Lake District public transport
Winter timetable information 2022/23
Early November each year signals the end of the summer public transport timetables and the start of the winter ones across the Lake District and Cumbria. The winter timetables are normally valid until the following Easter when the main visitor season starts again, although there is often an increase in services through the winter school holidays.
It is a great time to visit and explore the area as the crowds disappear making it easier to get around. Of course the days are shorter and colder but the scenery is still wonderful with plenty of indoor attractions remaining open in case of inclement weather. As you travel around, it is surprising how much more you can see without the leaves on the trees and there can’t be many better sights than snow capped Lakeland mountains on a sunny winters day.
This winter we still have issues with staff shortages affecting transport services on occasion, so its always good to consult websites and social media before travelling. For example, Stagecoach seem quite good at updating their live bus service information on their Twitter account Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire (@StagecoachCNL) / Twitter.
The following is a summary of the winter status for the different Lake District transport;
Lake District buses
There are a number of seasonal bus services that cease altogether over the winter period but the majority keep going. Not just for visitors but they are an essential link for locals in outlying villages and countryside. The 78 to Borrowdale, 505 to Coniston, 508 to Patterdale and 516 to Langdale are all great examples of these lifeline bus services for locals. Of course, they are also popular with visitors through the winter with plenty of attractions available and the scenery magnificent as always. There are several main services that maintain an hourly timetable through the winter, including the 78 (Keswick to Seatoller), 555 (Lancaster to Keswick), 599 (Bowness to Grasmere), X4/X5 (Penrith to Workington) & X6 (Kendal to Barrow). So there’s still plenty of opportunity to explore by bus across the area.
Lake District boats
Cruises all scale back for the winter, although Windermere Cruises and Ullswater Steamers maintain sailings every day. A great way to view the Lakeland winter wonderland from out on the water.
Windermere Cruises, Windermere – A few seasonal cruises have stopped now but still operating are the Red Cruise (Bowness to Ambleside), Yellow Cruise (Bowness to Lakeside) and the Islands Cruise around Bowness Bay. The Windermere Ferry keeps going all year, weather permitting.
Ullswater Steamers, Ullswater – Full length of the lake cruises are still operating between Glenridding, Howtown and Pooley Bridge. The Aira Force shuttle boat between Glenridding and Aira Force is not running except for February school holidays.
Coniston Water – Coniston Launch operates a reduced frequency northern cruise on weekends only in December and January but otherwise daily. Steam Yacht Gondola does not operate in Winter.
Derwent Water – Keswick Launch operates weekends only in late November and early March, closed through December and January, otherwise open daily.
Lake District trains
Mainline trains are almost impossible to predict at the moment with seemingly endless strikes and cancellations, but on a good day there are plenty of mainline trains to get you to and from the area.
For the two heritage railways in the area;
The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway – basically closes for the season.
The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway – operates weekends through November and December plus daily during school holidays. Closed most of January, early February and early March.
There are further details of each transport service, where they go, the attractions they visit, frequency through the year and timetable links in my main website pages here.
It is sadly quite difficult times for many folks at the moment but the Lake District is always here to cheer us up and there’s certainly plenty of opportunity to appreciate it using public transport this winter season. I hope you can enjoy it.