Lake Windermere is a gorgeous part of the Lake District, everyone wants to go there but that means it can get pretty busy too, especially in the Summer and in High Season which I experienced first hand. So instead of waiting in a huge queue for a boat trip like many other people were doing I went and did 3 things to do in Lake Windermere which helped me avoid the crowds and I, therefore, recommend these Lake Windermere things to do to you too!
Things To Do in Lake Windermere
Evening Cruise Around Lake Windermere
A Boat Trip around Lake Windermere is at the top of the list of things to do in Lake Windermere but the queues for a day time boat trip can get really big and the boats were totally packed with people when I went which isn’t my idea of an enjoyable boat trip.
Luckily in the Summer, one of the Lake Windermere activities is an Evening Cruise starting at 8:00pm-9:15 pm for £11.50 per adult ticket. This is slightly more expensive than the daytime cruises (I believe they are about £8.50) but I think it’s worth it!
I went to the Lake District in July which was a great time to visit and because the evenings were still light as we reached the end of Lake Windermere in Ambleside we literally saw the sun go down into the clouds in front of us and then into the Mountains. As we were sailing away the sky was lit behind us in gorgeous pastel colours which continued until we docked, it was so beautiful!
If there is an Evening Cruise on offer I would really suggest going as this is one of the top things to do in Lake Windermere!
For accommodation around Lake Windermere, have a look at this post:
Best Accommodation in Lake Windermere for all Budgets!
Walk up to Orrest Head from Lake Windermere
If you want to see an incredible view in the Lake District and over Lake Windermere, take a walk up to Orrest Head! The best thing is is that the walk is not even that strenuous either!
Read my full post on how to do the Orrest Head Walk here!
As I had decided to do an Evening Cruise I was suddenly left with a few hours spare looking for things to do. Luckily a friend wrote a comment on my Instagram photo saying that I should walk up to Orrest Head and it was such a great suggestion!
From Bowness Bay, I walked through Bowness-on-Windermere Town and up to Windemere Town and although the walk was ok and only slightly uphill it was a lot further than I thought and took a good 20-30 minutes. From the town of Windermere I followed the footpath of which most of it was signposted, all the way to the top of Orrest Head. The walk is definitely uphill (that’s why the view is so good) but it was quite a gradual incline rather than being really steep.
I was pleased I had my trusty summer walking shoes on, especially as I saw many other people walking with difficulty in their flip flops and dolly shoes. I would recommend wearing trainers or walking shoes if you have them!
The footpath walk is pretty shady which was nice as it was a hot day when I went, this however meant that there weren’t many views a long the way so when I got to the top I was pretty shocked and stunned by the 360 view I was greeted with!
A. Wainwright said when he got to the top of Orrest Head in 1930 ‘These few hours on Orrest Head cast a spell that changed my life’ and I can see what he means!
There are quite a few benches at the top to take in the views from and in my opinion this is such a good thing to do in Lake Windermere no matter what time of year it is, but especially if it’s busy as not everyone will want to do the walk and climb.. even though it’s really not that bad, and took me about 45 minutes in total each way when walking quite fast from Bowness-on-Windermere town.
Walk around the edge of Lake Windermere
Just because you see everyone sitting around Bowness Bay on Lake Windermere when you arrive on foot, by bus or by driving this doesn’t mean there isn’t more of the Lake to be seen close by.
Walk down Glebe Road past the car park and continue to go straight, walking away from Bowness Bay, go through a gate and you’ll be on a footpath that takes you out onto the Lake further up. It was so much quieter here when I went, there are no shops or boat piers selling tickets, just people lying on the grass enjoying the sun and taking a walk by Lake Windermere.
If you keep following the footpath around you end up at another small bay. There’s also a footpath that goes inland and links back up with Glebe Road and even though you’re so close to the town and so much civilisation, these few meters of footpaths really made me feel like I was in the middle of the Countryside, even though I was, but elsewhere it was quite busy, and here it wasn’t at all!
I hope these things help give you an idea of activities to do in Lake Windermere and things to do in Lake Windermere on a busy day especially to help avoid the crowds!
Still, looking for accommodation in Lake Windermere? I suggest these hotels:
Budget – Oakfold House
Mid Range – Craig Manor Hotel
Splurge – Burnside Hotel & Spa
Windermere Town has a train station and there are regular public buses connecting the areas so if you want to travel there independently, check the best train times and prices on The Train Line.
- To see what I got up to during my full 3 days in the Lake District have a read of this post:
- 3 Amazing Days in the Lake District from London with Rabbie’s Tours!
- How to do Dale Head Walk from Honister!
- 10 Easy Lake District Walks!
- For more of my England Adventures have a look here:
- All England Posts!
Wednesday 15th of May 2019
Hello! Very helpful article :) Could you please share the company you did the cruise with or where you bought your tickets from? Ive been looking online and the only evening cruise Ive found is a buffect cruise which costs 32 pounds per person, I would rather do a shorter cruise with no food.
Wednesday 15th of May 2019
Hello, thank you. I can’t remember the name but when you’re by the lake there are a few companies selling boat trips and one selling the evening cruise so just wait until you are there, although if you can, buy the ticket a few hours earlier to ensure you get a ticket but no one else preorders so I’m sure it’ll be fine. Enjoy :)
Friday 12th of October 2018
I love the look of the cruise! So many lovely places, you’ve really made me want to visit! I just wish it wasn’t quite such a long drive from the south west - how did you get there?!
Friday 12th of October 2018
I know it’s long isn’t it! I got a train there from London and did a tour with Rabbies Tours :) Hope you make it there!