Nowhere is the popularity of the Lake District more evident than in Bowness-on-Windermere. Once a quiet fishing village, everything changed after the railway reached Birthwaite - just up the hill - in 1847.

Birthwaite was re-christened Windermere to associate it with the lake, thousands of people started to take their holidays here and wealthy, north west industrialists began building holiday homes in the area. Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House near Bowness - open to the public - is a fine example.

In the years that followed the railway’s arrival, Windermere and Bowness began their slow but steady expansion and now the two places are almost inseparable, although different in character.

Further away - to the south and south east of Bowness - are the Lyth and Winster valleys, the famous damson-growing area where narrow, curly lanes dissect a land of small fields, scattered thickets, little streams and knobbly hillocks.

It’s one of those delightful pockets of Cumbria that still seem untouched by tourism, which is surprising considering its proximity to Windermere. A good map, however, is advisable.



Windermere Tourist Information Centre, Victoria Street, Windermere LA23 1AD: 015394 46499, Café.

Bowness Bay Information Centre, Glebe Road, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3HJ: 015394 48428, Also Bluebird Café on the Bay.

Train. Windermere station. Trains go to Kendal and Oxenholme ( Oxenholme is on the west coast main line (

Royalty Cinema, Lake Road, Bowness LA23 3BJ: 015394 43364,

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