to base yourself, and offers a choice of romantic hotels and spa hotels to choose from.
Public boat services operate on Windermere, Derwent Water, Ullswater and Coniston Water and provide scenic cruises. Many connect with buses or trains which enable you onward travel across the area. Many cruises, including Windermere Lake Cruises, operate throughout the year.
If you prefer to travel by rail, Windermere Station is as close as you can get to the central lakes by train. The west coast main line runs south to north, stopping off at Oxenholme, Penrith and Carlisle. If you want to enjoy the views, the Cumbrina coastal line boasts some stunning scenery en route, and follows the coast from Lancaster to Carlisle. Other rail lines include the Settle to Carlisle line and the Newcastle to Carlisle line. Popular tourist railways include the Lakeside & Haverthwaite and Ravenglass & Eskdale lines.
Buses in the Lake District and Cumbria provide an excellent means of transport for travel across the area. Out of the main season there is a basic service and during summer and school holidays extra routes are included. Many of the normal service routes make the most of local scenery and attractions. The ´Borrowdale Rambler´ and the ´Coniston Rambler´ include some of the most beautiful scenery in the Lakes.
If you are looking for somewhere special to stay in the Lake District, consider a spa hotel in Windermere. A vast range of attractions are situated in and around Windermere, including the Beatrix Potter Attraction, Blackwell the Arts and Crafts House, Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre and the Lakes Aquarium.
Regular excursions and day trips are available from Windermere, and include tours of local villages and towns. A trip to Dove Cottage, Grasmere, the former home of famous author, William Wordsworth can be booked via the Tourist Office in Bowness Bay. If you prefer to go it alone, regular bus services to Grasmere operate from Windermere.
If you want to sample a choice of real ales in Lake District country pubs, leave the car at home and catch the bus!