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Explore by train and watch the world go by

As the days get lighter and longer, there’s never been a better time for a car-free adventure exploring some of the UK’s most epic scenery.

The famous market town of Kendal is a great place to start your journey by train. Right on the edge of The Lake District National Park, this historic town gives visitors the chance to take in some epic views from its castle, the remains of which stand proudly on a hilltop. Once owned by the Parr family in the 16th century – its most famous member, Catherine Parr, outlived King Henry VIII as his sixth wife.

Kendal Castle


Kendal also offers a chance to visit the grade I listed Abbot Hall Art Gallery, which in the second half of 2019 will host a special exhibition dedicated to writer John Ruskin as part of the celebrations marking 200 years since his birth. Enjoy a spot of shopping before making the short trip to the village of Staveley, an epicentre for walkers and cyclists alike, as well as being home to the renowned Hawkshead Brewery and great little places for a riverside snack.

Windermere from Orrest Head


Next stop is Windermere. A short gentle climb from the train station winds up to the top of Orrest Head for a view which inspired a young Alfred Wainwright to map out walks for all 214 fells in the English Lake District. It’s also just a couple of miles to the shoreline of England’s largest lake, Windermere and plentiful opportunities to travel by boat, either on a traditional ‘steamer’ with Windermere Lake Cruises or under your own steam with a traditional rowing boat.

While the famous fresh water of the lakes certainly isn’t in short supply in the Lake District, Cumbria, neither is the salt water. It’s often forgotten that Cumbria’s coastline stretches for more than 100 miles – with sunset being a sight to behold, whatever the time of year. Take in Whitehaven harbour, discover Maryport’s maritime history and see the beauty of St Bees Head and heritage coast.

Cumbrian Heavy Horses
As well as enjoying the sea views from Cumbria’s meandering coastal trains and iconic locations like Ravenglass, why not make 2019 the year you explore Morecambe Bay while gazing at the sun setting over the Irish Sea? Take some time to stop off in peaceful coastal locations like Cartmel – home of sticky toffee pudding; and Grange-over-Sands, where the ducks are always pleased to see you, especially if you have a sandwich in-hand…

Arnside, Morecambe Bay
Meanwhile, up in North Cumbria there are 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 by taking a high-speed service to the city on the West Coast Main Line. You can also stop off at Penrith - another attractive option, being perfectly positioned on the eastern edge of the Lake District, just a short journey from the picturesque Ullswater.

Carlisle Castle


The third train station on the Cumbrian stretch of the West Coast Main Line is Oxenholme, from where you can change trains and take a 10-minute journey into the heart of Kendal, starting your adventure all over again!

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 Spring. You can also enjoy 25% off rail travel around Cumbria with Northern Trains (terms and conditions apply).

You can check out more ideas and itineraries to inspire your next trip to the Lake District, Cumbria, right here:

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