There’s a great big (not very well-kept), nerdy secret about the Lake District- and that is that we have tons of amazing vintage steam trains! Whether you’re an aficionado, or maybe just a bit curious; check out our list of the best train rides in the Lake District! Little kids and big kids alike will love this great day out in the Lakes.
Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway
Located near Newby Bridge in the South Lakes; the Haverthwaite steam train runs from Haverthwaite Station to the Southern tip of Lake Windermere- where you can then join the steam boat up the Lake if you so wish (tickets can be purchased together- as well as tickets to the Lakeside Aquarium, for a full day of family fun).
What is there to do at Haverthaite – As well as a gift shop and tea-room, Haverthwaite Railway has a fantastic play area for children and a picnic area with a raised view of the station. Take a walk around their unique and fascinating engine shed, soaking up the sights of one-off-a-kind vintage trains from the Lake District’s past.
When you reach lakeside by train, you can choose to stop off at the Lakeside aquarium, before hoping on a boat to either Ambleside or Bowness. Soak in a spot of culture before your return journey.
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
Hop on-board the ‘La’al Ratty’ (that’s little railway in old Cumbrian!) and enjoy a 40 minute scenic route from the coast to the mountains. Running from the coastal village of Ravenglass through Esdale valley, and ending up in Dalegarth for Boot. This steam train is considered one of the longest and oldest narrow gauge railways in England, and is certainly one of he most spectacular journeys!
What is there to do at Ravenglass and Eskdale - La’al Ratty has seven request stops en-route, so it’s fantastic for those who want to fit a bit of walking into their day- Just hop off the train wherever you want to walk in the Eskdale Valley, and hop back on in time for tea! The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway have events on throughout the year, including the ‘Driver for a fiver’ Summer event, allowing you to drive the train (with help of course) for £5. There is also a café, shop and museum on site for the family to enjoy.
Threlkeld Quarry Railway
Threlkeld Quarry and mining museum near Keswick, has it’s own small Narrow Gauge Locomotive (called ‘Sir Tom’) which runs on a half mile of track, including some areas of steep gradient- which is a great bit of fun!
While you're there - Enjoy their collection of vintage steam trains and mining museum!
South Tynedale Railway
Based to the North East of Penrith in the town of Alston; this Steam Railway is actually closer to the North Pennines than the Lake District National Park, but it is definitely worth a mention- as its in easy driving distance of Penrith. The railway stretches North for 3½ miles from Alston, past the original terminus at Gilderdale, then on through Kirkhaugh to its current end destination of Lintley.
What is there to do at South Tynedale – The Railway station has its own café, shop and Discovery Centre- making it an excellent choice for a family day out.
Full steam ahead!