Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is a narrow gauge railway that takes you on a spectacular 7 mile journey in beautiful Cumbria. Here is a complete guide.
How To Get To Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Located in the coastal village of Ravenglass, the Railway is on the edge of the Lake District National Park.
From M6 junction 36, follow the brown Western Lake District signs to Broughton-in-Furness, passing Newby Bridge on the A590 and turning right at Greenodd onto the A5092.
Then at Broughton, follow the A595 to Silecroft T junction (turn right) and beyond.
From M6 junction 40, follow the brown Western Lake District signs past Keswick and Bassenthwaite Lake on the A66 towards Cockermouth.
Turn left at the Cockermouth roundabout onto the A5086. Follow the A5086 to Egremont where it joins the A595 and then turn left for Ravenglass, following the A595.
There are pay and display car parks at both Ravenglass (CA18 1SW) and Dalegarth (CA19 1TF) stations.
Cost is £2.25 up to 2 hours and £5 for all day.
Regular Northern Rail trains travel on the scenic Cumbrian Coast Line between Carlisle, Whitehaven, and Barrow, calling at Ravenglass every day.
It’s possible to purchase a ‘through ticket’ with Northern Rail and just present at the ticket office on arrival. You will get seated on the next available train.
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Entrance Fee
Adult return tickets start at £18 / Child return tickets starts at £12
Various family tickets are available.
You can choose to travel first class or book a carriage to yourselves at an extra cost.
Dogs are welcome onboard for £1.50.
Children under 3 travel free.
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Opening Times
Open daily from 9am – 5pm between March and November.
Also open odd weeks between.
Plus they hold special events during the year.
It would be advisable to check ravenglass-railway.co.uk before your visit.
Best Time To Visit Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway + Tips
This is a popular tourist attraction and I would recommend booking in advance. Especially during school holidays and at weekends.
The free museum at Ravenglass Station is worth a look if you are interested in the history of the railway.
There are gift shops at either end of the line.
Toilets are available at both stations.
This is a dog friendly ride – £1.50 per dog.
You can even preorder a picnic to take with you!
What To Pack
History Of Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Built between 1873-1875, Ravenglass and Eskdale railways main purpose was to transport the iron ore down to Ravenglass. From here it was transferred onto the Furness Railway’s mainline to Barrow.
From 1876 the Railway was also open to passenger traffic and was built to the narrow gauge of 3ft between the rails. Making it the first public narrow gauge railway in England.
There have been historic issues with keeping the line operable and in 1958, when the line was put up for sale, there were no takers.
Fortunately, the Ravenglass Railway Preservation Society was formed and, with the help of a stockbroker and a local landowner, the railway was purchased.
The family of Sir Wavell Wakefield, the local landowner, are still actively involved with the running of the railway.
What To Expect At Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Affectionately and locally known as ‘La’al Ratty’, which means little railway in old Cumbrian dialect, this narrow gauge railway is a gem.
Step back in time onboard a small steam or diesel train and enjoy this spectacular 7 mile journey that takes approximately 40 minutes to complete.
It’s easily one of the most famous attractions in the Lake District and one of the best things to do in Ulverston.
You have the choice of cosy covered, half-open, or open-top carriages. Alternatively, treat yourself to an upgrade to First Class, or enjoy panoramic views from the special Pullman Observation Carriage ‘Joan’.
Starting your journey at Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park, you have expansive views out over the coastal estuary.
This is followed by spectacular woodland and hill scenery as you travel through the Eskdale valley to Dalegarth. Along the way look out for greylag geese, curlew, shelduck, buzzards and red squirrels.
Alternatively, you can start your journey at Dalegarth Station at the other end of the line. However, at Ravenglass station you have the Railway Museum and the Turntable cafe available to visit.
The journey also includes seven request stops that allow for walks in the scenic country side between the stops if you fancy.
Interestingly, this was one of Alfred Wainwright’s favourite journeys and immortalised in his ‘Walks from Ratty’ and ‘Britain’s Favourite View’.
Next stop on the itinerary was a visit to the historic Furness Abbey.
Where To Stay In The Lake District
Luxury – Lakes Hotel & Spa
This luxurious hotel is perfectly situated with views of Lake Windermere, a short stroll from the village of Bowness-on-Windermere.
The hotel can arrange collection from Windemere station which is just 10 minutes away.
Lakes Hotel & Spa has some of the best on-site facilities in the area, half of the rooms with hot tubs on private balconies. There’s also an on-site spa, a stylish restaurant and a cocktail bar. As well as bike hire, wakesurfing and paddleboading.
There are many walks that you can take straight from the hotel gates, and there are even boats that travel the length of Windermere, making it easy to visit surrounding areas.
Mid-Budget – The George Hotel by Best Western
This traditional hotel stands in the very centre of the bustling market town of Penrith.
Free parking and free Wi-Fi is available at the property. Meals are available to enjoy in the intimate, candlelit Devonshire restaurant which boasts a beautiful open fire.
The wood panelling and old local wall prints combine to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, where many generations of loyal visitors have returned time after time.
Budget – Albany House
Located in Penrith, Albany House offers bed-and-breakfast accommodation with free WiFi access throughout.
Guests benefit from free public parking facilities near the accommodation. The property also boasts a 4 gold-star rating from the AA, along with breakfast awards.
Rooms at Albany House B&B come with a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities and either an en-suite or external bathroom.
Breakfast is available between 8:00 and 9:00 every morning in the common breakfast room.
For more places to stay in the Lake District, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.