Langdle Pikes from Loughrigg

Ride a Steam Train

The Lake District has two preserved railways, each treating many hundreds of visitors and locals to stunning views of the Lakeland Landscape as they enjoy the sights and sounds of traveling on a steam train.

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Originally part of a branch line built to enable easy access for early tourists to the shore of Lake Windermere the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway not only carried people but also goods which were unloaded in sidings that stood where the main car park now is, and then loaded onto boats to be delivered to various points around the Lake. The station at Lakeside is iconic in design, with rail platforms on one side and steamer quay on the other. The Victorian buildings have been utilised by many film makers, and it recently featured on a TV ad for a supermarket, despite the fact that the nearest one is several miles away.

The line is 3 miles long, and the whilst the engines are an eclectic mix of old British Railways tanks and industrial engines, the rolling stock depicts the latter days of steam and the early days of diesel. Pride of place in the engine collection goes to Furness Railway no 20, the oldest working standard gauge steam engine in Britain. The railway is owned and was restored by the Furness Railway Trust and when not touring the country (in steam engine terms it is a bit of a celebrity) it can be seen at Haverthwaite.

Check out the railway web site here ....

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Affectionately known known as L'ile Ratty, The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway carries holiday makers and locals alike along the Eskdale Valley from the coastal Village of Ravenglass to the foot of England's highest mountains, a total of 7 miles. It is a narrow gauge delight, with a mixture of open and closed carriages catering for all ages and tastes. The line's steam engines were immortalised by the Rev W Audrey, in his series of Railway books for children, and along with the spectacular scenery are undoubtedly the star of the show.

Now 15 inch gauge, the line has had a checkered history. It started life as a 3 ft gauge railway for carrying stone from the quarries at Dalegarth to the stone crushing plant at Murthwaite, and then on to the coast and a junction with the Cumbrian Coastal line at Ravenglass. Not long after opening it began carrying passengers, however, by the time of the first world war the line had gone bust. Re opened as a narrow gauge line, it ran until 1960, when it went bust again. After being rescued and refurbished the line now has an assured future.

Trains run regularly from the terminus at Ravenglass, where there is a large car park, cafe, pub and museum. The terminus at Dalegarth also has a cafe, shop and exhibition room. Close to the station is Stanley Force waterfall, which is well worth a visit.

Visit the L'ile Ratty web site here....

Puzzling Place

According to the advertising blurb, Puzzling Place is “the Lake District's most unbelievable visitor attraction, where seeing is not always believing!” Basically it is an interactive studio featuring optical illusions, from mystifying artwork to an antigravity room. There is also a comprehensive display of over 80 holograms. Puzzling Place is a good family attraction, particularly on a rainy day.

Check out the puzzling place web site here ....

Honister Slate Mine

This is a very different kind of visitor experience. Honister is England's only slate mine, (all the other slate workings are quarries) and has been recently re opened as a working mine and tourist experience. There are daily mine tours, for which you should book in advance, as well as features such as the "via ferrata", an adventure climbing system that uses a permanently fixed cable to enable you to follow the old miners' route up the fell. Plus there is the offer to fill the boot of your car with all the slate you can carry for just £20. A great idea. All you need now is somewhere to put your luggage.

Find out more about Honister slate mine here ...


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