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Discover the Lake District on some of the most scenic bus routes in England

Article written and published on: 1st September 2023

Article written by Scenic Buses

Explore the Lake District without the palaver of parking

Halfway through the school holidays and it finally feels like summer has arrived. So where will you adventure first? And are you taking the bus?

According to a new ranking by travel experts, a Lake District bus route has been named as one of the most picturesque in England.

VisitEngland announced the 555, a bus route that takes you from Keswick to Lancaster, as one of the most scenic bus journeys to take.

If you’re planning on travelling with family this summer, it doesn’t need to break the bank, with £2 single fares still running until the end October.

And if you enjoy hopping on the 555, why not give some of Cumbria’s other bus routes a try. There are plenty of amazing places to discover in Cumbria and the Lake District that are conveniently located on the way.

Wordsworth Grasmere

Bus routes: The Lakes Connection 555 & Lakesider 599.

Take the scenic 555 and experience the life of poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy at Dove Cottage.

Stroll through the Garden-Orchard and Woodland, then let the children dress up as William and Dorothy in the museum where they can sketch, compose poetry or try quill writing. Bug books, Georgian toys, and a Wordsworth Minecraft game add to the fun.

Families with SEND can also benefit from their free sensory maps, Sensory Explorer Backpacks, and interactive Sensory Story Sacks in their sensory garden.

Admission allows entry for 12 months with family, child and concession tickets available (under 5s go free).

Mirehouse and Gardens

Bus routes: Stagecoach X4, The Caldbeck Rambler 73 & Stagecoach 554.

Conveniently located near Keswick on the 554 bus route, this historic house lets kids embark on an owl hunt and history quiz, or unleash their imagination in the four woodland play areas.

Wander along nature trails through the walled bee garden and poetry walk, or take a stroll into the woodlands and lakeshore. Finish your visit with a coffee and a bite to eat at the café overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake.

Family-friendly pricing and free entry for under 4s make it an affordable trip this summer – even furry friends on short leads are welcome to explore the grounds.

Keswick Museum

Bus routes: All bus routes to Keswick bus station, including The Caldbeck Rambler 73, The Honister Rambler 77 & 77A, The Lakes Connection 555.

Open daily all year round, Keswick Museum is a great day out whatever the weather. Exhibits, events and family activities keep everyone entertained with talks, tales, trails and workshops.

Visit the shop and cafe, or go for a picnic and riverside stroll in Fitz Park after the kids have had a go in the play area.

The reasonably priced tickets allow admission for an entire year and children under 5 get free entry.

Just a 5-minute walk from the centre of Keswick, the museum is easily accessible with three different buses that can lead you to this treasure trove of discovery.

Brockhole on Windermere

Bus routes: Stagecoach 505, Stagecoach 516, The Lakes Connection 555 & Lakesider 599.

Nestled between Windermere and Ambleside, this lakeside arts & crafts villa boasts beautiful landscaped gardens on the shores of Lake Windermere, complete with a visitor centre, gallery, gift shop, restaurant and café.

From here, a 5-minute walk to Brockhole Pier lets you catch a boat ride with Windermere Lake Cruises. For a full day out, why not grab a Bus & Boat family ticket to enjoy a boat journey and unlimited bus travel with Stagecoach to explore the area?

Acorn Bank

Bus routes: Stagecoach 563 from Kendal.

Hop off the 563 bus (and take a 20 minute walk) and you’ll find this spectacular walled garden that features a herb garden, lily pond and fruit orchards.

Wander through the woodland to discover a hidden gypsum mine, then follow Crowdundle Beck to the partially restored watermill where you’ll find live demonstrations by volunteers every weekend. Don’t forget to also look out for the red squirrels, otters and rare birds on your way.

Entrance is free for under 5s and National Trust members, but family and child tickets are available.

Wordsworth House and Garden

Bus routes: Stagecoach X4/X5 & Stagecoach 600.

Arrive in the heart of Cockermouth via bus 600 to visit this Georgian townhouse, the birthplace and childhood home of poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy.

There are exhibitions and children’s trails, as well as ghost stories in the cellar, with a riverside garden that’s flourishing with 18th-century varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers.

This friendly town has plenty of places to eat, and it’s a great location for venturing to the Western Lake District and Solway Coast on your day out this summer.

Family and child tickets are available (under 5s go free), while National Trust members can enjoy free entry.

Allan Bank

Bus routes: The Lakes Connection 555 & Lakesider 599.

Situated in Grasmere on bus route 555, this historic villa was once home to William Wordsworth.

It consists of a billiard room, small gallery and giant indoor mural space, while the 19th-century wooded grounds offer stunning views over Grasmere with the chance to encounter red squirrels.

Self-serve tea and coffee are available but families can bring a picnic to enjoy indoors or outside, or visit one of the many village cafes in Grasmere. Baby-changing facilities and highchairs are provided, and well-behaved dogs are welcome everywhere – including the house.

Family tickets are available, with free entry for National Trust members and children under 5.

Fell Foot

Bus routes: Stagecoach 6.

Fell Foot is a Victorian country park on the shores of Windermere. Travel on bus 6 to access a free family-friendly paradise for swimming, paddle sports, games, dog walks, and lakeside picnics.

You’ll find a cafe here (and ice cream parlour during summer), along with changing facilities that have showers, lockers and underfloor heating.

This spot is also on Winderemere’s Yellow Cruise routes if you fancy taking the family out for a boat ride. For even more adventures, jump on the Fell Foot Ferry for a mini-cruise of Windermere or to explore the Lakes Aquarium, Motor Museum, and Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway.

Sizergh

Bus routes: Stagecoach X6, The Lakes Connection 555 & Stagecoach 755.

This medieval manor is filled with 26 generations’ worth of collections, while its 1,600-acre estate includes a lake and lush gardens with wetlands, woodlands and orchards. Be sure to keep an eye out for fritillary butterflies, deer and rare hawfinches.

Grab a coffee at the cafe, search for goodies in the shop and check out the second-hand bookshop before letting the kids go wild on the climbing wall, balance beams and rope swing.

You can catch the 555 bus to get there and purchase family tickets on the day (under 5s go free), or entry is free for National Trust members. Your four-legged friends can join you too.

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