Guide to the Lake District - Windermere Activities



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.


Walking and hiking

There are some great walking routes around Windermere. There are various trails to be done around Bowness, Ambleside and Brockhole, with some suitable for those with limited mobility and pushchairs.

The Windermere Way should be on any walking enthusiast's list, linking up the various smaller trails around the lake, taking in the high peaks and some footpaths close to the shore.

North of Ambleside you'll find some much more challenging crags and mountains in Great Langdale, including Loughrigg, Dove Crag and the Langdale Pikes.


Sailing and water sports

Windermere is probably the most popular lake for water sports in all of the Lake District.

Pretty much anything you can think of is available; vessels of all types are permitted on the water, although a speed limit of 10mph was imposed in 2005. There are marinas up and down Windermere for sailors, with the likes of South Windermere Sailing Club offering tuition courses for beginners. Low Wood Bay Sports Centre and Lakes Leisure are among the other firms to provide all you need to try your hand at windsurfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding or even jetskiing. Canoeing and kayaking are also available on the lake, but once you've learned to handle a paddle you might want to try something a bit faster-flowing on the Brathay or Rothay rivers which feed Windermere.



Just to the north of Windermere, in the Great Langdale valley, you'll find some of the finest rock climbing routes in the region.

Raven Crag at Walthwaite, for example, features a good mix of routes - both in terms of length and ability - while Scout Crag is one for beginners and Raven Crag has a selection of more challenging routes. You can pick up detailed guides on the web or from local hostels and tourist information centres. There are also indoor climbing centres for those who want to begin somewhere a little simpler - or just stay out of the cold! - at Lakeland Climbing Centre in Kendal, or Ambleside Climbing Wall.


Cycling and mountain biking

The area around Windermere is perfect for cycling. The size of the lake means you can take a day out just skirting the water on the flat bike trails, or you can challenge yourself and try heading up some of the fells.

Alternatively, if you fancy the thrill of off-roading, Grizedale Forest just to the west of the lake is home to trails which suit all abilities. Bike hire is available from Biketreks and Ghyllside Cycles in Ambleside, as well as at Country Lanes in Windermere and Grizedale Bikes on the edge of the forest.


Pony Trekking

For those who love horses, there is hardly a more pleasant way to enjoy the scenery of the lakes than by pony trekking.

Schools such as Lakeland Pony Trek in Windermere do half- and full-day treks for people of all abilities.


Off-road driving

Kankku will put you behind the wheel of a specialist off-road vehicle and let you see the Lake District in a different way, taking to the rocky paths and powering through streams as you explore the fells.

There are a host of different routes to suit beginners and experienced off-roaders alike.


Coach tours

If you want to explore the wider Lake District but fancy giving those walking boots a rest for the day, then you can always try a Mountain Goat coach tour.

You'll get a roadside view of the great scenery with an expert guide to provide insight along the way - and you'll stay dry!


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