Riding the Haverthwaite Steam Train in the Lake District-09

Riding the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway in the Lake District 

Find out all you need to know about taking the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway – perfect for rainy days or a family afternoon in the Lake District. The trip can also be combined with a cruise on Windermere for a full day of fun in the Lake District. 

We combined our boat cruise on Windermere with the short steam train trip on the Haverthwaite and Lakeside Steam Railway. Jumping off the boat, it was an easy swap onto the steam train next to the pier where the ferry docked on Lakeside.

Free to choose whichever seat you liked, we walked a little down the train to find one of the comfy seats to admire the view on the 18-minute journey to Haverthwaite.

Opened in 1869, the 7-mile line was initially used to carry freight such as coal for the Windemere steamboats, iron ore to the nearby iron works in Backbarrow, as well as sulphur and saltpetre for the local gunpowder works. 

With the decline in industry, the line was then used to transport day trippers to and from the lake, a golden generation for the line in the 1930s. The line was suspended during the war, but it was eventually closed to passengers in 1965 when most parts of the station at Lakeside were demolished.

Saved by local businessmen who felt the need to preserve the steam trains, the steam train was happily reopened in 1973. 

As we rolled out of Lakeside, we caught a glimpse of the nearby River Leven, where the train line mostly follows and over to the surrounding hills, passing Newby Bridge and arriving at Haverthwaite.

Riding the Haverthwaite Steam Train in the Lake District-03

As we jumped off, we watched the engine cab take on more water to power the steam and relocate from one end of the train to the next, ready for its return journey to Lakeside. You can go straight back on the train, but we decided to stay a while and look around the station complex.

The old engine shed is a short stroll from the main station, where the current and older collection of steam and diesel locomotives are maintained. We chatted with one of the many volunteers who helped maintain the railway. As he painted some of the wheels, he explained that he had been involved with volunteering at the railway for nearly 20 years and had a lifelong passion for trains.

After admiring the collection, we warmed up at the cute and cosy station cafe with hot chocolate while waiting for the train to arrive.

On the return trip, we jumped off at Newby Bridge and walked the 1 mile back to Lakeside along the new West Windermere Way path – you can read more about the walk here.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite steam train and would highly recommend a trip – the perfect afternoon for families and even rainy days!

Essential Information 

The Haverthwaite to Lakeside Steam train will run from Saturday 23rd March – Sunday 3rd November in 2024

Tickets CANNOT be purchased online or booked in advance. Purchase tickets from either Lakeside or Haverthwaite Station. Adults start from £10.50 return and £6.30 for children.

You can also get a combined ticket for the Windermere boat cruise AND the Haverthwaite steam train – you can find out more details here.

Join my monthly Letters from the Lake District newsletter

Each month, I share…

✨A mini letter from me with monthly insights into living in the Lake District

✨ Books, podcasts, essays and articles from the Lake District and outdoor community to inspire you

Join my monthly Letters from the Lake District

* indicates required