I'm planning on going from Dublin to the Lake District at the end of April 2014 and I'm not sure what the best route would be. I was thinking of flying Aer Lingus into Manchester and then taking the train/bus to Keswick. Are there any better options? I'm trying to do this trip on a tight budget (I'll be a recent college grad) so cheap is better if possible.
Alternatives to Manchester by air and rail are Dublin to Glasgow or Edinburgh. As with Manchester, you then need to get to Penrith by train, and bus from there to Keswick. A quick search on Skyscanner shows that Ryanair and Aer Lingus have flights to all 3 destinations from Dublin, Ryanair being cheaper but prices with each airline to each destination are similar. Glasgow or Edinburgh would require a bus transfer to the central railway station, but once there the travel times to Penrith are much the same as from Manchester and the costs are about the same. There are some direct trains from Manchester Airport that stop in Penrith. See www.nationalrail.co.uk and use the journey planner to see departure times and prices. A cheaper but slower alternative is the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, and then train to Penrith. Combined tickets are available for a third of the cost of plane + train - see this page for example - using the journey planner I can see costs of €43 for Dublin to Penrith: http://www.irishferries.com/uk-en/to-britain-from-ireland/