Lake Windermere holds a special place in my heart and always will do. It’s where I spent all my summers and I have the happiest memories of being there.
Yes it rains quite a bit of the time and yes it’s a few degrees colder than the south of England, but the beautiful scenery easily makes up for it. You’ve just got to embrace the elements and get on with it!
Around the Lake I’ve mainly visited Windermere village, Bowness and Ambleside from south to north on the eastern side of the Lake.
So, my top 10 things to do:
1.Walk down to Miller Ground – This walk takes you through a small wood, past some waterfalls and along the edge of the Lake. It’s a great dog walk and you’ll 100% see half of them paddling in the water. There are several public jetties there that you can enjoy too. You can reach it from Rayrigg Road and there’s some more useful info here.
2. Fish and chips by the Lake – yes, even in the rain. My favourite fish and chip shop is Seafarers on Rayrigg Road in Bowness. It’s the one we have always gone to and it’s always been delicious.
3.Hire a boat and explore the lake – If you head down to Bowness or Ambleside you can hire a small electric boat for between 1 – 6 people. It’s a fun way to get out on the water and see parts of the lake you can’t access from the shore. Windermere Lake Cruises has lots of options – from row boats to lake cruises.
4. Breakfast at The Lighthouse – right in the middle of Windermere is The Lighthouse. We normally go here for breakfast – I recommend the smoothies and bacon sandwich! If you feel like you can brave the outside they normally have blankets out to keep you warm, or you can sit inside on the higher levels and enjoy the views.
5. Eat at The Watermill Inn in Ings Village. We usually pay a visit to this pub which has a wide range of beers on offer, their own brewery and delicious food. Dogs are welcome too!
6. Orrest Head – If you’re up for an uphill walk (or climb!) Orrest Head will be right up your street. You can start the walk a bit further down from Windermere station and there is an easy to follow route. It should take you about 30 minutes to get to the top and when there you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Lake Windermere. I think this was the first ‘mountain’ I climbed!
7. Visit Ambleside – Ambleside is a short drive/bus ride from Windermere and I highly recommend a visit. It is a bit bigger than Windermere and has a few more shops and lake access. We’ve had many excellent cream teas in various cafes but a highlight is always The Giggling Goose. You can sit outside on benches next to a stream and tuck into some delicious cake!
8. You can’t visit Windermere or Bowness without a visit to The World of Beatrix Potter – especially if you have young kids! The attraction brings the stories to life and you can explore the garden and visit the tea rooms! A child’s ticket is £3.95 so not bad for a rainy day!
9. Visit another lake – Just because you are visiting Lake Windermere doesn’t mean you can’t explore some of the other lakes nearby. About a 20 minute drive from Windermere you can get to Grasmere. There’s plenty of parking available and you can walk around the whole lake in about 1 hour 30. There’s plenty of opportunity to stop off for a paddle too – or a swim if you’re feeling very brave!
10. Visit Townend in Troutbeck. Troutbeck is a tiny little Lakeland village. Once you’ve navigated the winding roads to get there, you almost feel like you’ve stepped back in time! All you can see are rolling hills, stone walls and farm houses, with glimpses of the lake in the distance. Townend is a National Trust house that once belonged to the Browne family. The cottage is really brought to life in front of you, with the original furniture, and guides that are full of stories about the family. You are free to wander round at your leisure – and don’t forget to pop into the Troutbeck tea shop (that doubles as a post office!).
There are lots more activities and restaurants that I could recommend, so please get in contact if you want any more help planing your trip.
I can’t recommend a trip to Lake Windermere enough. Rain or shine, I challenge you to find a place more beautiful.