Bowness-on-Windermere Travel Guide

Discover the top attractions, best things to do, where to eat, stay, shop, and more in Bowness-on-Windermere, a picturesque town in the Lake District.

Introduction to Bowness-on-Windermere

Bowness-on-Windermere is a charming town located in the heart of the Lake District of North West England. It is situated on the eastern bank of Windermere, which is the largest natural lake in the country, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK.

With its picturesque lake views, friendly local culture, and a wide range of activities and attractions, Bowness-on-Windermere is an ideal place for a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation.

List of Places to Visit in Bowness-on-Windermere

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction: This museum showcases the life and works of the famed author and illustrator of children’s books, Beatrix Potter, who spent many of her summers in the Lake District.

  • The Steamboat Museum: This museum highlights the history of steamboats on Windermere, with exhibits of old boats, photographs, and artifacts.

  • Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House: This historic house showcases the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century, with impressive interiors and views of the lake.

Natural Attractions of Bowness-on-Windermere: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Treetop Trek: This adventure park offers zip-lining, high ropes, and obstacle courses through the tree canopy overlooking Windermere.

  • Orrest Head: This moderate hiking trail provides stunning panoramic views of Lake Windermere and the surrounding fells.

  • The Lake District National Park: With its rolling hills, hidden valleys, and still waters, the Lake District National Park is a world-renowned destination that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Bowness-on-Windermere

  • The Dales Way: This long-distance walking path takes hikers through gorgeous countryside, with views of fells and valleys.

  • The Woodland Trust Reserve: Situated on the eastern shore of Windermere, this reserve has a network of walking trails through a mixed woodland environment.

  • The Windermere Way: This is a 45-mile circular cycling route that loops around the lake and passes through Bowness-on-Windermere.

Best Things to Do in Bowness-on-Windermere: Activities and Tours

  • Windermere Lake Cruises: This is an excellent way to enjoy the scenery of the Lake District. Daily sightseeing boat cruises offer stunning views from the water.

  • Ghyll Scrambling: This activity is a mix of sliding, jumping, and swimming through gorges and waterfalls.

  • Mountain Goat Tours: This company offers small-group sightseeing tours of the Lake District, which are informative and entertaining.

Week-Long Itinerary for Bowness-on-Windermere

Day 1: Arrive in Bowness-on-Windermere; explore the quaint town center, including shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Day 2: Visit the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, then take a relaxing cruise on Windermere Lake.

Day 3: Go hiking in either Orrest Head or Woodland Trust Reserve, then visit The Steamboat Museum.

Day 4: Take a day trip to Ambleside, a nearby town with picturesque streets, quaint shops, and a picturesque lake walk.

Day 5: Take a mountain goat tour of the Lake District, visiting locations like Hilltop, Hawkshead, and Tarn Hows.

Day 6: Explore Bowness-on-Windermere’s outdoor adventures, like Treetop Trek or Ghyll Scrambling.

Day 7: Relax and take in the natural beauty of Windermere Lake and the surrounding fells.

Food and Drink Scene of Bowness-on-Windermere

Must-Try Dishes

  • The Wild Boar Inn: This gastropub serves a range of British cuisine, with an emphasis on hearty, filling meals like slow-braised lamb shanks.

  • Bodega Tapas Bar: This Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant serves small plates in a casual, fun atmosphere.

  • The Angel Inn: This traditional pub offers classic British meals like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips.

Local Beverages

  • Hawkshead Brewery: Located in nearby Staveley, this award-winning brewery produces a range of ales, stouts, and lagers.

  • The Lakes Distillery: This distillery offers tours and tastings of its award-winning gin, vodka, and whisky.

Where to Stay in Bowness-on-Windermere: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • The Burnside Hotel and Spa: This four-star hotel is located on the edge of Bowness-on-Windermere with views of the lake.

  • Storrs Hall: This grand 18th-century Georgian mansion has been converted into a luxurious four-star hotel.

  • The Royal Oak Inn: This cozy, traditional inn is located in the heart of Bowness-on-Windermere.

What to Buy in Bowness-on-Windermere: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Lake District Honey: This honey is made from wildflowers and heather found in the Lake District hills.

  • Lake District Fudge: Treat yourself to some of the delicious, homemade fudge made with local ingredients.

  • Beatrix Potter Memorabilia: There are many shops in Bowness-on-Windermere that sell Potter-related merchandise, including books, figurines, and more.

Local Culture and Customs of Bowness-on-Windermere

The Lake District has a rich history and tradition, with charming small towns, stunning natural scenery, and warm, friendly locals.

Best Time to Visit Bowness-on-Windermere

The best time to visit Bowness-on-Windermere is during the spring or summer months, between March and August, when the weather is mild and the outdoor activities are plentiful.

Do’s and Don’ts of Bowness-on-Windermere


  • Explore the Lake District National Park.

  • Take a boat cruise on Windermere Lake.

  • Enjoy local foods and beverages.


  • Litter in any natural areas.

  • Swim or boat on the lake without proper safety equipment.

  • Be disrespectful to locals or their culture.

Safety and Health

Safety in Bowness-on-Windermere

  • Be alert while hiking or biking in the Lake District National Park.

  • Always lock your bikes when left unattended.

  • Take proper safety precautions when enjoying water sports.

Health in Bowness-on-Windermere

  • It is always recommended to drink bottled water rather than tap water.

  • Take any necessary precautions for allergies or other medical conditions.

Getting to Bowness-on-Windermere: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Bowness-on-Windermere

  • Manchester International Airport (approx. 90-minute drive)

  • Liverpool John Lennon Airport (approx. 2-hour drive)

Bus Stations Near Bowness-on-Windermere

  • Windermere Bus Station (located in the nearby town of Windermere)

  • Kendal Bus Station (approx. 30-minute drive)

Other Options

  • Train: The nearest train station is Oxenholme, which is located approximately 30-minute drive from Bowness-on-Windermere.

  • Car: Driving is a convenient option to reach Bowness-on-Windermere, with good road connections from the M6 and A591.

How to Get Around in Bowness-on-Windermere

The town of Bowness-on-Windermere is small enough to walk around, but if you want to explore further, there are local bus services and taxis available.

Where to Go Next from Bowness-on-Windermere: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Ambleside: This charming nearby town has a relaxing atmosphere, with picturesque streets, quaint shops, and a picturesque lake walk.

  • Kendal: This historic market town is famous for its castle ruins, arts, and crafts center, and stores like the Kendal Mint Cake.

  • Grasmere: This quaint village is located in the heart of the Lake District, known for its charming architecture, literary history, and scenic beauty.


Bowness-on-Windermere may be a small town, but it has a lot to offer to tourists. With its beautiful lake views, scenic natural attractions, and friendly locals, it is a perfect destination for a relaxing and fun vacation. Whether you are interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or delicious food and drink, Bowness-on-Windermere has something for everyone.