by Joanna Bailey
Beatrix Potter & William Wordsworth both wrote about this area, and the wonder of Windermere – England’s largest lake. It’s a great place to base yourself for fantastic scenery, walks and viewpoints, and the shores of the lake and its sister village: Bowness-on-Windermere, just a straight mile walk downhill. Both villages are an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, and shops, and are busy and bustling all year round.
Windermere is also home to the only train station in the heart of the Lake District: Windermere Station, with connections to Oxenholme and the West Coast mainline. All the seasons are special here, but autumn brings the changing colours, and different weathers, and a slower pace of life than the busy summer months. Whatever the weather, you’ll always experience our warm and friendly hospitality.
A 5-minute drive or 2 mile walk from Windermere is Brockhole Visitor Centre, an amazing place to spend a day. Here you’ll find adventure playground, Tree Top Trek, cafes and restaurants and shops, boat and kayak hire, and archery, pony trekking and walks. The steamers stop here too so you can hop on and off as you explore. October half-term is always super fun with lots of Halloween themed outdoor activity, so get your Halloween passport for a week of fun.
Tree Top Nets at Brockhole Visitor Centre
This fabulous homeware shop has its HQ flagship store in Windermere, and stocks innovative gadgets and cooking utensils. It sits next to Windermere Station and has a superb café with views across the town, and a delicious home-cooked menu.
This family business has been designing and making beautiful things mainly out of wood, and restoring antique furniture, since 1972. Their shop on the high street in Windermere is full of gorgeous objects, featuring many Cumbrian artisan makers and artists.
Eat and Drink
There are lots of great places to choose from in Windermere, here’s a few ideas:
Open every day with last food orders 3pm, and cakes 4pm. Home-made goodies, and a great view out of the picture windows over the town.
Some of the best coffee around, homemade cakes and amazing homemade breakfasts, salads, and lunches. They are walk-ins only; no bookings so take your chance and get there early!
A traditional, family run British restaurant with highly acclaimed Sunday lunches, afternoon teas and a cosy atmosphere. There is also a large outdoor seating area with plenty of undercover space.
Handmade delicious gelato often sees queues down the street! Ciao…
is an unfussy café offering Mexican specialities, vegan dishes, and coffees, plus take-out option.
Just across the road from here, you’ll see the entrance to the gentle hike up Orrest Head: the famous landmark with breathtaking views up and down the Lake, and the place which first inspired a certain AW Wainwright to begin his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Hills. Read our story about the new path up Orrest Head.
The view from the top of Orrest Head across the lake
A short lakeside amble, but with fabulous views right across the lakeshore and beyond. There are a few parking spaces close to it on Rayrigg Road, or you can simply walk from either Windermere or Bowness centres.
Get your best foot forward and enjoy a 1-mile stroll straight down the main street and you’ll reach the bustling town of Bowness, and the glittering lake.
Bowness even has a cinema and lots of places to browse, eat and drink and stop a while. If you don’t want to walk back, there are plenty of buses and taxis. Bowness-on-Windermere sits on the lakeshore and is home to many different water activities, with several marinas and sailing clubs dotted along the shoreline, and steamers and launches cruise from here all over the lake.
Boat landings at Bowness-on-Windermere
This is an easily accessible viewpoint close to Millerground on Rayrigg Road. It’s a little car park/layby just off the road, but a great place for a view a selfie, and very often an ice cream!
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