Updated on March 2, 2023 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Are you planning a visit to Windermere in the Lake District? This article will look at all of the fantastic things that you can do in this area during your visit.

As Taylor Swift says, ‘those Windermere peaks look like the perfect place to cry’’, and she isn’t wrong. With this stunning scenery, you will definitely be wiping tears from your cheeks!

In this article, you will find information on the best Windermere attractions to add to your itinerary (if you want more day trips out in the North West, read our guide here). This will include information about the best places to stay in the area and the best ways to get there.

It will also contain information on the best places to eat in the area. By the end of this article, you will have all the information that you need to make your trip to Windermere one to remember! Let’s dive in!

Visit Nearby Towns And Villages

There are many beautiful lakeside towns and villages in the area. Let’s have a look at some of the stunning places you can visit.


Bowness-on-Windermere is one of the busiest and most bustling tourist towns in the Lake District. In this town, you can visit the beautiful pier, which is where the lake cruises and ferries in the area all embark.

You can also visit the vibrant shopping district which is home to many different art galleries, boutique shops and beautiful cafes.

This was once a very small fishing village that has developed into a bustling town. It is definitely worth a visit when you’re in Windermere!


This village is to the South of Lake Windermere. It is the perfect place for cruises, and a lot of cruises end up in this area. In Lakeside, you will be met with charming inns and restaurants.

Lakeside is also the home to the Lakes Aquarium. If you are looking for a railway in the Windermere area, then you will find this here. The Haverthwaite railway station is located in Lakeside village.


Ambleside is another beautiful town in this area. It is located about one mile North of Lake Windermere. It is one of the most popular destinations in the area, and it will give you a good base for exploring the area.

This is the perfect place to visit if you love shopping or hiking, and it has great access to the lake. While at Ambleside, you will get access to the beautiful Windermere lake through the village of Waterhead.

This is a very picturesque village that you will absolutely love. You will really enjoy the beautiful walking paths and the waterside cafes.

Newby Bridge

This is another village that is located at the Southern point of Lake Windermere. It is a very quaint village that is located across the River Leven. It is the next stop on the railway from Haverthwaite Railway.

Cruises On The Lake

There are many different cruises available on Lake Windermere, and this will help to show you everything that the lake has to offer.

These cruises are some of the most popular things to do in the area, allowing you to take in the wonderful scenery while also enjoying some relaxation. There are a few different cruises available in the area.

Cruise To Bowness And Lakeside

There are a couple of cruises that leave from Bowness. There are two of this kind, which leave from Borness. They are 45 minute cruises that take place in a modern boat.

This cruise will take a circular path around the 18 wooded islands on the lake. If you prefer, you can take a longer cruise from Bowness to Lakeside.

On these cruises, you will also have the chance to hear the commentary on the history of the lake and the things to look out for.

These cruises are great for the whole family, and you will enjoy them no matter what the weather on the lake is like!

Points Of Interest: Museums And Experiences

Hill Top

The HillTop is a 17th century farmhouse. It is in the village of Near Sawrey, and it is very famous for being the writing retreat of Beatrix Potter, a famous children’s author. She wrote the characters of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor.

This farmhouse has since been turned into a museum where you can learn about Potter’s life. It has not been changed since she was there, so it is as it was in 1906.

This farmhouse is home to over 1000 objects that are related to the author. It is fantastic because some of the furniture that you can see in her illustrations can be found here. You can see the grandfather clock that features in the books.

After touring the house, take a stroll out back through her famous garden. You’ll feel like you’ve walked right into a storybook. In order to get to the Hill Top you will need to take a ferry from Ferry Nab.

This can be found in Bowness-on-Windermere. The ferry will go to Ferry House, from which you can walk to the farmhouse.

The World Of Beatrix Potter

There are a lot of different Beatrix Potter related things to see near Windermere which is definitely worth looking at. We have already explored the visit to HillTop which shouldn’t be missed!

Aside from this, you will want to visit The World of Beatrix Potter. The World Of Beatrix Potter is an interactive experience. In this experience, you will see the much loved characters of her 23 children’s stories come to life!

The experience was great. It starts off with a film that introduces her most popular character: Peter Rabbit. After this, you will then walk through Jemima Puddle-Duck’s glade.

You will see Mrs. Tiggy Winkle in the kitchen, as well as many other famous characters. This experience will explore lots about the area, too, highlighting the passion that the author had for conserving the beauty of the area.

If you make it to this experience, you should also have a look at the gift shop. There is also a cafe on site for you to enjoy.

Fell Foot Park

Fell Foot Park is a Victorian Park which is located on the South side of the lake. It is a 7 hectare Victorian park which once belonged to the grounds of a Georgian villa. It has been owned by a large number of owners.

It was then opened to the public. This park is one of the only places in the lakes that offer free access to the lake from their grounds. In this park you can enjoy some of the beautiful walks.

There are many different picnic areas in the grounds. Inside the house, you can enjoy a drink and a rest in the cafe. They serve some hot snacks, cakes and lots more.

In this park you are able to hire out a paddleboard or kayak and head out onto the lake. There are also changing rooms onsite in case you get wet.

Lakeland Motor Museum

The Lakeland Motor Museum, just south of the village of Windermere, is definitely a visit. If you find yourself with a few hours to kill, this is a great way to spend an afternoon.

In this museum, they have around 30,000 different items that are vehicle related. These include some incredible antique cars that are very rare. They have a Bentley that is from 1936.

In this museum you will find some informational videos as well as information about all of the items that they have. There is a museum quiz that is available for the children to take part in, too.

Wray Castle

Wray Castle is fantastic for many different reasons. It is well worth a visit. It looks like any of the other mediaeval castles that you find scattered across the UK, but it is a very special one!

This castle was built by James Dawson in the 1840s. It is a gothic-style castle of which he chose the location very well. The views from this castle are fantastic. This castle has a lot of the features of other castles.

It has lots of turrets and towers. However there are a lot of differences between this castle and others. The family who built this castle inhabited it until 1920.

It then sat empty until the National Trust took it over and opened it to the public. Visitors will certainly enjoy the activity rooms and the beauty of the castle.

You will also learn a lot about the history when you attend this castle. The grounds of this castle are very fun to explore, and the walk down to the lake is fantastic.

You will be required to pay an entrance fee to this property if you are not a member of the National Trust.

Claife Viewing Station

This viewing station was built in 1790, and it was one of the first tourist attractions in the area. This was built for the new tourists that were descending on the area at this time, and it was built on the hillside above Windermere.

It was built in a certain way so that it fit into the landscape. It was made to look this way during all of the different seasons. It was built to resemble some old ruins.

Around 40 years after it was built, it expanded, later becoming a local landmark. Over the years, it became less popular and was eventually left abandoned. However, when the National Trust restored it, it again surged.

In order to get to this viewing point you will need to take the ferry from Bowness and then walk to the location. There is also a cafe and picnic area at this viewing point so it is a perfect place to go!

Lakes Aquarium

The Lakes Aquarium is definitely worth a visit. It is a great place for the whole family, especially if you have young children! This aquarium is located in Newby Bridge. Here, you can see some fantastic sea creatures.

While it is quite small, there are lots of things to see. You will see a lot of fish from the freshwaters of the United Kingdom, due to the location of the aquarium.

You can also see fish from all over the world in this aquarium, including clownfish, piranhas and many more! As well as this, you will find lots of other interesting animals in the aquarium.

You will find some amphibians and some reptiles. This aquarium has worked very hard to create the correct habitats for these creatures, too. They even have an otter tunnel!

The aquarium is perfect for those cold and rainy days that you will sometimes get on the lakes. It is definitely worth a visit!

Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Forest is located between Coniston Water and Windermere. This forest is 2500 hectares in size, and it is great for those who are hiking in the area or enjoying some cycling.

The best way to navigate this forest is to get a map when you first arrive. There are lots of different walks available depending on how far you want to go.

No matter what walk you choose, you will experience some wonderful views of the countryside. You will also have the chance to choose from 7 different biking trails of different difficulty levels.

There are also very exciting things to do in this forest, including zip-lining, rope bridges and Tarzan swings. These fantastic activities are suitable for children aged 10 and above.

There is also an adventure playground that is suitable for the younger children. In this forest, there are also lots of sculptures dotted around that you can enjoy. There is also a gift shop and tearoom for you to enjoy.

You have to have the appropriate footwear to visit this area, and you should make sure that you have your waterproofs with you.

Holehird Gardens

Whether you and your family are gardening lovers, or you just like to enjoy the beauty of the flowers, Holehird Gardens has something for everyone. It is a great thing to do while you are in Windermere.

This is located very close to the town of Windermere. These gardens are run by volunteers who look after them. The Lakeland Horticultural Society provides the volunteers for this.

When you visit this garden, you should look out for the wonderful stream garden, rock garden and the walled garden.

Whether you are a life-long gardening enthusiast or just someone who occasionally stops to smell the roses, a visit to the Holehird Gardens is one of the best things to do in Windermere.

The walled garden at Holehird was created in 1870 and was later expanded by a famous architect named Thomas Hayton Mawson.

This is a great place to spend some time walking around and taking in the beautiful landscape of the Lake District.

Windermere Jetty

Windermere Jetty is definitely worth visiting. It is a great place to go if you are looking to hear tales of workers and boat owners in the area.

You can hear about their past adventures and discover lots of the fantastic developments that occurred in this area. There was a lot of boat-building that took place in the Lake District.

There are some fantastic views from this area, with great views of the lake being visible from the cafe.

Train Ride

A great way to explore the area is by enjoying a carriage ride through the Leven Valley. You will board the train at Haverthwaite Station and sit on the train for around 50 minutes.

While you are on this train, you will have the chance to enjoy some beautiful views of Lakeside Pier and many other things. You can also enjoy a cruise of the lake at Lakeside.

You can purchase a ticket that includes both the train and the cruise, so that you know you will be able to do both. The station is very scenic and you can even enjoy something to eat in the tea room.

You should check online for the departure times and the availability of the trains.


If you’re looking for another activity for families, then you should definitely consider visiting Brockhole. Brockhole Lake offers lots of fantastic outdoor activities that are perfect for all ages.

You can enjoy archery, kayaking and zip-lining at Brockhole! If this doesn’t sound like it suits you, then perhaps you should visit the 30 acres of historical gardens. Enjoy mini-golf or a woodland playground, too.

There is a beautiful cafe for you to enjoy which has terraced seating for you to enjoy the view of the beautiful lake.

Some of the activities at Brockhole are only available at certain times of year, so you should make sure to check whether they are available before you head over.

Hiking And Walking

Orrest Head

Orrest Head is a fantastic hike that is not too difficult. Anyone will be able to enjoy this walk, no matter what your ability is. This is a very easy, circular walk that will take you around 20 minutes.

You will also be able to enjoy the fantastic views of the Lake District on this walk as you will be able to see the High Hay Wood and St. Catherine’s Wood.

The Orrest Head walk is one of the best ways to see the area as it takes you around Lake Windermere.

Brant Fell

This is a great circular walk that is 3 and a half miles long. It leaves from Bowness-On-Windermere. It is very different from the walk above as it ambles through the woods and up Brant Fell summit.

This is 192 metres high, so you will have quite an uphill walk. You will get a lovely view of the lake when you climb up to the top of this hill.

School Knott

This is a 5 mile circular walk. It is beautiful, and winds through the countryside, leading up to the top of School Knott. If you can follow the signs up the hillside then you will get fantastic views of the Lake.

It is quite an easy walk, although some sections of the walk are quite steep. The path is great because if you continue down it you will get the Claife Viewing Station. It will eventually get to Wray Castle.

The Tarns Walk

This is a great walk that is around 6 miles long. It allows you to trek through the rugged countryside. You will be able to pass the Moss Eccles Tarn and the Wise Een Tarn.

It is a bit more of a difficult walk than some of the others on the list and it is fantastic.


There are lots of great things to do on the lake at Windermere, which we haven’t yet explored! You can enjoy some fantastic sailing lessons, or hire a boat if you already know how to sail!

If you enjoy waterskiing, wakeboarding, paddleboarding or canoeing, there is also the option for you to enjoy these wonderful sports at Windermere! There are great opportunities for couples to enjoy the water, too.

You can enjoy some double kayaks, so that you don’t have to separate! There are some tours that you can take on canoes on the water, and you can always opt for some lessons rather than going solo!

Have a look into some of the amazing watersports that you can enjoy in this area!

Visit Other Lakes

Rydal Water

If you want to visit another lake, then Rydal Water is definitely one that you shouldn’t miss. It is much smaller than Lake Windermere, and much less hectic.

At only 77 acres in comparison to the 3640 acres of Lake Windermere, this lake is much less overwhelming! This lake is very tranquil, and it is very popular among lots of writers.

William Wordsworth loved this lake, owning two different houses on the shores of Rydal Water. You can go and see these houses while you’re in Rydal Water!

At Rydal Water, there are lots of different walks to take part in, including a circular walk. You will experience the woodlands and shoreline, as well as some footbridges.

Book An Experience At Lake Windermere

Aside from activities, there are also many different experiences for you to enjoy at Lake Windermere. As the area is so rich in culture, you can enjoy some varied tours.

  • Film and TV tours. There are a large number of different films and TV shows filmed in this area, so these tours can be very interesting!
  • There are also lots of breweries and distilleries in the area, too. You can visit these for the day, where you can learn about the brewing process. You can learn about beer or gin in these breweries.
  • Scavenger Hunts. You can enjoy some scavenger hunts in the area. They can last up to 7 days, and are usually self-guided. You can enjoy lots of different destinations and challenges.
  • There are lots of fantastic wildlife to see in this area. Children and Adults will absolutely love the birds and animals that are native to the Lake District.

How To Get To The Lake District?

By Car

You can travel to the lake district by car. The M6 motorway runs to the East of the Lake District. When you exit this motorway, you will then need to take the A590 to Windermere.

Junction 36 is the best place to exit the motorway if you want to reach Windermere quickly. You can travel from Manchester to the Lake District in just over 1 hour. London is around 5 hours away from the Lake District.

By Train

There is a train station at Windermere that you can get to. It takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes to travel from Manchester Piccadilly to Windermere.

By Bus

You can also travel by bus to Windermere. You can catch the National Express Coach from lots of different cities in the area including Manchester and London.

Where To Stay In Windermere?

There are plenty of fantastic places to stay in Windermere, including lots of hotels, inns and cabins. The Windermere Boutique Hotel is one great place to stay that you should definitely consider.

However, you should shop around when it comes to accommodation in this area, as there are a lot of different variations when it comes to prices. Whatever your price range, there will be something for you!

Where To Stay In The Lake District?

Windermere is a fantastic place to stay, however it is not the only nice village in the area. You can stay in many different villages or towns and have the same opportunities to explore the area!


Ambleside is a very small village. It is situated to the North of Lake Windermere and from there you can enjoy beautiful views of the National Park.

It has been described by many as the centre of the Lake District, and it is definitely worth visiting!

If you choose to stay in Ambleside, you will be very well connected to other parts of the Lake District, and you will have the chance to explore the region easily.

This is a very popular place to stay if you enjoy the outdoor activities on offer, and if you enjoy walking. It is the starting point of many of the beautiful walks in the area.


Grasmere is a small village that is located just North of Ambleside. It is a picturesque village which is the perfect place for tourists and travellers to stay if they are looking for a very peaceful base that is surrounded by beautiful nature.

This town is perfect for those who want to stay in a quiet and serene area. It has been very popular for painters, photographers and artists.

Grasmere is one of the cheaper places to stay in the area, making it perfect for backpackers. There are lots of high-quality, affordable hotels, guesthouses and hostels.


This is a great place to stay as it is very central. It is a great base for exploring the area. You will get amazing views from this village of the valleys and sloping hills.

This area is home to some fantastic shopping, dining and entertainment, too! There are lots of lovely cabins and lodges in this area, which are great for families to stay in!


Keswick is another great place to stay in the Lake District. It is one of the bigger towns, but it is still very beautiful.

You will find this town on the shores of Derwentwater Lake, and it is one of the more popular places to stay if you are basing yourself in the North of the Lake District.

If you are not just heading down to the Lakes to be outdoors, then this is a great place to stay. It is the best area for nightlife in the vicinity.

You won’t find nightclubs, of course, but you will find lots of pubs, some of which even display live music!


Kendal is a beautiful town which is very scenic. It is located on the Southern border of the Lake District, and it has a large market. There are over 30,000 people living in Kendal, so there is plenty to do there.

You will find lots of shops and restaurants to enjoy. This is by far the coolest place to stay in the area, and it will let travellers enjoy the best of the outdoors as well as the great shopping.

It is home to lots of little boutiques and independent shops. There is something for everyone in Kendal, so it is a great choice if you and your family don’t all have the exact same agenda on holiday!

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of fantastic things to get up to in the Lake District, and this article hasn’t missed a beat! These ideas and suggestions are great for making the most of your stay in Windermere.

Whether you’re visiting the Lake’s as a couple, or as a family, there is something there for everyone. There’s no doubt that your stay will be absolutely fantastic!

A Brief Guide to Things to do in Windermere & Bowness in the Lake District