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How to explore the Lake District by bus

26 Jun 2017

We've already given you a list of the best days out for families in the Lake District, but why not use our Summer Lakes Connection Guide  to create your own private bus tour? 
With designated routes that travel through the most popular areas of the Lake District such as Kendal, Keswick, Penrith, and Windermere, you and your family can leave the car at home and take advantage of everything The Lakes have to offer. 
Here are some of the best bits...


Known as the Gateway to the Lakes, Kendal is a picturesque and charming market town, a great place for all of the family to enjoy and explore. 

Levens Hall

By taking the Lakes Connection 555 service, it’s just a quick bus ride to Levens Hall – a majestic Elizabethan house that is both beautiful inside and out. The kids will have a great time exploring the garden’s willow maze, but make sure they aren’t lost for too long! 
By showing a Stagecoach bus ticket you’ll get £2 off admission for each ticket. Take the 11:05 to get there for the hall opening at noon. 

Kendal Castle

As the backdrop to Kendal, the castle is a grandiose old ruin that is only a couple of minutes’ walk from the town centre. If you’ve got the energy, race to the top and explore one of Kendal’s oldest secrets. The kids will love playing dungeons and dragons in this medieval wonderland, after you can enjoy some traditional Kendal mint cake from the lovely view at the top of the hill. 


With museums, theatres, and stunning scenery, Keswick is a picturesque gem within the Lake District where you certainly won’t run out of things to see or do.

Dodd Wood

By taking the 554 bus from Keswick Bus Station, you can explore the immense Dodd Wood. Get off at Mirehouse to explore the Douglas Fir trail or for sublime views over Bassenthwaite, choose the Dood Wood summit trail. 
Make sure the kids are looking out for the ospreys, as this area is famous for their return. On a clear day, the kids will enjoy exploring for hours in the great outdoors. Even the hills of Dumfries and Galloways can be spotted in the distance if you’re lucky enough on a clear day! 
When you’re heading back, take the Stagecoach Gold X4 bus back to Keswick every Monday – Saturday. 

Theatre by the Lake

Cumbria’s only producing theatre, the Theatre by the Lake hosts performances suitable for all of the family, with both professional and amateur dramatic performances. It’s only five minutes from the town centre, and it’s a great way to get a bit of culture on your trip. 


Just 30 minutes away from England’s second largest lake, Penrith is a picturesque part of the country that offers vast green views of rolling hills and untainted landscapes that are ready to be explored by bus and by foot. You can get to Penrith using service 104 from Carlisle or service X4/X5 from Workington and Keswick

Aira Force Waterfall

Be enchanted by this mystical stroll through ancient woodland. Go deep into the forest to find the waterfall at Aira Force, with its stunning 65ft drop, but be sure not to get too close to the edge! To get there, take the 508 bus from Penrith Bus Station along Ullswater. 

Dalemain House

You can also take the 508 bus from Penrith to this wonderful Grade 1 listed country house, complete with four centuries of architecture. The kids won’t run out of space to run around, as there’s an impressive five acres of celebrated gardens and historic parkland  to enjoy an afternoon picnic. Or, if you want something a bit more authentic, then why not treat the family to a hearty home-made meal made especially in the Medieval Hall Tearoom. 


Host town to the serene Lake Windermere, Windermere boasts many attractions for the young and old, encouraging outdoor activities for kids of any age to enjoy, as well as the adults!

Brockhole on Windermere 

Take the 505, the 555, or 599 bus to this fantastic place of adventure and activity for all the family. 
Get the kids to race each other on a 250m zip line, or if that’s not exciting enough, they can crawl and monkey around in the woodland canopy. Tree Top Nets  is based at Brockhole - the Lake District Visitor Centre, and if you present your bus ticket on the day, you can receive 10% off - tree top activities. 
As well as this, if you present your bus ticket in the Brockhole café, one child will eat free with any full price adult  meal – even more reason to take the bus there this summer! From Windermere, the 599 bus can be caught every 20 minutes at peak times in the summer, so there will always be a bus ready and waiting for you.

No matter what bus you get, and what route you take this summer, there’s a summer bus tour for everyone in the Lake District. By following our Lakes Connection Guide, you can get to everywhere you need to be in the Lake District with ease!

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