Cruising Lake Windermere

We've not long returned from a three week break in the UK to spend time with my stepsons whilst they were on their summer school holidays.  Our first week was spent in the Lake District in Cumbria, a place I haven't been to since I was a teenager.  It was great to visit again and see the beautiful countryside and we had a great week.  There will be a few more posts soon about other things we did during our first week in the Lake District.

Whilst we were staying there we rented a holiday home in Bowness (or Bowness-on-Windermere to be exact).  This was a great place to be based, a nice town with all the essential shops (when you are self catering) and easy access to a load of places in the Lake District.  The holiday home was also perfect for our needs and actually better equipped than our home here in Singapore!  For one thing we had the luxury of a dish washer for the week.  We were provided with off road parking and being in the holiday home of course meant we had the option to cook and eat at home rather than always having to go out to eat.  The weather was not perfect during our stay, typically British to be fair, so knowing we could do this was a great relief at times.  Our stay in this particular holiday home also gave us access to a nearby hotel's leisure facilities so that meant swimming pool access for the boys for the week and a fail safe if the weather had been really bad and we'd run out of other indoor activities. 

Lake Windermere from Bowness

Bowness sits right on Lake Windermere (it is apparently the only town to do that) and from here you can catch a boat which takes you to the town of Ambleside a bit further along the lake and will bring you back to Bowness when you are ready.  We decided to do that and took the boat ride on our first full day in the Lake District.

There are several different boat trips you can choose from on the lake taking you to various spots.  You can buy your tickets on the day and then just simply wait for the next boat for your particular choice to arrive.  All the boats I saw whilst in Bowness had an upper and lower deck, the upper deck usually being open.  The day we went was a little damp and drizzly so we opted for the lower deck.

You can, if you want to, do the trip we did as a round trip without getting off and return to Bowness.  We decided though that we would get off at Ambleside to see what was there before travelling back to Bowness.  Lake Windermere is England's largest natural lake and even if you haven't visited yourself hopefully my photos will give you some idea of just how big it is.  In fact if you do the round trip, i.e. from Bowness to Ambleside and back to Bowness without getting off it takes approximately seventy-five minutes.  The lake was formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of the ice at the end of the last Ice Age.  There are also eighteen islands in the lake, the largest of which, Belle Island, is privately owned and inhabited.  The romantic dreamer in me can't help but think it would be a great place to live, though perhaps a bit lonely, especially in the winter.

As you travel the lake there is a little bit of commentary given by the boat's captain.  However I think the amount you get depends on what boat you take.  The scenery though is enough to keep you entertained.  The water offers up a variety of sailing boats to watch and there are a host of other water sports around the banks of the lake too.  Beyond the lake you are treated to views of the spectacular Cumbrian countryside, of hills and mountains, a wealth of different shades of green and wide open spaces as far as the eye can see.  If you keep a good look out you'll also spot some beautiful houses on the river banks.  Some now turned into hotels etc. but I guess also a few that are still privately owned (like the house on Belle Island I mentioned before).  You can also catch a glimpse of their private moorings and boat houses too.

Picturesque house on the edge of Lake Windermere (now a hotel)

When we arrived in Ambleside we got off our boat and walked a little further along the bank.  Unfortunately by this point the weather had got a little more gloomy and heavier rain looked a distinct possibility.  Fortunately there was a restaurant/pub close by so we played it safe and opted for a warm drink there.  Our suspicions were correct and as we sat enjoying our drinks (indoors) the heavens did open for a while.  Luckily it was only a passing shower so didn't spoil our visit.  After a pleasant afternoon in Ambleside we wandered back to the moorings and caught a boat back to Bowness.


  1. It is so beautiful there, we went a couple of years ago and managed to bag the only week that summer where it didn't rain (we were in a tent). Such beautiful pictures, makes me want to watch Swallows and Amazons!

    1. Glad you got good weather for your visit, ours was pretty good too. Funnily enough whilst I was there I was very tempted to buy a copy of Swallows and Amazons to read.


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