Named for the impressive body of water that characterises this holiday hot-spot, Windermere is the crux of multi-activities in the Lakes. In cahoots with the older lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere, this area is undoubtedly the Lake District’s best-loved resort.
Located just one mile from the town and offering myriad outdoor activities centres, numerous water sports instructors to hand and a mecca for windsurfers, there’s plenty to keep alfresco adventurers busy on England’s largest natural lake. Alternately, the Windermere Steamers, which zip visitors to either end of the expanse while they peruse the rugged beauty of their surrounds, are a hit with all. You can even take the ferry to Hawkshead where you’ll find Beatrix Potter’s enchanting Hilltop House.
Popular with walkers and writers alike, whether you wish to scale the 10.5 mile length of the lake or venture in land and uphill, this is a great place to get your hiking boots on and start exploring. You’ll find a striking view at Orrest Head, Wainwright’s first ‘summit’ in his renowned guidebooks, while Arthur Ransome’s childhood classic Swallows and Amazons was inspired by the local waters. And neighbouring Rydal Water, though one of the area’s smallest lakes, has connections with both Wordsworth and Coleridge.
Why not enjoy a colourful turn around Holehird Gardens, where you’ll find 12 acres of spectacular gardens overlooking Windermere? Home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society and a partner garden to RHS with many important national plant collections, the gardens are open year-round.
Those looking for light relief on a rainy day (of which there can be a few in these parts), will find the Lakes Aquarium and The World of Beatrix Potter a real treat. Whether you’re swept off into an underwater torrent of native marine life or you’re transported to Mr McGregor’s garden, the dullest of days will turn out sunny.
In the mood for a quick cuppa, a lakeside picnic lunch or some posh nosh? There are plenty of places to buy food and drink around the lake proper and in the two charming surrounding villages. Foodies might also fancy a browse around the original Lakeland Limited that inspired the chain of popular UK kitchenware shops.
Let us launch your lakeside voyage on calm waters by suggesting some of the best holiday cottages in Windermere today.