If the prospect of leaving the car at home for a relaxing train trip through some of the UK’s most epic scenery appeals to you, then look no further than the Lake District, Cumbria.
The gateway to the Lakes, the historic market town of Kendal is perfectly placed to introduce you to this scenic part of the world.
Take in some epic views from the castle, visit the grade I listed villa that is Abbot Hall Art Gallery, and do a spot of shopping before hoping back on the train for a visit to Staveley, an epicentre for walkers and cyclists alike, as well as being home to the renowned Hawkshead Brewery.
The next stop is Windermere, which has the added bonus of linking up to a network of buses to explore even further.
Just opposite the train station is a short, gentle climb which winds up to the top of Orrest Head for a view which is said to have inspired a young Alfred Wainwright to map out walks for all 214 fells in the English Lake District. It’s also a couple of miles to the shoreline of England’s largest lake and plentiful opportunities to travel by boat, either on a traditional ‘steamer’ or under your own steam with a traditional rowing boat.
While lakes aren’t in short supply in the Lake District, neither is the sea. The coastline stretches for more than 100 miles – with the sunset being a sight to behold, whatever the time of year. Why not make 2019 the year you explore Morecambe Bay and the West Coast by letting the train take the strain while you gaze at the sun setting over the Irish Sea?
Take some time to stop off in peaceful coastal locations like Arnside, Grange-over-Sands and Ravenglass and see them through new eyes.
North Cumbria offers plenty of hotels and B&Bs for a quick and easy retreat from the rat race. So why not enjoy a last-minute city break in Carlisle? Accessible either on the Cumbrian Coast Line or with speed and style on the West Coast mainline, countless bars and restaurants await.
Penrith is another attractive option, being perfectly positioned on the eastern edge of the Lake District – a short journey from the picturesque Ullswater.
No mention of great Cumbrian rail journeys would be complete without including the world-famous Settle to Carlisle route. While many routes are celebrated for getting you to great destinations, this route is one to be enjoyed for the scenery alone. More than 30 tunnels and viaducts are dotted along the line, including the famous Ribblehead Viaduct.
From stunning coastal and heritage routes to speeding through Cumbria’s world-famous landscapes on mainline services, the county’s rail network gives you plenty of opportunities to change the way you get around this autumn.