Having just returned from a four day city break in Malaga, it was a quick turn around unpacking and repacking an overnight bag for our whistle stop trip to Windermere . Sam and I are very fortunate to have access to a family friends apartment which is ideally located in Bowness on Windermere. We stocked up on some essentials including milk, butter, crumpets, lemonade and the Sam’s obligatory bottle of prosecco. We rose early the next morning to pack the car up and made the short 100 mile trip across the A69 and down the M6. A steady drive, we aimed to be in Windermere for late morning.
It was a pleasant November day with the sun beginning to peak when we pulled up at our accommodation, which is a lovely two bedroom top floor apartment a five minute walk from Lake Windermere. We dumped our belongings and made up the bed with our fresh bedsheets. Camera and GoPro at the ready we wrapped up with our winter jackets and walked down towards the Lakeside. For a Tuesday it was considerably busy with tourists, including a number of Chinese bus tours who were waiting to take one of the very popular boat tours on Lake Windermere.
Sam and I decided that we would attempt to get our daily goal of 10,000 steps in, so we opted to walk through National Trust Cockshott Point with beautiful views over the lake. Which eventually brought you out next to the Windermere Ferry which connects the busy eastern side with the peaceful countryside on the western side of the lake. The ferry is a pedestrian and car ferry which operates throughout the day. It can carry up to 16 cars and 100 pedestrians. The cost for pedestrians is a mere 50p per person, it allows you to experience a lake crossing and the opportunity to get some great pictures. More importantly for me you could pay using using your contactless debit card, I’m the worlds worst for not carrying cash. At the time of writing the cost for private vehicles was £4.40. The journey is short and sees the vessel pulled along on a wire mechanism. After 5 to 10 mins you are docked on the West side.
A short stroll from the ferry you will find the National Trust Claife Viewing Station. With the sun shining through accompanied by blue skies we entered the property through a lovely gated archway. Inside the courtyard was a seating area for a lovely looking cafe which was closed as it was out of season. A slight incline took us up towards the viewing station itself, which allows you to get some fantastic photos through the old windows which act as a nice frame to the backdrop on both sides of the lake. You can play around with the camera and get some lovely shots here. After taking numerous photos including some for a friend modelling his XRP hat which he has for sale. We walked along the western side of the lake taking us in the general direction of Wray Castle which was 4 miles away. The walk to Wray Castle would take approximately 1 hr 20 mins. Having already visited Wray Castle by car on a previous trip to the area, we decided we would just enjoy stretching the legs and have a play with the camera snapping shots of the lake and the surroundings. After around an hour we doubled back on ourselves heading towards the area we started at, to catch the ferry back over to Bowness on Windermere.
Alighting from our return journey we headed back towards the busy eastern side in search of a cafe having worked up an appetite and gasping for a cup of tea. We opted for Bryson’s Tea Room and Bakery which offered a full lunch menu of sandwiches, jacket potatoes and pastries. We both decided that a sarnie was the order of the day with a pot of tea to wash it down. Over lunch Sam researched other places we could see and as most required us to drive, we returned to the apartment for the car. We drove south along the eastern side to our next destination National Trust Fell Foot, a beautiful lakeshore park with stunning mountain views. Being national trust members meant free parking. Large portions of this attraction were under renovation and it was beginning to get dark so our time here was limited, we had a short walk took some pictures and I messed around on one of the short balance assault courses they had for the kids. I can imagine it is fantastic in the spring and summer months whether it be for a stroll, walking the dog, having a bbq by the lake or more the adventurous water sports, this place certainly has a lot to offer.
From Fell Foot we drove along to Ambleside for a coffee and has a browse in the local shops. Sam managed to find something to buy in the form of a Christmas Pot Purée, before I grabbed a few beers to head back to the apartment with. We already planned a visit to the Mela Indian restaurant which we had visited before on a previous occasion, that is situated just down the road. Although they have changed the pricing and the set menu which was very popular, it is no longer available. A slightly more expensive meal than we had previously, but it was very tasty and topped off a great day.
We rose early the following morning grabbed some breakfast, packed up the car said goodbye to the lovely apartment and headed out to visit our first planned stop. Stagshaw Garden, which is described by the National Trust as a haven of peace and tranquility. A complete contrast to the previous day’s weather saw a overcast day with rain, so hats were on and hoods were up. The garden was created by Cubby Acland, a former National Trust Agent in 1957 and boasts a collection of over 300 shrubs set amongst native oak trees. It was very peaceful walking around the gardens, Sam and I were the only people there. It was beautiful with a small waterfall meandering through the middle of the garden carrying water from the hills above. Again I can imagine in spring the garden would be absolutely stunning. We did attempt to climb up one of the nearby hills to try and get a view over the lake, but the weather got the better of us on this occasion so we headed back the the car to dry off before heading to Grasmere.
Grasmere was the next destination so we could stock up on the Grasmere Gingerbread. Having lots of orders from friends back home to pick some up for them, we parked the car and followed the smells coming from the infamous Grasmere Gingerbread. A small building, that was formally the village school, often accompanied by a queue as it is very popular. All stocked up, we did discover that you can now order online and it is delivered to your door the very next day…. Dangerous! We stopped for coffee in a nearby cafe, before we headed to our final stop. Grasmere is also the resting place for the Wordsworth Family, the Famous poet William Wordsworth and there is am aptly named ‘Daffodil Garden’ here too.
From Grasmere we drove along the A591 which offered stunning views of Lake Thirlmere, before turning on to the A66 to Troutbeck and down towards Ullswater and the Aira Force Waterfall. What a stunning place to visit. We parked the car in one of the National Trust carparks and followed the signposts towards Aira force. I have to say it doesn’t disappoint. A 15 to 20 minute stroll following the cascading water brings you to a 65ft waterfall, Aira Force which is described as a showcase for the power and beauty of nature. Sam and I were snapping away with the camera attempting to get the perfect shot, but to be honest it was great to just put the camera down, feel the power and listen to the sounds of the waterfall crashing onto the rocks below. I would definitely say that this was the highlight of the two days and one I can’t recommend highly enough.
Our whistlestop visit to Windermere and The Lake District was over, as they say until next time… Returning to the car we headed back up the road A66, M6 and A69 for our steady 2 hour drive home to Newcastle. With lots of new memories to treasure.
To read about our previous Lake District adventures click here