Visit the Lake District on the Summer X8 Service from Chorley & Preston

Visit the Lake District on the Summer X8 Service from Chorley & Preston
A Stagecoach MCSL Enviro400 is pictured climbing the Pass of Dunmail Raise on the X8 to Keswick.Max Cleminson

The summer only X8 service from Chorley and Preston to the Lake District resumes in April 2019. Taking 2 hours 40 minutes end to end, the service covers almost 90 miles.

Admittedly the Lake District is one of our less explored areas of the North West. We’re trying to change this year by writing more features from Cumbria and the Borders. With that, we’re pleased to inform our readership that the Saturday-only direct X8 bus service from Chorley and Preston resumes from Saturday 6th April 2019. It operates every Saturday throughout the Summer until the 26th October 2019.

Now the X8 is a limited stop summer only service as it’s operated by Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire. With that, one of their higher spec Alexander Dennis Enviro400 buses is usually allocated to the service, offering passengers comfortable seating, complimentary WiFi, USB charging points, tables and onboard bins. Not to mention tremendous views from the top deck when the weather is favourable.

The limited stop X8 service starts in Chorley before stopping off only at Clayton Brook, Bamber Bridge and Preston Bus Station and Fulwood before heading along the M6 motorway to Helsington, Windermere Station, Ambleside and then Grasmere before terminating at Keswick Bus Station. The journey from end to end takes 2 hours 40 minutes travelling almost 90 miles (X8 timetable). Visit the LEYTR blog to see a list of England’s longest bus routes for those that are interested.

If you wish to use the service, the one-day Stagecoach North West Explorer ticket offers exceptional value at £11.30 for Adults, £8.30 for Children and Concessions. The X8 service accepts payment by cash, mobile ticket or via contactless onboard. If you are travelling in a group, up to 5 adults can travel together with the North West Explorer Group ticket for £32.70. Please note that English National Concessionary Free passes are not valid for travel on the X8 service, but a discounted North West Explorer is available from the driver.

Those not familiar with the Lake District will be interested to know it is situated in Cumbria, in the North West corner of England. It’s roughly a 2-hour drive by car from Manchester or a 5-hour drive from London. it is both a region and a national park, so it’s to no surprise the area is popular with outdoor enthusiasts, culture buffs who flock in their droves for its literary associations (Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth and Ruskin to name a few), and travellers who just want to enjoy its postcard prettiness.

When you arrive at the Lake District there are a plethora of things you could fit into your itinerary. You can take local buses between towns, and cruise around with Windermere Lake Cruises. There are a variety of cruises including Mountain Goat’s Cross Lakes Experience so that you can get your Beatrix Potter fix in.

It was back in April 2008, Stagecoach North West launched the Saturdays only X8 service to Keswick. It followed the former X61 route between Manchester and Preston before continuing to Windermere and Keswick (via the picturesque Thirlmere, following the 556 route from Lancaster). Sadly the Manchester to Chorley section was ditched after the first season, operating from Chorley to Keswick ever since. As Stuart says on his East of the M60 Blog, “A shame, given the potential it had for linking Manchester with the Lake District.”

X8 Timetable? Click here to view the X8 timetable.

Lake District Bus Guide? Click here to view the Lakes bus guide.

Tom Harrison

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