Obviously here at Windermere Boat Sales, we have a love of all things water, so it’s not surprising that we’ve situated ourselves in the midst of some of the countries largest puddles - but it’s not just about us is it?
With the volume of visitors coming to Windermere each year, we’re always asked where the best places to stay, eat or visit are which we’re always happy to help with.
But we’ve gone one step further and put together a fantastic rundown for you to help you put together your perfect weekend in Windermere.
We’ve split this into two budgets as Windermere tends to attract many families - maybe you’re on a budget or perhaps you’re here to treat yourself - we’ll try to help with both!
Places To Stay In WindermereFirst thing’s first - you’ll want to know where to stay. Everyone knows that fresh air zonks the hardiest of folk out, so you’ll want to know where you’ll be resting your weary head after your outdoor adventures.
On A Budget...
One of the popular guest houses for families here is The Ravensworth which priced around £64 per night is just a few minutes walk from the railway station and centre of Windermere village. From here you can have a wander down to the shops and restaurants before coming back to a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Another family friendly option on a similar budget is Beckmead Guest House, which being a family run guest house also in the heart of Windermere will be a lovely place for anyone to call home for the few days you’re here.
For A Treat…
Maybe you’re looking for a special treat - maybe an engagement, a special anniversary or a bridal suite is needed? Perhaps you just want a special pamper? Either way, where better than Applegarth Villa Hotel and Restaurant? Being adult only, you’ll find total escapism in the only 5 gold star guest accommodation in Windermere. Applegarth is a total treat offering luxury accommodation in their range of suites all with a hot tub. Sample one of the finest Whisky selections in the area within an award winning restaurant, serving only the best locally sourced regional produce and a cosy oak panelled bar. You can’t take the children with you but you can pamper the dog if you ask nicely in advance!
Best Places To Eat In Windermere…One of the best parts of a weekend away is eating out - no cooking! Or maybe that’s just us??
Windermere has no shortage of places to eat though. We have four restaurants with Michelin stars so foodies looking for somewhere to really tantalise the tastebuds will be happy! If you’re after some simple hearty food though you’ll certainly not be disappointed.
Here are a few to get you started:
Let’s Start With A Cuppa
Us northerners love a good brew so it would be rude not to include a couple of tea rooms for you to enjoy first!
If you’re looking for some of the best cakes in Keswick, it has to be Brysons of Keswick. They’ve been baking for over 70 years (do you think they should have a rest for a bit??) and have tea rooms in Keswick and Bowness. You can buy their cakes and bread to take back home including their famous Lakeland Plumbread - save us some too!
Another fantastic place for a bevvie is Blackwells which overlooks Windermere in a stunning setting. It is actually an Art & Crafts House within - in their own words - ‘one of the most enchanting historic houses in the Lake District’. This is far more than a tea room with lots to do here too - arts, crafts, talks, tours of the house and gardens - this is perfect for the family if you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day while soaking up some of our rich history too.
Now - back to those eateries we were going to taunt your tastebuds with…
Talking of taste buds, we mentioned the famous Lakeland Plumbread at Brysons, there are a few delicacies you might like to look out for while you’re here, as they make their way into many of our local dishes. You can’t beat perfectly cooked Herdwick lamb, or locally grown damsons or forest mushrooms and you really haven’t eaten locally if you’ve not struggled your way through one of our huge Cumberland Sausages!
On A Budget...
Eating out can easily mount up if you’re feeding the family, so here’s a couple of more budget friendly options so that you don’t miss out. If you’re looking for a fabulous lunch or cooked breakfast, you can’t beat Charlie’s of Windermere who attract people back year on year. Whether it’s a Full English or a Veggie special you’re in good hands. Dogs are welcome too so don’t forget the extra rasher for Rover!
Graze in Bowness is another cafe where you get delicious freshly prepared, home cooked food such as rhubarb ice cream made from the owners very own garden. Again veggies and vegans are sorted for breakfasts and lunches too - we’ll have the olive bread and feta please - okay??
For A Treat…
There is a fantastic selection of particularly special restaurants here in Windermere where you can sample the very finest locally sourced food. The Hillthwaite Poet’s Bar & Restaurant in Windermere is one of them, offering an elegant dining experience serving delectable dishes. We got that from their website but total transparency - our own mouths are watering here! Using meat from local Lake District farms which has its own distinct flavour, fruit and herbs grown in it’s own grounds as well as locally supplied fruit and vegetables, your mouth will know the chef here knows his craft!
Just in case they are fully booked now we’ve been singing their praises, here is a great selection of other fine dining restaurants in the area to check out too.
Things To Do On The Water In Windermere…The benefits of being around water have been touted for centuries - the air is different being loaded with revitalising ions, the tranquil effects of watching it will calm the busiest of minds and besides all that it’s just great fun!
So, with that in mind, there are no shortage of water based activities for you to enjoy:
On A Budget…
Lake Cruises are a popular way of seeing the stunning scenery here and are even used regularly to get from town to town. Windermere Lake Cruises offer a selection of cruises at various price points depending on what you’d like. The beauty of these cruises is that you get to see scenery from the water that you’d not see from land. It’s a completely different perspective, combined with the relaxing experience of the cruise itself. You can choose to simply go from one point to another such as Bowness to Ambleside, or you can opt for a full tour of the lake.
You’ll also be given a guided talk during the cruise so you can take in the rich history as well as the surroundings.
For A Treat...
Life is all about making memories, so if you’re looking for something different to do, here’s a memory in the making! This year marks 33 years of Sail ‘n’ Dine being Windermere’s longest running yachting business but what’s even more special about them is their sailing and dining packages. You can combine a sailing tour of Windermere - either hands on or sitting back and relaxing - with lunchtime or evening dining too. If you are a family visiting together - maybe it’s a special occasion, you can even hire the yacht exclusively with your own skipper. That’s not one you’d forget too quickly is it?
Obviously we’re ‘slight’ sailing fanatics here but if hands on activities are more your style too, you’ll love Windermere Outdoor Adventure Centre. Their outdoor adventure centre offers the perfect way to discover the Lake District whilst taking part in exciting and action packed activities. They offer fun for ‘all things water’ including canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing for all the family. Including all equipment, you can choose from a selection of options such as introductory courses for total newbies, multi activity days and guided tours. Where do we sign up??
Windermere’s HeritageWindermere seems to have a heavy presence W’s. Windermere, Water, Walking and let’s not forget what it’s most famous for - words.
Possibly because of that stunning scenery, the Lake District has been the inspiration for some pretty famous writers over the years - from Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth to Nigel Blackwell from Half Man, Half Biscuit. We’re now wondering whether their name came from the biscuits that accompanied all the tea consumed in this neck of the woods but upon a little investigation it’s a little more derogatory. Definitely food for thought and a very deliberate pun there!
Whether you are a literary fiend or not though, it's hard to ignore where all the inspiration has come from - you couldn’t get a much more stunning muse to give your heart some words!
Nature At It’s Finest...
There is so much more than the Lakes here to lose yourself in. There are some fabulous tours available depending on what tickles your fancy. Guided tours which will take you through guided walks of the scenery so you can take it all in yourself, or maybe you’d prefer to be driven across our beautiful National Park so that you can take more of it in.
Mountain Goat who have been touring the Lake District fells since 1972 offer a range of award winning tours depending on what you’re looking for. Their day tours depart from Ambleside, Bowness, Grasmere, Kendal, Keswick and Windermere and they also offer tours to Hadrian’s Wall and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. If there’s anywhere you need a tour guide for - there isn’t much that a Mountain Goat won’t be able to show you!
If literature floats your boat (sorry we’re at it again!) there are tours and guided trips galore to take you through the local heritage and roots. Two of the literary lovers ‘must visits’ here are….
Dove Cottage - Wordsworth’s Home
Dove Cottage and The Wordsworth Museum will set any poetry lovers heart alight. A visit here includes an entertaining guided tour sharing how day-to-day life would have looked for Wordsworth and his family. It also includes access into Wordsworths’ delightful fell-side garden and the Museum which is home to an incredible collection of original letters, journals and poems telling Wordsworth’s remarkable life story. This is also where his sister wrote her Grasmere Journal which is no less fascinating than the spillings of William’s mind!
The World of Beatrix Potter
Ah the wonderful world of Miss Potter! Who hasn’t heard this remarkable tale of another of our marvellous literary minds?! Beatrix Potter made more than literary history though, making an enormous mark on the farming world around her too.
The World Of Beatrix Potter pays homage to her life and contributions and brings her stories alive for both the big and the little kids among us. Transport yourself into her world here before you enjoy yet another cuppa in their tea rooms too.
Cumbria’s Living Heritage is a great website which will give you lots more ideas on where you can visit for your literary fix - we really are steeped in words!
So peeps, we hope that gives you a few pointers on where to go and what to do here in Windermere and that you love it here as much as we do.
If you catch the boating bug as much as we did, maybe your sailing antics have inspired you to look into buying your own boat. Don’t be too hasty though - get in touch for a no pressure chat and we’ll give you some pointers on where to get started. This blog article gives you an overview of what you’re looking for but if you need any help or advice, you know where we are!
Don’t forget the Plumbread though eh guys?