Windermere Lake Cruises

Guest Blog: Explore the quiet side of Windermere as winter turns to spring, with Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere Lake Cruises is one of the top ten tourist attractions in the UK, and one of our many popular ways to take to the water, here in the Lakes.

Their boat services to the western shore of Windermere allow you to enjoy a circular boat/walk around England’s largest lake. We invited the Morgan family to try out the Walker’s Ticket.

The Windermere Lake Cruises Walker’s Ticket entitles you to take 2 boat trips and a 4 mile stroll down the quiet western shore returning to your starting position either in Bowness or Ambleside.  Make a full day of it, and dress for the weather as there’s lots to see and do on this day out, and plenty of options for food and drink along the way!

Morgan Family & Ted the Dog
All Aboard for the Morgan Family & Ted the dog

The Morgan family and Ted the dog set off from Bowness Pier on a Saturday morning catching the 10:10 departure from Pier 2 on board the modern launch ‘Miss Cumbria’ setting out on their first leg of the journey  – a 30 minute boat ride to Ambleside (Waterhead) Pier. All the boats have heated inner cabins with a café/bar on board. Perfect for a winter warmer!

On board ‘Miss Cumbria’ with a cuppa
There’s plenty to see on board!

Kids of all ages always want to get outside onto the outer viewing decks.  Bring some warm clothes, hats and gloves and layers for the trip, grab a warm drink and you’ll love the bracing views!  After a change at Ambleside (Waterhead) Pier, you board the 10.55 green cruise, on board one of the traditional launches and the boat drops you off at Wray Castle to start your walk along the shore. The two boat trips take just one hour from setting off from Bowness.

Arriving at the jetty

Departing the launch at Wray Castle is easy with some steps and the crew are always very helpful in making sure the family get off correctly and safely.

Getting off the boat onto the jetty is an exciting moment!

Wray Castle Pier is a 10 minute walk from the National Trust property itself and is easily signposted from the pier, but you’ll need to carry buggies on and off the boat.  The staff are very helpful.  The castle is definitely worth a visit, especially if you have young children and has lots of space to run around and explore, and a small café.

Checking the map at Wray Castle

There are great views right along the route, with views across the water and up to the fells. It’s perfect for dogs too with woodland and water to explore.

After a beautiful 3 mile stroll, the gravel path makes way for a quiet tarmac road.

Right at the end of the track and if you have time, visit Claife Viewing Station (just 10 minutes off the route). It was built by the Victorians and is now managed by the National Trust, and offers stunning views of the lake. There’s also a great café in the courtyard, with some delicious cakes and drinks available.  The final stage to their journey was on the Cross lakes Shuttle, back from Ferry House to Bowness.

Top Tips: 

The Morgan family spent 4 hours doing the whole journey and the walk, and returning to their starting position in Bowness.

The Walkers Ticket is available every day during the main summer season (Easter – end of October).

A similar ticket called Springtime Walkers Ticket is available from mid-February to Easter, it follows the same route, but uses the Windermere Car Ferry to return back to Bowness.
The whole trip for the family costs £31.60.

On a warmer day you can easily to have a picnic along the western shore – there’s lots of places to pause and enjoy the views.

Loos – there are loos on board all the Windermere Lake Cruises boats, and if Wray Castle is open there are loos here, and at Claife Station café (please check on winter opening hours on their websites)

On a colder day it can get even cooler on the boats – make sure you bring some windproof layers and hats and gloves to enjoy the views from the outer viewing decks.

Make time to stop off at Wray Castle and Claife Viewing Station – if you add these in you can easily enjoy nearly a whole day out – on the boat rides;  visiting interesting places; enjoying great food and drink, lovely views and a bracing walk.

Useful Links

Windermere Lake Cruises – https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk

Wray Castle: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wray-castle

Claife Station: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/claife-viewing-station-and-windermere-west-shore