Third Eye Traveller

The Ultimate Windermere Lake Cruise Guide with 8 Amazing Places to Stop on your Windermere Boat Trip

By: Author Sophie Pearce

Posted on Last updated: June 18, 2022

Categories ENGLAND , LAKE DISTRICT

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

If you didn’t go on a Lake Cruise in the Lake District – did you even go?!  

Hand on heart, I really don’t think a visit to the Lake District is complete without getting out onto the water and seeing some of the sights.  

A Windermere Lake Cruise is by far the most popular choice for tourists visiting the Lake District due to the stunning scenery and being able to stop off at the numerous pretty villages around the lakeside.

So, I was really excited to get the opportunity to do this on Lake Windermere on my recent trip with Go Lakes.  

I spent a whole day cruising the water with Windermere Lake Cruises using their freedom of the lake ticket.  

This pass gave me 24 hours of unlimited access to explore all the cruise routes on Lake Windermere and stop off at some top attractions too.  

So, here is my ultimate Windermere Lake Cruise guide with all the places you can stop off on your boat trip.  

Heads up: my Windermere Lake Cruise was sponsored on a press trip with Go Lakes . Although I was a guest, all photos and opinions are my own. 

Ambleside Waterhead Pier

What is Lake Windermere?

Lake Windermere is officially the longest natural water lake in England (FYI the largest in the UK is Loch Neagh in Northern Ireland).  

It’s a ‘ribbon lake’ that was formed over 13,000 years ago by the last major ice age.  

Windermere stretches over 10.5 miles long or 18 kilometres and, at points, it’s over a mile wide. Its deepest point is 219 feet and that’s just over 66 metres!

Out of all the Lake District National Park, the area surrounding Windermere is the most famous of all.

Not only due to the pretty scenery but also with the railway station which makes it accessible.

Many literary giants through time, like William Wordsworth, wrote popular guidebooks to the beauty of the lakes.

So, when Windermere train station first arrived in 1847 with some of the first railway hotels, it contributed to a huge Victorian tourism boom. Today, over 19 million people visit the Lake District each year!  

Windermere is also the name of a small town that sits next to Bowness-on-Windermere.

Lake Windermere, Cumbria

Is Windermere a lake or a mere?

There are sixteen lakes in the Lake District National Park. But, did you know there is technically only one ‘lake’ by official terms of definition?! That is Bassenthwaite Lake.  

In fact, the other bodies of water are classed as tarns, waters, and mere’s, including Lake Windermere!  

A mere by definition is a body of water that is shallow in relation to its size. But, many people still stay that lakes and lakes and that’s all there is to it!  

So, despite the scientific terms, I guess you have to decide whether it’s a lake or a mere to you.  

Personally, I don’t see the difference and still call it a lake!

Lake Windermere

The history of Windermere Lake Cruises

Today more than 1.2 million visitors sail on the lake each year with Windermere Lake Cruises and its the most popular attraction in Cumbria but how did it all begin and become so popular?  

Although today the lake is filled with tourist boats and leisure cruises, Lake Windermere used to be a route of transport for slate, coal, timber, and fishing.

There were a number of packet service boats taking passengers and goods across the water.  

The first launch of a steamer boat on Lake Windermere was the ‘Lady of the Lake’ in 1845. It was suggested by John Fell of Greenodd and William Wordsworth greatly opposed the idea!  

But the turnout for the launch proved so popular, with many famous figures like Harriet Martineau and Lord Cavendish showing up for the occasion, it took off with a bang!  

Back then it carried 200 people and even had a swanky first-class lounge.

Over time, more and more ferries opened up with the stiff competition, competitive prices, and the race to be the fastest boat.

So, eventually, they were unionised and then owned by the British Railways as an interchange service from the train track to the lakes.  

Once the railways were privatised, in 1993 the Windermere Iron Steamboat Company was bought by Bowness Bay Boating Company and they merged to create Windermere Lake Cruises.

Windermere Lake Cruises

How much is a boat trip with Windermere Lake Cruises?

Windermere Lake Cruises offer a variety of pricing options.

From one-way ferry rides, returns, steam railway and boat tickets, and ticket and attraction combos too.

  • Yellow Route – Bowness to Lakeside: £12.30 adult return, £7.40 children
  • Red Route – Bowness to Ambleside: £11.80 adult return, £7.10 children
  • Blue Route – Windermere Islands cruise: £9 adult return, £4.50 children
  • Green Route – Ambleside to Ambleside (via Wray castle and Brockhole: £9.40 adult return, £4.75 children
  • Can dogs travel on Windermere Lake Cruises? Well behaved dogs on a lead travel for FREE.

Click here to see their website with a list of options and attraction combo tickets. But, if you were planning a day out at Windermere, the best option is to buy their ‘Freedom of the Lake ticket’.

Windermere Lake Cruise ship

Windermere Lake Cruises Freedom of the Lake Ticket  

The Freedom of the Lake ticket is your gateway to Lake Windermere and you can take as many boat rides as you want with it.  

You can buy either a 24-hour pass or a 48-hour pass and this gives you access to all the routes above.  

Not only does this option save you a lot of money but it also gives you the option to explore the many towns, villages, and attractions on the lake stress-free without driving and taking in the sights on the water!

All you have to do is purchase your ticket at one of their main piers in Ambleside Waterhead, Bowness-on-Windermere, or Lakeside and once you have it, present your ticket before you get on any cruise.  

Windermere Lake Cruises Freedom of the Lake Ticket prices are;

  • 24 hours: £16.30 for adults and £8.15 for children
  • 48 hours: £19.50 for adults and £975 for children

Windermere Lake Cruise Freedom of the Lake ticket

7 places that you can stop on your Windermere Lake Cruise

So, now we have our Freedom of the Lake ticket, where do we want to sail to?!  

Well, there are plenty of places to visit around Lake Windermere to keep you occupied for a whole week. But, it is possible to cover some good ground in just one day too.  

Here are all the places you can stop on your Lake Windermere Cruise.  

Lake Windermere Marina

1. Bowness-on-Windermere

The bustling Bowness-on-Windermere is probably the most popular place in the Lake District.

As well as hundreds of tourists flocking around the bay to set sail on a cruise ship, there are plenty of restaurants, cafés, shops, and attractions that draw people here too.  

I have to admit that Bowness wasn’t my favourite place in the Lake District.

It was too busy and hectic compared to the quieter villages and towns and that was in March in the off-season. I can’t imagine what it’s like in Summer!  

But, it is still worth checking out the area on your visit before you board your cruise.

Bowness Pier Lake Windermere

Things to do around Bowness-on-Windermere

Walk around bowness bay  .

One of the most picturesque areas of Bowness-on-Windermere is Bowness Bay. This is just a short walk away from the Bowness Pier.

As well as providing a peaceful lakeside walk with spectacular views, you can watch the boats come into the harbour and feed the birds and swans on the shore too.

Along the shores of Bowness-on-Windermere, you have everything a holidaymaker here could want.

Ice creams, Fish ’n’ Chips, cafés, arcades, and all number of attractions to keep you busy.

Just watch out for the birds here. Although swans are lovely to look at they can get really aggressive.  

Windermere Lake Cruise

Go shopping in Bowness

Bowness is full of awesome little independent shops and big high street brand names too. So, you could easily shop until you drop here.  

From crystal shops, art galleries, Lakeland souvenirs, sweet stores, and shops selling all things Beatrix Potter.

I would leave lots of time (and spare change) to look around.  

Bowness-on-Windermere

Visit the World of Beatrix Potter  

If you didn’t get the memo, Beatrix Potter is a big name here in the Lake District.  

Potter was a famous writer and illustrator who was born in London in 1866. But, throughout her life, she took long trips to Scotland and the Lake District.

On her first visit to Windermere in 1882, she stayed at Wray Castle.

Her sketches and illustrations became very popular and eventually, the Tale of Peter Rabbit was born.  

This kick-started her career as a storyteller and she became a woman of means. She then used her profits to buy Hill Top Farm near Hawkshead.  

Over the course of her life, she wrote 23 enchanting stories.

These feature loveable characters like Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. Many were set at Hill Top (more on how you can visit below!).

The World of Beatrix Potter at Crag Brow in Bowness is a delightful attraction that aims to breathe life into her stories and you can meet some of her favourite characters here too.  

As well as a short history of her life and influence on the Lake District, you can walk through her tales with their interactive exhibitions, walks, and gardens. Plus, there’s a café and a gift shop.  

Click here for more information on visiting the World of Beatrix Potter!

World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness-on-Windermere

Take the Bowness – Hill Top bus service

When Beatrix Potter was looking to print her stories, she was advised and commissioned by Norman Warne. The two eventually fell in love and Warne proposed marriage.  

Although Beatrix accepted, this was highly disapproved by her parents who thought the match wasn’t suitable.

But, as Beatrix Potter now had her own fortunes she decided to purchase Hill Top where the two planned to live together in the countryside.  

Unfortunately, Warne died before they were married and so Beatrix decide to live at Hill Top by herself running the farm there.  

She later bought a considerable amount of land in the Lake District – 4,000 acres and 14 farms to be exact! At 47 she married her solicitor who advised and managed her property, William Heelis.  

Together the pair made considerable efforts to preserve the lands around the Lake District with Hardwicke Rawnsley, a founding member of the National Trust.  

On her death in 1943, she left every piece of the land she owned to the Trust for members of the public to enjoy.  

Today, Hill Top has been beautifully preserved as Beatrix Potter left it and you can visit it from Bowness-on-Windermere as part of an add-on to your Lake Cruise!  

In the summer season, alight at Bowness Pier and take the connecting Mountain Goat bus service 20 minutes to Hawkshead and visit Hill Top nearby.

Click here for more information on visiting Hill Top Cottage!

Hire your very own boat

Did you know that as well as cruising on a ship around the Lake District, you can hire your very own boat to take out on Lake Windermere?

From traditional rowboats to self-drive motorboats you can explore the lake at your own pace and have some fun.  

Usually, hiring a boat can be extremely expensive but here it’s really reasonable, especially if you’re splitting the cost with friends.

You can hire a rowboat for 1-2 adults as little as £16 for one hour and a luxury motorboat for £35!

You don’t need to pre-book these just show up on the day to enquire on availability and rentals.

Lake Windermere Boat Hire Station at Bowness

Where to eat in Bowness-on-Windermere

Bowness is full of incredible places to eat around the town and there is so much choice!

From traditional pubs, chip shops, and worldly cuisine, you can find pretty much anything your taste buds are craving.  

One of the restaurants I was really impressed with and took me by surprise on my visit was BAHA in Bowness.

Usually, when you visit restaurants in the Lake District it’s a traditional pub, that’s got that old-world charm.  

But, BAHA was like an Instagram haven with spectacular decor that sells amazing Asian-style street food.  

How it works is you take their pen and paper and mark off anything you want on their menu.

When you need service just wave their BAHA fan they have on the table and someone will be over in a jiffy.

I had an incredible meal of Korean Chicken steamed Bao Buns, Chicken Ramen, and their own homemade roasted marshmallows.

It was delicious and a nice change from traditional pub food.

BAHA Bowness

2. Windermere Jetty Museum  

The Windermere Jetty Museum is a fantastic place that tells a big story about Lake Windermere and its colourful history over time.

Although it’s a new attraction in the area, it’s actually a renovation of the Windermere Steamboat Museum that opened in 1977.

It was brought together by George Pattinson who owned a priceless collection of historic boats. His original collection is one of the world’s most important boat collections that pertain to one area.

It includes boats from the 18th century all the way up to the present day.  

Highlights include Beatrix Potter’s rowboat, The Branksome from 1896, and some water speed record-breaking boats too!  

Why visit Windermere Jetty Museum

As well as learning about the boats and artifacts here, you can get acquainted with boat conservation in their workshop where the team regularly holds talks to answer questions.  

As a bonus, if you really wanted to experience some of Windermere’s history, you can even ride out on a heritage steamboat.

The Osprey is a steamer from 1902 that was renovated by the museum and now takes tourists out on the water.  

I absolutely loved my visit here as I learned so much about the area. I also treated myself to Sunday Lunch in their café overlooking the water.  

In Summer, you can take the Red Route service to the Windermere Jetty, and Windermere Lake Cruises will stop right outside the museum. In Winter, the museum is a 10-minute walk from Bowness Bay along with the Lakeside heading towards Ambleside.

It’s a fantastic museum for all the family and a great activity rain or shine. Click here for my complete guide with even more reasons to visit.

Windermere Jetty Museum Pirate ship

3. Ambleside Waterhead Pier

Ambleside Waterhead Pier is your gateway to accessing some of the quaintest towns and villages in the whole of the Lake District.  

William Wordsworth was extremely fond of this beautiful area and you can follow his literary trail by visiting some of his properties and favourite places too.  

Although Ambleside is the nearest town to the Waterhead Pier, it is really easy to connect to the below nearby villages with the regular Stagecoach Bus Services.

Ambleside Waterhead Pier

Walk to Ambleside Village

Once you alight at Ambleside Waterhead Pier, a walk into the centre of Ambleside will take you around 10-15 minutes.  

As one of the most popular towns in the Lake District, there are plenty of attractions here to keep you busy.  

On your way down to the town, you can pop into the Stagshaw Garden owned by the National Trust. Or, head on in to find the Armitt Library & Museum centre that’s filled with historic books.  

Ambleside, Lake District

The Bridge House from the 17th century is now an icon of the National Park and the most photographed building too. So, don’t forget to stop by and strike a pose.  

You can also visit the 19th century St Mary’s Church , pop in for a coffee at one of the many café on the Stock Beck Riverside, or go shopping in the stores on the High Street.  

A hidden gem that is well worth a visit while you’re in Ambleside is the Stock Ghyll Falls.   In only ten minutes’ walk, you can escape the town and find a 70-foot waterfall cascade in the forest! Click here for directions.

Click here for my complete travel guide for Ambleside!

Stock Ghyll Force Waterfall walk

Visit Rydal

Time to walk from Ambleside to Rydal: 30 minutes  

If you have the time and aren’t too restricted, I would recommend heading out to Rydal after your visit to Ambleside. 

It’s a seriously underrated area that is home to a pretty hamlet and walks around Rydal Water.  

William Wordsworth lived here in Rydal Mount from 1813 until his death in 1850 and wrote some of his most famous works while in residence.

Today, the house is still owned by members of the Wordsworth family, and it’s open to the public.  

As well as Rydal Mount, you can visit the scenic Rydal Hall waterfall on the grounds of Rydal Hall,   pop into the Rydal St Mary’s Church, or head into the bed of daffodils at Dora’s Field.

Click here for more places you can visit in Rydal

Rydal Mount

Rydal Water is another one of Wordsworth’s favourite areas where he would picnic often. The circular walk around here provides some of the best views in the whole National Park.  

As well as chasing magnificent viewpoints like Loughrigg Terrace, you can find some man-made wonders like Rydal Caves. Originally part of a slate mine, these are now open to the public and are worth visiting.

Click here for my complete hiking guide for Rydal Cave

Rydal Cave, Lake District

Explore Grasmere

Now, the walk to Grasmere from Ambleside is quite a stretch, especially on a boat tour. So, click here for the Stagecoach Service timetable to Ambleside Waterhead to Grasmere.

William Wordsworth called Grasmere “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found” and I can see why now I’ve been there. It really is one of the most beautiful and quintessential villages in England!  

He first took up residence at Dove Cottage with his sister Dorothy in Town End after a tour of the Lake District with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Then, once he married his childhood friend Mary Hutchinson and had three children, he moved to Allan Bank for more space.  

You can visit both of these amazing properties here in Grasmere that tell their own unique story of this life and the influence he had on the area.  

Dove Cottage, Grasmere

St Oswald’s Church is where Wordsworth is buried and you can visit the Wordsworth memorial garden nearby too.  

No visit to Grasmere would be complete without a stop at the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. This   tiny store has been serving up Sarah Nelson’s famous recipe since 1854.  

There are also plenty of amazing cafés and restaurants to check out around this beautiful village. Plus, walks to the countryside.  

Click here for a full list of all the incredible experiences you can have in Grasmere

Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread shop history

4.   Wray Castle  

Did you know that the Lake District had castles? Because I didn’t before I got here!

Technically, although it is called a castle, Wray Castle is a folly mansion home rather than a real historic castle but it is still magnificent to visit.  

It is a Gothic Revival style home that was built for Dr. James Dawson, a retired Liverpool surgeon, in 1840.  

It was actually built on his wife’s inheritance from a Gin distillery fortune. But, once the house was built she took one look and refused to live in it.  

Although William Wordsworth seemed to have something negative to say about every building that was built in the area, he actually liked Wray Castle. He said that it ‘added a dignified feature to the interesting scenery in the midst of which it stands.  

After Dr. Dawson died in 1875, the castle passed to his nephew Preston Rawnsley. Then it was sold to the National Trust in 1929.  

It is now a popular attraction that you can visit. As well as exploring inside the house, the views from the hilltop it’s perched on are amazing and you can see Windermere from there.  

There is a Windermere Lake Cruise connecting service to arrive here by boat on the Green Route. Click here for more information.

Wray Castle, Lake District

5. Ferry House

After you visit Wray Castle you can head out on a scenic four-mile hike down to Ferry House if you choose.  

Or, you can even catch a ferry here from Bowness-on-Windermere on the Cross Lakes Shuttle in the Summer.  

Ferry House is your gateway to the Western shore of Lake Windermere and attractions in the area. 

From here you can easily access Claife Viewing Station , which is a short steep walk from the Ferry House Jetty.   

This historic Victorian building that was built in 1790 offers amazing views of the lake and you can learn about its interesting history and how it was popular for Victorian tourists.

As well as the viewing platform the National Trust runs a popular café here overlooking Windermere.

If you’re planning a car-free adventure, you can head onto Hill Top near Hawkshead via the Mountain Goat Bus Service. Or, take the four-mile scenic walk along the Western shore towards Wray Castle.

Click here to read my complete guide for visiting Claife Viewing Station

Claife Viewing Station,

6. Brockhole on Windermere

Brockhole on Windermere is a visitor centre that is popular in the summer season for outdoor activities, but it is open all year round for visitors too.  

In the winter season, this is a request stop on the Red Route, so you will have to let someone know if you want to hop off here…and hail down the boat if you want to go back on board!

Although I was a little anxious to do this, it was pretty easy to wave them down (even though I was alone) and get back on the boat.  

In summer, you won’t need to do this as it’s a dedicated stop on the route around.  

Brockhole Pier Windermere Lake Cruises

Brockhole House, Gardens & Café

The magnificent Brockhole House was built by Architect Dan Gibson and commissioned by William Gaddum who owned the land in 1897.  

He married Edith Potter who was Beatrix Potter’s Cousin. She would visit Brockhole on many occasions and fell in love with the views of Windermere and the Langdale Pikes.

Once Gaddum died, the family sold the house and it became a convalescent home following World War II.  

Eventually, the Lake District National Park purchased the property in 1966 and it became the very first National Park visitor centre in the UK.

Inside Brockhole House is a small shop selling locally made souvenirs plus the Brockhole Café, where you can have lunch overlooking the spectacular views.  

I treated myself to a yummy jacket potato here and it was much-needed comfort food for a winter’s day.  

There are also 10 acres of formal gardens that were planned out by Thomas Mawson during the Arts and Crafts design movement.  

He is a big name here in Cumbria as he designed many formal gardens in the area including Rydal Hall in 1909.  

Brockhole House

Outdoor activities & countryside walks

As well as the formal gardens surrounding the house, Brockhole has over 30 acres of grounds to discover.  

So, it’s perfect for some countryside walks by the lakeside and also some adventure trails to keep the kids occupied.

But, if you wanted something a little more adventurous, there are plenty of activities for adrenalin junkies too!  

Zip lining, treetop treks, archery, kayaking, mini-golf, and a huge adventure playground will keep you occupied for hours here.

Brockhole Gardens

7. Lakeside  

Lakeside is a stop that can be accessed on the Yellow Route. It will take you around 40 minutes to reach Bowness-on-Windermere or you can do a 90 minute round trip.  

I decided to do the round trip as there wasn’t much I wanted to see in this area and I found out most attractions were closed here for winter.

However, I’m so glad I decided to keep going on the cruise as the views heading down this part of Lake Windermere were absolutely incredible!

You got to pass some of the unique historic buildings, fancy boathouses on the Lakeside and see some of the islands that are on Lake Windermere.

But, if you did fancy hopping off here, there are plenty of attractions in arms reach. Windermere Lake Cruises offer many combo tickets you can purchase for some serious savings.  

Lakeside Hotel, Lake Windermere

From here you can take the free bus shuttle service to the Lakeland Motor Museum that is home to over 30,000 exhibits and over 140 classic cars.

Or, head inside the Lakes Aquarium which concentrates on the conservation of marine life and has its own over lake tank and tunnel.

If you wanted to arrive in style then you can take the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway where you can park, rail, and sail around the area!  

Fell Foot is a Victorian Garden and park run by the National Trust where you can walk along the lakeside and enjoy views of the boats anchored on Windermere.

Lakeland Aquarium at Lakeside Jetty

8. Take a Windermere Islands cruise

Did you know that there are 18 islands on Lake Windermere?! Yep, it was news to me on my visit too.  

You can even take an islands cruise on the Windermere Lake Cruises Blue Route from Bowness-on-Windermere to see them all.

The largest and only inhabited island is called Belle Isle and is 1 kilometre in length.

Centuries ago a Roman Governor from Ambleside built a villa on the island, it was a Lord’s residence in the medieval era and was even involved in the English Civil War as a Royalist stronghold.

Today, you’ll notice a peculiar round property called Island House built in 1774 by John Plaw’s design.

It was sold to the Curwen Family and it got its current name from Isabella Curwen who permanently renamed the island after herself.  

Apparently, William Wordsworth hated the building so much he called it a ‘tea canister in a shop window’ . He requested that tall trees be built in front of it to hide it from view!  

Belle Isle is private and you can’t land on it, but you can visit the other islands by boat if you hire one.

Or, admire them from afar on your cruise! Other islands include Lady Holme, Hen Holme, Crow Holme, The Lilies, Silver Holme, Bee Holme Snake Holme, and others.  

Island House on Belle Isle

Facilities onboard Windermere Lake Cruises  

So, beyond seeing and exploring all the amazing sites from your cruise ship. There are some all-important facilities onboard too.  

The Lake District is partial to some rain in the area, so if you didn’t fancy sitting on the top deck, you can sit inside the heated cabins that will keep you dry and save you from being windswept.  

There is also a café/bar on the bottom deck that sells light snacks, hot and cold drinks, and also some beers and wines if you fancy treating yourself.  

Thankfully, there is also a toilet onboard that’s squeaky clean with toilet roll, running water, and soap!  

Windermere Lake Cruises cafe

How to find and board Windermere Lake Cruises

You can board a Windermere Lake Cruise at any of the piers mentioned above, but the easiest ones to start your adventure are at Bowness, Ambleside Waterhead, and Lakeside.  

Each of these piers has a dedicated car park, but there are also public transport options as well.  

By Car: From the M6, take the A590 heading into the Lake District. Follow the brown tourist signs for Windermere Lake Cruises at Lakeside Pier. For Bowness and Ambleside piers follow the A591.  

By Train: Windermere Train station will bring you right into the heart of the Lake District for a car-free adventure. From Windermere train station, it’s a 25-minute walk to Bowness Pier. Or, catch an interchange service to Bowness Bay.  

By Bus: Stagecoach bus services in the Lake District can take you to Bowness Pier and Ambleside Waterhead. See here for details.  

Windermere Lake Cruise parking

Bowness, Ambleside Waterhead, and Lakeside all have parking areas with reasonable rates for all-day parking;

Bowness: park up at the Braithwaite Fold Car Park with 400 spaces. 6 to 10 hours is £7.00.

Ambleside Waterhead: I parked up in the FREE car park opposite the pier. But, there is a dedicated car park with 21 spaces that costs £5 for the whole day.  

Lakeside: 10 hours parking costs £4 in one of their 300 parking spaces right by the pier.  

Read more of my Lake District guides

Places to visit on a Windermere Lake Cruise

Windermere Jetty Museum guide

A complete guide for the Blea Tarn walk

Best things to do in Grasmere

How to visit Hodge Close Quarry

All The Witcher filming locations in the Lake District

A complete Cathedral Cave walking guide

Slater’s Bridge guide

Castlerigg Stone Circle guide

Save these places to visit on a Windermere Lake Cruise for later!

Windermere Lake Cruise

Visit Cumbria

Windermere Lake Cruises

: Ambleside – Waterhead / Bowness-on-Windermere / Lakeside – Newby Bridge

Windermere Lake Cruises has a large fleet of modern and traditional launches and ‘steamers’, which operate the full length of  Windermere , calling at  Waterhead ,  Bowness  and Lakeside . A return cruise between Bowness and Waterhead takes about 1.25 hours. A return cruise between Bowness and Lakeside takes about 1.5 hours, and a return cruise round the whole lake takes about 3 hours. Some boats also stop at the pier at  Brockhole , the National Park Visitor Centre. Scroll down for timetables, fares, landings and “steamer” details.

Alternative Lake Cruises

While Windermere Lake Cruises, on some of their larger “steamers”, can sometimes feel a little “corporate” or as though you are on a cross Channel ferry, more intimate and relaxing boat trips are available on nearby Coniston Water with the glorious Steam Yacht Gondola ( a real steam yacht) and the Coniston Launch .

Other delightful boat trips and cruises can be taken on Derwentwater , near Keswick , with the Keswick Launch and on Ullswater , near Penrith , with Ullswater Steamers .

image of the bowness pier for windermere lake cruises in the Lake District

Although often described as steamers, the former British Rail owned boats are all in fact motor vessels, as are the MV Swift of 2020, MV Tern of 1891, the MV Teal of 1936, and the MV Swan of 1938.

Lakeside Station near Newby Bridge was built in 1869 as the terminus of the old Furness Railway. Today you can travel to Haverthwaite on the  Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway . Also at the station is the  Aquarium of the Lakes . Combined tickets for these can be purchased.

Windermere Lake Cruises – “Steamers”

These four “steamers” operate on the main Yellow and Red cruise routes (scroll down for routes & fares)

  • Refreshment bar and licensed bar
  • Promenade deck
  • View stations
  • Indoor/outdoor upper deck with glazing that can be lowered/raised for different weather conditions
  • Centrally heated saloons and toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible toilet
  • All facilities are wheelchair accessible on this boat

image of the

Windermere Lake Cruises – Modern Launches

image of the Windermere Lake Cruises modern launch Miss Cumbria III at Bowness Pier in the Lake District

None of these are wheelchair accessible. All of the modern launches except Venture, which has no on board facilities, have toilets, heating, refreshments and either licensed bars or alcoholic drinks for sale.

You will find the modern launches operating on the “Islands Cruise”

Windermere Lake Cruises – Traditional Launches

image of the Windermere Lake Cruises The 'Queen of the Lake' arriving at Wray Castle pier in the Lake District

The launches “Queen of the Lake” and “Princess of the Lake” are just under 50 feet in length and carry up to 84 passengers each. “Muriel II” and “Sunflower” are just under 50 feet in length and carry up to 57 passengers each.

None of the traditional launches are wheelchair accessible or have facilities.

Windermere Lake Cruises Timetables

Windermere lake cruises fares 2024.

Red Cruise – Bowness to Ambleside Waterhead or vice verse Return Fares – Adult £17.50 / Child* £10.50

Yellow Cruise – Bowness to Lakeside (Newby Bridge) or vice verse Return Fares – Adult £18.50 / Child* £11.00

Blue/Island Cruise – Take in the islands around the central half of Windermere Fares – Adult £13.50 / Child* £6.75

Freedom of the Lake Round the lake from any pier. This is valid for 24 hours from time of purchase and is valid on all scheduled sailings including the Islands Cruise and cruises to Brockhole. Fares – Adult £32.00 / Child* £16.00

*Child is 4 to 15 years

All Tickets are to be booked and seats must be reserved online before departing.

Tel 015394 43360

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  • Lake Cruises, Boat Trips & Ferries
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Three random interesting facts about Windermere Lake Cruises

  • The M.V Tern was built by Forrest & Son, Wyvenhoe, Essex in 1891.
  • At full capacity the M.V Teal and M.V Tern can hold 533 passengers.
  • The Princess of the Lake, while being constructed of wood can reach a maximum speed of 10 knots.

(Updated March 2024)

Contact : Windermere Lake Cruises, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3HQ. Tel 015394 43360. Grid Ref : NY 377030

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Windermere Lake Cruises

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Windermere Lake Cruises - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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Windermere Lake Cruises

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Place Description

Step aboard the most popular boats in the Lake District. Relax and enjoy the stunning Windermere scenery. Combine a cruise on traditional ‘steamers; and modern launches with walks, visitor attractions and Lakeland villages.

Windermere Lake Cruises operates over 100 daily scheduled sailings on the lake at the height of the summer and they vary between 30 minutes and 90 minutes. Popular cruises connect Bowness, Brockhole and Ambleside (Red Cruise) and offers stunning views across the Lakeland fells. All our cruise tickets allow you to break up the journey and disembark at each stop, explore the local area and then return on a later sailing.

Pick the Yellow Cruise to explore the southern half of Windermere with regular sailings between Bowness and Lakeside, ideal for visiting Lakeland Motor Museum, Lakes Aquarium and Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway. The seasonal Green Cruise allows visitors to travel across to the quiet western shore and explore Wray Castle in a traditional wooden launch.

If you’re stuck for time or want to sample the sights and sounds of Windermere, hop on the Blue (Islands) Cruise from Bowness. This 45 minute circular cruise includes a fascinating commentary on the history of England’s largest natural lake.

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Windermere Lake Cruises

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Windermere Lake Cruises is the commercial boat operator on Windermere. Each year more than 1.3 million passengers take a trip on one of their fleet of 16 boats and enjoy the beautiful scenery the area offers.

Measuring 10½ miles long, Windermere is not only the biggest lake in the Lake District, but also the largest in England. Bowness , on the eastern side of the lake, is the only major settlement that’s actually on the shoreline. Waterhead , a harbour at the northern tip of the lake, serves Ambleside , half a mile inshore.

Lakeside , at the southern end of the lake, is a small harbour with a number of attractions such as the Lakes Aquarium and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway .

Windermere Lake Cruises offers cruises on Windermere calling at Bowness, Ambleside (Waterhead), and Lakeside.

Red Cruises run between Bowness and Ambleside with up to 18 sailings a day in the peak season (April to October). A return ticket costs £9.50 for adults and £5.70 for children (5 – 15). Single tickets are also available. In the winter months there are 8 sailings a day.

Yellow Cruises sail between Bowness and Lakeside with up to 10 sailings a day in the peak season. Return tickets cost £9.80 for adults and £5.90 for children. In the winter there are 4 sailings a day.

Blue Cruises are circular cruises round the islands of Windermere. They depart from Bowness and return there after the 45 minute cruise. Tickets cost £7 for adults and £3.50 for children. Between April and October there are sailings every 30 minutes. In the winter there are just two sailings each day.

Windermere Lake Cruises boat on Windermere in the Lake District, England

Green Cruises sail from Ambleside to the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole. Return tickets cost £7 for adults and £3.50 for children. Green Cruises only operate between April and October.

Freedom of the Lake tickets offer good value for money and allow travel on any of the above routes. They are valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase. For ticket prices visit the official website.

Between May and October, Windermere Lake Cruises also offer a ferry service between Lakeside and the delightful Fell Foot Park . The company also offers a ferry service between Bowness and Ferry House.

Between April and October, schedules are coordinated with the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. Combined boat and train tickets are available. Packages are also offered for passengers wishing to visit the Lakes Aquarium at Lakeside or the Lakeland Motor Museum at Backbarrow.

Windermere Lake Cruises also hires out rowing boats and motor boats. Rowing boats can be hired from Bowness and Ambleside (Waterhead) and motor boats from Bowness.

Nearby Attractions

Tourist attractions and things to do near Windermere Lake Cruises include:

  • World of Beatrix Potter (0.2 miles) - Potter’s tales are brought to life

Nearby Hotels

Hotels near Windermere Lake Cruises include:

  • Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa (0.1 miles)
  • Laura Ashley Hotel - The Belsfield (0.1 miles)
  • Burnside Hotel & Spa (0.2 miles)
  • Burnside Spa Suites & Apartments (0.2 miles)
  • Westmorland Inn (0.4 miles)
  • Aphrodites Boutique Hotel (0.7 miles)
  • Windermere Boutique Hotel (0.7 miles)
  • Linthwaite House Hotel (0.8 miles)
  • The Ryebeck Country House & Restaurant (0.9 miles)
  • Glenburn Hotel (0.9 miles)

Nearby Transport Links

Transport links near Windermere Lake Cruises include:

  • Ferry Nab (0.7 miles) - Eastern pier of the Windermere Ferry.
  • Ferry House (0.9 miles) - Western pier of the Windermere Ferry.

Map showing location of Windermere Lake Cruises.

Address and postcode Bowness Pier, The Promenade Bowness Cumbria United Kingdom LA23 3HQ

Visit Windermere Lake Cruises Website

Reviews and Additional Information

I loved going on the boat across the lake. What a lovely way to see the villages and hillsides. Travel in style to your destinations. It was so relaxing.

There’s a large island in the middle of Windermere called Belle Island. It was believed to have been settled by the Romans.

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Map of Windermere (lake). Includes places to stay and visit.

Windermere Lake Cruises

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WINDERMERE LAKE CRUISES (Ambleside) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Birkdale House

Take a Cruise on Lake Windermere

Birkdale House

28th June 2022

At ten-and-a-half miles long, Windermere isn’t just the longest lake in the Lake District, it’s the longest lake in England. That’s a lot to explore. So why not take a cruise on Lake Windemere aboard one of Windermere Lake Cruises’ historic steamers? The perfect way to spend a day soaking up the stunning scenery.

Windermere Lake Cruises’ Piers

The main Windermere Lake Cruises’ piers are in Bowness – the ideal starting point for your day on the lake, as it’s just a short walk from Birkdale House – Ambleside (Waterhead) and Lakeside, which lies at the southern end of the lake.

There are also a number of smaller piers dotted around the lake, including Windermere Jetty (Museum), Brockhole and Wray Castle. All of which means you have the flexibility to plan a day for you and your family to truly remember.

The Cruises

No matter where you start your journey, be it Bowness, Ambleside, or Lakeside Pier, you’ll be treated to stunning views of mountain scenery, secluded bays and the many wooded islands.

Many of the cruises visit popular local attractions which are conveniently close to the piers, so choose a combined ticket, save money and enjoy a great day out.

There are four cruises which run all year, and an additional four options which are added for the summer months, including a stunning evening cruise timed perfectly to catch the sunset over the Lakeland Fells.

This beautiful round trip from Bowness can be taken as a 75-minute non-landing cruise, calling at Windermere Jetty, Brockhole and Ambleside before returning to Bowness. Alternatively, you may board at one of these other piers and return on a later boat from Bowness. The ticket does allow you to get off at each stop and catch a later boat back.

As with many of the cruises, there is a fascinating commentary on the history, attractions and points of interest around Windermere.

Yellow Cruise

The Yellow Cruise is a stunning cruise along the southern half of Lake Windermere to Lakeside. It can be taken as a 90-minute return cruise, or you can get off at Lakeside and get a later boat back.

If you have children, the Lakeside Aquarium is a real treat, as is the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway, both of which can be accessed from Lakeside.

Or maybe enjoy an afternoon tea in the Lakeside Hotel. So many options!

Islands (Blue) Cruise

This 45-minute circular cruise from Bowness offers fantastic views of the many islands, wooded shorelines and bays on the lake, as well as unrivalled views of the Lakeland Fells.

Freedom of the Lake

The Freedom of the Lake pass means you can enjoy a full day out on Lake Windermere, hopping off at the various piers as you choose, allowing you to take in some of the fabulous attractions the Lake District has to offer.

The ticket is valid for twenty-four hours from the time of purchase and can be used on the Red Cruise, Yellow Cruise, Islands (Blue) Cruise and the Green Cruise (see below).

Green Cruise

The first of Windermere Lake Cruises’ summer options is the Green Cruise, a chance for you to enjoy a cruise on a traditional wooden launch and allowing you to hop off at any stop and visit some great family attractions.

The Green Cruise is a beautiful cruise around the northern end of Windermere, starting at either Ambleside, Wray Castle or Brockhole.

Walker’s Ticket (using Windermere Car Ferry)

The Walker’s Ticket is a stunning circular route of Windermere by boat, combining two boat cruises and the car ferry, as well as a four mile walk along the quiet western shore between Wray Castle and car ferry at Ferry House.

Evening Cruise

This one and a quarter hour cruise means you can hopefully catch a sunset over Windermere – and what a glorious sight it is. This relaxing cruise takes place during the summer months with the starting times varying according to the time of year, so that they coincide with the sun setting.

Buffet Cruise

The final cruise is the Buffet Cruise . Enjoy a freshly prepared buffet, a relaxed atmosphere and a unique viewing point for some of the Lake District’s finest scenery.

There’s also a resident band – ‘Trickle Charge’ – who will be playing a selection of Latin rhythms, mainstream jazz and tasteful pop as you cruise the entire length of Windermere.

Cruises take place on Saturday evenings from 2 July to 27 August and start from Bowness Pier.

There’s no doubt that the best way to explore this ten-and-a-half-mile stretch of water is to take a cruise on Lake Windermere, a chance to see the Lakeland Fells and the surrounding villages, towns and attractions from the water, as well as the abundant wildlife.

A Windermere Lake Cruise is the most popular choice for visitors to the Lake District, and it’s easy to see why.

If you would like to take a cruise on Lake Windermere and would like some more information, please do get in touch .

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Windermere Lake Cruises

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The Historical Essence of Windermere Cruising

Comfortably seated with the wind in your hair and a warming drink in your hand… Could there be a better way to experience England’s longest lake? Ferries, originally rowing boats, have been moving passengers and goods up, down and across Windermere for centuries, but it was only in 1845, with the launch of the first steamer, the ‘Lady of the Lake’, that cruising for the sake of cruising was born. Windermere Lake Cruises, past tiny islands and enjoying views of towering fells, became a staple of the Lake District experience. 

Diverse Fleet for Every Traveler

A large fleet of vessels now plies these waters, from converted steamers with three decks that hold more than 500 passengers to charming wooden launches with room for just 57 people. At the peak of the summer holiday season, there are dozens of scheduled sailings every day, varying from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.

Major Embarkation Points for Windermere Lake Cruises

The lake’s entire length is covered, with the main embarkation points situated at Ambleside (Waterhead), Bowness and Lakeside. There are also piers at Brockhole , Wray Castle , Ferry House and Fell Foot.    

 Combo Adventures: More than Just a Cruise

Combined tickets enable travellers to link a boat trip with a visit to one of several local attractions – the Lakeland Motor Museum , the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway , and the Lakes Aquarium, all of which are located at the southern end of Windermere.

Special Themed Cruises

Seasonal trips include summer evening buffets with live music, Santa sailings with Father Christmas on board and nature-themed cruises that include commentary by a National Park ranger. Among the species you might see are red-breasted merganser, mute swan, Canada goose, greylag goose, coot and the ubiquitous mallard. There are also large numbers of cormorants roosting on the islands. Otters frequent some of the quieter spots along the shore and it’s possible to see red deer and red squirrels in the woods. Come back in the winter to spot migratory birds such as tufted duck, goldeneye, pochard and great crested grebe.

For the Cycling Enthusiasts

Bikes are welcome on many services and, from May to September, there’s a dedicated bike boat that operates between Brockhole and Bark Barn on the western shore. Here, miles of traffic-free trails enable cyclists to discover the haunted woodland of Claife Heights. Bikes, tag-alongs and trailers can be hired from Brockhole. Similarly, Windermere Lake Cruises services open up countless opportunities for walkers, including several linear routes. Consider catching a boat from Bowness to Lakeside and then walking the seven miles north, through woods and along the quiet western shore, to Ferry House to catch the Cross Lakes Shuttle (April-October) back to Bowness.

An Oasis for Walkers

There is also a special ‘Walkers’ Ticket’ available from April until the end of October, which enables you to catch the boat across from the eastern shore to Wray Castle, walk the wooded shore path south for four miles to Ferry House and then catch the two boats needed to get you back to your starting point.  

For more information

Address: Winander house, Glebe Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3HE

https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/

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Windermere lake cruises

Our Pick of the Best Boat Trips on Windermere

26 July 2021 Local area

Lake District Boat Trips

Windermere is the largest lake in the Lake District National Park and one of the top tourist attractions in the UK. Every year, thousands flock to its shores to admire the beautiful views and enjoy a well-earned.

We think a boat trip is one of the best ways to truly appreciate the sheer size and beauty of Windermere and an absolute must during your stay at Park Cliffe Caravan Park ! You’ll get a completely different perspective of the scenery and will make happy family memories to cherish when you return home.

Here we list our pick of the best boat trips on Windermere. We outline what the various trips entail and what you can expect to see.

Windermere Yacht Cruises

Windermere Yacht Cruises offer scenic sails aboard their luxury yacht. The boat accommodates up to 10 people and is perfect for family get togethers or a special treat with friends.

The skipper and crew will do their utmost to ensure you have a memorable experience during your trip. They’ll do all the hard work so you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the views as you make your way around the lake.

Prices vary depending on the number of people in your group, but all packages include food and drink. Choose between romantic champagne and strawberries, the savoury Lakeland grazing platter or Ploughman’s lunch.

windermere yacht cruises

Windermere Quays Electric Boat Hire

Hire a powerboat from Windermere Quays Electric Boat Hire and explore Windermere at your leisure. This is the perfect option for families wanting to explore secluded coves and take in the scenery at your own pace. There are a range of unique boats available to hire by the hour – with most accommodating up to 10 passengers. The self-drive boats are eco-friendly and quiet, so you can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of The Lakes without being interrupted by a noisy engine!

We highly recommend hiring one of the fantail boats. These are the latest addition to the fleet and have been specially imported to offer guests a truly memorable experience. There are 3 colour options available, classic white, powder blue and a striking hot pink. The iconic pink boat is part of the team’s corporate responsibility programme and can only be rented by guests wishing to make a donation to Cancer Research.

Find the boats at Windermere Quays in Bowness-on-Windermere. Prior booking is recommended, especially in peak season. All safety equipment is provided and you’ll receive a thorough briefing from the friendly team before setting out. The boats are easy to manoeuvre and no prior experience is necessary.  

Sail ‘n’ Dine

If you’re celebrating a special occasion during your holiday in the Lake District, the Sail ‘n’ Dine Experience aboard Maddie Too is an absolute must! This popular boat trip is in hot demand, so you’ll need to book well in advance of your stay at Park Cliffe.

Choose between a lunch or evening cruise with your family group. You’ll begin the trip with a gentle sail out into the Lake, where you can take in the far-reaching views and relax with a drink in hand. The crew will choose a picturesque spot in a quiet cove to anchor for the rest of the trip, before inviting you into the saloon to tuck into the 5-star fayre.

Evening cruisers will enjoy a 4-course meal accompanied by a complimentary glass of house wine. The delicious dishes are all prepared on board and local produce is used throughout. Finish the meal with a tasty cheese board and cup of tea before heading back to the Marina.

sail n dine windermere

VIP Lake Tours

Enjoy a skippered excursion aboard one of VIP Lake Tours luxury motorboats. The relaxing trips last between 1 and 4 hours and can seat up to 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 small children.

There are a range of packages on available, with trips lasting between 1 and 4 hours. The helpful team are happy to tailor the cruise to your requirements and can accommodate special requests.

On VIP Lake Tours website, you’ll find a selection of sample itineraries that will give you an idea of what is possible. There are lots of different options available including the Island Tour and an Afternoon Tea Cruise.

You can order catering on board, enabling you to sample a selection of sweet and savouries while looking out across Windermere. You can also bring your own snacks and drinks.  

Brockhole Rowing Boat Hire

If you fancy getting out on the water under your own steam, why not give hiring a rowing boat a go? Brockhole has a number of rowing boats for hire , that have been built to replicate the traditional boats you’d have found on Windermere more than 200 years ago!

The rowing boats can accommodate up to 6 people and are available to hire for 1 hour at a time. It’s a fantastic activity to enjoy as a couple or with younger members of the family in tow! The helpful shore team will give you a brief instruction before heading out, to ensure you get to grips with it quickly. They’ll also provide you with buoyancy aids so you stay nice and safe on the lake.

From Brockhole’s fantastic location you can explore the stunning scenery around Windermere’s Northern basin. Please note, rowing boat hire is weather dependent and will not be possible during high winds.

rowing boat hire windermere

Windermere Lake Cruise

Hop aboard one of Windemere Lake Cruises fleet of historic paddle steamers. The traditional boats are the ideal choice for anyone hoping to explore at a slower pace. The boats travel to various destinations around Windermere and offer fantastic views from the top deck.

There are 6 routes available of differing lengths. Flexible tickets are available as well as combined tickets that allow entry to some of The Lakes best attractions. Our personal favourite is the 90 minutes Yellow Cruise. The round trip from Bowness showcases some of Windermere’s best scenery, including historic houses and ancient woodlands.

Many of Windermere Lake Cruise’s trips operate year-round, allowing you take in the changing scenery during the picturesque autumn and winter months.

Windermere lake cruises

Windermere Wakesurfing

For groups looking for something a little more adventurous, we highly recommend booking a boat trip with Windermere Wakesurfing . The family run business has been based on the lake for over 30 years and offer adrenaline fuelled trips aboard their fleet of top of the range tow boats.

The trips are suitable for complete beginners or experienced wave riders. The team will create the perfect conditions needed for you to excel at this action-packed sport. Using top of the range helmets with a talking intercom system, your coach will communicate with you throughout your time in the water. You’ll receive expert tuition, helping you understand the basics or hone your existing skills.

Windermere Wake surfing also offer private boat charter.

Park Cliffe is an award-winning holiday park in the Lake District National Park . It occupies an enviable location, with stunning views across Windermere and easy access to some of the Lake Districts best attractions.  

There is a range of accommodation available including caravan holiday homes , touring , camping and glamping . It’s the ideal choice for families or couples wanting to enjoy a staycation in the UK.

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Windermere Lake Cruises

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“Many options to choose between Ambleside and Lakeside” - VisitEngland Assessor

Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria

lake windermere green cruise

Step aboard the most popular boats in the Lake District. Relax and enjoy the stunning Windermere scenery. Combine a cruise on traditional ‘steamers; and modern launches with walks, visitorattractions and Lakeland villages.Windermere Lake Cruises operates over 100 daily scheduled sailings on the lake at the height of the summer and they vary between 30 minutes and 90 minutes. Popular cruises connect Bowness, Brockhole and Ambleside (Red Cruise) and offer stunning views across the Lakeland fells. All cruise tickets allow you to break up the journey and disembark at each stop, explore the local area and then return on a later sailing. Pick the Yellow Cruise to explore the southern half of Windermere with regular sailings between Bowness and Lakeside, ideal for visiting Lakeland Motor Museum, Lakes Aquarium and Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway. The seasonal Green Cruise allows visitors to travel across to the quiet western shore and explore Wray Castle in a traditional wooden launch. If you’re stuck for time or want to sample the sights and sounds of Windermere, hop on the Blue (Islands) Cruise from Bowness. This 45 minute circular cruise includes a fascinating commentary on the history of England's largest natural lake.

Awards, accolades & Welcome Schemes

Quality assured visitor attraction, also in the area.

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About the area

Discover cumbria.

Cumbria's rugged yet beautiful landscape is best known for the Lake District National Park that sits within its boundaries. It’s famous for Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, and Derwent Water, ‘Queen of the English Lakes'. This beautiful countryside once inspired William Wordsworth and his home, Dove Cottage, in Grasmere is a popular museum. Another place of literary pilgrimage is Hill Top, home of Beatrix Potter, located near Windermere. Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all created here.

Much of Cumbria is often overlooked in favour of the Lake Distirct. In the south, the Lune Valley remains as lovely as it was when Turner painted it. The coast is also a secret gem. With its wide cobbled streets, spacious green and views of the Solway Firth, Silloth is a fine Victorian seaside resort. Other towns along this coastline include Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport. Carlisle is well worth a look – once a Roman camp, its red-brick cathedral dates back to the early 12th century and its 11th-century castle was built by William Rufus.

Nearby stays

Places to stay.

lake windermere green cruise

Burnside Park luxury self-catering accommodation is at the heart of the English Lake District.…

lake windermere green cruise

Beechwood is a family run, superior bed and breakfast in Bowness in the Lake District. It is a…

lake windermere green cruise

Cradel Haus combines the luxury of a hotel and the comfort of home, are nestled the best…

lake windermere green cruise

Historic photographs commemorate the fact that this delightful house was once the family home of…

Dining nearby

Restaurants and pubs.

lake windermere green cruise

Located on a cobbled street in the heart of Bowness, Porto is just a five-minute stroll from Windermere,…

lake windermere green cruise

Once the property of Beatrix Potter, Lindeth Howe is a classic country house on a hillside, overlooking…

lake windermere green cruise

Set within the stunning Linthwaite House Hotel, Henrock is overseen by Simon Rogan and it’s named after a…

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In an enviable location – Lake Windermere is literally at the bottom of the garden – Storrs Hall Hotel has…

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Great North Swim Special - Ambleside Start

An easy way to get to the start/finish line of the great north swim.

This special boat service runs on Saturday 8 - Sunday 9 June 2023 between Ambleside (Waterhead) and Brockhole - the start/finish line of The Great North Swim.

With a direct service between Ambleside (Waterhead) ↔ Brockhole, swimmers and spectators can enjoy a hassle-free park & ride service between the many car parks around Ambleside (Waterhead). Beat the crowds and limited parking at Brockhole by using this special boat service.

🏊 Looking for an Bowness shuttle service?

A small map of the route between Ambleside Waterhead & Brockhole

Boat departures

🕑 Saturday 8 June

  • We depart Ambleside (Waterhead) at 7:45, 8:45, 9:45, 10:45, 11:45, 12:45, 13:45, 14:45, 15:45. The journey takes 20 minutes.
  • We depart Brockhole at 8:15, 9:15, 11:15, 12:15, 13:15, 14:15, 15:15, 16:15. The journey takes 20 minutes.

🕑 Sunday 9 June

  • We depart Ambleside (Waterhead) at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00. The journey takes 20 minutes.
  • We depart Brockhole at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, 15:03. The journey takes 20 minutes.

Swimmers prepare for departure at Brockhole

Ticketed Seating To ensure that everyone can get to/from the start/finish these boats have ticketed seating.

  • Choose from either a single or return journey from either Ambleside or Brockhole.
  • You must book a seat for the outward and return legs of your journey for everyone in your group.
  • Infants (under 3s) who don't need a seat (who can travel on a parents knee) can travel for free.

A modern launch heading townards Brockhole

Standard Ticket Prices (valid from Saturday 23rd March 2024 until Sunday 3rd November 2024)

  • Prices below are return fares
  • Book your tickets by selecting a date in the 'Book Your Cruise' box below.

Additional Information

  • 🚳 Sorry, no bikes allowed on these special cruises
  • 🚫 Sorry, no Local Resident Card / discount cards can be used on these special cruises
  • ♿ Sorry, our modern launches on this service are not wheelchair accessible. Please try a Red Cruise or Yellow Cruise steamer departure instead.
  • 🐕 Well-behaved dogs travel free (please keep them close to you at all times)

Beat the crowds with a special park & ride boat service to the Great North Swim.

This ticket can be used to start from either Ambleside or Brockhole. Choose a single or return ticket. Launches (smaller boats) are marked in red on the timetable below.

⚠ Please ensure you arrive in plenty of time for your booking, tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Book Your Cruise

  • Child prices are valid for children aged 5-15 years old.
  • Infants (Under 5s) who can sit on a parents knee travel free.

We're sorry, this cruise isn't sailing today. Please contact the booking office for more information.

Lake Spotter's Guide - information on the main things to look out for around the lake

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COMMENTS

  1. Green Cruise

    Situated on the quiet western shore of Windermere, this Victorian neo-gothic castle and scenic grounds are managed by The National Trust. Not your typical castle, the building has a fascinating history plus there's a plant-based cafe & coffee shop on site. Castle open Saturday - Thursday, 10:00 - 16:00* Open more during school holidays.

  2. Explore Windermere, England's largest lake by boat

    Welcome to Windermere Lake Cruises - the most popular attraction in Cumbria. Windermere is England's largest lake, in the heart of the Lake District. We offer cruises from 45 minutes to 3 hours - or you can even spend all day on and around the lake with our fantastic Freedom of the Lake ticket. No matter where you start your journey, be it ...

  3. Windermere Lake Cruises, Wray

    Windermere Lake Cruises provides visitors with the opportunity to arrive at this historic spot in style, on board traditional and modern launches on the Green Cruise. Passengers can board the boats at Ambleside (Waterhead) or Brockhole piers and travel the short distance to Wray Pier, around 10 minute's walk from the castle itself. ...

  4. The Ultimate Windermere Lake Cruise Guide with 8 Amazing Places to Stop

    Red Route - Bowness to Ambleside: £11.80 adult return, £7.10 children. Blue Route - Windermere Islands cruise: £9 adult return, £4.50 children. Green Route - Ambleside to Ambleside (via Wray castle and Brockhole: £9.40 adult return, £4.75 children.

  5. Windermere Lake Cruises

    The Windermere Lake Cruises pier at Bowness-on-Windermere. Smaller boats do a circular tour between Waterhead, Wray Castle and Brockhole. Although often described as steamers, the former British Rail owned boats are all in fact motor vessels, as are the MV Swift of 2020, MV Tern of 1891, the MV Teal of 1936, and the MV Swan of 1938. ...

  6. Windermere Lake Cruises

    4,510 reviews. #6 of 17 Outdoor Activities in Bowness-on-Windermere. Boat Tours. Open now. 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Write a review. See all photos. About. Windermere Lake Cruises is a leading tourist attraction in the heart of the Lake District on England's largest lake.

  7. Windermere Lake Cruises, Waterhead

    Red Cruise - our most popular cruise connects Ambleside with the bustling village of Bowness, half-way down Lake Windermere. It operates all-year-round and it takes 35 minutes to reach Bowness. As with all our cruises on Windermere, your ticket allows you to hop off, explore and catch a later boat back. Green Cruise - this seasonal service ...

  8. Windermere Lake Cruises

    Windermere Lake Cruises operates over 100 daily scheduled sailings on the lake at the height of the summer and they vary between 30 minutes and 90 minutes. ... Lakes Aquarium and Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway. The seasonal Green Cruise allows visitors to travel across to the quiet western shore and explore Wray Castle in a traditional ...

  9. Windermere Boat Trips & Hire

    Windermere Lake Cruises. Green Cruises sail from Ambleside to the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole. Return tickets cost £7 for adults and £3.50 for children. Green Cruises only operate between April and October. Freedom of the Lake tickets offer good value for money and allow travel on any of the above routes.

  10. WINDERMERE LAKE CRUISES (Ambleside)

    Windermere Lake Cruises is a leading tourist attraction in the heart of the Lake District on England's largest lake. Steamers and Launches sail daily throughout the year with Summer season connections for The Lakeland Motor Museum, Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway,Lake Aquarium, the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole, Fell Foot Country park, Wray Castle and Ferry House (with connecting ...

  11. Take a Cruise on Lake Windermere

    Take a cruise on Lake Windermere, the best way to explore the England's largest lake and to see the Lake District's stunning scenery. Booking & Availability. 015394 45756. 015394 45756 Menu ... The first of Windermere Lake Cruises' summer options is the Green Cruise, a chance for you to enjoy a cruise on a traditional wooden launch and ...

  12. Windermere Lake Cruises

    Windermere Lake Cruises, past tiny islands and enjoying views of towering fells, became a staple of the Lake District experience. Diverse Fleet for Every Traveler. A large fleet of vessels now plies these waters, from converted steamers with three decks that hold more than 500 passengers to charming wooden launches with room for just 57 people.

  13. Windermere Lake Cruises, Lakeside

    Located at the tranquil southern end of Lake Windermere, Lakeside Pier offers a different pace of exploration in the Lake District. Board a Windermere Lake Cruise's vessel and get treated to the finest views from the water. The iconic Yellow Cruise connects Lakeside Pier with the bustling village of Bowness-on-Windermere.

  14. Our Pick of the Best Boat Trips on Windermere

    VIP Lake Tours. Enjoy a skippered excursion aboard one of VIP Lake Tours luxury motorboats. The relaxing trips last between 1 and 4 hours and can seat up to 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 small children. There are a range of packages on available, with trips lasting between 1 and 4 hours. The helpful team are happy to tailor the cruise to your ...

  15. Windermere Lake Cruises

    Our View. Step aboard the most popular boats in the Lake District. Relax and enjoy the stunning Windermere scenery. Combine a cruise on traditional 'steamers; and modern launches with walks, visitorattractions and Lakeland villages.Windermere Lake Cruises operates over 100 daily scheduled sailings on the lake at the height of the summer and they vary between 30 minutes and 90 minutes.

  16. Windermere Lake Cruises

    Windermere Lake Cruises, Bowness-on-Windermere. 25,315 likes · 1,236 talking about this. We offer a range of relaxing scenic cruises on Windermere - England's largest natural lake.

  17. Windermere Lake Cruises, Bowness

    Windermere Lake Cruises operates a range of boat trips from Bowness Pier, offering breathtaking scenery and a variety of experiences. Choose the Red Cruise (75mins) for a scenic journey to Ambleside with stunning mountain views, or choose the classic Yellow Cruise (90 mins), a round trip to the southern tip of the lake.

  18. Lake Windermere, Boat Cruise & Free time Bowness

    Lake Windermere, Boat Cruise & Free time Bowness 1 Days from just £40.00 Bowness-on-Windermere is a sprawling tourist town on the shore of Windermere, about halfway along the 10.5 mile length of the lake between Waterhead at the North end.Enjoy a boat trip and free time in this beatiful part of the Lakes.

  19. Great North Swim Ferry

    This special boat service runs on Saturday 8 - Sunday 9 June 2023 between Ambleside (Waterhead) and Brockhole - the start/finish line of The Great North Swim. With a direct service between Ambleside (Waterhead) ↔ Brockhole, swimmers and spectators can enjoy a hassle-free park & ride service between the many car parks around Ambleside (Waterhead).

  20. 'Raw sewage pumped into Lake Windermere for 10 hours'

    United Utilities left raw sewage spilling into Windermere in the Lake District for 10 hours in February after a telecommunications fault caused its main pumping station to fail, according to ...