English Lake District Steam Railway Holiday
The best this island of ours has to offer can be found within the majesty of the English Lake District. All the splendour of the Scottish Highlands and Welsh mountains combined with the character of the Yorkshire Dales is compressed into this compact region. Our late summer date puts us nicely after the busiest period of the year and as a little colour washes into the landscape. Enjoy fun-filled days with cruises galore, steam and scenic rail travel, quaint towns and villages and even a “goaty” adventure. Then relax at one of our very best and characterful hotels savouring long leisurely evenings – luverly!!
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 of the lakes and we will enjoy a full-length cruise to Glenridding at the foot of Helvellyn. Another very 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 Trusts 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 an afternoon of steam we drive back up to Keswick over the moors.
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.
Leaving the lakes behind today we travel north, via Carlisle, to the border country. In the footsteps of the Romans we’ll pause at Hadrian’s Wall before heading south from the geographical centre of Britain, Haltwhistle. Our afternoon is spent with the South Tynedale Railway that, thanks to last year’s extension, now run between England’s highest market town, Alston, and a place called Slaggyford. We complete a super scenic circular with the stunning drive over Hartside Top and back across to Keswick – a truly great day out!
It’s time to head for home and we need to sign off with another boat/rail combination. This morning you can either relax in town or join a watery treat with a launch around glorious Derwent Water. There follows a final drive through the fells to Windermere where we should have time for refreshments before taking our luggage aboard the branch line train to Oxenholme where homeward bound journeys continue.
The Keswick Country House Hotel
Oh my, this place is something else. Built by the Victorians as the station hotel it has absorbed the station itself. You may be allotted a room in the station building or perhaps relax with a game of snooker in the conservatory – it’s actually on the platform! 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 very relaxing indeed. We have really fallen on our feet with this hotel.