One of the things we find endlessly exciting about the Lake District is the way you can always find somewhere new and interesting to explore. As we spend our time travelling around the area we come across more and more landscapes, attractions and environments – often revealing an unexpected and fresh face of the Lake District. We’ve also discovered that one great way to see a different side of the Lakes is to take a stress-free tour by jumping on the X33 Lakeland Explorer bus.
The X33 weaves its way from the heart of the lakes in Ambleside, through the fells, out to the rugged beauty of the Western Lake District coast, taking in a wealth of beauty spots along the way. All you have to do is enjoy the view and get out when you feel like it to sample the local food and drink or take a photo. You won’t need to walk far from the bus stop to find something to grab your attention!
We thought we would take an overnight trip on the X33 to let you in on some of the highlights of its journey and some of the great photo opportunities along the way.
The X33’s first pick up point is outside the Waterhead Hotel, at Waterhead at the northern tip of Lake Windermere. While we waited for the bus we took the chance to wander down to the lake and take photos of the view across to the famous Langdale Pikes (next time we’ll get there earlier so we can enjoy a spot of lunch at the Wateredge Inn as well).
Ambleside and Waterhead
Once ensconced on the X33 we were whisked through Ambleside in the direction of Coniston. Ambleside would also be a great place to get on the bus at the beginning of your trip. It is full of great cafes, pubs and restaurants, as well as being the home of the quirky bridge house that spans the river and is a worthwhile photo opportunity in its own right.
The bus route takes in the beautiful wooded countryside that flanks Windermere before breaking out into wide basin of land formed by Coniston Water and the famous Coniston old Man, which towers above the town. If time allows we definitely recommend a stop off in Coniston to enjoy a pint of Bluebird by the Coniston Brewery (or of anything they brew for that matter!) or to enjoy a bacon sandwich at the Bluebird Cafe on the shores of the lake. It is all just a quick walk from the bus stop.
The Cumbrian coastline might just be one of the best kept secrets in the country. Sandy beaches stretch literally as far as the eye can see and if you happen to get bored of the seaside (we don’t think you will!) then the stunning valleys of the Duddon, Eskdale, Wasdale and Ennerdale can be found inland. The X33 stops in Silecroft, where the beach and the backdrop of the impressive Black Combe makes for one of the area’s most atmospheric photo spots.
Ravenglass and Muncaster Castle
From Silecroft the X33 continues up the coast to one of Cumbria’s nicest places and one of its scariest. We always come back to Ravenglass whenever we get the chance because it is simply of one of the loveliest seaside villages around. The sleepy former Roman port is a coastal gem packed with pretty cottages. The reason this area is one of Cumbria’s most scary is because Muncaster Castle, which is a short walk from Ravenglass, is reportedly one of the most haunted buildings around. Pay it a visit if you dare!
For us Ravenglass was the picturesque end to our utterly serene and stress free journey and the last photo opportunity before we retired to our B&B and a meal at The Inn at Ravenglass. The next morning we were able to get up and take a trip on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway (the La’al Ratty) into the gorgeous valley of Eskdale before jumping on the bus back to Ambleside.