Visit Windermere and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Windermere, Cumbria. This is the largest lake in England. It covers l0 ½ miles from North to South, and in that distance its surroundings change in character from the milder countryside at the south end, to the mountainous scenery at the north where the lake reaches almost to Ambleside. But it is not really a mountain lake, having no high peaks rising beside it. The shores are thickly wooded, so that when driving round Windermere, you often have only restricted views of the water from the road.
Ambleside was on the route of the Roman road from Ravenglass and Hardknott to Penrith, and the Roman fort of Galava stood between Ambleside and the lake. Roman remains have also been found on Belle isle. Norsemen settled here in the 10th century. Windermere was a forest belonging to the lords of Kendal in the 11th century and was included in the manor of Strickland Ketel, which changed hands at various times: like other parts of the North of England, it was held by the Scots at one period. In the reign of Henry II it passed to the Lancasters, and in the 13th century a Lancaster nephew founded a hermitage on the island of Ladyholme. Belle Isle became the home of the Philipson family and one of them was besieged there by the Roundheads. From far back in history Windermere has been constantly used by boats of various kinds, serving as a water highway for the transport of goods to the lakeside communities.
Since the 19th century Windermere has become noted for its sailing clubs and its yacht racing; it is the country's greatest inland water centre for sailing and boating. A wide variety of craft can be hired, from rowing boats to cabin cruisers with sleeping accommodation. The lake has the headquarters of the Royal Windermere Yacht Club at Bowness Bay, the South Windermere Sailing Club at Fell Foot, and the Windermere Motor Boat Club at Broad Leys. in summer the passenger vessels ply from end to end of the lake. There is a public pier for visiting vessels at Bowness Bay and similar ones at Parsonage Bay and Waterhead. At the height of the season there can be as many as 1,500 boats using the lake, besides the increasing number of underwater swimmers. It became necessary to make a code of conduct if all users of the lake were to enjoy its facilities with safety, and a Collision Rules Order was established. This is outlined in the Council's booklet, Chart of Lake Windermere, containing information for all who use the lake. A chart shows the position of rocks and shallow areas, fairway markers, submarine contours and so on. The booklet gives information on angling, swimming and yachting. Lake wardens patrol the lake during the season in a motor launch, specially equipped for emergencies, which keeps in touch with a police patrol boat by radio. Observance of the lake rules is compulsory.
The widest view around the lake is from Orrest Head, on the North of Windermere town, where there is a chart to indicate the peaks. Across the lake, beyond the woods of Claife Heights, is Coniston Old Man, and North of it are Carrs and Wetherlam with the Duddon Valley hidden behind them. Then there are Crinkle Crags with Pike of Blisco in front and Sca Fell behind, Bow Fell, Great Gable, and the Langdale Pikes. The view North shows the Troutbeck valley and High Street, and South East are the Ingleborough moors in Yorkshire. The National Trust owns various properties around the lake, including Claife, Cockshott Point, Ladyholme island, and Queen Adelaide's Hill. Cockshott and Adelaide are among vantage points for views.
The town's rise to importance dates from the introduction of the railway in 1847; before that it was merely a village called Birth-waite. The town is now administered jointly with Bowness, which is on the lakeside. The word Windermere used alone really denotes the lake. The railway meant an influx of holidaymakers to one of the few points in the Lake District that could be reached by rail. The station is linked to Bowness by a bus service so that passengers can use the summer motor-vessel services to both ends of the lake, and from these travel to other parts of Lakeland. Thus the town is largely a modern development in its present form; but various old Westmorland families have been prominent in the area for centuries, and as far back as the 11th century the lake was part of a manor called Strickland Ketel, which later passed through various hands in the barony of Kendal or Kentdale.
The town is one of England's most important holiday centres and is easily accessible from the M6. It lies on the A591, between Kendal to the South East and Ambleside, Grasmere and Keswick to the North. It offers a wide range of accommodation, from first-class hotels to quiet guest-houses and caravan sites; it has garages and boat-builders.
Orrest Head is a well-known vantage point on the north side with an extensive view of Lakeland peaks. Other views can be had from Queen Adelaide's Hill, National Trust property, 1 mile West of Windermere station.
Nearby towns: Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere, Grange-over-sands, Kendal, Langdale, Newby Bridge
Nearby villages: Bowland Bridge, Bowness-on-Windermer, Brigsteer, Burneside, Cartmel, Coniston,Crooklands, Elterwater, Gatebeck, Grasmere, Grizedale, Haverthwaite, Hawkshead, Heversham, High Nibthwaite, High Wray, High Yewdale, Kentmere, Lake Side, Levens, Mardale, Natland, Newby Bridge, Old Hutton, Oxenholme, Rosthwaite, Rusland, Rydal, Sedgwick, Selside, Torver, Underbarrow, Wythburn
Have you decided to visit Windermere or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Windermere bed and breakfast (a Windermere B&B or Windermere b and b)
- a Windermere guesthouse
- a Windermere hotel (or motel)
- a Windermere self-catering establishment, or
- other Windermere accommodation