Where Is The Best Place To Park For Catbells? (This Is What We Did)

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Catbells is, arguably, one of the best and most accessible circular walks in the Lake District (if not Britain). Sadly, it’s also one of the trickiest to work out where to park for. We’re going to go through the alternatives for getting a parking spot for this excellent walk and I’ll give you my recommendation for the parking option that, I think, is by far and away the best.

So, where to park for Catbells?

My top recommendation for Catbells parking

You might be surprised when I tell you what my recommendation is.

The last time we climbed Catbells we decided to take a different approach. Previously we’d always tried to park as close to the hill as possible. Invariably this meant we’d spend ages driving around and around trying to find a space.

This time we thought we’d park in Keswick and take the ferry across. Well, it worked a treat and the real bonus was that it felt like a proper adventure (our kids were very excited!)

Here’s what to do:

  • Park in Keswick at the Lakeside carpark. There are plenty of spaces here and it’s a stone’s throw from the ferry
  • Buy a ferry ticket at the Keswick Launch ticket office by the waterside. Ferry timetable, prices and reviews here. We went for a family round trip day pass so that we had the option to hop on and off wherever we wanted
  • Take the anti-clockwise ferry to Hawes End and you’ll start seeing signposts for the route to Catbells once you get off the jetty there
  • On the way back you can either get the ferry again from Hawes End or, what we did, was to descend from Catbells and go around the southern end of Derwentwater (crossing a handy boardwalk) till you get to Lodore Falls hotel & spa. Here you can pick up the ferry back to Keswick


Car parking at Lakeside is plentiful and good value. However in the height of the summer, or in the school holidays, it’s best to arrive early.

There are two ferries that the Keswick Launch company operates – one going clockwise and one anti-clockwise. That means you can go anti-clockwise out to Hawes End and return clockwise to Keswick. Or, you can do a full anti-clockwise loop of Derwentwater, like we did.

If you need a refresher on the kit you need for a Lake District hike and how to prepare, take a look at my article on Walking in the Lake District for beginners.

READ THIS NEXT: Best Circular Walks In England

Alternative parking options for Catbells

If the ferries aren’t running, they don’t match up with your timings, or you aren’t a fan of getting on the water, then there are also some other options.

Bus from Keswick bus station (get the 77 or 77A)

If you like easy parking, but don’t like boats, then it’s still possible to park at Keswick but instead take the bus round to Catbells.

Here’s what to do:

  • If you have a car you can park at Keswick Rugby Club on Crow Park Rd (CA12 5EG) or at Crosthwaite Rd car park. We’ve used both and they’re very handy for the town centre too
  • Get the bus from the bus station which is next to Booths (CA12 5EA)
  • The bus you want is either the 77 or 77A – bus timetable details are here. Note that this service runs from early April to the end of October

Park at Gutherscale (CA12 5UE) or at Little Town (CA12 5TU)

The final two options are great for enabling you to park close to Catbells, but not so great as they tend to fill up quickly.

Both the Gutherscale and Little Town ‘car parks’ are really only small laybys. Each has a maximum of only 7 or 8 spaces, depending on how considerately others have parked.

If you want to go with either option, make sure you arrive early in the morning when they should be at their quietest.

Gutherscale layby location:

Little Town layby location:

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