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Why You Need to Visit Windermere This Summer Lake Windermere
May 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

A focal point for arts, history and culture in the region, here's everything you need for a trip to Windermere this summer

Surrounded by breathtaking scenery and impressive peaks like Orrest Head, the lake has served as inspiration for many writers over the decades including Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth and even Taylor Swift. Whether you want to wade out into the water or explore the local history, it's a great place to switch off and enjoy lakeside living.

Bowness-on-Windermere makes a great base. Situated on the eastern edge about halfway up the lake, this small and bustling tourist town is filled with great independent shops, but is probably most famous for being home to The World of Beatrix Potter. Further north, visit the charming village of Grasmere, and more importantly, be sure to pop into the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop which regularly has a queue of customers eagerly waiting to get their hands on the traditional gingerbread which the area is famous for. If you’re lucky enough to get some sunshine, exploring the grounds and gardens of Rydal Hall is a lovely way to spend the day and for a particularly Instagrammable moment, head along to the hidden grotto by Rydal Falls. Dating back to 1668, its built-in window frames the falls perfectly.

Rydall Falls Rydall Falls

It wouldn’t be a trip to the Lake District if you didn’t get wet and a great spot for swimming and water activities is Fell Foot where there’s plenty of open green space, a family-friendly park and rowboats, kayaks and paddle boards for hire. Access to the water is easy with a gentle slope by the Boathouse Café leading down into the water, although river shoes are recommended for the rocky floor of the lake.

There is no shortage of great places to dine around Windermere. For a lively and laidback evening, head to The Magic Roundabout in the heart of Bowness-on-Windermere. The team is incredibly friendly and the food is delicious too, with a fuss-free menu that packs a punch in flavour (the honey and orange smoked ham is not one to miss). For cafés and light bites, Ambleside at the top of Windermere is the place to be. A popular spot for tourists and locals alike, The Apple Pie is a bakery and café famous for its (you guessed it) apple pie, served fresh and piping hot. Further along the main road through Ambleside, you’ll find Rattle Ghyll Fine Food and Deli. The store is bursting at the seams with locally-sourced produce, freshly baked goods and a superb refill area for your own containers. Just outside Windermere is SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel. Boasting a Michelin star, this restaurant is overseen by Ollie Bridgwater (who previously worked under Heston Blumenthal), and offers a six-course tasting menu. For a truly decadent experience, the 10-course tasting menu is the only choice.

Where to Stay

Hill of Oaks Lodge and Caravan Park

Tucked away in woodland on the south-eastern shore, Hill of Oaks Lodge and Caravan Park is a great base for exploring the best of the Lake District. The park is home to a range of lakeside self-catering properties, glamping pods, safari tents and holiday homes and with multiple slipways to launch canoes or paddle boards, and some of the best walking routes right on your doorstep, it’s a great choice for the adventurous.

The Samling Hotel

With stunning panoramic views of the lake and Coniston and Old Man mountain range, the service from the team at The Samling is attentive yet unobtrusive, so you can enjoy a truly relaxing stay. And whether you choose one of the luxurious rooms in the main house, or opt for a more private retreat in a suite in one of the cluster of surrounding lakeland stone buildings, you can enjoy award-winning fine dining here, enhanced by the spectacular wine list.

Storrs Hall

This impressive Grade II-listed building sits in 17 acres of picturesque grounds, leading all the way down to the lake. A family-friendly, family-run hotel, you can choose from 37 rooms spread across the main house, the Boathouse and the Lakeland Suites with hot tubs beside the water. The Tower Bar is where you can kick back with a pint and enjoy the relaxed pub-style menu, or head to the lakeside restaurant for a more formal affair under the watchful eye of chef Andy Beaton, whose unfussy food showcases the best local Cumbrian produce.

The Samling The Samling
Storrs Hall Storrs Hall

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