By Rachael Thomas on August 22, 2022 in Attractions, Europe, Food and drink, Nightlife, Leisure travel, Regions, Restaurants, Specialty travel, Miscellaneous travel, United Kingdom, Western Europe
There’s so much to see and do in and around Windermere, so condensing it into a day is more than a little tricky. But, for some reason, if you were only in the area for a day, here’s an idea of what to do.
Breakfast at Homeground Café
Let’s start the day off right – breakfast at one of Windermere’s excellent cafes (lots to choose from, but this one is one of our favourites).
Homeground is in the center of Windermere village and has gained an enviable reputation for great food, coffee and, of course, it’s just a great place to catch up with friends. Additionally, last year it claimed a spot on the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.
Homeground is open during the day for walk-ins only.
Head of Orrest
After a leisurely breakfast you’ll want to burn off some of those calories and what better than a short walk to the top of Orrest Head. Not too long or steep for little legs and when you reach the top the views of Lake Windermere and the Lake District Falls beyond are simply breathtaking.
It’s the place where author and walker, Alfred Wainwright, fell in love with the Lake District, saying; “Those few hours on Orrest Head cast a spell that changed my life.”
In fact, he was so enchanted by the sight and the sense of opportunity before him that he continued to write his illustrated guides to the Lakeland Fells.
The walk from Windermere to the top of Orrest Head and back should take no more than two hours (we’ve allowed time here for you to marvel at the scenery), giving you plenty of time to make your way to Bowness and our next stop, Windermere Jetty Museum.
Windermere Pier Museum
Officially opened in April 2019 by Prince Charles, the Windermere Jetty Museum is located on the shores of Lake Windermere. This spectacular museum houses an amazing collection of boats and sailboats, including steamboats, speedboats and motorboats.
These boats cover the history of sailing on Windermere from the late 18th century. You will also have the opportunity to see the ongoing restoration projects and chat with the restorers.
Ships include Swallow and Amazon, the ship used in the BBC’s film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s famous book; Beatrix Potter’s tarn boat that she used to take out when she drew; and SL Dolly (1850), the oldest mechanically propelled boat in the world (still in working order).
The museum also has a fantastic cafe, so that’s lunch sorted, with fabulous views over the lake. Most dishes are inspired by the Lake District and where possible use local ingredients from local farms and businesses.
Cruises on Lake Windermere
It’s early afternoon, time to relax? Why not head to Bowness pier and embark on one of the Lake Windermere cruises? The perfect way to spend time soaking up more of this stunning scenery.
There are four cruises that run year-round, and four additional options that are added for the summer months, including a superb, perfectly timed evening cruise to watch the sunset over the Lakeland Fells.
As we only have one day to explore, we will take the red cruise. This beautiful round trip from Bowness can be taken as a 75-minute walk-in cruise, stopping at Windermere Jetty, Brockhole and Ambleside before returning to Bowness.
As with many cruises there is a fascinating commentary on the history, attractions and points of interest around Windermere.
And since it’s only 75 minutes, we’re back in time to visit Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House.
Blackwell, the home of arts and crafts
Designed by renowned architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and built at the turn of the 20th century, Blackwell is a stunning Grade One listed property and one of the finest examples of Arts and Crafts architecture in the UK.
The house overlooks Lake Windermere and the Lake District Fells and retains nearly all of its original arts and crafts features. From stained glass windows to inglenook, carved woodwork to rare hessian wall hangings, Blackwell is certainly one of the most interesting houses in the Lake District.
After touring this enchanting house, the charming tea room offers many tempting cakes and delicacies. And with a stylish outdoor terrace, it’s the perfect place to relax and take in the great lake views.
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As the day draws to a close why not explore some of Bowness’s little side streets, perhaps have a drink in one of the many pubs and bars, before heading to your final destination for the day, dinner at the Michelin- star HRiSHi?
A short drive from the center of Bowness-on-Windermere is HRiSHi, where head chef Hrishikesh Desai uses local ingredients to create modern British cuisine with a twist.
The three intimate dining rooms mirror the chef’s colorful cuisine – eye-catching and slightly eclectic.
The dishes are prepared with precision, original and very nicely presented. Many dishes blend local ingredients with subtle Indian or Asian spices, a nod to Cumbria’s rich history as a center of the spice trade.
Whether you opt for a traditional three-course meal, a superb seven-course tasting menu or a decadent afternoon tea, you will be captivated by the wonderful range of flavors.
Obviously, HRiSHi is a very popular restaurant, so if you can’t get a reservation, why not go next door to the two AA Rosette Gilpin Spice, a more informal dining experience with an open kitchen serving pan-Asian sharing dishes from tapas-style.
We hope you enjoyed your day in Windermere. That’s just an idea of what you can do in this wonderful part of the world – and yes, we’re a bit biased. But there’s so much to see and do, so we’re sure you’ll be back. We haven’t even mentioned The World of Beatrix Potter, The Old Laundry Theatre, sunset cruises on Lake Windermere, canoe rentals, Brockhole, Wray Castle, Claiffe Heights… the list goes on. Maybe we’ll have to do another day in and around Windermere.
Rachael Thomas is Managing Director of Matson Ground Estate Company Limited, which owns a number of holiday homes in the Lake District including Birkdale House. Birkdale House is a luxury Victorian residence in the heart of a private estate in the English Lake District.
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