Scenic train journeys in the Lake District

There are several scenic train journeys that take you an alternative tour of the Lake District. Pass through England’s highest mountain range and some of the oldest landscapes in Britain aboard a miniature narrow-gauge Steam Train. Wind your way between Ye Olde hamlets, where white-washed cottages with pretty gardens are clustered around merry traditional pubs. Puff alongside the water of Lake Windermere to catch a Steam Cruise vessel or take a sprint across the region and through the longest tunnel in Northern England.

The scenery from a train ride takes you away from the crowds, off the beaten track and cuts through the heart of the Lake District countryside. Hop on and off to delve deeper into the history and charm of this special place.

Journey back in time  

Ravenglass is the only coastal village in the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Lake District National Park. And it is from here that miniature Steam Trains take passengers on an ultra-scenic 7-mile route into the park’s very core to the village of Boot, passing alongside England’s largest mountains. In 1879 this was a journey made to transport iron ore. Today it is one of the most scenic travel experiences in England.

Before the drama of heading into the wilds of the mountainous Eskdale Valley, this 40 minute journey follows a picturesque route across the estuary and alongside the River Mite. Look out for red squirrels and birds of pray.

So, all aboard! Sit back within miniature-size carriages and puff gently along the longest narrow-gauge track in the Lake District, past a patchwork of green fields, drystone walls and idyllic countryside at the foot of the Scarfell Pike range.

Ravenglass, on England’s western coast is beautiful itself. The village is home to a once very important Roman Port as well as some of the most impressive Roman building remains in northern Britain. The walls of the Ravenglass Roman Bath House, owned by English Heritage, are impressive, at almost 4 metres high – the tallest standing Roman remains in northern Britain. Muncaster Castle and Gardens nearby is also well worth a visit where you can experience the impressive hunting skills of England’s native bird of prey, the hawk.

Luxury cruiser and carriage

The 3.2-mile route on a heritage Steam Train from Haverthwaite to Lakeside in the South Lakes, is perfectly complimented by a jaunt aboard a restored Steam Cruiser around the southern end of England’s largest lake, Windermere. Haverthwaite to Lakeside is a preserved section of Furness Railway giving passengers insight into a bygone era of English Victorian tourism.

Revel in the majestic power as your beautiful Steam Train pulls you masterfully through broadleaf woodlands and the picturesque countryside of the Leven Valley. Low, stone bridges fill with steam as you pass underneath, coming to a gentle stop at quaint stations, beautifully restored and featured on several TV series. You follow the River Leven to the final and most scenic stretch, travelling along as it and you join Lake Windermere. From Lakeside, transfer to a beautifully restored Windermere Lake Cruiser to continue your car-free day trip, exploring the sublime South Lakes scenery in style. The Lakeside Motor Museum and Lakes Aquarium are also popular attractions that are only a walk away from this railway journey.

Scenery, viaducts and tunnels  

And finally we must include ‘one of the most scenic train journey’s in England’ – the Settle to Carlisle Railway.

On this route, diesel sprinter trains cut effortlessly through 3 great mountain ranges of Northern England. Passengers are elevated to enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery and breathtaking views in Britain. Before finishing in the great border city of Carlisle, this 73-mile long journey takes passengers through the Yorkshire Dales, along the Lake District National Park and into the Eden Valley, north of the Lake District. This is a lush and quiet landscape where you can see the towering peaks of the Lakeland mountains in the background.

As well as the scenery there are lots of attractions along this route that makes it world-famous. From castle’s to mythical stone circles; mountains, rivers and waterfalls; to majestic Victorian architecture and remote stations. There are 11 stations,  14 tunnels and over 20 viaducts to take in on this sprint up northern England.

The Settle to Carlisle Railway experience is known for its viaducts, most famously the magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct with 24 grand arches cutting into the landscape. These can be enjoyed by getting off at one of the 11 stations and joining a network of walking trails. There are over 20 viaducts to look out for including Arten Gill, which featured in the Miss Potter film. Not long after the bend of the Ribblehead Viaduct is Blea Moor Tunnel, which is eerily 2,629 yd (2,404 m) long and the longest on the line. There are 13 other tunnels to look out for along this route.

Spectacular scenery, enjoyed the old-fashioned way!

Paul Liddell is the Managing Director at Lakelovers. Lakelovers provide quality self-catering cottages in the most popular Lake District holiday locations, including Windermere, Ambleside, Coniston, Grasmere, Keswick and Ullswater.

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