Travel England: Windermere, the Lake District

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Today’s post is by guest writer Will Thoms from British Explorer and, the UK’s leading online takeaway platform that features restaurants across the country including Brighton, Nottingham and Glasgow. Of course, you can always find me at @Brit_Explorer

Lake Windermere, EnglandI’ve heard so many people say they know what it’s like to travel England they’ve been to London, but how about visiting a part of the country which couldn’t be more different from the capital if it tried?

Forget hoards of tourists and overpriced attractions and head to the North West where you’ll see so much nature it’ll be coming out of your ears! As well as the many mountains, crags and lakes the place is also packed with history! Did you know that Wordsworth and Coleridge sought their poetic muse here in the nineteenth century?

The Lake District is made up of many different towns so you’d need longer than a weekend to see everything. I would also need more than one blog post to cover all the towns so instead I’ve decided to focus on Windermere, which is mostly where I went as a kid:

Guided tours
If you want to make sure that you’ll see as much as possible then there are many guided tours you can take. This is also a great idea if it’s your first time and you’d like to learn more about the place. The Mountain Goat Day Tours company has been voted the no. 1 thing to do in Windermere. If you want to properly benefit from the fresh air you could talk a guided walking tour.

Seeing as the Lake District is famous for…you’ve guessed it…lakes. Why not take a boat tour around Windermere? There’s no better way to get acquainted with the scenery! Most of the vessels are modern, but a few of them date back to the 1930s! You can hop on and hop off at certain places too if there’s a particular area you want to explore.

Lake Windermere, England
Lake Windermere, England (Flickr: Julia Manzerova)

Rydal Water is one of most-loved walks in Windermere. It’s a low-level lake and suits people of all abilities. There’s also the option of walking around Windermere lake, of course. It’s the Lake District’s largest lake and is 10.5 miles long so you can decide if you’re brave enough to walk around the whole of it or just go for a little stroll for a few miles.

Holehird Gardens are a must if you love greenery! The Lakeland Horticultural Society carries out their work in these gardens and allows the public to come in and appreciate their efforts. It’s also free (but you can give a donation if you like). Feel at one with nature as you walk past pristine flower beds and expertly-pruned hedges and even have a chat with one of the volunteers if you have any questions.

Adventure courses
You don’t need to be a kid to enjoy these adventures! Treetop Trek is full of swinging, climbing and balancing challenges! See if you can make it look as easy as Tarzan did! In the neighbouring town of Grizedale there’s also another tree-top adventure course called Go Ape so why not try them both out?

Steam railway
The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway is a great activity for the whole family. The railway runs for 3.5 miles along the River Leven so you can imagine how great the views are! You can even become a driver for the day if that’s always been a dream of yours.

For marine-life lovers there’s Lake Aquarium on the banks of Lake Windermere. There’s even the option of handling some of the less-dangerous species! Oscar the Otter is the aquarium’s mascot and makes the experience even more interesting for kids by providing fun, educational games for them.

The Steamboat Museum houses a collection of steam and motor boats, including the SL Dolly, which is the oldest mechanically-powered boat in the world and was made in 1850.

For the kids (and kids at heart) there’s the World of Beatrix Potter museum, which brings the books to life using life-sized models and themed rooms. There’s also a tea shop and plenty of souvenir hunting opportunities!

Lakeland is perfect for those addicted to shopping…even when on holiday! Lakeland specialises in kitchenware and was founded in Windermere. The kitchen aside, if you head to Queen’s Square and Lake Road, then you will find shops and boutiques specialising in everything; arts, locally-made crafts, antiques, clothing souvenirs and lots more. Be sure to buy some local products such as Cumberland Sausage, Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, Hawkshead Relish, Grasmere Gingerbread and Kendal Mint Cake.

Kendal Mint Cake
Kendal Mint Cake (Flickr: amndw2)

I have to big up the Kendal Mint Cake here as I love it! It’s made of pure sugar (sorry, dentists!) and is great if you need a quick burst of energy during your sightseeing. It comes in different flavours; white sugar, brown sugar, chocolate-covered and even more.

I hope you enjoyed my post and now have some new ideas in case you’re planning on visiting the Lake District soon. It’s one of my favourite places to visit and I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.





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5 thoughts on “Travel England: Windermere, the Lake District

    Tom Miller

    (November 16, 2012 - 12:49 am)

    The Rydal Water seems interesting. I personally love to watch the lovely scenes of land meeting water. Thanks for sharing these information.


    (February 7, 2013 - 3:07 am)

    So very true… you speak of my ex-stomping ground. I grew up only an hour from the lakes. The area has inspired artists, writers and poets. People miss out by not popping up north.


      (February 23, 2013 - 6:56 am)

      I always try to make out to a few out of the way places whenever I’m on the road, but I am always quite amazed at the number of travelers who never make it past the capital city of a country.

    Brandon Elijah Scott

    (February 17, 2013 - 3:30 pm)

    I unfortunately just missed stopping in the area on a drive from Edinburgh to Liverpool :(. Good post though!

    Philip Burton

    (March 30, 2013 - 4:36 pm)

    I think you missed a heading when highlighting the Lake District. As a local bed and breakfast in The Lake District one of the reasons people come is for the food an local drink. We have Michelin restaurants, for example Holbeck Ghyll, and in Windermere and Bowness some high class quality restaurants for example Gilpin Lodge (for both you get a free glass of champagne if stay with us- had to get that in, sorry) and then there are the 36 or so Cumbrian Brewers, local food, even a local gin, artisan bakers, local makers of jams and marmalade, chutneys, pies, local food festivals and………….. I could go on

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