Tips for Penrith mini-bus and coach tourism

Useful tips for Penrith bus groups with ‘what to see’ and ‘what to do’ items and  ‘bus- friendly’ or must see tourist sites in Penrith. Check our list of attractions before planning your bus tour with a stop or departure in Penrith. Let us know if your favourite attraction or ‘bus-stop’ is not there and you think we should add it to our list of Penrith highlights.

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City Tours in Penrith

You can rent a bus in Penrith for tours in the city or in Cumbria County. The attraction of Penrith is its close proximity to the Lake District National Park. With 5 minutes you can be inside the UK's largest and most visited national park, exploring pristine lakes, cute villages, and relaxing in a traditional country pub.

Stunning Lakes

The Lake District has 16 lakes and numerous waters, although nobody really understands the different definitions. For example, Wast Water is England's deepest lake, despite not being called lake. Flat and serene, the lakes are an idyllic piece of the countryside, surrounded by green hills and stark rugged landscape. Take a boat trip across the water, or walk around the woodland and enjoy the peace. Each lake has its own village with tourist facilities, but away from them there is very little other that you, nature, and a lot of sheep.

The Fells

The hills and mountains of the Lake District are known as Feels. Whether they're hills or mountains depends on your perspective, as the highest peak here is also the highest point in England; but it's only 978 metres above sea level. There are literally thousands of hiking routes and almost the whole park is open access, so you don't need to worry about trespassing as you cross the huge green fields that look down on the lakes. For the best walks go from ridge to ridge and admire the landscape from above.

Grasmere Village, Lake District, Cumbria, England, UK

Grasmere Village, Lake District, Cumbria, England, UK credit; Ray Che CC BY 2.0

Cute Towns and Villages

The Lake District offers a quintessentially old school image of England. Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice is set here, and since the 17th century this was where rich English nobles came to holiday. With charming stone houses and winding streets, each village is different from the next. Other than a few pensioners there are few people on the streets and when in places like Grasmere or Hawkshead you get the feeling that time has stood still.

Country Pubs

Isolated and wonderfully idiosyncratic, the region of Cumbria is full of old country pubs. Drink a pint of hand pulled local ale, taste a local Cumberland sausage, and get cosy next to a roaring log fire. These pubs are full of friendly faces, whether that's the village locals or other tourists and hikers taking a well earned break.

tours in Cumbria county

Cumbria has one main attraction: The Lake District. But what an attraction this is. Arguably the most picturesque landscape in the UK, the Lake District has been hypnotising visitors for centuries. It's the largest and most visited national park in the country, and is a wonderful destination for relaxing, adventure sport, nature, and traditional culture.

Aeropuerto de Manchester, Inglaterra, Reino Unido

Manchester Airport, England, UK  credit: David Woo CC BY-ND 2.0

Tours with a private driver in Cumbria:

Your tour with private transport in a rented bus with driver around Cumbria can start at the Lake District that isn't one destination; it's a vast area full of individual attractions. Each turn brings a new view, each lake is different, and each town brings their individual charms to the region. With public transport either non-existent or awfully slow, the only way to see everything is with private bus or minibus.

The lakes and waters

It wouldn't be called the Lake District if there weren't some lakes. This national park contains 16 lakes, 53 tarns, and several waters. The definitions of these terms seem to baffle everyone and quiet why Bassenthwaite is a lake and Coniston is water is a long standing mystery. Windermere is England's largest lake and the most famous one for visitors. Wast Water is England's deepest lake, even though it's officially called a water. Each of these stretches of water is framed by stunning backdrops of mountains, woodland, and green hills. In fact, the water is the only flat feature of this landscape.

Take a romantic boat trip into the centre of the lake or walk around the edge and admire the tranquillity and scenery. Coniston Water, Derwent Water, Ullswater, and Windermere are the most popular and each has their own village which you can use as a base. The lakes immediately impress with their beauty, but their real treasure is the all encompassing serenity. Enjoy them for a five minute photo, or stay for days hiking around the nature and relaxing. However, a word of warning, these lakes are also popular with swans, vicious birds that will happily peck at you if you get too close. All swans in the UK are officially the property of the Queen, so harming a swan is a crime that's similar to stealing the crown jewels. With this protection, it's no wonder the swans aren't scared of people.

Fells and Mountains

The Lake District is the only place in England with a true mountain range. Perhaps other wouldn't agree that something that doesn't go above 1000metres can be called a mountain, but locals fiercely defend the notion that these are mountains and not just hills. Officially the mountains (or hills) are called fells, rugged green slopes and peaks that look like a postcard of rural England. Almost all of the Lake District is designated as public access, so there is free access to thousands of hiking trails and routes. The most popular hikes are ridge walks that keep you above the landscape, and when the weather isn't good, above the cloud line.

The highest is Scarfell Pike, the highest mountain in England at 978 metres above sea level. It's a relatively easy five hour hike and when you do it you'll realise that it would be more accurate to call it a hill. Meeting you at the summit will probably be a large herd of grazing sheep. These farm animals are seemingly everywhere and a game of who can get the best photo with a sheep is a popular part of local hiking.

Charming Towns and Villages

Cumbria is a very rural region and its cute towns are small and historic. High streets are always on a steep hill, pubs look like they came from the 18th century and nothing seems out of place. Bowness on Windermere is the home of Beatrix Potter, a famous author and illustrator who created the Tales of Peter Rabbit. You can visit her home and relive the tales of Jemima Puddle Duck, Benjamin Bunny, and Mrs Tiggy-Winkles. These talking animals attract thousands of visitors. Despite the cold year round temperatures, Bowness on Windermere also has a surprising number of ice cream shops, each optimistically maintaining a sunshine vigil and hoping for the few days a year when business might be good.

Windermere, England.

Penrith is the region’s main hub and the best place to organise private transport. It's central location makes it easy to get out to the charming towns and villages like Hawkshead, Ambleside, Grasmere, and Eskdale Green. Each is different from the last and evokes some classical images of old British life. Wander around quiet streets admiring the cute stone buildings and then check out some of the world's tiniest bus stations; in some villages if you miss the bus you have to wait two days for the next one.

Country Pubs

Cumbria is one of the best places in the UK to experience a traditional English country pub. These pubs often date back to the 19th century and they're located in strange isolated places, often nowhere near villages or settlements. From the cold outside there is cosy warmth inside and you can put your feet up beside a roaring log fire. Eat a traditional lunch of roast meat and vegetables, and wash it down with a pint of real ale. Cumbria as a staggering 25 breweries, that's one for every 20,000 people. Each country pub will have a different range of beers, and they use a hand pulled tap for added authenticity. These are very friendly places; atmospheric and welcoming, as well as quintessentially English.

Hole in t' wall pub

Hole in t' wall pub credit: Ben Salter CC BY 2.0
Bowness-on-Windermere, UK.

What to see during your tour in Penrith with a hired minibus

Penrith and the Lake District is a destination that requires private transport. With so many little destinations and areas of nature to explore, a rented coach allows you to create a bespoke itinerary that takes in landscapes, lakes, and cute towns. Part of the adventure is the winding country roads that don't seem wide enough for a coach. Every corner reveals a new vista and photo opportunity, and the coach drivers know exactly how to navigate tight spaces.

Here are some suggestions for your itinerary.

Different Lakes

Serene and stunning, the Lake District has a huge number of lakes and waters to explore. Each lake is different, and provides an alternative view of the region's unique landscape. Lake Windermere and Ulswater are the most famous and attract the highest number of visitors, but all across the region you'll find tranquil pieces of nature that demand exploration. On the larger lakes boat tours and boat ferries take you out on the water and with a coach you can dropped off on one side and picked up on the other side of the lake.

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere credit: Neil Turner CC BY-SA 2.0

The Fells

Locals would call them mountains, even though the highest peak in the Lake District is only 978metres above sea level. Officially the rolling hills and rugged peaks are called fells, and almost every inch of the Lake District is open for public access. There are literally thousands of different hiking trails, including one up Scarfell Pike, England's highest mountain. Rather than go out and come back along the same trail, with a coach you can pre arrange start and end points. This allows you to do a one way hike, with the comfort of knowing your legs can get a rest on the coach journey back to the hotel.

Hope Cottage, Acer Tree, Wansfell background

Hope Cottage, Acer Tree, Wansfell background credit: Richard Barrett-Small CC BY 2.0

Adventure Sports

The Lake District is a hotbed for adrenalin pumping action and various companies offer exhilarating activities involving water and rock. Abseil and slide your way down waterfalls and rivers, or take on some of the country's best rock climbing. The gentle waters of Lake Windermere and Ulswater are ideal for people learning to sail or canoe, just make sure you bring enough warm clothes as the Lake District is famously cold. Your coach can drop your group at different activities and these adventure sports are a popular part of many group's itineraries. Some coach companies are able to get discounted group rates for these activities.

Cute Towns and Villages

Throughout the Lake District life continues as it has for centuries. Sheep wander the streets, villages are serviced by one bus every two days, and old stone houses withstand the pounding rain. Places like Bowness and Hawkshead are quintessentially English and evoke all the images of rural country life. Have you heard of Jamina Puddle-duck or Benjamin Rabbit? These are some of the characters invented by 19th author and illustrator Beatrix Potter and her World of Attractions is packed full of memorabilia about these talking animals. It's incredibly popular with Japanese tourists as Beatrix Potter is one of the core texts used in Japanese schools for children learning English.

Lake District

Lake District credit: Angie Muldowney CC BY-ND 2.0

Country Pubs

Isolated along quiet roads the Lake District is famous for its country pubs. With roaring fires, hand pulled local ale, and hot dinners, the country pub is a local institution and each one is unique. We're not sure how they have survived for over 100 years when they're nowhere near a settlement. But each is full of friendly faces and with a coach you've for hundreds of different country pubs to explore. 

Lovely Bar

Lovely Bar credit: firmatography CC BY-ND 2.0

More about Penrith

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