Windermere, the largest lake in the Lake District and England, is the most popular among visitors.

Its reputation as a premier tourist destination was established in 1847 when the Kendal and Windermere Railway branch line was created, bringing a surge of Victorian-day trippers and holidaymakers to its picturesque shores.

Windermere boasts an estimated 10,000 registered boats and is a water sports hub. It is easily accessible from Kendal via the A591.

This stunning lake offers visitors a range of activities and breathtaking views, making it the perfect destination for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your visit to Windermere.

Windermere is considered a tourist hotspot by locals, which is why there are numerous amenities around the lake catering to visitors.

These include cafes, pubs, shops, boat rentals, steamboat tours, and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway located at the lake’s southern end.

Additionally, various companies are offering outdoor activities such as guided walks.

Things to do at Windermere:

  1. Go for a walk: The Windermere Way is a scenic walk of approximately 45 miles that circles the entire Windermere Lake.

    Ambleside is a prime starting point for those interested in hill walks, with various higher peaks, including Red Screes and Dove Crag, available for exploration.

    For those looking for a more relaxed walk, Windermere Lake Cruises offers a variety of trails that steamers can access, with special tickets for walkers.

    In the town of Windermere, Orrest Head is a well-known and easily accessible walk that offers stunning views from its summit.

    The trailhead, located at SD 414 987 by the entrance to the Windermere Hotel, is marked with a large sign, and the route is well-signposted to the summit at SD 415 994, 238 meters above sea level.

  2. Take a cruise: Take a leisurely cruise along the lake, taking in the breathtaking scenery from the water and enjoying a range of onboard activities and attractions.

  3. Visit the World of Beatrix Potter: This charming attraction, located in nearby Bowness-on-Windermere, offers visitors the chance to step into the world of Beatrix Potter and learn more about her life and work.

  4. Go kayaking or canoeing: Rent a kayak or canoe and explore the serene waters of Windermere, taking in the stunning scenery from the water.

  5. Visit the Lake District Visitor Centre: This visitor centre, located in nearby Brockhole, offers a range of exhibits and interactive displays about the history, culture, and natural beauty of the Lake District.

Where to eat:

  1. The Punch Bowl Inn: This cosy pub serves a range of classic pub grub, including hearty pies, sandwiches, and soups.

  2. The Chesters by the River: This charming restaurant serves various delicious dishes, including locally sourced seafood, salads, and sandwiches.

  3. The Bluebird Café: This quaint café serves a range of light bites, including sandwiches, soups, and cakes.

Where to stay:

  1. The Lakeside Hotel: This charming hotel is located on the shores of Windermere and offers comfortable and stylish guest rooms with views of the lake.

  2. The Windermere Backpackers Hostel: This budget-friendly option offers comfortable dormitory rooms and is just a short walk from the lake.

  3. The Linthwaite House Hotel: This luxury hotel, located in nearby Bowness-on-Windermere, offers comfortable and stylish guest rooms with stunning views of the lake.


Several pay-and-display parking options are available at the lakeside towns and villages along Windermere.

On the northern shore, you can park at Ambleside.

On the eastern coast, you can park at Bowness-On-Windermere and nearby the Beech Hill Hotel on the A592, which has public toilets and a picnic area.

The southern shore has parking at Lakeside Pier.

Limited road access is available to the western coast, but you can park at Far Sawrey pier near Hill Top, the former home of Beatrix Potter.

Far Sawrey is accessible via the B5285 from Hawkshead or by ferry from Bowness-On-Windermere.

In conclusion, Windermere is a truly stunning destination, offering visitors the chance to escape city life and immerse themselves in nature.

Its range of activities, delicious dining options, and comfortable accommodation makes it the perfect place to spend a few days exploring the Lake District.

So why not plan your trip today and discover all this beautiful lake has to offer?