Windermere & Bowness

The linked towns of Windermere and Bowness at the heart of the Lake District have been an attraction for visitors since Victorian times and the arrival of the railway. With the lake shore of Windermere so close, there is always something to do whatever the season - walking along the lakeside, enjoying panoramic views of the lake and mountains from several viewpoints, experiencing a whole host of water-based activities, luxuriating in the pleasures of travelling around the area by steamer, open-top bus or steam train or discovering the lake for yourself by hiring a rowing boat or dinghy, or taking a cruise. 

Away from the lake shore is a varied choice of heritage sites, historic houses, fortified farm houses, colourful gardens and other visitor attractions

Windermere, a narrow finger of water some 17km (10.5 miles) long stretching from Ambleside in the north to Newby Bridge in the south, is the focus for a variety of water pursuits - sailing, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, windsurfing, and the more unusual scenic cruises. The comfortable cruisers call at Lakeside, Bowness, Brockhole and Ambleside.

Bowness grew from a small fishing village to bustling tourist destination once the railway came to Windermere in 1847 and now offers a cosmopolitan mix of shops and restaurants, and a large choice of accommodation to suit all pockets.

The town of Windermere has a more sedate feel, centred on a compact shopping area with art galleries and cafes alongside traditional shops such as butchers, bakers and a well-stocked ironmongery store. This was as far as the railway penetrated into the southern Lakes, bringing many thousands of visitors to marvel at the beauty of the lake and its surroundings.