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Itinerary

Central Lakes-Day 1

South and Central Lakes – The Golden Triangle!

If you are limited on time or want a beginner’s guide to the Lakes, the South and Central Lakes are great for providing a snapshot of what this World Heritage site has to offer. This easily accessible area has so much going on. You can cruise on a lake, reach a summit, delve into Cumbria’s history and heritage and dig into some tasty local treats, all within a small (yet perfectly formed) area.

Morning

Arrive at Windermere Station and follow the signs down to Bowness-on-Windermere and The Lake. You might want to take your time to browse the many boutique shops and eateries on the way! Dependent on your persuasion there are lots of local attractions well worth a visit. There’s the World of Beatrix Potter, if you follow one of our most famous authors and the new Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories.
Bowness on Windermere
The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction
Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories at Windermere Jetty
 

Lunch

Take your pick, if you can, from the plethora of cafés, inns and restaurants on offer.
 

Afternoon

Take a cruise from the pier with Windermere Lake Cruises. Head to Brockhole- The Lake District Visitor Centre for adventures for all ages. Take to the Trees on springy tree top trampolines or clip, climb and slide your way through the woodland on the areal adventure that is Tree Top Treck. Hire a boat, bike or Kayak or try your hand at Laser Clay Shooting.

Over summer you can hire a bike from Windermere Train Station and catch the Bike Boat to the lesser explored Western Shore of Lake Windermere. The easy cycle trail has a mock Gothic castle and renovated Victorian Viewing Station to discover.

If you prefer to amble then head to Waterhead for the pretty village of Ambleside. There are lots of quirky shops and ginnels to explore.

If you don’t want to catch the boat back from Brockhole or Ambleside you can catch the regular 555 or 599 service back to Bowness-on-Windermere. Look out for the open top service which runs over summer.
Brockhole: Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole on Windermere
Treetop Nets
Treetop Trek
Wray Castle
Claife Viewing Station
 

Evening

Take your pick of Winderemere and Bowness-on-Windermere's restaurants and maybe take a stroll down to the lake at sunset.
 

Overnight

There is accommodation to suit all tastes and budget in Bowness-on-Windermere and Windermere. Find yours on www.golakes.co.uk

 

Morning: Bowness on Windermere

Address

Cumbria
-

Contact Details

Bowness-on-Windermere is a thriving holiday town, the largest in the Lake District National Park, situated on the shores of Lake Windermere. This dynamic town boasts hundreds of shops, eating and drinking establishments and many fine cultural and historical attractions. The views from Bowness out across the lake and up to the mountains are some of the finest in the Lake District. The range of activities and things to do is almost endless. From golf, walking and horse riding to water skiing and sailing or if you want to take things at a slower pace there are many visitor attractions to browse around.The fine 15thC church of St. Martin's is picturesquely set back from the road by a lovely approach festooned with trees and plants.The lakeside town is popular with all ages, with a bustling focus on the lakeshore at Bowness Bay. Many kinds of lake excursions can be made from here, from the hiring of wooden rowing boats to sailing on the 'steamer' taking visitors further out across England's longest lake (almost 11 miles long). Elsewhere in Bowness visit The World of Beatrix Potter™ Attraction and the many boating and aquatic attractions.
 

Morning: The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

Address

The Old Laundry
Crag Brow
Bowness-on-Windermere
Windermere, Cumbria
LA23 3BX

Contact Details

Tel: 015394 88444
The World of Beatrix Potter™ Attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere is a vibrant visitor centre offering a unique experience for all the family. Explore a magical world where all 23 enchanting tales are brought to life, recreating the beautiful Lake District countryside complete with sights, sounds and smells. There's chance to meet your favourite characters including Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-winkle and Jemima Puddle-Duck. Visitors can step into Peter Rabbit's Garden to see the cos lettuces that Benjamin Bunny nibbled on and the gooseberry bush where Peter got caught in a net as he tried to escape Mr. McGregor! There's plenty to do to keep everybody happy: kids can explore with a free activity booklet and play puzzles and games whilst adults reminisce and absorb themselves in Miss Potter's history in the fascinating virtual world and interactive area. There's also a superb themed family friendly café where you can treat yourself to a scrumptious High Tea and a Peter Rabbit Picnic Basket for the kids. On the menu too are delicious fresh soups and salads with ingredients grown in our very own kitchen garden. And don't forget you can take a bit of Beatrix Potter magic home with you at the end of the day from our famous gift shop. With plenty of great events to take part in through the year, a fun time is guaranteed whatever the weather! For further information visit: http://www.hop-skip-jump.com

Directions

In the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere, just off Lake Road.

By Train: connect to the Lakes Line at Oxenholme Station and travel on to Bowness-on-Windermere. Alight at Windermere and take the 25 min walk to Bowness-on-Windermere.

Prices and opening

Adult £7.95
Senior £6.95
Child £3.95
Family (2 adults + 2 children) £22

Annual Family Freedom pass £35

Discounts available for groups of 15+
Free garden tours available to Groups & Schools

Opening details

Season DatesOpening Hours
NotesClosed Christmas Day.
 

Morning: Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories at Windermere Jetty

Address

Rayrigg Road
Windermere
Cumbria
LA23 1BN

Contact Details

Windermere Jetty is a spectacular new museum on the shores of Windermere that showcases the sights, smells and sounds of life on the lake. Steam launches, sailing yachts, motor boats and record-breaking speed boats are exhibited in the boathouse, on the water, and in our exhibition galleries, while our live conservation workshop will be open every day – where you can see our collection of historic boats as they are painstakingly restored.
Hear tales of workers and boat owners, their lives and adventures, and discover the fascinating developments in design and technology that drove boat-building in the Lake District.
Heritage Boat Trips
Make your visit to Windermere Jetty unforgettable by booking a Heritage Boat Trip out on the lake on board Osprey, one of our fully-restored Edwardian steam launches. Please note, trips are only available with museum entry. Places are limited and pre-booking is strongly advised.

If you are a Member of Lakeland Arts you get free entry to Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry and Blackwell The Arts & Crafts House for 12 months. For further information visit: http://www.windermerejetty.org

Directions

To arrive by car from the south: exit the M6 at junction 36, taking the first exit on the slip road roundabout. Follow signs for the South Lakes and Windermere and continue onto the A591. When you reach a small roundabout, take the first exit onto Rayrigg Road/A592, following signs for Bowness Bay and The Lake. Continue for 1 mile and Windermere Jetty will be on the right.
To arrive by car from the north: exit the M6 at junction 39 for A6/Shap/Kendal. When you reach a T-junction, turn left onto the A6 and continue along the A6 for 12 miles. Follow signs for Windermere, Bowness and A591. Once on the A591, take the first exit at a small roundabout onto Rayrigg road/A592, following signs for Bowness Bay and The Lake. Continue for 1 mile and Windermere Jetty will be on the right.

Prices and opening

Adults £9. Child (u16) £7
Under 4’s free.
1 Adult family ticket (1 adult up to 3 children) £18
2 Adult Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) £27
Entrance to the café and shop is free
Heritage Boat trip £10
Parking charges: Parking is free for Museum and café visitors.

Opening details

Season DatesOpening Hours
NotesWe are open all year around.
 

Afternoon: Brockhole: Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole on Windermere

Address

Brockhole
Windermere
Cumbria
LA23 1LJ

Contact Details

Tel: 015394 46601
We're Brockhole on Windermere set right on the shores of the lake and we are incredibly proud to be at the heart of the spectacular Lake District National Park - a New UNESCO World Heritage Site!

If the children are feeling adventurous they can swing or bounce through ancient woodland on Treetop Trek and Treetop Nets. Down by the lakeshore, you can hire kayaks and rowing boats, or catch the cruise boat across the lake, depending on the season. There is also indoor caving and much more...we aim to top your list for the perfect Lake District Day out.

It's not all just about action and adventure though. Relax and enjoy our beautiful listed Mawson designed gardens, The Gaddum our fantastic new restaurant overlooking the lake, the new Gaddum Gallery and a great gift shop.

There is a reason for everyone to make Brockhole a must see destination this year and all year round.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

For further information visit: http://www.brockhole.co.uk

Directions

By Bus: It is easy to get to Brockhole by bus. Both the 599 open top service and the 555 bus provide regular services between Bowness and Grasmere, so why not sit back and enjoy the view? The 555 runs between Keswick, Grasmere, Windermere and Kendal. The bus stops outside the entrance.

By Boat: The Jetty at Brockhole offers links with Windermere Lake Crusies to Bowness, Ambleside and Wray Castle. We're on the Green Cruise – circular trip from Brockhole visiting Waterhead and Wray Castle then returning to Brockhole. And the Red Cruise – circular request trip from Brockhole visiting Waterhead, Bowness and returning.

By Train: The nearest railway station is Windermere, some two miles south of Brockhole, offering train services to Kendal and Oxenholme . A bus (555 or 559), bike or taxi would then be needed for the final link of the journey.

By Bike: There is a cycle path along some stretches of the A592 road between Windermere and Brockhole mainly recommended for experienced bikers. The 800 Bike Bus (Windermere to Haverthwaite) stops nearby and can carry up to 12 bikes.

On Foot: There is a footway all along the A592 between Windermere and Brockhole. Plus bridleways descend from the hills to the east near the site if you fancy the scenic route. Visit the National Trust website for detail sof walks.

By Car: Conveniently located on A591 between Windermere and Ambleside.

Prices and opening

Free entry

Opening details

Season DatesOpening Hours
NotesPlease see online for opening times as these vary throughout the year.
 

Afternoon: Treetop Nets

Address

Brockhole - Lake District Visitor Centre
Windermere
Cumbria
LA23 1LJ

Contact Details

Tel: 01539 447186
Adventure in the High trees! Treetop Nets offers an amazing new way to play high up in the tree canopy. Featuring over 1500m2 of bouncy trampolines, aerial walkways, tunnels and slides. A great family day out, suitable for ages 3yrs+. For further information visit: https://www.treetoptrek.co.uk/windermere

Directions

By car:

By public transport:

Prices and opening

Up to 2 hours unlimited adventure
3 - 4yrs: £13
5 - 105yrs: £20
Adults supervising under 7's: £12.50
Family Tickets 5% discount (min. 4 participants) for both Nets and Trek.
We will also offer a yearly Membership for the Treetop Nets for £70 per person.

Opening details

Season DatesOpening Hours
NotesPre-booking recommended. Evening activities for groups available by prior arrangement.

Adult participation is required with under 7yrs, please contact Treetop Nets for more information.
 

Afternoon: Treetop Trek

Address

Brockhole - Lake District Visitor Centre
Windermere
Cumbria
LA23 1LJ

Contact Details

Tel: 01539 447186
35 exciting treetop challenges designed to enable you to swing, climb, balance and fly your way through the ancient woodland canopy whilst discovering views previously reserved for the squirrels and bats! To top it off you get to end your trek with our "Tree"mendous 250m Triple zip and race your friends to the finish line.

Treetop Trek is also the proud winner of the Tourism Experience of the Year award for England. For further information visit: https://www.treetoptrek.co.uk/windermere

Directions

Brockhole is on the A591 between Windermere and Ambleside.

Prices and opening

Full Treetop Trek- Adult £32, Junior £24
Mini Treetop Trek- Adult £22, Junior £18
Climb and zip (peak times only) - Adult £18, Junior £15

Opening details

Season DatesOpening Hours
NotesSome sessions are pre-book only. Evening activities available by prior arrangement.
 

Afternoon: Wray Castle

Address

Low Wray
Ambleside
Cumbria
LA22 0JA

Contact Details

Tel: 015394 33250
Wray Castle came to us without its contents so you will not see a 'typical' National Trust house full of paintings, furniture and antiques with an accompanying owner-family history through the ages.

What you will see is a fascinating building with hints of its 'grand' past and plenty of signs of its varied history. Make sure you join one of our free tours to get its full life story.

If you've children to entertain you'll be pleased to know the rooms may be empty of grand possessions but full of kids having fun- it's perfect for a wet day in the Lakes! Younger visitors will love dressing up, castle building and playing in the Peter Rabbit Adventure. Outside we have an exciting adventure play area where you'll find den building, rope swings and scramble boards.

Our café offers light refreshments and our shop stocks all your castle essentials, like wooden swords and fancy dress!

Why not come here by boat, and make the journey part of your visit? Windermere Lakes Cruises offer a boat service to Wray Castle jetty.

Parking available, charges apply for non-National Trust members. Car park often fills up by 11am.

Please ask at reception for the accessible drop off point and accessible entrance. Disabled access to ground floor only, many steps to first floor rooms. For further information visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wraycastle

Directions

Easy access by Windermere Lake Cruises boat from Ambleside and Brockhole- www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk.

From Ambleside (3.5 miles) B5286 and unnamed road (signed Wray). From Bowness vehicle ferry (6 miles) B5285 and unnamed road (right at Colthouse signed Wray).

Prices and opening

Adult £10.80, Child £5.40, Family £27. All prices include a voluntary 10% Gift Aid donation. Visitors can, however, choose to pay the standard admission prices which are displayed at the properties. National Trust members free.

Opening details

Season DatesOpening Hours
NotesLast admission 30 minutes before closing. Check website for special opening and events.
 

Afternoon: Claife Viewing Station

Address

Near Far Sawrey
Hawkshead
Cumbria
LA22 0LR

Contact Details

Tel: +441539441456
The western shore of Windermere is perfect for a car-free adventure for all the family. Why not travel over on the ferry from Bowness? In less than 15 minutes you’ll leave the busy eastern shore behind you and arrive at the naturally beautiful west shore.

From here you can discover the mystical heights of Claife Viewing Station and learn about its colourful history.
The Station courtyard is perfect for picnics followed by a gentle wander up the slope where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Windermere, at the top.

Claife Viewing Station is also the best place to set out on the 4-mile lake shore track, that leads you north towards Wray Castle. This gentle, linear route is great for exploring on bikes or foot. You could make the journey into a loop by returning to Bowness and Ambleside on the boat from Wray Castle or Bark Barn, or, refuel at Wray Castle and re-trace your steps back to the ferry. For further information visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/claife-viewing-station-and-windermere-west-shore

Directions

By car: Junction 36 off M6, then take A684 which becomes the A591 to Windermere and Ambleside. B5285 from Windermere via Windermere ferry 3 miles. B5286 and B5285 from Ambleside 9 miles. B5285 from Coniston 8 miles.
Parking: Ash Landing, very near Claife Viewing Station and Harrowslack, on Windermere's west shore.

By ferry:
Windermere car and passenger ferry; Ferry House to Ferry Nab, just four minutes walk to Claife Viewing Station.

On foot:
Come over from Bowness as a foot passenger on the Windermere ferry. Many footpaths in the area; walk from Hill Top, Near Sawrey or down the west shore path from Wray Castle.

By bike:
4 mile lakeshore track suitable for mountain bikes from Wray Castle to Claife Viewing Station. You can take your bike on the ferry across Windermere or on the Bike Boat from Brockhole, in the summer.

By bus:
Get the cross Lakes shuttle from Windermere train station, via Claife Viewing Station to Hawkshead. www.mountain-goat.co.uk

Prices and opening

Free entry

Opening details

Season DatesOpening Hours
NotesOpen all year round.