Guide to the Lake District - Windermere Attractions

Attractions

Windermere

Windermere is the largest natural lake not just in the Lake District, but in all of England, and has
been one of the country's most popular tourist destinations ever since the railways first arrived
in 1847.

 

Sightseeing

Steamboats

A ride on a steam boat is a wonderful way to see the sights of Windermere, and there are many vessels working from launches at Bowness Bay, Ambleside and Lakeside. One idea is to take a steamboat from one end of the lake to the other in the morning and spend the afternoon walking back by the lake shore - it's a great way to get a sense of Windermere from two different perspectives.

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Enjoy the captivating sight and sound of a steam train and experience the lake and river scenes of the Leven Valley from the gentle chug of a historic carriage. Once an important route into the Lake District, the remaining open stretch of line is just 3.5 miles long, but it's still an enjoyable visitor attraction.

Stock Ghyll Force

This beautiful waterfall cascades down a ravine near Ambleside, with water falling 70ft. There is a safe viewing platform at the top from which you can see down the ravine to the remnants of some of the old mills which Stock Ghyll once powered.

Brockhole Visitors Centre

For a good idea of what is going on around Windermere, visit Brockhole Visitors Centre. As well as housing a wealth of useful local information, you can find walking and cycling guides, and there is even a soft play area for the kids to enjoy, as well as an outdoor adventure playground.

 

Outdoors

Treetop Trek, Brockhole

A day out at Treetop Trek in Brockhole is fun for all the family. They'll hook you up to harnesses and test your nerves with 35 swinging climbing and balancing challenges high in the ancient woodland canopy.

Holehird Gardens, Windermere

If you want to swap the vastness of the countryside for something smaller and more carefully cultivated, then spend a few hours wandering around Holehird Gardens. As well as exquisite horticulture, there are educational courses and an extensive photographic archive of the area to see, all maintained by volunteers.

 

History and Museums

Sizergh and Kendal Castle

Kendal has not one but two old castles to explore. Kendal Castle may be the bigger, but Sizergh Castle has viewable rooms across three floors, with experts providing a unique insight into life for those who once lived here and there is a café for refreshments.

Levens Hall, Kendal

For an insight to life at an Elizabethan manor house, then take a trip to Levens Hall. The original features and furniture create a great atmosphere, which is only enhanced by the presence of extremely knowledgeable staff.

The Quaker Tapestry Exhibition Centre, Kendal

For a historical insight into the area, presented in an interesting way, take a trip to Kendal's Quaker Tapestry Exhibition Centre. Along with the tapestries, there are interactive informative displays and a café.

Hill Top, Ambleside

The 17th-century farmhouse Hill Top was once the home of celebrated children's author Beatrix Potter. Visitors can see where she wrote her much-loved stories, and wander through the cottage garden which inspired the Tale of Peter Rabbit. This is a small yet popular attraction, however, so arriving early is good idea.

Armitt Museum, Ambleside

Much of Beatrix Potter's other work, including her watercolour paintings, is housed in the Armitt Museum. There is also a display paying tribute to the famous artist and critic John Ruskin, as well as works from many other local artists and writers.

Coming soon: Windermere Steamboat Museum

The Windermere Steamboat Museum owns a collection of over 40 steamboats, including the oldest one in the world, dating back to 1850. Once the multimillion-pound refurbishment is complete, there will be interactive exhibits and displays, a wet dock to allow visitors to explore the boats, as well as a viewing are in the workshop where guests

 

Fun for the kids

Rufty Tuftys, Ambleside

Rufty Tuftys is a great place to take the kids on those rainy days. It's a large indoor play area offering kids the chance to exercise and explore - and have plenty of fun doing it. There is a separate area for the under-twos.

 

Wildlife

Aquarium of the Lakes, Newby Bridge

The Aquarium of the Lakes at Newby Bridge features over 30 exhibits, showing off the freshwater fish and riverbank life that are such an important part of the Lake District. Visitors can see trout and pike, otters and salmon, and even gaze at rays and sharks - many of which skirt the Cumbrian coast.

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