Bowness-on-Windermere, aka Let’s Go Boating! (Bowness Part 2)

What’s the point of going to an area known for its lakes if you don’t go boating?


When last we met my dear husband (DH) and I had left our cozy home-away-from-home at the Masons Arms just above Lake Windermere and road tripped our way from the bustling and busy Ambleside down to the old fashioned ex-luxe of Bowness.

I found Bowness to be charming. Thirty years ago, tourists were loving this place. Now it’s a bit tired but still has a lovely waterside charm about it, albeit a bit chavvy. The same outfitters (Mountain Warehouse, Edge of the World, Trespass), the same ice cream and sweet shops and the hotels which, from the outside, looked like they’d seen better days, a constant Lake District theme. We did stumble upon a lovely little gift shop, Love the Lakes and bought some keepsakes, including a yummy smelly candle that sits on my bedside table, over 6000 miles away.

So after we settled on a cheap and cheerful Tesco meal deal, we also settled on the hour long boat trip around Windermere. We even scored 2 hours of free parking (pass the cruises, take a right and go around – free street parking).

And here are the fruits of our slightly chilly (we’d left the fleeces at the inn) but beautiful sun-drenched cruise.

If we’d opted for the shorter 30 minute cruise, all we’d have done is gone around these wee islands.

So you might have guessed, we are going north up the lake. Along the banks are little boat houses where you can park your boat under the house. I’d not seen that before the Lake District.

And then you have these once grand manor houses, now luxury hotels. And some of the large waterside estates on Windermere’s shores? Someone’s summer home. <insert envy here>

Does this Youth Hostel have the best views in England? Not quite. The YHA network is amazing. Castles, lighthouses, views of moors, lakes and mountains. But that’s another holiday for another time. This YHA has waterside dining and a dock out front with a hop on hop off daily cruise. Handy.

The boat is being guided in by rope. Someone on shore catches the rope, tows the boat in, and ties it up. Easy!

A little less glamorous then I imagined. Sadly, Ambleside continues to un-impress.

We’ve hit the top of Lake Windermere, and now it’s time to return.

Complete with lovely views of the distant fells.

As you can see, the western bank of Windermere is far less populated. I recommend seeking out a quiet spot and bringing a picnic lunch.

As we pull into the bay, we are greeted by the local vermin: swans. These white beauties are sluts for breadcrumbs.

And out of towners just lap it up. Me? They kind of freak me out.

I mean look at em, just lying on the concrete in their own filth.

He looks like he’s about to attack if I don’t turn over my Twix immediately!

Is he following me???

Phew, I’m safe, he’s headed in the other direction.

Perhaps he’s heading to this classy seaside joint, a relic of a bygone era, don’t you think? What’s needed here is a refurbished pub with a view. I bet it’d be full year round on the shores of this idyllic waterside village.

Overall it’s a fun little outing. If we’d have planned it better, we would have jumped on the day trip down the tip of Windermere and on to the Lakeland Aquarium and the Motor Museum. What what?!

Instead we headed back to the Masons Arms for an afternoon of reading on the back patio with a glass of wine.

With a view like this, why would I want to be anywhere else?

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