This super holiday has Lakeland experiences from the off. We meet at Penrith Station, early afternoon, and after a 10-minute drive to Pooley Bridge are immediately on the water - Ullswater that is. This is said to be the prettiest of all the lakes and we will enjoy a full-length cruise to Glenridding at the foot of Helvellyn. Another short but scenic road journey via Troutbeck delivers us to the Keswick Country House.
Oh what a morning! We pass Thirlmere, Grasmere, Dove Cottage and Rydal Water on the way to Coniston. A lovely cruise aboard the National Trust’s restored Steam Yacht Gondola, under the watchful eye of the Old Man of Coniston, follows. Then, in the footsteps of the Romans, we travel by Mountain Goat over the awesome Wrynose and Hardknot passes descending into Eskdale. L’al Ratty is possibly the most scenic narrow-gauge railway in England and is certainly loads of fun. After a steamy afternoon we drive back up to Keswick over the hills.
Windermere is surely the most famous stretch of water in the land and is also the largest. We drive over the Kirkstone Pass to Ambleside and board a steamer for the magnificent full-length cruise to Lakeside. Here a simmering steam train takes us south to Haverthwaite on the former Furness Railway route. The superb Lakeland Motor Museum is an absolute must before we enjoy the scenic coastal run, with Manx views if clear, on an afternoon train from Grange-over-Sands to Workington.
A seriously scenic “Dales Day” starts as we drive up to Carlisle and then join a train to head south on the unsurpassable Settle/Carlisle line through the, at times, desolate upland scenery. We reverse our journey at Settle to travel back as far as Ribblehead and after photos of the viaduct, take a Dales coach tour via Hawes and through to Appleby. Just shy of the town, we are visiting our friends at the Eden Valley Railway for a specially arranged train ride. From here our Dales Day is completed via Penrith and following the ex-railway route back to Keswick.
Time to head for home and we need to sign off with a final boat/rail combination. This morning we drive through the stunning scenery to the outskirts of Bowness for the new Windermere Jetty attraction. Historic boats, a steamboat trip on the water and the obligatory gift shop and café. From here we transfer to the station and board the Windermere branch line train to Oxenholme, taking our luggage on board, to connect with homeward bound journey commencing early afternoon.
Oh my, this place is something else. Built by the Victorians as the station hotel it has absorbed the station itself. Excellent food and an extensive menu add to the overall grandeur. Dining whilst watching the rabbits on the lawn or strolling through the four acres of tended gardens and walkways is delightful.