Ribblehead Viaduct

Public Transport Travel Guide

Travelling to and within National Parks by public transport is a great way to explore some of our most stunning landscapes in England and Wales. Using public transport also has the added benefit of reducing the number of cars in popular sites and is better for the environment. We’ve put together this handy guide with key information for travelling in each of the 13 English and Welsh National Parks. 

At Campaign for National Parks we think that our Parks should be accessible for everyone. That’s why we campaign for more public transport and more ways to explore Protected Landscapes. Join our mailing list to stay up to date with our latest campaigns and how you can get involved. 


Closest city: Newcastle upon Tyne 

Top tip: Explorer North East day tickets are valid on most bus services into and around the Park for an affordable day trip by bus.

By train 

Northern Rail operates services to various stations in the Park including Hexham, Bardon Mill, Haydon Bridge, Wylam, Prudhoe, Stocksfield, Riding Mill, Corbridge and Haltwhistle. 

From further afield, national rail services stop at Newcastle and Alnmouth where there are bus and rail connections into the Park.  

  • LNER services to Alnmouth and Newcastle via the London to Edinburgh line or  
  • Cross Country services to Alnmouth and Newcastle from the south, the southwest, the midlands, Yorkshire and the northeast as well as south Wales and southeast Scotland 

By bus 

Arriva operates many bus services into the Park from Newcastle or Carlisle. 

Go North East run services across the region, with various routes passing through the Park including the Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus which stops at various popular spots in the Park and can be caught from Hexham or Haltwhistle rail stations.

North York Moors

Closest towns: Middlesbrough, Thirsk

By train 

The Esk Valley railway runs services into the Park from Whitby, Pickering or Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough can be accessed via various Northern and TransPennine Express services, including from major cities such as Newcastle, York, Leeds and Manchester.

Grand Central operates direct services to Thirsk from London for access via the southeast of the Park. 

By bus 

Moorsbus operates a number of summer services across the moors as well as into the Park including from Middlesbrough, Thirsk and York. Moorsbus services only operate on Weekends and Bank Holidays. 

The Coastliner 840 bus runs through the Park from Leeds and York. The service stops at various places within the Park including Pickering for connections to the North York Moors heritage railway.

GoAhead East Yorkshire operates a service into Helmsley in the centre of the Park.

Yorkshire Dales

Closest cities: York, Bradford, Leeds

By train

National rail services operated by LNER and CrossCountry stop at York and Leeds for connections into the Park. 

Northern Rail operates various services into the Dales via Leeds, Bradford and York, as well as the Settle-Carlisle railway which runs from Leeds to Carlisle and passes through many popular spots, including the gateway to the Three peaks, Horton-in-Ribblesdale.  

The community-operated Bentham Line also runs a service through the Park from Leeds to Morecambe. 

By bus 

Dalesbus operates various services around the Dales accessible from Leeds, Bradford and York. Year-round services serve Nidderdale, Wharfdale and Airedale, Wensleydale and Swaledale, and the Western dales. They also provide extended services during the summer. 

Lake District

Closest cities: Lancaster, Carlisle 

Top tip: A bus and boat ticket offers unlimited bus travel on Stagecoach services into and around the Lakes for a day plus a boat ride on participating lakes.

By train 

Northern Rail operates services into the park from Lancaster and Carlisle. Stations in the Park include Ravenglass, Staveley and Windemere, from which a walk or a bus ride takes you to the likes of Eskdale. 

To reach the Lake District from further afield, there are direct trains to Oxemholme operated by several rail companies.  

  • From London, Avanti West Coast 
  • From Manchester, Northern 
  • From Glasgow and Edinburgh, TransPennine Express 

By bus 

Stagecoach operates many services through the Park offering access to destinations like Ambleside, Grasmere and Bowness. Buses can be caught from rail stations in Windemere and Kendal. 

During the summer, more regular services run across the Lakes. Check Stagecoach’s Summer Bus Timetable for services around Coniston, Ambleside, Penrith, Keswick, Kendal, Cockermouth, and Windmere and Bowness.

Peak District

Closest city: Sheffield

By train 

The Peak District is close to many major rail stations and is one of the most easily accessible National Parks by public transport. Northern Rail, TransPennine Express, East Midlands Railway and CrossCountry operate services from across the UK to Manchester and Sheffield where there are many connections into the Park by both train and bus. 

The Hope Valley line operated by Northern Rail runs from Manchester to Sheffield and stops at five stations within the Peak District: Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, Hope and Edale. 

For more detailed information, there is a dedicated website with information on rail travel across the Peaks from the High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership peakdistrictbytrain.org. 

By bus 

First South Yorkshire operate regular bus services from Sheffield that stop at Hathersage, Hope and Castleton. Other year-round services are operated by Stagecoach, Hulleys and High Peak buses starting from Sheffield, Buxton, Chesterfield, Derby and Matlock. 

Eryri (Snowdonia)

Closest city: Bangor 

Top tip: For a truly scenic view of Eryri you can take a ride on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a remarkable feat of engineering that has been carrying tourists to the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Mount Snowdon) since 1896. The railway isn’t open all year round so check their website before travelling.

By train 

To get to Eryri from further afield, national rail services run into Bangor and Llandudno. Transport for Wales operates services to both stations from Manchester and central England. Avanti West Coast also operates a direct service to Bangor from London. 

Transport for Wales operate many trains services around the Park, including on the Conwy Valley line which runs from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog via Bets-y-Coed. For destinations in the south of Eryri, Machynlleth and Dyfi Junction (accessible from Shrewsbury) are both good connecting points for rail services including the picturesque Cambrian Line. 

By bus 

Arriva Wales operates regular year-round bus services through the Park from Bangor for connections from rail. 

The Sherpa’r Wyddfa (Snowdon Sherpa) is a bus service which operates around the base of Yr Wyddfa (Mt. Snowdon), offering connections to the start of most popular walking routes up the mountain as well as to other popular sights. Services operate from various towns in the Park including Betws-Y-Coed, Caernarfon, Portmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons)

Closest town: Abergavenny 

Top tip: The Explore Wales pass gives you discounts at Youth Hostel Association accommodation as well as unlimited bus and rail travel for 8 days

By train 

The south and east of the Park can be accessed via Abergavenny. Transport for Wales operate many services to Abergavenny from across Wales as well as from Manchester.  

For the north and west of the park, the Heart of Wales line with regular services operated by Transport for Wales takes you to good connecting points for onward travel including Llandovery. These services run from Shrewsbury which can be accessed easily from both Birmingham and Manchester. From London and the south of England, Great Western Railway operate regular services to Swansea where there are bus connections into Bannau Brycheiniog. 

By bus 

First Cymru operate many regular services through the Park from south Wales and Hereford, including Cymru Clipper services from Swansea to Ammanford and Pontardawe. The Traws Cymru service from Newtown to Cardiff also passes through the Park via Brecon.

Pembrokeshire Coast

Closest towns: Tenby, Fishguard 

By train 

To get to the Pembrokeshire Coast by rail, you can arrive at Tenby to the southeast of the Park and Fishguard to the north of the Park. Transport for Wales operates regular services to both from Swansea as well as from Manchester. 

By bus 

Coastal Cruiser bus services operated by First Cymru run on a full timetable during the summer and a limited timetable in the winter. These provide access to various coastal destinations on the Angle Peninsula and can be caught via connecting services from Tenby and Broad Haven. 

To reach other areas of the coast by bus, the Fflecsi Pembrokeshire on-demand service can be easily booked via phone or the Flecsi app. 

The Broads 

Closest city: Norwich  

Top tip: The Broads have put together a guide for walks around the Park accessible by bus, you can access it here Exploring the Broads by bus from Norwich

By train 

To reach the Broads, national rail services run to Norwich. Greater Anglia operate regular services from London. From elsewhere, there are regular connecting services via Peterborough. 

Local rail services operated by Greater Anglia on the Wherry Lines take you from Norfolk to Lowescroft and Great Yarmouth via several stations in the park including Oulton. 

By bus 

First Eastern Counties operate services from Norwich to Lowescroft which call at Loddon and Beccles. Other services operated by local bus and coach companies can be taken around the Broads from Hoveton, Wroxham and Norwich (Castle Meadow). 


Closest city: Exeter

By train 

Exeter is the closest major rail destination to Dartmoor. Trains can be taken to Exeter St Davids from across the country including from London, Cardiff and Birmingham. 

Once at Exeter, the Dartmoor Line runs to Okehampton which is the starting point for many walks around the Park including the Granite Way. Trains are operated by Great Western Railway and run hourly. 

By bus 

Stagecoach operates various year-round services from Exeter into the Park including to Newton Abbot and Okehampton via Sticklepath. Dartline also operate a service between Okehampton and Tavistock for connections from Plymouth. 

For a scenic day out in Dartmoor by bus, the First operated Dartmoor Explorer offers a hop-on hop-off service from Exeter to Gunnislake via Morehampstead, Postbridge, Princetown and Tavistock. 


Closest towns: Taunton, Barnstaple

By train 

To get to Exmoor by rail, CrossCountry and Great Western Railway operate regular services to Taunton from London, Cardiff and the south of England. From further afield, take a mainline train to Exeter and change onto a Great Western Railway service to Barnstaple for access to the Park. 

The longest heritage railway in England, the West Somerset Railway, runs through the Quantock Hills and parts of the Park including Dunster and can be accessed by bus from Taunton. 

By bus 

First Buses of Somerset operate several services into and around the Park including the Exmoor Coaster which runs from Watchet on the West Somerset Railway via Dunster and Minehead and on to Lynmouth. 

Stagecoach bus services also run from towns including Taunton and Barnstaple to Minehead and larger villages in the Park. 

South Downs

Closest city: London 

Top tip: The South Downs Discovery bus ticket offers unlimited bus travel throughout the National Park on bus services from all major operators

By train 

Regular trains run from London stations to towns in the centre and southeast of the park, including Southwestern services to Petersfield and Southern services to Lewes. 

By bus 

The South Downs National Park is well serviced by buses from Portsmouth and Brighton. From Brighton, Brighton and Hove buses operate ‘breeze up to the Downs’ services that run regularly to various parts of the Park. From Portsmouth, Stagecoach South operate regular year-round services to Queen Elizabeth Country Park. 

The South Downs Rambler bus is a local bus service that follows the South Downs way from Petersfield to Winchester for easy bus travel around the Park. 

New Forest

Closest city: Southampton 

By train 

The New Forest is easily accessed by rail from Southampton and London. South Western Railway operates regular services from London to Ashurst (New Forest) and from Southampton to Ashurst, Brockenhurst and Lymington. 

Great Western Railway and CrossCountry operate connecting services via Southampton Central from Wales and Manchester. From elsewhere, connections can be made via London. 

By bus 

The GoAhead Salisbury Reds service from Bournemouth to Salisbury offers access to the western edge of the Park. For the eastern side, GoAhead Bluestar buses can be caught from Southampton including a service through the Park to Lymington via Lyndhurst. 

The New Forest Tour operates three seasonal services across the Park for increased access to areas of the Park in the summer.