Title: Central Lake District by bus (winter)
Creator: Will Larter
Bus services are curtailed in the winter season, with the last bus to Great Langdale, for example, arriving at just after four o'clock. This crawl is based on Ambleside as its start and finish point, though anywhere on the 555 bus route (Keswick to Lancaster) would do just as well, the last bus to the former leaving Ambleside at 18:36 and to the latter at 18:27, though Windermere can still be reached much later in the evening.
First bus of the day is from Ambleside to Coniston, the 505 at 10:30, arriving at 11:05. The next bus out of Coniston is at 12:45, giving plenty of time to visit at least two of the pubs in the village.
The 505 takes us back towards Ambleside, but the next stop is Hawkshead, where the closely packed village features three pubs within a stone's throw of each other. The bus arrives at 13:00, next departure to Ambleside is at 14:25.
Back in Ambleside, don't get off the bus, because the 505 arriving at 14:45 becomes the 516 departure at 14:50. Next stop is Elterwater at 15:07, where the pub is just a step or two from the bus stop.
An alternative is to get off in Chapel Stile at 15:09 for a quick visit to the pub while the bus goes up to the head of the valley and returns at 15:42 for the short hop back to Elterwater. The last bus out of here is at 16:29, getting back into Ambleside at 16:46.
There's half an hour before the next bus, so just time for a swift one in the nearest pub before catching the 555 bus at 17:21 to Grasmere, arriving at about 17:39. The best of the Grasmere pubs is a short walk from the bus stop, to which we return for the 19:00 to take us down the road to Rydal. The last bus of the day, another 555, is about 45 minutes later and takes us back into Ambleside for a final pint or two.
|The Black Bull (1)|
|Not the nearest pub to the bus stop, but worth the walk for the complete array of Consiton brewery beers on the bar.|
|Sun Hotel (2)|
|A short walk uphill from the village centre, with views over the village to the lake.|
|Kings Arms Hotel (3)|
|About five minutes from the bus stop - the small town centre is too narrow and twisting for buses.|
|Queens Head Hotel (4)|
|Only a few steps between pubs, so there should be time to do all three before the bus.|
|Red Lion Inn (5)|
|The exterior of the pub is interesting, with crude figurines under the eaves.|
|Wainwrights' Inn (6)|
|At the end of the village, about three minutes' walk from the bus stop by the co-op.|
|Britannia Inn (7)|
|Can be crowded in summer, but there should be plenty of room around the fire in winter.|
|White Lion Hotel (8)|
|About five minutes' walk from the bus stops in Kelsick Road.|
|Tweedies Bar (9)|
|A short walk down a lane on the edge of the village, but can also be reached through the grounds of the hotel to which it is attached.|
|The Glen Rothay Hotel and Badger Bar (10)|
|The bus stops a few paces past the bar entrance. There is a pavement but no street lighting.|
|The Golden Rule (11)|
|Up a steep road that is the start of The Struggle - the road to Kirkstone Pass.|
|Unicorn Inn (12)|
|Just around the corner.|