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Red Service (with allocated seating)

Sail from Bowness to Ambleside or vice versa

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Book online for up to Fri 28 May 2021 (inclusive) | Later dates added soon.

📆 Tickets go on sale about 7-10 days in advance.
👪 Maximum 6 in a group booking, as per current UK law.
🎫 Book with confidence. If we can't sail due to COVID-19, you'll get a full refund
😷 Our cruises have changed to keep everyone safe.

Bowness ↔ Ambleside (Waterhead) | See map below

🕘 30 minutes each way

  • Board at Ambleside (Waterhead) or Bowness and return on a later boat. Your ticket allows you get off and get a later boat back.
  • Each journey includes a fascinating commentary on the history, attractions and points of interest surrounding Windermere.
  • During COVID-19 we have the following measures in place: ✔️ online booking only ✔️ Social distancing ✔️ ticketed seating ✔️ enhanced cleaning | Find out more

🚢 On a smaller, modern launch such as Miss Cumbria or Miss Lakeland or historic 'Steamer' (larger vessel)


Ticketed Seating
To keep everyone safe on board and to maintain a good distance between all customers, all our boats have ticketed seating.

  • Choose from either a single or return journey from either Bowness or Ambleside.
  • You must book a seat for the outward and return legs of your journey for everyone in your group.
  • Infants (under 3s) who don't need a seat (who can travel on a parents knee) can travel for free.

seating plans of the vessels

On the boat

  • Choose between indoor or outdoor seating when booking. Your colour-coded seat will be allocated to you and clearly marked on your e-ticket.
  • Coloured seating zones and our friendly staff will guide you to your seats when boarding the boat.
  • Every person on board needs a seat (except under 3s who sit on a parents knee).

A steamer heading north departing Ambleside on the Red Service

Standard Ticket Prices (valid from Saturday 27th March 2021 until Sunday 31st October 2021)

  • Prices below are return fares
  • Book your tickets by selecting a date in the 'Choose a Route' box below.

Additional Information

'Steamer' MV Swan departing Bowness Pier on the Red Service

'Steamer' MV Swan departing Bowness Pier on the Red Service

Enjoy the scenery on a direct boat between Bowness and Ambleside.

View our photo/video gallery

This ticket can be used to start from either Bowness or Ambleside (Waterhead). Choose a single or return ticket. Launches (smaller boats) are marked in red and steamers (larger boats) are marked in black on the timetable below.

⚠ Please ensure you arrive in plenty of time for your booking, tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Choose a Route

Book Now
  • To ensure compliance with Government legislation please only complete your reservation if your party consists of no more than one household or support bubble, and you are adhering to the guidance for the local restriction tier in which you reside.
  • Bookings are limited to a maximum group size of six, a valid ticket must be purchased for every person traveling, including children of any age.
  • Child prices are valid for children aged 15 and under.
  • Infants (Under 3s) who can sit on a parents knee travel free.

Today's sailings from Bowness

Depart BownessArrive AmblesideVessel type
12:4513:00MV Swift
14:1514:30MV Swift
15:5016:05MV Swift

Today's sailings from Ambleside

Depart AmblesideArrive BownessVessel type
13:3014:00MV Swift
15:1015:40MV Swift
16:4017:10MV Swift

Service Status


Service Status:

🔴 RED SERVICE Bowness ↔ Ambleside Waterhead✔️ Services OK
Bowness → Brockhole → Ambleside Waterhead → Bowness✔️ Services OK
Bowness ↔ Lakeside

✔️ Services OK

Haverthwaite ↔ Lakeside ↔ Bowness
✔️ Services OK
Ambleside Waterhead ↔ Bowness ↔ Lakeside
✔️ Services OK
Bowness Beach / Bowness Dock at weekends ↻
✔️ Services OK
🚤 SELF-DRIVE BOAT HIRE from WaterheadWaterhead (near Ambleside) ↻
✔️ Services OK


Load Map

Access & Facilities

COVID-19 Special arrangements

All passengers are requested to maintain social distancing at all times and keep alert to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Thanks for your understanding and your help in helping us keep everyone on board safe.

Ticketed Seating

You must sit on the seat you have been allocated within the booking process. This strict layout of coloured seating allows us to maintain the safe social distance between all passengers. This journey will either be on a steamer (larger white historic vessel such as Swan, Teal or Tern) or modern launch (smaller blue boat such as a Miss Lakeland or Miss Cumbria class).

Disabled Access

Wheelchair users are strongly advised to call us to confirm which vessel is operating on which service as not all of our vessels are suitable for wheelchair users, particularly in poor weather conditions. On board toilet facilities on all vessels can only be reached by means of the stairs, however there are adapted toilets at Lakeside, Bowness and Ambleside Piers.

Our most wheelchair-friendly vessels are ‘steamers’ (marked in black on the timetable) that can be accessed by a ramp from the pier to the main cabin which is under cover and is on the same level. Our other vessels have limited access for wheelchairs but sometimes can be accommodated on board. Please call us to discuss your access requirements.

Concessions for Disabled Customers

If a disabled adult in your group needs a carer, then the carer travels free. For more information about this scheme and to see all the terms and conditions, please read our company policy for disabled passengers. Please call us on 015394 43360 to book your wheelchair and carer place on board the boat.

On-Board Facilities

Toilets are available on all our ‘steamers’ and launches with enhanced regular cleaning. Sorry, no cafe facilities onboard our vessels during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Conditions of Carriage

Our services are provided in accordance with our Conditions of Carriage.

No Smoking Policy

For the safety and comfort of all passengers and crew, Windermere Lake Cruises Ltd operates a no smoking policy on-board its vessels, piers and shore premises. This includes electronic cigarettes.


All well behaved dogs are welcome on board and travel for free.


Sorry, there is no room for bikes on these special services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upgrade to a private skippered cruise

Why not treat you and your family to a private cruise? Depart from either Bowness or Ambleside (Waterhead) at a time that suits you. Let our Skipper give you a personalised cruise and commentary just for you.

Perfect for family groups or social bubbles of 1-6 passengers.

Private Circular Cruise

Private Circular Cruise

Enjoy a skippered private cruise on Lake Windermere for your family or social bubble.