If you read my post about visiting Tarn Hows and Coniston in January earlier this year, you’ll know I live in Cumbria. The vast majority of my home county is better known as the English Lake District, a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site I don’t spend nearly enough time exploring! I’m attempting to change that. And my second day trip into the Lakes this year was to Bowness-On-Windermere.
Bowness-On-Windermere is on the famous Lake Windermere, the biggest lake in the Lake District. It’s over 11 miles long and Bowness is probably the most visited and well-known town in the Lakes. It’s a fantastic introduction to the rest of the area, and this is everything I got up to there!
Bowness-On-Windermere in Spring
Visiting Bowness-On-Windermere in the sun
A couple of Saturdays ago, my boyfriend, my parents and I drove just under an hour to Bowness-On-Windermere bright and early to miss the afternoon rush. Despite living in the same county, it does take a substantial amount of time to get anywhere which is probably why I don’t get out and about in the Lakes much. Plus, I don’t have a car and hate driving anyway! So there’s that.
Spring weather can be a bit hit and miss so it was bloody windy but at least it was sunny. We parked at Glebe Road Car Park which is one of the main car parks in Bowness-On-Windermere. Unless you’re there at the crack of dawn or you get lucky and find a spot on the side of the road, expect to pay for parking! It’s not horrendously priced at £5 for up to four hours.
We walked along the promenade, stopping to look around the Bowness Bay National Park Information Centre‘s Gift Shop before heading towards our morning activity, a boat cruise around Windermere Lake.
Lake Windermere Islands Boat Cruise
What better way to see more of Lake Windermere than from an actual boat?! There are boat cruises that sail all around the lake allowing you to stop off at different places but they can last for hours and hours. My boyfriend Cole and I opted for a 45-minute guided boat cruise around Lake Windermere’s islands. If you head to Bowness Pier, you’ll spot a ticket booth and plenty of signage for Windermere Lake Cruises. The islands tour is also known as the ‘blue’ cruise and seems to depart every 15/20 minutes or so from around 10:30 and our tickets cost £9 each.
I really enjoyed the boat cruise! The information from the guide was super interesting and it was just the right amount of time. I mean, you’ve got to do at least one boat cruise in the Lake District. Granted, it was absolutely freezing on the top deck of the boat on a windy day. But, I really don’t see the point of sitting on the bottom deck to look out of frosted/dirty windows. May as well just look at photographs, am I right?!
We did experience tourists who tried to feed the seagulls WHILST SAT ON THE BOAT SO WE COULD NOT RUN AWAY which resulted in a scene quite like one from The Birds (1963). Sigh. Do not feed seagulls, ever. I do not like screaming at seagulls just to get them to not attack me and I should not have to. Hmph.
Lunch at the Hole in t’ Wall
After all that fun, we headed to Hole in t’ Wall for lunch. Yeah, it’s got a cringey name but it’s one of those proper English pubs that are older than a lot of countries and the decor inside is an absolute treat. Its claim-to-fame isn’t that it was built in 1612 (though that’s pretty impressive) but that Charles Dickens used to visit this pub when he visited the Lake District. Also, the place is decked out in stuffed animals (as in, the taxidermy kind not the teddy bear kind) with flowery vases and even chamber pots hanging from the roof. As a self-confessed minimalist, I can’t stop thinking about what a pain it would be to clean this place but it makes for a super interesting pub to go to for lunch.
I’d also recommend looking up the bars and restaurants down Ash Street such as Porto Restaurant and The Fizzy Tarté cocktail bar if you want to go to slightly fancier places. There’s also a nice, local gift shop down this street called Love the Lakes.
And after a wander through Bowness-On-Windermere town, we headed home!
Other things to do in Bowness-On-Windermere
If you have children, you absolutely cannot miss The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction. It’s an interactive exhibition based on the children’s books by Beatrix Potter (such as Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Mrs Tiggywinkle, etc.) who lived in the Lake District. There’s also an official gift shop in the town called Peter Rabbit and Friends.
Bowness-On-Windermere also has a fantastic selection of local artists, photographers and galleries. So, if you’re in the market for a new picture to brighten up your front room then you know where to go! Check out a selection of galleries in Bowness-On-Windermere here.
That was my day out at Bowness-On-Windermere on a sunny/windy day in spring! Have you ever visited Bowness-On-Windermere or any part of the Lake District? Let me know in the comments below!