Lake Windermere holds the crown as England's largest lake – stretching 10.5 miles long – and also gives its name to two towns: Windermere itself and bustling Bowness-on-Windermere, which hosts the main jetties for the lake’s cruise boats. Ambleside at the north end of the lake is a popular place to start some of the area’s best-loved fell walks.
Windermere and its surrounds are arguably the most famous and popular area in the whole of the Lake District. There’s so much to see and do when you’re in the area, but a visit to Lake Windermere must surely involve time spent on the lake itself, and there’s plenty of choice when deciding exactly how.
If you’re starting with a gentle cruise, Windermere Lake Cruises are just the ticket, with lots of different routes and options, so you can either relax and admire the stunning landscape on a round trip or jump off and enjoy a scenic walk back.
Fans of Arthur Ransome’s ‘Swallows and Amazons’ books might be inspired to try their hand at the helm and book a dinghy or yacht sailing course. You can also hire rowing boats and motorboats, and sporty types can get closer to the water with kayaks, canoes and paddleboards all available.
Once you’ve been on the water, there’s a world of natural beauty to explore on foot and the fells surrounding the lake provide the perfect opportunity to strike out and see the spectacular local landscape. Devotees of Alfred Wainwright will want to start with a walk to Orrest Head, the spot which inspired his great love of the area. This is a short, circular walk from Windermere, rewarded with an iconic and spectacular open view. Whether you opt for a gentle lakeside stroll or a bracing hike to the very tops of the fells, you’re spoiled for choice.