Seventh Heaven with Stagecoach in the Lake District!
We don’t have favourites, but….
Here at Great Scenic Journeys, there’s regularly lots of fun-packed debate around the best parts of the UK and Eire to devour scenery by public transport. We’ve all favourites in the Great Scenic Journeys collection, some of the team love the bright lights of the big cities served by Megabus, for instance, whilst others enjoy the underrated delights of Largs, Wemyss Bay and the Clyde Flyer. There is also a burgeoning fan club for Stagecoach’s services across East Scotland and also the underdog that is the 74 to Aldeburgh in sleepy Suffolk. The Peak District also has a big following too, thanks to the launch of the Peak Sightseer, also from Stagecoach.
But, all roads lead back to the Lake District when we are debating our favourites – it’s never out of the discussion and dominates, left, right and centre! One of the reasons is that a trip there is like one of those great comedy films – you think you’ve heard every gag or nuance and then you watch it again and again and uncover something new or just a different way of enjoying the experience, from a new perspective or mood-swing.
Amid the captivating landscape of the Lake District, a collection of hidden gems, away from the normal bustling tourist hotspots and well-worn trails awaits discovery. These lesser-known spots offer an authentic insight into serenity of England’s largest national park. Stagecoach Cumbria’s services are the gateway to the Lake District, available from all angles – Penrith, Carlisle, Lancaster, Workington, Keswick and many more locations to start your adventure and exploration.
Here are our personal top seven gems to seek out this Autumn as the trees go shiny orange, red and brown and the landscape and ambience changes once more on this truly incredible part of the UK.
1. Aira Force Waterfall
Concealed within the Ullswater Valley, Aira Force stands as a stunning waterfall often overshadowed by more famous counterparts. Here, cascading waters rush through a lush woodland setting, creating an enchanting and serene ambiance. A meandering trail guides folk to a picturesque stone bridge, offering an ideal vantage point to capture the falls in all their grandeur. Surrounded by ancient trees and moss-covered rocks, Aira Force presents a peaceful sanctuary for all nature lovers. The Stagecoach 508 bus runs between Penrith railway station and Matterdale, which is the stop right in front of the Aira Force entrance/car park.
This circular lake, surrounded by hills, boasts some of the Lake District’s most inspiring panoramas. A well-defined path circles the lake, providing an effortless and scenic stroll, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the peaceful ambiance. On the distant shore, the quaint village of Buttermere awaits. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk or a tranquil picnic, Buttermere’s unspoiled allure remains a hidden delight for all. Stagecoach’s 77 bus goes to Buttermere and also past this amazing lake!
3. Castlerigg Stone Circle
Located a short distance from Keswick and often over looked, Castlerigg Stone Circle stands as an ancient marvel dating back to the Neolithic period. This mystifying circle of standing stones exudes an aura of historical intrigue, inviting discussions of ancient mysteries while offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Castlerigg Stone Circle serves as a testament to the enduring allure of the Lake District’s ancient history. Stagecoach ‘Caldbeck Rambler’ service 73A (Sat only) passes the site. Otherwise, the best way is to catch the Stagecoach 555 or X8 (Sat only) to Castle Lane then it’s a lovely 1 mile walk.
4. Grasmere Gingerbread
Nestled within the charming village of Grasmere resides a historical shop, discreetly situated on Church Stile – Grasmere Gingerbread. Selling its delightful handmade treat, Gingerbread, that has held the affection of locals since the Victorian era, its recipe remains a closely guarded secret. A visit to the Lake District would be incomplete without indulging in this delicious delight and taking home a taste of the Lake District’s rich culinary heritage and being immersed in the amazing Grasmere scenery. There are several buses serving Grasmere, including the fab 555 from Lancaster, which has great rail connections from London, the Midlands and Scotland.
5. Loughrigg Fell: A Hidden Hiking Paradise
While giants like Scafell Pike and Helvellyn claim the hiking limelight, Loughrigg Fell remains a hidden gem cherished by the discerning. This unassuming hike promises a rewarding ascent and unveils stunning views encompassing Grasmere, Rydal Water, and the surrounding peaks. The trail, well-kept and serene, guarantees solitude and tranquility, making it a preferred alternative to busier routes. Loughrigg Fell offers an authentic and less crowded, off-the-beaten track Lake District hiking experience.
6. Bassenthwaite Lake
Bassenthwaite Lake is a stunning natural waterbody renowned for its picturesque beauty. Nestled amidst rolling hills and lush forests, it’s the only lake in the Lake District that carries the name “lake” in its title, as others use “mere” or “water.” It has a particular charm in the Autumn, as illustrated in the picture below, and has a moody, contemplative feel about it, out of the Summer season!
With a length of approximately 4 miles, a width of 0.75 miles, and a maximum depth of 70 feet, Bassenthwaite Lake is relatively shallow compared to its neighbouring lakes. Its calm waters reflect the towering peaks of Skiddaw and the surrounding fells, making it a haven for nature fans and water sport enthusiasts alike.
This incredible Lake is believed to be one of the most ancient lakes in the region, dating back over 25,000 years. Its formation is linked to glacial activity during the last Ice Age. This antiquity contributes to the lake’s unique geological and ecological characteristics, setting it apart from other lakes in the area.
7. Surreal Seventh Heaven
It’s almost surreal looking from the bus at Windermere onto the Lake at the small jetties, tiny boats on the shores and silence all around. This is the type of setting to be found in holiday brochures for resorts a lifetime away in a different hemisphere and planet! But, it’s in the UK and in the heart of a quite brilliant bus network. It’s a snap that we took when enjoying a recent Staycation over two days travelling round the Lake District on Stagecoach’s buses. It sends us wistfully wishing the working day away for a holiday in Windermere, a world so removed from the hustle and bustle of daily life, that it’s almost inconceivable. Windermere is also a bus paradise with plenty of Stagecoach services, ensuring that it’s easy to sample its delights and much more!
The Lake District really is the place to be and what’s more a bus journey costs a ridiculously affordable £2 a trip between now and the end of October, rising to £2.50 from 1st November. Check out the link below as your gateway to unforgettable experiences and to unlock the gems that make up this incredible Region and be in Seventh Heaven!