Things to do in Windermere
Found at the heart of the Lake District, the charming area of Windermere has beckoned travellers since Victorian times. Offering convenient proximity to the lakeshore and commanding vistas of both the lake and the encircling fells, this region retains its timeless allure and continues to captivate visitors to this day.
At just over half an hour’s drive away, Windermere and its neighbours Bowness and Ambleside should be among your first ports of call if you’re staying at our Lakeland Leisure Park. Below, we’ve compiled the top things to do in the Windermere area, ensuring that you’re well-planned enough to fill your visit with unforgettable experiences.
Cruise on Lake Windermere
Address: Winander House, Glebe Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3HE
Your Windermere adventure should start with the lake itself, and what better way to experience it than on the deck of a cruise boat? Lake Windermere is the largest natural lake in England and is surrounded by stunning scenery to complement its glassy waters.
Several cruise operators such as Windermere Lake Cruises provide a variety of options, from leisurely sightseeing cruises to romantic sunset excursions. Whether you want to relax on the deck or explore the lake's surroundings, a cruise is a must.
Address: Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3BX
Bowness-on-Windermere, often simply referred to as Bowness, is the bustling heart of Windermere's tourist activity. Here, you'll find charming streets lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Take a leisurely stroll along the lakefront promenade, explore local boutiques, and enjoy a meal with a view at one of the many eateries. Bowness is also home to the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, perfect for families.
Windermere Jetty Museum
Address: Jetty Museum, Rayrigg Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 1BN
For a dose of history and a closer look at the area's maritime heritage, Windermere Jetty Museum is a must-visit. This informative museum reopened in March 2019 after 12 years' closure and redevelopment work.
It now showcases an impressive collection of boats, steam launches, and other water machinery. You can learn about the history of boating on Lake Windermere and even take a ride on a fully restored wooden heritage boat from the Windermere Jetty Museum collection.
Lakeland Motor Museum
Address: Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston LA12 8TA
Car enthusiasts both young and old will appreciate a visit to the Lakeland Motor Museum, located in Backbarrow, which is conveniently located on the way from Haven Lakeland Leisure Park to Windermere.
The museum boasts 30,000 exhibits with an extensive collection of vintage cars, motorcycles, and classic automobiles. It's a fun and informative experience with many quirky items such as pedal cars and century-old electric cars. For those who are less fascinated by automobiles, you can also enjoy the vibes at the wonderful recreation of a 1950s cafe to enjoy some refreshments.
Beatrix Potter's Hill Top House
Address: Near Sawrey, Ambleside LA22 0LF
Fans of the beloved children’s author Beatrix Potter can explore her former home, Hill Top House, located in Near Sawrey, a short drive from Windermere. This charming cottage is where Potter wrote many of her famous stories, including "Peter Rabbit."
The house and its gardens are open to the public and provide a glimpse into her creative world, making it an unmissable experience for those who grew up with her works.
Water Sports @ Leigh Groves Building
Address: Leigh Groves Building, Rayrigg Rd, Windermere LA23 1BP
Lake Windermere is not only for cruising; it's also a hub for water sports enthusiasts. You can try your hand at kayaking, paddleboarding, water skiing, or even windsurfing. Rental shops and water sports centres such as Windermere Outdoor Adventure Centre, can be found around the lake, offering equipment and lessons for beginners.
Address: Low Wray, Ambleside LA22 0JA
Wray Castle, located on the western shore of Lake Windermere, is a historic and picturesque attraction. Although it's not a traditional castle, this Victorian neo-gothic mansion is known for its captivating architecture and beautiful grounds. The unique National Trust property is particularly family-friendly, with interactive exhibits and plenty of space for children to play both inside and out.
Lake District festivals
If your visit to Windermere coincides with one of the many Lake District festivals, consider attending. These festivals celebrate everything from literature and music to food, beer and the great outdoors. They often feature live performances, workshops, and tastings that can add an extra layer of enjoyment to your holiday.