Windermere from Brant Fell copyright Dave Willis

Windermere and Ambleside - explore and visit

Windermere in the Lake District is England's largest lake, it's 10.5 miles long, that's just over 18 km, and at its deepest point is 219 feet, that's 66.7 m.

Windermere is also the name of a small town, which lies just over a mile from the lake shore. It's separate from the town of Bowness-on-Windermere, which is one of the busiest place along the shoreline and the main jetties for cruise boats.

Ambleside is one of the most popular towns in the Lake District, sitting at the north end of Windermere lake its a great place to start some of the best know fell walks.

Windermere and the surrounding area is arguably the most famous and popular area in the whole of the Lake District. There are a range of activities, attractions, places of interest and things to do around the lake, and on it!

Lake District Kind


Things to know before you go, tips to plan a great trip and help us look after the landscape you love.

Be Lake District Kind

See things to do around Windermere

  • Take a boat cruise along part of all of Windermere lake.

  • Beatrix Potter's former home Hill Top

  • Brockhole on Windermere visitor centre

    Brockhole house and gardens, the perfect spot for a picnic.

  • Sunset over Windermere lake.

  • Wray Castle on the shore of Windermere

  • Family in a rowing boat on Windermere

    Enjoy Windermere on the water at Brockhole.

Windermere lake guide

Windermere Lake Guide

Our Windermere lake guide shows you where to park, where to catch ferries and hire boats, footpaths and cycle routes to explore and lake shore towns with facilities like toilets and cafes.

Windermere Lake Guide
Family canoeing on Windermere copyright Windermere Canoe and Kayak

Boat hire and boat trips on Windermere lake

There are lots of places around Windermere lake to hire a motor boat, rowing boat, kayak, canoe or paddle board and get out onto the water. Or take a cruise up the lake with stops at lots of great places to visit.

Hire a boat or book a cruise

Towns and villages around Windermere lake


A mile inland from Windermere lakeshore, Ambleside is a bustling town of outdoor equipment shops, bookshops, gift shops, cafes and restaurants and a cinema. Nestled in the valley between various fells, it's the start and end point for many classic lakeland walks.


You can take a launch from the piers here south down towards Bowness. There are also some cafes and hotels.


Half way down Windermere, and a mile and a half downhill from Windermere village and its railway station. Pop into our Bowness Bay Information Centre, shop, eat, get an icecream and watch the bustle of the steamers arriving and departing from Bowness Bay. You can also hire rowing boats.


Right at the southern foot of Windermere you can find the Lakes Aquarium, one end of the Haverthwaite Steam Railway or take a launch north.


Windermere is just over one mile from the lake and is where the Oxenholme to Windermere railway line terminates. It is a busy little town with a good variety of local shops. The flagship store for Lakeland is situated close to the railway station. There is also a branch of Booths supermarket.


Being the most popular part of the Lake District, Windermere is easy to get around, but you might still need the help of one of our maps. These can also help you find the local tourist information centres, including Brockhole - The Lake District Visitor Centre.

Our pay and display car parks

Getting here and around

Windermere station has regular trains linking to the mainline at Oxenholme. From the station forecourt frequent buses take you to Bowness, Brockhole, Ambleside and Grasmere as well as further afield. Windermere Lake Cruises boats travel the length of the Lake and there is a network of traffic free cycle paths. For more details and timetables see getting to and around the Lake District.

Need more help? Pop in to Bowness Bay Information Centre

Waterfront at Bowness Bay

We can help you with booking accommodation, tickets or attractions. See us on the south side of Bowness Bay, home to Bowness Information Centre.