A weekend in Windermere

Our picks for a fun-filled weekend in this Lake District Hub

Located in the heart of the Lake District, the town of Windermere has been a popular destination for centuries  – and it’s easy to see why.

A stone’s throw from England’s largest natural lake, the town (originally called Birthwaite) was renamed in 1847 with the coming of the railway as a means of attracting visitors. Fast forward to present day and Windermere, together with its smaller shoreside neighbour Bowness-on-Windermere, has become a thriving hub for those wanting to enjoy a taste of all that this famously beautiful region has to offer. Planning a visit? Don’t miss our recommendations, all of which are rated by the AA and/or VisitEngland.

Things to do

The Lake District’s reputation as England’s adventure playground means that there’s no shortage of activities to get stuck into. Windermere is a walker’s paradise, with routes to cater for all abilities. For breathtaking views over the lake, tackle Brant Fell above Bowness-on-Windermere. If you’re looking for a more gentle climb, follow the footpath to Orrest Head to discover an impressive viewpoint of the lake and surrounding fells.

No visit would be complete without stepping aboard the most popular boats in the Lake District – steamers. Departing from Bowness, relax and enjoy the stunning Windermere scenery from the top deck. The 45-minute Islands Cruise includes a fascinating commentary of the lake’s history.

For those seeking fun in water, pay a visit to Brockhole on Windermere. From kayaks and canoes to stand-up paddle boards, select your vessel of choice and get ready for an afternoon of fun on the lake.

If, when back on dry land, you want to explore off the beaten track, why not uncover the area’s hidden gems by booking onto a Mountain Goat mini-bus tour? For a great family-friendly day out, venture slightly further afield to Hawkshead for the Beatrix Potter Gallery. Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House also offers a lovingly crafted day out. One of the Lake District’s most enchanting historic houses, take a moment to appreciate the view from the inviting window seats.

We recommend

Beatrix Potter Gallery

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House

Brant Fell above Bowness-on-Windermere

Brockhole on Windermere

Mountain Goat Tours and Holidays

Orrest Head and a view of the Lakeland peaks

Windermere Lake Cruises

Places to stay

From luxury lakeside hotels to cosy holiday cottages and family-friendly campsites, the sheer variety of accommodation in Windermere means there’s something for all tastes and budgets.

We recommend

Gilpin Hall & Lake House

Hills of Oaks & Blakeholme

Lindeth Fell Country House

Park Cliffe Camping & Caravan Estate

The Haven

The Hideaway at Windermere

Where to eat

If the day’s adventures have left you with a hearty appetite, you’ll have no trouble finding great places to eat in Windermere. Here are some of our favourites, several of which have been awarded AA Rosettes.

We recommend

Gilpin Spice

Briery Wood Country House Hotel



The Crafty Baa

The Samling

The Wild Boar Inn, Grill & Smokehouse

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