Holidays in the UK – Lake Windermere

With the recent delays in airports and for those who might still be a little worried about Covid, holidaying in the UK is a great way to take some time off and celebrate finishing uni for the summer!

I recently visited Lake Windermere in the Lake District with my boyfriend, and I’d love to share some tips and recommendations for the area.

Travel

Although we had the option of parking at our apartment, we chose to travel by train because it worked out to be a lot cheaper and a lot better for the environment.

I would highly recommend getting a 16-25 railcard if you don’t already have one and also using the split-ticket saver feature on the Trainline app – it saved us around £30 each, both on the way there and coming back!

Have a browse on Trainline and see what the cheapest way of getting there is (it might mean getting a few different trains).

What to Take With You

Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you go!

If you’re heading to the Lakes I’d always recommend taking some sort of raincoat as the area is known for its rainy weather (I took 2 thin ones so I could let one dry while the other one was being used). We were very lucky with the weather though, in the 5 days we were there we only got a little bit of rain!

In terms of clothing, it really depends on how long you are going for – we went for 4 nights. I wanted to keep packing to a minimum as we were travelling by train so I took a pair of jeans, a few t-shirts, a vest top, shorts which were good for being comfy in or going outside in, leggings, a nice outfit for a meal out, and extra underwear/socks etc.

Make sure to take a few extra clothes and shoes if you are wanting to go on any walks or do any activities where you could get muddy or wet – also some plastic bags to keep things tidy when travelling home.

Accommodation

We decided to stay in Bowness-on-Windermere as it is the busiest area and there are plenty of ways to get to the other areas of the lake.

We stayed in a lovely studio apartment as we wanted the option to cook at home, rather than spending lots in restaurants every night. This is the link to the place we stayed – it is a 20-minute walk from the train station and a 5-minute walk down to the lake where there are lots of places to eat, shop and do activities.

There are also lots of hotels and Airbnbs with varying prices and types – I’d recommend doing a bit of research on the area before you book.

Food/Drink

There are so many different places to eat and drink in Bowness and surrounding areas. Here are my favourite places we visited:

  • Boardwalk Bar and Grill – website here! We went here for food and cocktails a few times – really nice vegetarian options available and a good range of drinks and desserts
  • Choccobar – website here! This is a lovely little cafe with really friendly staff. We tried their luxury hot chocolate with fresh fruit, cream and a ladyfinger on the side – it was stunning! Look out for a TikTok on the Student Life page to see the hot chocolate!
  • Great North Pie Company – website here! We went here when we went for a trip up to Ambleside. We got 2 vegetarian pies to take-out (although you can eat in and get extras with it) – they were really good!
  • Icecream – there are lots of places to get icecream, our favourites were the places that sold a big variety of flavours – they even had different choices of cone types!

We didn’t get chance to go, but there are a few different bakeries which looked really nice too.

Activities

We wanted to get as much packed into our stay as possible – Bowness is really good for a variation of activities.

  • Walks – there are lots of walks of varying difficulty in the area – we walked to the Brant Fell Viewpoint which was about a 30-minute walk from the main part of Bowness.
  • Watersports – we hired paddle boards for a 2-hour period from Windermere Canoe and Kayak for £25 each – we had a great time and would absolutely recommend having a look at their website to hire your own!
  • Ferries – the people at the ferry port in Bowness are really great and will help you if you’d like to book a trip on a ferry, there are details on their website too. We went for a day trip North to Ambleside and had a lovely day out looking in shops, eating pies and visiting their huge garden centre!
  • Peter Rabbit attractions – due to the links Beatrix Potter had with the Lake District, there are lots of Peter Rabbit shops and even a museum in Bowness. In addition, if you are able to drive or get transport you can visit a place called Hill Top which is the house of Beatrix Potter and is now open to the public.
  • Other activities – there is a small arcade near the ferries in Bowness, a small outdoor mini golf place in Ambleside and some tennis facilities right next to the Lake in Bowness. Lots more can be found online!

Shops

Although it is quite a small place there are good amenities in Bowness. There are a few different small shops like a Co-Op, Sainsburys’s Local and Tesco Express for any food shopping you might need to do (we pre-bought quite a bit of food and took it with us in a small suitcase).

There are lots of boutique-type clothes shops and branded shops like Joules and Tresspass, amongst other things like gift shops, Beatrix Potter/Peter Rabbit themed gift shops, sweet shops and there is even a Christmas shop!