Windermere is Lakeland’s glorious centrepiece, a 10.5 mile (16.9km) stretch of water that, more than any other lake, sums up why so many people love this part of Britain.

Steamers, sailing boats and motor cruisers criss-cross the water; museums, historic homes, gardens and other attractions lie within a mile or two of its shoreline. There’s a huge choice of hotels, B&Bs and other holiday accommodation close by, and cafés, pubs and restaurants to suit every pocket and palate.

To the north a cluster of fells gather around Ambleside which, along with Windermere and Bowness to the south east, form the main centres of population. On the more wooded western side it’s altogether quieter, with no settlement of any size and no continuous road along the shoreline. 

That means you can stand on the promenade at Bowness on a summer’s day and wonder where everyone’s come from, then take the ferry from Ferry Nab, just south of Bowness, to Ferry House on the other side and wonder where they’ve all gone to.

Attractions

Information

Bowness Bay Information Centre, Glebe Road, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3HJ: 0845 901 0845, www.lakedistrict.gov.uk Also Bluebird Café on the Bay.

Train. Windermere station is on the Lakes Line (www.lakesline.co.uk), about one mile (1.6km) away from Bowness. Trains from Windermere go to Kendal and Oxenholme. Oxenholme is on the west coast main line (www.virgintrains.co.uk).

Windermere ferry. Crosses the lake from Ferry Nab, just south of Bowness, to Ferry House. The boat carries up to 18 cars and over 100 passengers. The five minute crossing (www.cumbria.gov.uk) can be pretty busy in the season but signs on the approach road indicate how long you’ll have to wait. In summer a minibus service between Ferry House and Hawkshead calls at Beatrix Potter’s home of Hill Top.

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