Windermere is the largest natural lake in England at 10.5 miles long it was formed in a glacial trough, and at its deepest point measures 219ft deep. The lake is fed by the rivers Rothay, Brathy, Trout Beck and Cunsey and at Newby bridge the river flows into the Leven which takes a short journey to the estuary. As the Lake lies entirely within the Lake District national park it has been a popular tourist destination for over a hundred years.
The Victorians found the lake a fascinating day out and the enjoyment of a trip on the lake is still a pleasure today. Windermere Lake cruises run daily boat trips from Waterhead Bay at Ambleside to Bowness Bay and Lakeside.
– If you enjoy walking then a short trip on the launch to Wray Bay is the start of the footpath along the western side of the lake down to Ferry Nab. The car ferry runs across this narrow section of Lake Windermere, then a short stroll along Cock Shott Point take you back into Bowness, from here you can take the boat back to Ambleside or return on the bus via Windermere. For the energetic you can walk back along the road or over Orrest Head, Troutbeck and Wansfell pike (a long day’s walking). The launch that crosses to Wray also stops at Brockhole – The national park visitors center, gardens and adventure play ground.
– At Bowness Bay you can wander along the shore line treat yourself to an ice cream or maybe hire a motor boat or rowing boat and sail around the islands. There are also tennis courts, golf and crazy golf on the Glebe at Bowness. Head up the hill for a little retail therapy or visit The World of Beatrix Potter. The Old Laundry theater has a full programme of events and Bowness also has lots of restaurants, pubs and cafes. Continuing out of Bowness and into Windermere the small town center has a variety of shops and cafe’s the most famous being Lakeland,the flag ship home of kitchenware, you can also enjoy a delicious lunch or afternoon tea in their cafe. From Windermere take a short walk to the fantastic view point of Orrest Head, this was Alfred Wainwrights first climb in the Lake District, a great way to take in the expansive range of fells and mountains of the Lake District.
– As Lake Windermere turns into the river Leven at Newby bridge you will find Fell Foot Park, a large garden area owned by the National Trust where you can spend the day playing on the water or just watching from the woodland garden area.
– Returning from your day on Lake Windermere, walk back into Ambleside via Borrans park and Galava Gate Roman Fort. The footpath follows the river where the Rothay and the Brathay meet, and through meadows and fields meeting the main road just a short distance from Elder Grove.