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Lake District Tourist Guide - Local Information

Windermere

Windermere is in the Lake District, the town of Windermere is a stones throw from Lake Windermere.

Lake Windermere is the largest and prettiest lake in the Lake District more than ten miles long, and at its deepest 220ft (65m), is situated in beautiful countryside at the southern end of The Lake District. Many of the best loved mountains are visible from the lake and its shores.



Attractions
Spectacular lake, woodland and fell scenery and the many pubs, country houses and gardens are among the attractions of the Windermere area.

Windermere village and Bowness
Windermere is both a town and a lake: the 16km north-south lake is the longest in England. It is about 1.5km downhill from the town. Windermere itself has virtually merged with its near neighbor Bowness, which is situated on the lakeside about half way down the eastern shore. A pretty village, with a small bay and promenade, it attracts the bulk of the visitors. Windermere can provide bed and breakfasts, a hostel, supermarket and the railway station. Bowness has shops, restaurants, cafes, attractions and accommodation including a wide variety of Windermere B&B and Windermere hotels to choose from.

The Hole in t'Wall
The town's oldest pub is the Hole in t'Wall in Lowside, behind St Martin's Church. "Most rate it the best traditional pub in Bowness" . Once a blacksmith's, it offers fresh local and fine food, real ales, a beer garden, stone flagged floors and a lively atmosphere.

The railway
The railway arrived in the 1840s and transformed Windermere into a tourist base and an access point for the Lakes area. The visitors then were mostly people from the newly industrialising areas in the North of England, but also included the famous Lakeland poets: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey. Today visitors arrive in motor vehicles mostly via the M6 Motorway by way of Kendal.

Victorian development
Many of the slate and stone houses, guesthouses and country houses were built during the Victorian era. Formerly owned by wealthy industrialists and the gentry, some of the larger country houses are now luxurious hotels: Langdale Chase, Gilpin Lodge and Miller Howe are examples.

Afternoon teas
Afternoon teas are a Lakeland speciality. When booked in advance, many hotels will provide a mid-afternoon treat in their lakeside lounge or conservatory. Presented on a bone china tea service, it may include dainty sandwiches, scones, Dundee Cake and a choice of tea. Afternoon teas are also offered in many cafes.

Tourist Information
The local Tourist Information Centre is based in Glebe Road, Bowness. See www.lake-district.gov.uk. It can offer help with accommodation, activities, attractions, brochures and maps.Guided coach tours, full and half day, can be booked from Lakes Supertours, High Street and Mountain Goat Mini Coach Tours, Victoria Street.

Watersports and cruises
Windermere Lake remains a centre for water sports, but the ten mile an hour speed limit now in force limits power boats. Windermere Power Boat Records Week moved successfully to Coniston Water in 2005 over a new one kilometre course. See www.conistonpowerboatrecords.co.uk.



North Country Leisure, http://www.northcountryleisure.org.uk/south-lakeland/windermere-outdoor-adventure-centre however, can offer a range of water sports classes that include canoeing and windsurfing.
Windermere Lake Cruises offer old-style steamer trips past wooded islands and stunning views. Regular stops are made at Bowness, Brockhole, Ambleside and Lakeside. A variety of tickets options are available but the Freedom of the Lakes tickets allow unlimited cruises for one or two days. There are also package ticket ‘tie in’s with the Ambleside/Bowness to Haverthwaite Steam Railway and the Aquarium of the Lakes.

The Steamboat Museum
The Windermere Steamboat Museum, www.steamboat.co.uk, is located between Bowness and Ambleside. It has a fine collection of elegant, historic steamboats which, along with the site and buildings, was passed into the hands of the Lakeland Arts Trust as recently as March 2007. The National Heritage Memorial Fund has awarded a grant for an initial renovation and recovery operation. The museum is currently CLOSED while it takes place.

Lake District Visitor Centre
The Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre (www.lake-district.gov.uk) is a good place to check for activities. It has indoor exhibitions and a cafe as well as supervised workshops for children, treasure trails and talks.

The Aquarium of the Lakes
The Aquarium of the Lakes, best accessed by boat, is a mile from Newby Bridge (served by buses) at the southernmost extremity of the lake. Its attractions include a tunnel through the lakebed, diving ducks and otters.

The World of Beatrix Potter
The World of Beatrix Potter, can be found in Bowness. Attractive to all ages and nationalities, it exhibits various scenes from Beatrix Potter's books including the well-loved Peter Rabbit in Mr McGregor's garden. There is also a shop with themed memorabilia.

The Blackwell Arts and Crafts House
The Blackwell Arts and Crafts House (www.blackwell.org.uk) overlooks Windermere south of Bowness. Run by the Lakeland Arts Trust, it has a wide range of exhibitions from craft collections to contemporary art displays. Its cafe boasts popular light lunches and afternoon teas.

Cycling

Golf



Windermere b&b


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