On Wednesday July 11, 2018, we took the #77 regional single-decker bus from Keswick for a gorgeous 1.75-hour loop ride along 2 lakes, over 2 mountain passes, and through several tiny, adorable hamlets. Then on Thursday July 12, we took the #78 regional double-decker open-top bus for a ride along Derwentwater and through the valley south of the lake. Both buses stop at several trailheads for either easy lake hikes or more thrilling hill climbs.

The #77 bus from Keswick bus station – you can choose either the #77, which goes “anticlockwise” or the #77a, which goes clockwise on the same route. We chose the #77, because Rick Steves’ “Scenic Circle Drive South of Keswick” describes the anticlockwise route for drivers and works well for bus riders if you want to follow along. The #77 leaves at 10:30, 12:30, 2:30, and 4:30, Mon-Sun. The #77a leaves every hour starting at 8:30 through 5:30, most times are 7 days/week, and it seems to be the more popular with hikers (meaning, the 77a seems to fill up faster.)

The #78 open-top bus runs every 30 minutes July-Sept from 8:50 – 18:20. (The rest of the year it varies between every 30 minutes and every hour.) One-way from Keswick to Seatoller is 30 minutes, with three stops in between. We just stayed on the bus and enjoyed the one-hour round trip.

Costs – All buses cost £8.30 for adults for the full day, and there are also bus-and-boat tickets, and “park-and-explore” car parking + bus tickets. Buy tickets on board (exact change not needed) or use their Stagecoach Bus App.

Planning – To plan our journeys, we picked up a very comprehensive bus schedule (and a Keswick Launch boat ride schedule) from the helpful TI. (The most adorable TI we’ve ever seen – it’s in the middle of Keswick’s main square, and used to be a sweet little church.)

Leaving Keswick to travel to York

From Keswick back to Penrith – X4 or X5 bus, runs every 30-45 minutes or so on its 50-minute journey. We took the 8:47.

Train – Penrith to York

I used the Virgin Trains West Coast App to buy our Penrith – York tickets, and spent the extra £35 each to buy first-class, anytime tickets. I was glad I did because we were able to take an earlier train than I expected; as a result we had only one change of trains instead of two; and we had a table and four seats on both 1.5-hour journeys. Total cost for our two tickets: $247.16. (As Jeff would say, travel in the UK isn’t cheap.)