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Questions & Answers

Below you will find answers to FAQs that will help you to plan your visit to the Lake District. You can also buy maps and guidebooks from our Lake District Store.  If you are travelling via London and need hotel accommodation check hotel availability and book your London Hotel here.

Our top tip for getting the most out of your visit must be:  Book Early!

Accommodation - is in high demand especially at weekends and holidays. If you plan to spend only one night in the Lake District try to avoid weekends. We provide complimentary pick up from hotels in Windermere, Bowness and Ambleside - if you are unsure of your hotel location please check with us before booking.
Check availability and book online now

Train – the best fares are available to those who book early. Leave it to the last minute and you could be in for a shock!
Check availability and book online now

Tours – our tours are popular so please help us to help you by booking early. This is particularly important for private tours or larger groups.
Check availability for the tour(s) and date(s) you require 

If you cannot find the answer to your question then do Contact us and we will be glad to help.

Reservations

1. How can I make a reservation?

You can:
Telephone 00 44 (0) 15395 52106
Email: sales@lakedistricttours.co.uk

Use the booking form on our Contact us page. We will then confirm availability, and email an invoice that you can pay securely online to confirm your reservation. Once payment is received you will receive your tour voucher by email.

2. Can I book a tour online?

Yes - we want to make the booking process as simple as possible. However, we are a people business and booking a tour is not as simple as buying a book so please make sure you provide all the information required at the time of booking. For private tours and special requests we encourage you to contact us and we can ensure the tour is right for you.  If your preferred date does not show online please check with us by email and if your train schedule does not match our tour times we might be able to advise. We ask all single travellers to check availability with us first as it is not possible to book online.

3. How do I get to the Lake District?

There are 2 rail stations that serve the Lake District. 'Oxenholme – the Lake District' is on the main west coast line from? William Wordsworth  Glasgow/Edinburgh or London and is approx 30-40 mins from the towns of Windermere and Bowness. We do pick up from Oxenholme and there is an extra charge for this transfer service depending on your group size. We strongly recommend this service for all travellers who are short on time or are planning a tour on the same day as their arrival. We include return transfers on our day trips from London at a discounted rate.

The second option is Windermere station and to reach here you must change trains at Oxenholme. Trains are sometimes late arriving at Oxenholme and if you miss your connection you may well miss your tour and no refund would be available

This is the reason we strongly advise using our pick up service from Oxenholme if you wish to join a tour on the same day as your arrival from London.

Please note that there are few refreshment facilities at Oxenholme station. Oxenholme itself is a residential area on the edge of Kendal with no facilities or attractions for the visitor and we do not recommend staying here when joining a tour

Virgin trains operate a direct service from London Euston to Oxenholme Lake District station that takes just under 3 hours. To join a Tour B on your day of arrival you need to arrive at Oxenholme for 1108 to take advantage of our transfer service or make your own way to Windermere station by 1300 for the tour pick up.

To join a Tour C on your day of arrival you must reach Oxenholme by 0843 – this means an early start but the experience of life away from London is well worth it!  Find a hotel close to Euston station.

The Lake District is now well within reach for a day excursion from London, Manchester or Edinburgh. For families or groups of friends a private tour makes a great day out from London.

Read our Blog for more advice on how to get the best fare

4. Can you make a train reservation for me?

When joining a tour from other parts of the UK you can purchase tickets and view the latest timetables at the trainline. If you are visiting from overseas we recommend looking at the Britrail pass options.

5. Can I join a tour after arriving in the Lake District?

Yes this is possible - though our tours are very popular and we do recommend booking in advance to guarantee availability. At weekends and holiday periods Bank Holiday and Easter you should book tours and accommodation well in advance to avoid disappointment. Many guests enjoy their tour so much that they join a second tour on the following day your driver/guide can assist with this when space is available.

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Cancellation

5. What if I have to cancel my reservation?

In the unfortunate event that you have to cancel your tour please advise us as soon as possible.

Within 24 hours of the tour departure, no refund will be given.

Within 5 days before the tour date 50% of the tour price will be payable unless the seat can be re-sold in which case the passenger will receive a full refund.

For all cancellations more than 5 days before the tour date there is a £15 administration charge per person.

There will be no refunds for cancellation on the day of the tour.

6. Are there any extra costs I should be aware of?

There are no hidden costs in our tours – entrance fees and cruise fares are included in Tour A. All other attractions are optional and excluded from the tour price.

Tour prices are calculated on a minimum number of 4 adults required to operate a tour.

If the minimum group size is not met your tour may be cancelled and/or an alternative offered. If no alternative is available you may be offered the opportunity to confirm your tour upon payment of a small group supplement that is stated on each tour page.

Where minimum group size has not been met we will contact you at least 48hrs prior to the tour date. It is critical that we have correct and up to date contact details.

 You will need money for lunch 

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The Tours

7. How will we recognise our guide?

Your guide will have a sign for Lake District Tours and will be waiting on platform 2 as you exit the train at Oxenholme station.

At Windermere we will meet you off the train or at the front entrance of the station. We also pick up from your accommodation in the Windermere, Bowness or Ambleside area.

As a courtesy to fellow passengers please be there at the appointed time for your pick up – we are often picking up from various hotels in the area and will not have time to wait should you not be ready. 

8. What is the minimum/max group size for a tour?

Our minimum group size is 4 persons, though when available tours will operate for two persons on payment of a small group supplement.
Small group supplements for half day tours are £15 per person and for full day tours £25 per person. 

If you are joining a day trip from London we guarantee your tour for only two persons and no supplement applies. This means that you can book your train ahead of time for the best fare in the confidence that your tour will run – however do confirm tour availability with us before paying for your train. Our maximum group size is 8 with an average group size of 6 -8 persons. 

9. How often do your tours operate?

Please see individual tour descriptions for days of operation. Other days may be available especially should you book early so please contact us to enquire. 

10. Do you pick us up from our guesthouse?

Yes we arrange pick up from either your guesthouse or at clear meeting points in Bowness and Windermere as shown on the tour descriptions – whichever is the most convenient for you. As a courtesy to fellow passengers please be there at the appointed time for your pick up – we are often picking up from various hotels in the area and will not have time to wait should you not be ready.

We are happy to offer advice as to the suitability of a guesthouse location so please contact us if in doubt. 

11. Can we eat on the bus?

As a courtesy to fellow passengers we ask that you do not eat or drink on the bus – the roads in the Lake District are seldom straight and the potential for spillages is obvious! We do allow time for refreshments and comfort stops on our tours.

12. Can you arrange private group tours?

Yes – we excel in arranging private tours to make the most of your time in the Lake District. We have a detailed knowledge of the Lake District and over 20 years experience in operating tours. Tours can be arranged at times and durations to suit you and we can arrange special tours to meet the needs of your group. We recommend private tours for families with young children for a more relaxed and child orientated tour experience. We arrange hiking, garden and special interest tours. If you want to walk with an Alpaca, walk with a shepherd on a Lakeland farm, tackle the via ferrata at Honister slate mines, ride a horse, visit a castle, a stately home or run down sand dunes on the Cumbrian coast – contact us for ideas.  In short we are open to any suggestions and will work closely with you to design the best program for your group. We can also arrange for a Blue Badge Tourist Guide for Cumbria to accompany your group. 

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When to visit

13. Can I visit the Lake District at any time of year?

Absolutely! The Lake District is a year round destination where each season offers something special for the visitor.
The Spring months of April to June bring blossom covered hillsides, rhododendron blooms and the famous white damson blossom of the Lyth Valley that can be seen on Tour C.May is also the time to see the woodlands carpeted in bluebells and the famous daffodils of William Wordsworth.

In the Summer months of July/August the Lake District hills and pastures are a lush green. This is the warmest time to visit when the sun sparkles off the lakes and the cooling breeze of a Tour A lake cruise is most welcome. The warm days and balmy evenings make this a pleasant time to stroll through the villages and towns of Lakeland.

The Autumn months of September to November are always a popular time of year for visiting The Lake District. The area provides an impressive display of natural splendour, as the leaves turn from greens to golds, reds, oranges and yellows, all reflected in the mirror stillness of the lakes. Windermere, Coniston, Grasmere, Derwentwaterand Tarn Hows, near Hawkshead, are just a few of the many places to see this kaleidoscope of Autumn colours. The best time to enjoy the colours is when the sun is lowin the early morning at Tarn Hows on Tour D.

In Winter the days shorten and the air can be crisp and cold. At this time the mountains often look their best with a dusting of snow set against a deep blue winter sky. The air is clear and the reflections in the still waters of the lakes can be breathtaking.

Remember in the Lake District there is no such thing as bad weather - only inappropriate clothing!

 

14. Talking of clothing – what should I bring?

Warm clothes and a windproof jacket can make your stay more comfortable and means you can sit outside to enjoy the views from the open deck on the cruise. A small umbrella can also be handy. Sensible shoes will allow you to walk more easily by the lake etc.

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What to see and do

15. Can you recommend places to eat?

There are many restaurants and cafes in Bowness and Windermere including traditional fish n chips, Italian, Greek, Thai, Cantonese and Italian. You should expect to pay around £10 – 18 for a main course in most restaurants. For a traditional afternoon tea the Old England Hotel has a beautiful setting alongside Lake Windermere, or for something more substantial the Angel Inn is highly recommended by our guests. 

16. Are there many places to shop in Bowness/Windermere?

There are many interesting individual shops selling souvenirs and specialist shops such as Peter Rabbit and Friends.The timing of our tours allows time for exploring these shops before catching your onward train. There is a small supermarket, Tesco Express and bakery should you need supplies for your onward journey.

17. What can we see or do after our tour?

We recommend that you visit The World of Beatrix Potter attraction in Bowness - this is also a good place to visit if it is raining or you are travelling with children.

A popular family outing is a cruise to Lakeside and a ride on the steam railway – this can be included in a a wonderful half day tour around the Cartmel Peninsula with Holker Hall – ask for details.

The more active can take a hike above Bowness for some peace and quiet with superb panoramic views – we recommend the easy to reach but little known Biskey How viewpoint or the more strenuous hike to Orrest Head above Windermere.
In good weather you can hire a rowboat or take a cruise on the lake. In the evening we recommend taking a stroll along the lake to Cockshott Point, walk past the Tourist Information Centre for views up the lake to the mountains. 

18. Where can I find more information on what to see and do in the Lake District?

Visit GoLakes the site of Cumbria Tourism

On arrival pay a visit to the Lake District tourist information centres at:
Bowness Bay Tourist Information Centre
Glebe Road, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere, Cumbria
Tel: 015394 42895
bownesstic@lake-district.gov.uk

 

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Accommodation

19. Do you arrange accommodation?

There are many guesthouses and hotels in Bowness and Windermere of varying grades. You can book a youth hostel, small owner operated bed and breakfast, guesthouse, or hotel from our accommodation page.

Windermere – all Windermere hotels/B&Bs are within walking distance or a 5 min taxi ride from Windermere rail station. If you want to be within walking distance of the lake then we recommend staying in Bowness on Windermere

Bowness – close to the lake and with more shops,restaurants a cinema etc. Bowness is a popular place to stay though a little more expensive than Windermere due to its proximity to the lake

Ambleside – not quite so busy as Bowness and in a wonderful mountain setting Ambleside has many cafes, shops and cinema. There are plenty of easy walking opportunities e.g to Stock Ghyll waterfall or cruising on Windermere. If arriving by train you would need to take the bus or taxi from Windermere station for the 15 min drive to Ambleside. We can pick you up at Windermere or Oxenholme station and drop you at Ambleside at the end of a tour.

Pick up from the above locations is complimentary. We can pick up from more ‘rural’ locations at extra charge. If you are joining Tour C and want to be in a quieter location consider Glenridding for a one night stay at Moss Crag guesthouse

We accept no responsibility for the suitability of accommodation for your needs and you should visit the relevant hotel website before booking. 

20. What facilities are available?

Please check with each hotel as they vary according to the standard. All accommodation will include a full breakfast and most rooms have en suite facilities. 

A typical English breakfast consists of:

FACILITIES IN THE ROOM
Rooms are en suite and include either a shower or bath. NB most guesthouses have showers rather than baths. Typical facilities include:

Most guesthouses have a selection of guidebooks, maps and information on the local area.

21. I would prefer to stay in a hotel. Can you arrange this?

You can book hotel accommodation direct from our accommodation page

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Useful Information

22. Is Windermere a lake or a town?

The answer is both! This can be confusing as the village of Windermere is approx twenty minutes walk from the lake of Windermere. The village of Bowness on Windermere is next to the lake and if you are staying in Windermere there is a regular shuttle bus service connecting the two villages.

23. Can I change money in Bowness/Windermere ?

You can change money at the post office in Windermere and also at branches of Barclays, HSBC and Natwest bank. There are four cashpoints in Windermere and two in Bowness.

24. Where can I use the internet?

There is internet access at the Lakeland store near Windermere station which also has an excellent cafe.

25. For a local experience what should we try?

For an energy boost try the famous QuigginsKendal Mint Cake

On Tour D try the world famous Grasmere Gingerbread

Try a locally made Cumberland sausage or Herdwick lamb stew at the Yew Tree Farm on our Tour C

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Why Lake District Tours?

BOOK A TOUR


Just a short note to let you know how much we enjoyed the Lake District tours we took with you. The scenery was unforgettable.

We would love to come back and spend more time in the Lake district and of course do more tours with you and visit other attractions.

Thank for picking us up at Oxenholme - necessary as the train was late.

Once again Many Thanks for a once in a lifetime experience

Bill and Susan Stillman (Australia)

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