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A Day Trip To Windermere | How To Spend A Day At The Lake District


Last month, I was lucky enough to be treated to an incredible surprise day trip to Windermere in the Lake District. It was an unforgettable day and one which I will treasure for years to come. So I thought I would share with you a short travel guide on how to make the most of a day at the Lake District. From exploring Bowness-on-Windermere to enjoying great food and making the most of the incredible scenery in this area. Here is a short guide on a day trip to Windermere and some of the best things you can do.

Mornings At Windermere

A Day at the Lake District, boat trip on Windermere.

Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. It’s more than 11 miles in length and almost 1 mile at its widest point. The lake was formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of ice from the start of the interglacial period. This carved out the beautiful lake we all know and love today. Which is surrounded by breathtaking mountains and small villages. Windermere is a very busy place to visit on the weekend and on bank holidays. So going to this town first thing in the morning, allows you to enjoy the local town of Bowness-on-Windermere and the lake before the crowds arrive.

Exploring Windermere by Boat

One of the best things you can do at Windermere is to go out onto the water. There’s a variety of ways to explore the lake from Paddleboarding to Kayaking as well as Canoeing. There’s also the more leisurely option of hiring your own private boat or taking a tour across the water.

A private boat was hired for 2 hours in the morning. Which was plenty of time to go on a scenic journey from Bowness-on-Windermere to Ambleside and back. Stopping off along the way to photograph the vast mountains that surround the lake. As well as stopping to take in the panoramic views. There’s a wonderful view from a whole new perspective of Wray Castle, which is a National Trust property along the lakeside.

A Day at the Lake District, boat trip from Bowness-on-Windermere on Lake Windermere. A Day at the Lake District, hiring a boat on Windermere.

Wray Castle was built by Dr James Dawson, a retired Liverpool surgeon in 1840. The elaborate house was built using his wife’s inheritance, who apparently took one look at the finished building and refused to live in it. Which is such a shame as the architecture of this building is so beautiful.

I had the chance to briefly explore the grounds of this National Trust property on my first trip to the Lakes last year. All of the mountains then were covered in low cloud and heavy rain. To be able to go back and view all of these mountains that were hidden on the previous trip was incredible. It’s easy to see why so many people love visiting the Lakes, no matter where you look, the views are simple amazing.

Hiking Loughrigg Fell

After returning the boat, and exploring the town of Bowness-On-Windermere, it was time to swap the anchor for hiking boots and enjoy the views of the Lake District from above.

Just a short drive away from Windermere is the charming town of Ambleside. A great hike in this area is Loughrigg Fell. This walk offers lovely views down the valley over to Grasmere and Rydal Lake. From the summit, you are embraced with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and Windermere. So you can look back on where you spent the morning on the water from a whole new perspective.

A Day at the Lake District, hiking around Ambleside. A Day at the Lake District, hiking Loughrigg Fell

This was a lovely hike, it can get steep in areas as you climb higher up to the summit. For a more gentle hike, following the path along River offers views that are equally as beautiful, at a more relaxed pace. This is a great alternative if you’re visiting with family or children and want to have a more relaxed walk.

Another location nearby is Rydale Cave. Be sure to look into the water of this cave as there’s hundreds of fish swimming around! This man-made cavern was created when the roofing slate was extracted here more than a hundred years ago. It is located on the slopes of Loughrigg Fell just above Rydal Water and is available for the public to enter for free. This cave is not signposted so be sure to save its location so you know where to visit. 

Ending The Day With Hearty Food

After being out on the open water and hiking some incredible trails, there’s no better way to end the day than to tuck into some hearty food. Ambleside is the perfect place to conclude a day trip to the Lake District, which is just a short drive from Loughrigg Fell. There are so many great restaurants here covering a wide variety of cuisines. I enjoy some classic pub dishes after working up quite the appetite. One of my favourite go-to places in Ambleside from a small local pub called the Priest Hole.

A Day at the Lake District

One place which is worth visiting in Ambleside is the Bridge House which is another National Trust property. This very tiny 17th-century stone house is located on a bridge over Stock Beck River just a brief stroll from the main high street. It’s had a whole range of purposes over the decades. It has been used as a counting house for the mills of Rattle Ghyll, a weaving shop, a cobbler’s, a tea-room, chair makers, and even a home to a family of eight!


There are plenty of places to stay across the Lake District if you are looking to extend your trip here for a few more days. Windermere and Ambleside are good locations to stay at, with great connections across the whole area. Click the image below to view accommodation and places to stay around the area.


Have you been to the Lake District? I would love to know what your favourite place is to visit! I hope this blog post on a day at the like district has helped to inspire your travels to Cumbria.

Adell x

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Hey, I'm Adell! I'm a West Midlands based travel, adventure blogger and photographer. Follow me on my journeys as I hike, drive and photograph my way around the United Kingdom and beyond. Sharing detailed travel guides, the best places to take photos as well as so much more.


1 Comment

  1. Reply


    26th October 2020

    Looks like a great way to spend some time outdoors! I love capturing memories in wall art as well 🙂
    Jenna ♥
    Stay in touch? Life of an Earth Muffin

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