“ Address: Haverthwaite Station / Nr Ulverston / Cumbria / LA12 8AL / England „
The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway a short line which runs steam engines between Haverthwaite and Lakeside in the Lake District. Lakeside is at the southern end of the lake and from here you can carry on to either Bowness or Ambleside by boat.
The station is a was very pretty, the staff and volunteers obviously have a lot of pride in their work and they do a great job. The whole place has an air of serenity about it and is so calm. Like most tourist attractions there is a gift shop and restaurant although we didn't have a look round. I would recommend talking a picnic as the station has a picnic area where you can eat in peace and watch the trains go by.
You could also visit the Engine Shed at the station. This houses the locomotives that are currently being restored. We didn't visit as our train was pulling in, but if I go back I would definitely give it a look.
The steam engines are really fantastic to look at. As one pulled into the station I couldn't help but feel like Harry Potter about to get on the Hogwarts Express! The interior of the train was in pristine condition, I was expecting them to be a bit on the shabby side but I was pleasantly surprised.
The journey to Lakeside took about 20 minutes, part of it alongside a windy river. The scenery was beautiful and I could easily have sat there for hours just looking out the window!
When we got to Lakeside we had a short wait for the boat to Bowness. The moorings are right next to the station which was very handy.
Throughout the year the railway has special events on including Thomas The Tank Engine weekend, Teddy Bear weekend and Pensioner Days where the fare is reduced. Over Halloween the train becomes a Ghost Train and nearer Christmas is when Santa visits!
There are carparks at both Haverthwaite and Lakeside which are a pretty decent size. At the station there are toilets with baby changing facilities. Disabled visitors are catered for with parking spaces and ramps into the station and to board/depart the train. Dogs are welcome but need to be on a lead.
There are several different fare packages to choose from as the station has done deals with local attractions including Beatrix Potter world in Bowness.
A basic fare just for the train is
- Adult Return: £5.90
- Child Return: £2.95
- Adult Single: £3.55
- Child Single: £2.40
- Family Ticket (2+3): £16.00
- Children under 5 travel free.
If you were to carry onto Bowness prices rise to £14 for adults and £7.50 for children with a family ticket costing £38. While this is a bit on the pricey side, if you take a picnic and because of the free parking at the station you can have a lovely day out for relatively little. I've never been to Ambleside, but Bowness is a nice little place to visit.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway a few weeks ago when my sister came to stay with her two small children.
I live quite near to it and have passed it numerous times but had never thought about having a day out on it, in fact I always had the impression that it was a children's outing so I was quite impressed when I arrived with two very excited kids in tow because they were going to see Thomas The Tank Engine.
**** LAKESIDE AND HAVERTHWAITE RAILWAY****
It Is the only remaining standard gauged railway line in the Lake District and steam engines operate between Haverthwaite and Lakeside travelling through the Levens Valley to link up to a steamer boat on Lake Windermere.
Lakeside itself is right on the southern tip of the lake and you have a choice of going to Bowness or further on to Ambleside.
There is a large car park at the station and I was surprised just how many cars were actually there, I was feeling a wee bit apprehensive at this point thinking that the place would be packed to the rafters but when we actually walked up to the ticket office on the station it was quite peaceful and 'oldie worldy' looking.
There were a few people sitting outside the cafe and others just milling about waiting for the next train.
When I saw the time table I realised that this was a full day out and obviously most of the occupants of the cars were now either in Ambleside or Bowness enjoying the sights before their return boat and train trip later in the day.
We had to decide whether we just wanted to take the train to Lakeside and visit the Sea World Centre or go on the boat as well so after working out how much time we would have to catch the last train back again we agreed to go as far as Bowness.
This took us about fifteen minutes to work out studying the time table and the kids were getting restless by this time because we had promised them Thomas the Tank so we then took a walk along the platform to the Engine Shed.
Thomas was there but he was not going out that day but they really did not care just being able to touch him was fantastic for them.
This engine shed is interesting for adults and children alike and I was very impressed with the appearance of all the trains, apparently the Railway has a volunteer group that they call 'The Wednesday Club' the members of this are all voluntary workers who give up some of their spare time to help look after the engines, keep the platform looking smart with a paint brush and of course to tend the flowers, they even work a few hours in the cafe or shop.
It is nice to hear of people helping out to keep this lovely railway line operational and it brings so much pleasure to so many families.
The platform itself is very attractive with pots and planters full of colourful flowers it was nothing like waiting on a normal station platform, there was peace in the air and no tannoy going off every two minutes.
The gift shop was a wee bit pricey but nice to browse around.
The cafe was large and I noticed that there was a good choice of home cooked recipes on the menu, tables and chairs were set outside and we enjoyed a large cup of frothy coffee and a muffin while the kids tucked into an ice cream cone while we waited for the train to arrive.
I heard the whistle before I saw it and as it emerged from a tunnel it chugged into the station, I couldn't help feeling a twinge of excitement; it was a grand site seeing it proudly bellowing out smoke and gently coming to a stop.
We found a seat and settled down to enjoy the journey to Lakeside as I looked around I noted that the carriage was in prestige condition and highly polished, the seats were exactly like the ones on old double decker buses not very comfortable but adequate for the journey.
As we set off the engine spouted out steam and whistled before it entered the tunnel much to the kids delight and we all settled down to take in the scenery.
People walking along the bank of the River Leven waved as the train passed and you could see the pleasure in their faces as they admired the wonderful sight of this magnificent steam engine.
The journey took about twenty minutes, sadly not long enough for me but the kids were now getting excited about the pending trip on the boat and as we alighted the train we walked a few yards to the boat moorings at Lakeside.
We had a fifteen minute wait for our boat to Bowness but there was plenty to amuse us with the coming and going of other boats and the gift shop and cafe.
The trip itself took just under an hour and we spent most of our time on the top deck just taking in the view of this wonderful Lake.
There was a bar on board in the lounge deck and comfortable seats if you wanted to relax and of course toilet facilities which I must add were very clean.
When we arrived at Bowness the sun was shining and it was great just to have a wander on the lake front watching the boats.
My sister bought some duck food from one of the kiosks and the kids loved it but unfortunately there were a couple of swans mingling amongst them and not my favourite creature as beautiful as they are so I took a break and had a look around one of the many gift shops.
The highlight of the day in Bowness was a visit to 'The World Of Beatrix Potter' it was a short walk from the boating jetty and cost £6.00 for us each and £3.00 for the kids, we spent a good hour in there but I wont go into too much detail in this review.
Our return trip on the boat was a little bit quieter than the outgoing journey, the kids were shattered so we sat in the lounge for the entire trip but when we caught the train back to our car in Haverthwaite they seemed to regain a bit of energy.
Haverthwaite is just outside Newby Bridge in Cumbria.
If you come off the M6 at junction 36 Newby Bridge is well signposted and takes just over half an hour, the station itself is on the right just as you leave Newby Bridge.
Tel; 015395 31594
****OPENING TIMES AND PRICES****
The railway is not open all year round but starts up the first weekend in April until the end of October.
Prices are reasonable for a full day out for the family:
Trains to Lakeside return:
£5.70 adult - £2.85 children
Family tickets 15.50 for two adults and up to three children between five and fifteen.
To take the steamer on to Bowness:
Adults £13.50 - Children £7.20
Family rates - £37.20
To take the steamer on to Ambleside:
Adults £18.70 - Children-£9.35
Family rate: £52.00
Group rates are available by contacting the booking office in advance.
This is a great day out for the family and I think that all children should be given the opportunity of experiencing a trip on a steam train it is something that they will remember for years to come.
Special Thomas the tank weekends are held twice a year but it is best to book in advance because it gets very busy and the last thing you want is to promise your child a trip on this much loved engine and find you have to let them down, but whatever time you go they will still get the chance to see it resting up in the engine shed.
The prices are very reasonable when you take into consideration that you are travelling on not just a steam engine but you are also getting a boat trip to a beautiful place in our lake district.
This trip is suitable for wheelchair users because there is a ramp to aid you onto the train and boat and dogs are alSo welcomed as I noticed the quaint sign at the railway ticket office Quoting "All Well Behaved Dogs Welcome"
I can highly recommend this day out even for adults it is well worth a visit to Newby Bridge if you are in the area.
Enjoy a pleasant ride on this steam locomotive. Experience the remaining 3.5 miles of the original Furness Railway line. It runs from Haverthwaite, through Newby Bridge to the terminus at Lakeside.