Windermere is situated within
the Lake District National Park and is the largest natural lake in
It has been one of the country’s most popular places
for holidays and summer homes since 1847, when the Kendal and Windermere
Railway built a branch line to it.
There are two towns on the lake, Ambleside and
Bowness-on-Windermere with the town of Windermere and its railway
station about a fifteen-minute walk from the lakefront.
The lake contains 18 islands, the largest being the
privately owned Belle Isle (40 acres (16 ha)) lying opposite Bowness and
around a kilometre in length.
Passenger boat services serve the length of the lake,
from Lakeside railway station, on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite heritage
steam railway at the southern end of the lake, to Waterhead Bay near
Ambleside in the north. Intermediate stops are made at Bowness and, by
smaller launches only, at Brockholes.
Three of the old railway boats are operated by
Windermere Lake Cruises Ltd, along with a fleet of smaller and more
modern launches. Although often described as steamers, the former
railway boats are all in fact motor vessels, and are the MV Tern of
1891, the MV Teal of 1936, and the MV Swan of 1938.
The Windermere Ferry, a vehicle carrying cable ferry,
runs across the lake from Ferry Nab on the eastern side of the lake to
Far Sawrey on the western side of the lake.
Windermere Steamboat Museum is located in Bowness on
Rayrigg Road, and includes a collection of vintage steam boats dating
back to 1896.