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Explore the Lake District

Windermere & Bowness

About Windermere & Bowness


The most immediately accessible part of the lakes, Windermere has been a favourite with holidaymakers since the 19th century – when the construction of a train line allowed visiting Victorians the opportunity to stretch their legs, take leisurely boat rides and enjoy magnificent views of the Cumbrian countryside. Today Windermere retains its status as one of the Lakes’ most popular holiday destinations with the town and lakeside positively thrumming in high season and large crowds still drawn in cooler climes thanks to the wonderful walks and out of season activities that make great use of the region’s beautiful surrounding landscapes.

Holiday cottages in Windermere offer a wealth of wonderful options. Low lying hills provide gentle walking opportunities whilst the lake itself – the largest in the region – offers boat rides, literary heritage and an abundance of beauty. Combined with boutique shops, fantastic eateries, museums and visitor centres and much more and you have a holiday destination with wonderful options for all.


Bowness-on-Windermere, in South Lakeland, is a gorgeous town on the banks of Lake Windermere and its perfect location has made it a lively hub for tourists visiting the National Park.

Situated about halfway along the 12 mile length of the lake, between Waterhead in the north and Lakeside in the south, the towns beginnings date back to the 1874 after the opening of the Oxenholme to Kendal railway line as it was the nearest accessible point on the lake. It has developed over the years into a real honey pot destination with people coming to relax and enjoy the lake, take part in water sports, jump aboard a boat cruise or enjoy some retail therapy plus delightful cafes, bars and restaurants to sample local food and drink. Many choose to stay in self-catering cottages in Bowness which provide a perfect base to explore and give you the freedom to holiday like a local.

The Victorian influence is evident everywhere and many of the large residences built by wealthy business men from Lancashire in the 19th century have now been converted into imposing hotels. One of the grandest residences is Brockhole built for a rich silk merchant from Manchester who wanted a ‘summer house’ in the newly fashionable Lake District. In 1966 the National Park Authority purchased the house and grounds and opened the UK’s first National Park Visitor Centre. It attracted 40,000 visitors in its first month and continues to attract tourists from all over the world who can enjoy the house, grounds and events in this spectacular Lakeland location.

Bowness is one of Cumbria’s most popular all year round destinations and one of the main centres for Outdoor Activities in the UK with many adventure companies, guides and instructors based here. If you prefer something a bit more cultural ‘The World of Beatrix Potter’ maybe more appealing, where you can discover Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck and all their friends. This is a magical indoor recreation where you can also learn more about Beatrix Potters’ life and for some fresh air venture into Peter Rabbit’s Garden with cabbages and the garden gate Peter squeezed under trying to escape Mr McGregor!

Inspire: Windermere & Bowness Holiday Articles

The Lakes and Cumbria’s Loveliest Locations

Make some memories where majestic mountains meet shimmering lakes. The South and Central Lakes are an ideal base to explore the National Park and beyond. Cumbria Tourism offer their expert insight on some of the best and most beautiful Lake District locations to visit.

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Fine Dining

The Lake District isn’t short of perfect places to eat. Whether you’re looking for a Michelin starred meal for two, hearty pub grub in glorious surroundings, ornate tea for two or a quick pit stop as you make your way from one gorgeous location to another – you will find a wealth of wonderful choice.

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Exploring the Lakes - Day 2

Our good fortune continues into Day 2 of our Lakes exploration: with searing summer heat and blue skies greeting us as we stop off at Sizergh Barn for breakfast on the way to Windermere.

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The Great British Lake Off

There’s nowhere quite like the Lake District: a breathtaking region offering some of the country’s finest and most iconic views. This is a place where gorgeous lakes occupy centre stage, surrounded by the scooped out valleys, famous fells and imposing peaks of this deservedly popular National Park.

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As Seen on the Big Screen

The Lake District has played host to a number of big screen productions, from fantasy and family films to classic comedies and chillers. Take a look at our Lakes’ film location guide to follow in their footsteps.

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Fun for the Family

The Lakes are a perennial holiday favourite: the fresh air; the endless views and the abundance of nature combine to make the Lake District on of the most romantic and peaceful place in the UK. So, not the sort of place to bring your kids, right? Wrong.

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Literary Locations

Celebrated for its vast and awesome bodies of water surrounded by majestic fells, Lakeland’s other claim to worldwide fame are the writers and luminaries, who were excited and influenced by its wonderful landscapes.

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Explore: Holiday Cottages in Windermere & Bowness