Suggested Itinerary for the Yellow Cruise
Perfect for visitors who are staying in accommodation near the southern tip of the lake – or for day visitors and residents of Ulverston, Furness and the Morecambe Bay coastline, our popular Yellow Cruise route carries passengers along the southern half of Lake Windermere, between Lakeside and Bowness. We asked Rebecca, a local mum, to tell us about her day-out with this popular option:
I’d read so much about the Lakeland Motor Museum but unbelievably, we’d never actually been! As my husband and I have two boys aged 7 and 10, we thought it would be a good place to start our day. My husband had to work that day, so, accompanied by Grandma and Grandad, we drove to the museum for when it opened, so as not to waste any of the day! The car park is huge, so we had no problem parking whatsoever – it’s free of charge, too. We must have spent nearly a couple of hours in the museum, which has a brilliant collection of cars which become newer as you make your way around the attraction – ending with a great selection of cars from the 80s – like a Ford Capri and Sierra, which reminded me of family holidays when I was a little girl!
There’s loads of models and other items of motoring memorabilia in seemingly endless rows of display cabinets too, and even vintage coin-operated games which had my boys hooked! There’s also a kids’ quiz, so they were beaming upon being presented with a medal when they’d completed it!
Although my boys (and their Grandad) wanted to stay for longer, we grabbed a souvenir model from the gift shop, left the car at the museum and got a free shuttle bus from the door to Lakeside pier, at the southern end of Windermere. We were spoiled for choice when we got there, because the boys really wanted to look in the Lakes Aquarium and have a steam train ride, which I promised them we would do on our way back. We stepped off the bus and pretty much got straight onto MV Swan, one of Windemere Lake Cruises’ biggest boats. When I told the boys that The Queen has travelled on this boat, they were so excited! My Dad (the boys’ Grandad), was pleased to find a bar below deck and happily came back up to enjoy the fresh air at the front of the boat with a pint of ice cold beer. Classic, Dad!
The peaceful, southern end of the lake was lovely to sail along. Although the boat has around 300 seats – many of those inside a cosy lounge area, we decided to enjoy most of the 45 minute journey from the top-deck, which is open-air. We really enjoyed the stunning scenery before rounding a corner and finding we were pulling-up at the pier in Bowness – where the real swans were waiting!
By 11.30, we were on the Bowness prom’, feeding the ducks and mingling with Swans, Canada Geese and other feathered-friends. Bowness is probably one of The Lake District’s best-known towns, and with good reason. We enjoyed a spot of lunch – a picnic which I’d made the night before our day-out, which we enjoyed on a lovely big grassy area near the lake shore, called The Glebe. We also took a very nice circular walk around a place called Cockshott Point, which gave the boys a great place to paddle, away from the hungry ducks (well, most of them!).
We noted that The World of Beatrix Potter attraction was just a 10 minute walk away from the pier, but decided to visit that another day, because I’d promised the boys a ride on that steam train back at Lakeside. They also quite fancied playing footgolf, which I also added to our list for our next visit – which I was already planning in my mind…! We couldn’t resist hiring a self-drive boat though, so we’d booked one a few days earlier and had 30 minutes out in the water. It was really easy to drive – I even let the boys have a quick steer!
Eager to fit as much into our day as possible, we jumped back on a boat to Lakeside, which departed Bowness at around 1pm. We got back to Lakeside at around 2.45pm and hopped on a steam train for a lovely 20 minute ride on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.
This railway used to go all the way to Ulverston and beyond but is the only section that has been preserved. At Haverthwaite, there’s a huge engine shed to explore, a lovely children’s play area and a pleasant walk to a lookout point where you can look over towards Furness.
We had to pop into the souvenir shop of course, as the boys fancied a couple of mementos of their day out – Luckily I had my ‘MyCumbria’ card on me, so I got a discount on a few items – result!
After getting the train back to Lakeside, we grabbed some afternoon snacks at the Lakeside Pier before popping into the Lakes Aquarium for a quick look around. I say quick, as I was very conscious of the time – I honestly didn’t realise there would be so much stuff to pack into our day out! A highlight was definitely this amazing underwater tunnel so you were surrounded by freshwater life, swimming above our heads! I recall making a mental note to myself; “next time, make a weekend of it, not just a day”.
I noticed that every time a boat arrived at Lakeside, the shuttle bus was waiting, to take people back to the Lakeland Motor Museum. It’s so convenient, they’ve organised the timing just right so there’s no waiting around if people need to get straight back to the museum from the boat if they’re running out of time. Just a few minutes later, we’d been dropped-off right next to the museum’s main, giant blue building – where our car awaited us.
All-in-all, our day out – the equivalent of a full working day, had absolutely flown-by. It had so many ingredients that made for a perfect family excursion and was so easy thanks to the free parking, the convenient bus link and many attractions all within a short walking distance of each other. For our next free weekend, I’m thinking about using the Yellow Cruise route again – but this time visiting all the places I couldn’t fit-in during this trip.