Exploring attractions surrounding England’s biggest lake, with Windermere Lake Cruises

Your Guide to Windermere Lake Cruises & Beyond

Categories: Days Out

Unveil the magic of England's Lake District

Dreaming of a quintessential Lake District experience? Look no further than Windermere Lake Cruises! While a scenic cruise on England's longest lake is undeniably captivating, we offer much more. We act as your gateway to a treasure trove of charming towns, historical sites, and breathtaking natural beauty surrounding Windermere.

Forget the stress of car parking and navigating unfamiliar roads. With four distinct cruise routes stopping at seven convenient locations, you can seamlessly explore the Lake District at your own pace. Each stop offers a unique character and something special to discover.

Planning the perfect Lake District itinerary can feel daunting. To help you make the most of your visit, we offer the exclusive 24-hour Freedom of the Lake ticket. This allows you to spread your exploration over two days, ensuring you have ample time to delve into the unique charm of each destination.

Prepare to be captivated by the wonders that await you at each stop. Relax, unwind, and explore our curated list of attractions, all conveniently accessible from our jetties:

Lakeside pier

Explore at Lakeside

Nestled at the southern tip of Windermere, Lakeside offers a delightful escape for families and visitors of all ages. Step off the pier and discover a world of charm waiting to be explored!

Relax and refuel at The Lakeside Hotel and Spa Savor a delicious meal with a refreshing drink – perfect after a day of exploring. If you're looking for a quick bite or afternoon tea? Lakeside Pier offers a tempting selection of hot drinks, pastries, and snacks to keep you going.

Embark on a nostalgic adventure on the beloved Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway! Steam locomotives and diesels chug passengers through the scenic Leven Valley (operational during summer months). Haverthwaite station welcomes you with a delightful engine shed, a play area for the little ones, and a short walk to a breathtaking viewpoint.

Also easily accessible from Lakeside (between April and September) is a boat ride from Lakeside to the beautiful Fell Foot Park, a National Trust property where a picnic blanket is a must.

In keeping with Windermere’s freshwater, there’s also the Lakes Aquarium – an award-winning attraction including The Lake District’s only underwater tunnel where visitors will come face to face with ferocious pikes and diving ducks.

Just over the road from Lakeside, get your apps out – there’s a massive Geocache site to explore with plenty of treasures just waiting to be found among the ancient trees of Great Knott Wood.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the West Windermere Way. This new, flat, and accessible gravel path (opened in 2023) follows the scenic steam railway tracks along the River Leven. This 1-mile route connects Lakeside Pier to Newby Bridge, offering access to hotels, Stagecoach bus routes, and the Lakeland Motor Museum. Download a map and plan your walk!

Bowness the hub for fun and charm

Bustling Bowness, nestled on the southern shores of Windermere, is a vibrant village and the heart of Windermere Lake Cruises. With a treasure trove of attractions, deciding what to do first can be the hardest part!

Spark children's imaginations at The World of Beatrix Potter attraction, just a five-minute walk away from Bowness Pier! Come face-to-face with beloved characters like Peter Rabbit and explore the enchanting world of his creator.

Unleash your inner artist at Blackwell, Bowness' center for arts and crafts. Discover unique treasures and find the perfect souvenir to remember your trip.

Catch a classic film in a charming setting at the historic Bowness Royalty Cinema. For live entertainment, visit the Windermere Old Laundry Theatre and enjoy a captivating play.

Get ready to tee off in a new way! Glebe Park offers a quirky 9-hole Footgolf course, where you test your skills by kicking a football into the hole. For a more traditional challenge, take on the crazy golf course or a friendly tennis match. .

Discover the beauty of Bowness with a gentle stroll. Glebe and Cockshott Point, a short distance from the pier, offer peaceful waterside areas perfect for picnics, games, paddling, or simply soaking up the sunshine.

Enjoy a journey aboard the Red Cruise service and stop off at Windermere jetty museum where you can explore a collection of meticulously restored boats, from elegant Victorian steam launches to traditional wooden vessels.

If you fancy the idea of taking control of a boat yourself on Windermere, Bowness is also the place to hire self-drive power boats. For less motor and more muscle, rowing boats (summer months only) are also available for those who want to get to a secluded spot under their own steam.

Ash Landing pier

Explore Hill Top from Ash Landing

Hop aboard a traditional wooden launch from Bowness and enjoy a relaxing cruise across Windermere. Your destination: Ash Landing, a stepping stone to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's cherished residence now managed by the National Trust. Also in Hawkshead is the Beatrix Potter Gallery.

Upon arrival at Ash Landing, the convenient Mountain Goat 525 bus awaits your arrival. This service whisks you directly to Hill Top, allowing you to seamlessly transition from your scenic cruise to exploring Beatrix Potter's enchanting former home. After exploring Potter's home you can continue your journey onwards to the charming village of Hawkshead.

A short stroll from Ash Landing jetty lies the Claife Viewing Station, a historic Victorian building dating back to 1790. The effort of the climb is quickly rewarded with stunning panoramic views of Windermere. Relax and soak in the scenery at the charming Café in the Courtyard.

Feeling invigorated by the breathtaking vista? Lace up your walking shoes and embark on a delightful four-mile circular walk along the tranquil western shore. Clear signage ensures a hassle-free exploration, allowing you to enjoy the serene beauty of the Lake District. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the gentle sounds of nature, and let the magic of the landscape wash over you.

Ready to embark on your Beatrix Potter pilgrimage? Book your Windermere Lake Cruise today and discover Ash Landing!

Brockhole jetty

Adventures at Brockhole

Windermere Lake Cruises unlocks a world of adventure at Lake District Visitors Centre at Brockhole, the Lake District National Park's premier visitor center. Disembark at Brockhole jetty and step into a haven of outdoor fun, stunning scenery, and family-friendly activities.

Enjoy free access to Brockhole's sprawling green spaces, perfect for picnics, relaxing strolls, and soaking up the fresh Lake District air. The easy access to the water's edge allows you to dip your toes in or simply admire the mesmerizing views of Windermere.

For a dose of fun why not try your hand at "archery" experience. Feeling adventurous? Challenge yourself on the "Treetop Nets" course, scaling interconnected platforms high above the ground. Or, for an unforgettable experience, soar through the trees on the exhilarating "Treetop Trek" culminating in a triple zipwire finale!

Rent a rowing boat or kayak from Brockhole and explore the peaceful waters of Windermere at your own pace. Bask in the sunshine on a sprawling lawn, or simply relax and unwind in this idyllic lakeside setting.

Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or family fun, Brockhole offers something for everyone. With its convenient location accessible by Windermere Lake Cruise, Brockhole is the perfect addition to your Lake District itinerary.

Wray Castle

Wray Castle: A Victorian Gem on Windermere's Shores

Be transported to a world of history and natural beauty at Wray Castle, a captivating Victorian neo-gothic gem nestled on the tranquil western shore of Lake Windermere. Managed by the National Trust, this architectural wonder and its idyllic grounds offer a tranquil escape for Lake District explorers, history buffs, and families seeking a fun day out.

The castle is free to explore for everyone! Discover the architectural marvel, learn about the Trust's meticulous conservation efforts, and delve into the castle's intriguing history.

After your exploration, refuel and refresh at the charming plant-based cafe, Joey's, offering delicious treats and beverages – the perfect pitstop for Walkers’ Ticket holders.

Wray Castle's enchanting grounds are a haven for nature lovers. Accessible to all who arrive by boat, these picturesque surroundings whisper invitations to explore. Follow the path from the pier and discover a quieter side of Windermere. Wander along waymarked trails, keeping an eye out for the occasional flash of red, as red squirrels are particularly popular this side of the lake! Unwind on the manicured lawns, perfect for a picnic lunch with a view. Stretch your legs along the serene shingle beach and soak in some of Windermere's most breathtaking panoramas. If you're feeling adventurous, seek out the hidden cove, a local secret perfect for a open water swim!

During the summer months, Wray Castle comes alive with a vibrant calendar of family-friendly outdoor events. Get planning your visit for an unforgettable day!

Waterhead pier, Ambleside

Your Ambleside Pier Adventure Begins!

Calling all adventurers, culture vultures, and anyone who fancies a stroll with a jaw-dropping view! Waterhead Pier, is your gateway to the magic of the Lake District.

Lace up your walking boots and ditch the car and embrace the classic Lake District experience with a scenic walk (it's less than a mile!) from the pier towards Ambleside town. Pick up a walking leaflet from the friendly pier staff for curated routes catering to your pace and interests. You might even stumble upon a hidden waterfall along the way!

Feeling less leggy? No worries! Hop on the electric bus shuttle and arrive ready to explore.

Ambleside is basically Disneyland for art lovers and history buffs. Explore the Armitt museum, delve into the life of local legend Kurt Schwitters, and Beatrix Potter. The museum also offers insights into the nearby Roman ruins, a free historical gem waiting to be discovered.

Fancy a dose of cinematic magic? Zeffirelli's is your spot for independent and up-and-coming filmmakers. For a more artsy vibe, head to Fellinis, which offers a curated selection of art-house and independent films alongside live performances.

The Old Courthouse Gallery is your one-stop shop for the best local arts and crafts. Find hidden gems, support talented folks, and maybe even purchase a unique souvenir.

Travel back in time at Rydal Mount and Gardens, the former residence of the iconic poet William Wordsworth for nearly 40 years. This inspiring haven is the birthplace of many of his cherished poems, including the world-famous "Daffodils.

Unleash your inner athlete (or just have some fun) at White Platt's Recreation Area. is the perfect place to unleash your inner athlete (or simply have some friendly competition! Challenge your family and friends to a mini-golf duel, practice your putting skills, or ace a game of tennis. Families will love the infant play area and bowling green, offering fun for all ages.

Between March and November, the Langdale Rambler bus service whisks you away on a scenic adventure to discover nearby towns and villages. Soak it all in before heading back to Ambleside for a grand finale.

Just like Bowness, Ambleside offers self-drive powerboats and rowing boats for rent. Embark on a voyage of discovery on majestic Windermere and create lasting memories.

Unveiling the Hidden Gems beyond the Lake

Calling all intrepid explorers! The Lake District beckons with its breathtaking landscapes, and here at Windermere Lake Cruises, we wholeheartedly support ditching the car!

But for those seeking an adventure-packed day with minimal planning, look no further! Our friends at Mountain Goat offer the High Adventure Full Day Tour in the Western Lakes, whisking you away to discover hidden gems beyond the familiar shores.

Your adventure begins with a convenient pick-up by minibus from various locations around Windermere, including Bowness Pier, Ambleside, Windermere village, and Windermere railway station. Buckle up and prepare to be awestruck as you journey through stunning high routes all the way to Muncaster Castle where a ride on a steam train awaits.

Make memories on Windermere!

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