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I recently visited Lake Windermere as part of a 3-day tour to the Lake District. Lake Windermere was our first stop, I spent 2 nights there and it gave me the best impression of the Lake District because it really is stunning! Our tour group stayed in all different Lake Windermere hotels which meant I got to look at quite a few hotels when doing the hotel pick-ups and drop-offs each day.
There’s so much accommodation and so many slightly different areas you can stay in around Lake Windermere so I have written this post about the best accommodation in Lake Windermere for all budgets including hostels, guest houses, B&B’s and hotels to help you decide where to stay.
I am going to focus on 3 areas around Lake Windermere – Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere and Ambleside.
Lake Windermere Hotels!
You may be surprised to hear that Windermere town isn’t actually that close to Lake Windermere and is instead a 20-30 minute walk away from Bowness Bay which is where the liveliness of the lake is including where the boat cruises leave from.
Whereas Bowness-on-Windermere is a 3 minute walk from the bay. Ambleside town is a 15 minute walk away from the Lake but it’s located on the Northern side of the Lake so totally different from Bowness. Either way, all 3 locations are great and each have their benefits which I’ll go into in this post.
Please note that the below links are affiliate links to Booking.com so I get a small commission if you book through them which keeps this site going and me travelling, but booking through these thinks costs you no more. I personally use Booking.com all of the time as I love how easy it is to view hotels, photos, reviews and the map to confirm the location, and I really like cancellation fees they offer in case plans change.
Positives – Really close to Lake Windermere, just a few minutes walk away. Lots of restaurants, cafes and shops.
Negatives – Slightly higher accommodation prices due to the proximity of the Lake.
Oakfold House is right in Bowness village just a 10 minute walk from the Lake. It’s a Victorian Guest House with many of its original features and although it sits at the cheaper end of accommodation in Bowness it’s rooms are still elegant and cosy.
Holmlea Guest House
Another good guest house option with a B&B feel at a cheaper price, but by no means a budget quality is Holmlea Guest House, just a 5 minute walk from the Lake and a 1 minute walk from shops and restaurants. The owner is lovely and made me feel very at home, my room was comfy and had everything I needed for an enjoyable break by Lake Windermere.
Burn How Garden House Hotel
This is a lovely family run hotel with bedrooms located in private grounds just a 5 minute walk from Bowness Bay on Lake Windermere. It has an award-winning restaurant if you want to stay in for dinner, also overlooking the grounds.
The Cranleigh Boutique
The Cranleigh Boutique is just a 1 minute walk from Bowness Bay in a perfect location. It has a friendly and informal atmosphere with a classic style lounge but contemporary bedrooms each with an individual style.
Burnside Hotel & Spa
If you want to treat yourself after a day of walking, Burnside Hotel & Spa is a beautiful hotel to do that in. It has a onsite spa with a pool, two hot tubs, a sauna and a steam room. Some of its room’s have balconies and hot tubs too. The garden offers beautiful views of the lake due to its great location and the bedrooms are modern and well decorated but keep that Country feel.
Laura Ashley Hotel – The Belsfield
The Belsfield has a prime location overlooking Lake Windermere right above Bowness Bay and it has 6 acres of Gardens to enjoy the view from. As you can probably tell by the full name of the hotel, the bedrooms are designer furnished and some rooms have views of the Lake or the Mountains.
Lake Windermere does get busy so if you want 3 great ideas of things to do when it’s busy, or just 3 great ideas in general, have a read of this post:
Positives – Slightly cheaper accommodation due to location from the lake. Lots of restaurants, cafes and shops. Windermere train station is in the town centre.
Negatives – A good 20-30 minute walk away from Bowness Bay where there is more happening by the lake.
Lake District Backpackers Hostel
If you’re looking for a hostel due to wanting cheap prices or just wanting a social atmosphere to meet people in, right in the middle of Windermere town and close to the train station is the Lake District Backpackers Hotel. It offers private rooms and dorm rooms and has great reviews from fellow travellers.
Glencree is just down the road from Windermere town towards Bowness town which is probably why it’s a bit cheaper than accommodation right in the town but it’s not a long walk between either and also benefits from lakeland surroundings and having bright, warmly furnished rooms.
Built in 1847 and perched on a hill overlooking Windermere town and Lake Windermere this hotel is in a great location. It has modern Pianoon the outdoor patio overlooking the quiet gardens and is popular with couples.
The Howbeck & The Retreat In Windermere
The Howbeck is just a 2 minute walk from Windermere town and has beautifully decorated, modern rooms and some having 4 poster beds and spa baths.
Cedar Manor Hotel & Restaurant
Cedar Manor Hotel isn’t located directly in Windermere town but its only 750m away and instead benefits from being a 150-year-old country house hotel in quiet gardens. Cedar Manor Hotel offers original features with modern comforts and has an award-winning restaurant overlooking it’s gardens.
Beech Hill Hotel & Spa
Beech Hill Hotel is a great option if you want to combine a spa trip with a Countryside trip. It has an indoor heated, a , a and an
Positives – Lots of restaurants, cafes and shops in the town. At a quieter end of Lake Windermere.
Negatives – The town is a 15 minute walk from the Lake. At a quieter end of Lake Windermere
YHA is a great chain of hostels and they offer a hostel right on the shores of Lake Windermere, the location couldn’t get any better! Due to the hostel being right on the lake it is a bit of a walk into the town but I think I’d rather be paying budget prices for a hostel on the lake than in the town! YHA Ambleside offers private rooms and dorm rooms.
Ambleside Central is located unsurprisingly right in the centre of Ambleside town, just 2 minutes away from the bus station giving it a great location. It has an economy double room available making it on the cheaper end of the scale. The hotel is located in a Victorian building with stylish rooms that still have many original features.
Located right in the centre of Ambleside town, Log House has a really cosy look to it, especially it’s bedrooms. It has gardens, a terrace and a shared lounge good for meeting and talking to new people.
Lake House is actually in Waterhead which is a village between Ambleside, really close to the Lake so the location is perfect. Due to its location it has stunning views across Waterhead Bay and the rest of Lake Windermere with a stylish, elegant Country House feel to it.
Rothay Manor Hotel
This luxury, privately owned, Country House is located between Ambleside and Waterhead. It was built in 1825 and is a Grade II Listed house with landscaped gardens and period features making it the perfect place to stay if you want to treat yourself whilst in the Lake District.
Langdale Hotel & Spa
Langdale Hotel & Spa is still in the Ambleside area but it’s not in the town so you would need a car to get here, however because of that it’s a located in 35 acres of woodland estate ground with a luxury spa, award-winning dining, an indoor swimming pool, an onsite pub and beautifully decorated rooms, so really there’s no need to leave!
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for here, have a look on Booking.com yourself now you know more about the areas surrounding Lake Windermere.
No matter where you stay, you can drive between the different areas and different towns, and if you’re not driving there is a good public bus system to help you get around. Alternatively, you could do a group tour of the Lake District with Rabbie’s Tours like I did.
To SEE my trip to the Lake District and the beautiful Lake Windermere have a watch of my YouTube Video: