Windermere is one of the most popular destinations for our Lake District walking holidays, and deservedly so – it’s a stunning and fascinating part of the world!
Windermere is the largest natural lake in England, stretching just over eleven miles from Newby Bridge at the south, up to almost a mile wide, and up to 219 feet at its deepest point. It was formed in the last ice age, thirteen thousand years ago, by glaciers which carved out its route and then filled it when they melted.
There is only one settlement right on the lakeshore – not, as you may have thought, Windermere itself but in fact Bowness-on-Windermere. This is a beautiful and very popular spot, with plenty of tourist attractions to make time for, including the World of Beatrix Potter. On the opposite side of the lake lies Hawkshead and Beatrix Potter’s home at Hill Top, which has been preserved as a time capsule of her life and is a must-see for any fans of Peter Rabbit.
The town of Windermere doesn’t actually touch the lake, and was only named Windermere with the arrival of the railway in 1847. Over the years, Windermere and Bowness-on-Windermere have grown so close together that they are now essentially one large settlement, but they still have distinct and separate town centres.
The other notable settlement around Windermere is Ambleside, which lies at the northern end of the lake. This area has been occupied for a very long time, with the Roman fort of Galava just to the south dating to AD 79; Ambleside was granted a charter for a market in 1650. The poet William Wordsworth, one of the famous Lake Poets, worked in Ambleside for many years.
Around Windermere, of course, you’ll find the beautiful landscapes which inspired both Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter; the stunning fells and valleys, forests and fields which provide plenty for you to explore on one of our holidays. From the tourist hot spots to quiet countryside paths, this area truly has something for everyone.