Things to do in the Lake District article.
During our week long stay in Windermere, we were always on the look for things to do in the Lake District. We visited some great places by car, boat, bus and on foot. We stayed right in the town centre of Windermere in a lovely little cottage called Windermere Cottage in Beech Street.
One of the first places that we visited which we would recommend as a family is Ambleside. A nice traditional town with plenty of shops and cafes etc. We got to Ambleside by taking a 20 minute cruise on Lake Windermere catching a boat from Bowness to Ambleside. The scenery and views were breathtaking with some fantastic photo opportunities and you can get to Ambleside town centre from the pier via a shuttle bus if you’re not up for the 20 minute walk into town. The shuttle bus costs £2 for an adult and £1 for children one way.
Lake Windermere Cruise
Here are some of the photos taken from the shore and also on the boat whilst on the Lake Windermere cruise:
South Lakes Safari Zoo
Not a lot of people will have heard of the South Lakes Safari Zoo located in Lindal, Ulverston, a 40 minute drive from Windermere but we fully recommend this as a day out, kids get in free! The postcode to put in your sat nav is LA12 0LU. The safari zoo is pretty well signposted once you get near to it. The safari zoo is different to the likes of London Zoo or Twycross Zoo as you actually walk through the grounds where some of the birds and animals roam around. One Lima near enough sat on Charlie’s lap, see below. Here are some photos we took on the day:
Fell Foot Park
A place we came across on the way back from the safari zoo was a well smart park and picnic area called Fell Foot Park. The postcode is LA12 8NN. The car park holds a lot of cars but is quite pricey so some people were parking on the road. We stayed for two hours and had a great time as the sun was shining. The lake is shallow and you can get your feet wet and go in. People were also swimming there. Check out the safety details on the information board for where you can go in the lake. You can hire boats at Fell Foot Park and there are designated BBQ areas with plenty of grass to have a picnic. Here are some photos of the views from Fell Foot Park:
Grasmere is home to the famous Gingerbread Shop and you can get there by using the open top bus. We bought a family explorer bus ticket for £25 so we could go from Windermere to Grasmere. The gingerbread is really nice and people visit from all over to buy some. Here is a snapshot of the 12 piece pack, outside the shop and a scenic shot:
World of Beatrix Potter Bowness
We visited The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness which is a popular attraction describing the famous children books written by Beatrix. It is very reasonably priced at £6.95 per adult and £3.95 and well worth a visit. The attraction illustrates and showcases the characters created by Beatrix such as Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Mr Jeremy Fisher and Jemima Puddleduck. Here are some photos we took:
Hawkeshead Village Bus 505
One place we recommend to visit which is the opposite side of Lake Windermere is Hawkeshead. Hawkeshead is a village with lovely little streets, shops relating to Beatrix Potter, other gift and locally produced food shops, nice pubs and restaurants. We visited the Beatrix Potter gallery which displays illustrations and artwork from the author. Here are a few photos of the day:
Best Burger Ever
If you are looking to eat out in Windermere and Bowness most of the restaurants have very good reviews on TripAdvisor with many either 4.5 or 5 stars. We ate out in Bowness a few times and recommend The Albert and The Sutherland Restaurant. According to my girlfriend The Sutherland’s Mountain Goat Burger was the best ever. She even took a photo to remember it:
The Little Chippy in Windermere
One Fish & Chip shop that was extremely busy was called The Little Chippy and was opposite our cottage in Beech Street. It is closed on a Tuesday but open all the other days of the week. We sampled the haddock and chips and they were top-notch. The Little Chippy has 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor and we can see why. Here is a photo of the location of The Little Chippy:
Map of lake Windermere and Bowness
A useful map we used to find our way around the area and for some short walks was available from the Little Chippy in Beech Street, Windermere. I took a photo of it below, apologies for the creases. To walk to Bowness from Windermere it is down New Road and Lake Road then Crag Brow and is about 1 and a quarter miles. You should be able to zoom in on the map to view the street names and walks.
Lake District Bus Information
One way to see the most popular places in the Lake District is by bus. As we stayed in Windermere the main place to catch buses to other destinations of interest was next to Windermere Train Station.
The staff are helpful and you can get bus tickets from them. There are a number of ticket types to buy for families. A family day rider central lakes ticket or an explorer ticket. The 599 bus goes from Windermere up to Grasmere.
The 505 goes to Hawkeshead. The Kendal bus is number 555. If you want to venture to Kendal you will need the Explorer ticket which you can go to all places in Cumbria. We made the mistake getting the Day Rider ticket as we wanted to go to Kendal from Windermere as well as Ambleside so we upgraded to the Explorer ticket which was £5 more. The family day rider costs £20 and the explorer costs £25.
These tickets let you use the buses all day and you can hop on and off to different locations. The map of the central lakes route and explorer route are listed on the bus timetable.
Final word on Things to do in the Lake District
So if you are looking for things to do in the Lake District and Lake Windermere, there are loads of walks to take, mountains to climb, amazing scenery, lovely picturesque villages and towns to visit and very good quality food in the restaurants. As a family we recommend visiting all of the above especially Bowness, Ambleside, Fell Foot Park, South Lakes Safari Zoo, Hawkeshead and The World of Beatrix Potter.
The Lake District is well worth a visit.