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Driving from Cambridge to Lake District

Hong Kong, China
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Driving from Cambridge to Lake District

Hello, we are a family of four planning to drive from Cambridge University after lunch at 1pm to Lake District end of this month June. We have to drop our daughter (of uni student age) off at train station on our way to Lake District for her onward journey back to Durham University. 1.)Any suggestion if it is more convenience in train schedule wise for her to take evening train from Leeds or Darlington, a town south of Durham? 2.) Looking at the map, it looks like Darlington will give a simpler access via M66/M67 to Keswick or Windemere in Lake District! Should we be driving directly to Windemere or Keswick in Lake District? Or should we stay a night in Leeds and let our daughter take train from Leeds? Driving time and distance from Cambridge to Leeds, Darlington and Keswick? Anyone?

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1. Re: Driving from Cambridge to Lake District

If you're going to drive to Darlington, you might as well go all the way to Durham as it's 90% of the way there from Cambridge

Leeds is an option. Trains to Durham travel up the "East Coast Main Line" and you can generally drop her off at any of the towns up this route(Peterborough, Grantham, Newark, Doncaster, York, Darlington) where the mainline trains stop. In particular Peterborough, Doncaster and York have a lot of trains from there to Durham, but York is a bit of a pain for traffic

There are less trains from Leeds to Durham I think, but still plenty - check the east coast website for timetables

To drive from Cambridge to Leeds will take you about 3 hours. Cambridge to Darlington about 4. Cambridge to Keswick about 5, but more if you've detoured via Leeds, Darlington or elsewhere, possibly 6 hours.

Hong Kong, China
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2. Re: Driving from Cambridge to Lake District

Thanks so much for your input Pintpot! Any idea the train station location in Leeds for the north bound train to Durham? We are first timer driving in Leeds. Anyone?

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3. Re: Driving from Cambridge to Lake District

surelky the sensible thing to do hereis to drive your daughter back to Durham and then go on to the lakes from there? you could stay a night in Durham, which is much nicer than Leeds. If it were my daughter I would not be leaving her at a strange city centre train station late on a Friday night to save a few miles driving.

Stanley, Falkland...
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4. Re: Driving from Cambridge to Lake District

I agree with fuchsiagirl.

www.viamichelin.com for routes and driving times.

Edinburgh, Scotland
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5. Re: Driving from Cambridge to Lake District

Another to agree with fuschiagirl. Any other plan is madness, by comparison.

Leeds-Durham may involve changing trains at York, and getting to Leeds station is a right royal pain if you don't know your way around. You will have to undertake a significant detour to drop her at any of the east coast line stations (except Newark, but I would not recommend that as few trains stop at that station, and it can be a bit desolate on a cold evening - I speak from frequent experience!)

The drive from Cambridge (A14/A1/A1(M) is on high-speed limited-access highways all the way. Boring but fast. On the other hand, the drive across from Durham to the lakes (the A690/A689 through Crook, Stanhope and Alston) is a very pleasant road, although by no means fast!

Edited: 4:53 am, June 10, 2011
Durham, United...
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6. Re: Driving from Cambridge to Lake District

I agree that driving to Durham would be the best and cheapest option. If you have a car and are prepared to drive your daughter it would be just as easy to continue up the A1 to Durham rather than driving into the centre of Leeds or York in heavy trafic to drop her off at the station. If you're considering driving as far as Darlington this is certainly the case as it's only another half hour to Durham.

If she is going to have to go by train she might just as well get the train from Cambridge. It takes about 3 and a half hours with a change at Peterborough, but this would be a relatively expensive option.

Leeds isn't on the main East Coast rail line so if you dropped her off there she would have to get one of the less frequent trains that go from there to Durham. This would entail passing through York on the way with a possible change there. The only reason I can think of that you might have for suggesting Leeds is that it would allow you to drive through the Yorkshire Dales towards Windermere.

As far as the Lake District is concerned Keswick is a far better base than Windermere in my opinion. It's more like the 'real' Lake District whereas Windermere is more crowded and touristy.

It should be possible to drive from Cambridge to Keswick direct in about 5 hours by taking the A1 to Scotch Corner (S of Darlington) and joining the A66 there, Add on another hour if you call at Durham en route. Bearing in mind that it's light until 10 o'clock it should be feasible to get to Keswick in a day if you really want to, but you could have the setting sun to contend with when heading west.

If you want to go at a more leisurely pace Durham is a much nicer place to stay overnight than either Leeds or Darlington. Cambridge to Durham driving would take 4 hours. The drive from Durham to Keswick can be done in 2 to 2 and a half hours depending which route you take, but as it passes through lovely countryside it's well worth taking your time. As stated above the most scenic route is the high road through Alston which climbs to over 2000 feet.The other routes are 1) south through Barnard Castle to join the A66 or 2) north to join the A69 then M6 and A66. 2) would allow you to visit Hadrian's Wall which is parallel to te A69..

7. Re: Driving from Cambridge to Lake District

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