Adventure & Travel Blog Lake District Lovers

Things to Do in Bowness on Windermere

bowness on windermere lake district

Nuzzled along the eastern shore of Lake Windermere, Bowness-on-Windermere is a buzzing honey pot renowned for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant shops, restaurants and bars. Whether you have a penchant for outdoor activities or lazy lunches, you’ll find a wide array of things to see and do in Bowness.

Without a doubt, Windermere Lake is one of the most standout features of Bowness and the Lake District National Park. As well as laying claim to being the largest natural lake in England, it’s also enveloped by wooded hills and iconic peaks such as Gummer’s How, Orrest Head and Brant Fell.

windermere western shore
Western shore of Windermere

Things to Do in Bowness on Windermere

Whatever the weather, there’s always plenty of things to do in Bowness-on-Windermere but there’s no denying the sunshine makes outdoor adventures much more enjoyable.

Outdoor Activities in Bowness

You can enjoy a variety of activities on the water itself, such as a boat trip with Windermere lake cruises, kayaking and paddleboarding. Alternatively, explore the area on foot along one of the many walking trails or go on a cycling adventure.

windermere cycling
Total Adventure cycling tour

Total Adventure Bike Hire

One of the best car free ways to explore Bownesss on Windermere and the nearby areas is by bike. Total Adventure bike hire can be found just by Ferry Nab and they have a choice of high-spec mountain bikes, electric and hybrid bikes and children’s bikes available. They’ll also provide you with different trails and maps that suit your level of fitness or interests.

I opted for a hybrid bike and a beautiful trail that meandered along the western shore of Windermere to the Victorian neo-gothic Wray Castle. This is a fabulous route for beginners and families with children as it avoids busy roads and traffic. There’s also plenty to see along the way, including Claife Viewing Station, gorgeous lake views and the castle itself.

wray castle
Wray Castle

For more information about bike hire and the cycling routes around Bowness, contact Total Adventure who will be happy to advise you.

The bike hire shop can be found just by Ferry Nab at the address below or you can contact them by emailing or by calling 015394 43151.

Address: The Boathouse | Ferry Nab | Bowness-on-Windermere | LA23 3JH

Visit the website – Total Adventure

Windermere Canoe and Kayak

If you want to get out onto the water, Windermere Canoe and Kayak is located at the same address as above and offers paddlesports hire. You can choose from stand up paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing and they can also supply you with everything you need to hit the water.

windermere paddleboarding
Windermere paddleboarding

As a paddleboarding virgin, I thought I’d give it a go and see why it’s become such a popular water-based activity. Kitt, Toby and Les make up the fantastic team and were really helpful when it came to equipping me with everything I needed. They offer both guided and self-guided tours on Windermere but as it was my first time, Les very kindly volunteered to go out on the water with me. The 2-hour tour of the lake was such a fabulous experience and although I came off the board a couple of times, it was much easier to get to grips with than I’d thought. I can honestly say I’ve been converted!

For more information about paddling tours with Windermere Canoe and Kayak, email or call 015394 44451

Visit the website – Windermere Canoe and Kayak

Bowness on Windermere Restaurants and Bars

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to bars and places to eat in Bowness on Windermere. From traditional British pubs serving hearty meals to pavement cafes and trendy restaurants, there’s something to suit every palate.

baha bowness

Baha Bowness

While there are lots of restaurants in Bowness to choose from, I can highly recommend Baha, a swanky restaurant and cocktail bar tucked away on the famous Ash Street. The menu is packed with vibrant dishes, including the gooiest and delicious mac and cheese and their signature flame finished chicken (make sure you order the jerk gravy)! Matt, George and Pablo have mastered the art of being attentive but not intrusive and make sure you’re well looked after.

The interior is just as fabulous as the food, with lots of lovable quirks that steal your gaze. Spread across three floors, Baha is filled with playful nooks and crannies where you can enjoy private parties, karaoke and live music.

To book call 015392 77515

Address: 18 Ash Street | Bowness-on-Windermere | LA23 3EB

Visit the website – Baha Bowness

Bowness on Windermere Accommodation

If you’re wanting to stay overnight in Bowness, there’s accommodation to suit all budgets, from luxury boutique hotels and cosy bed and breakfasts to self-catering cottages. Many places offer views of the lake and provide easy access to the town’s amenities, however, parking can be limited, especially at peak times.

old england hotel view
The Old England Hotel lounge view

The Old England Hotel and Spa

If you’re looking for hotels in Bowness on Windermere with parking and lake views, The Old England Hotel and Spa is perfect. With some of the best restaurant and room views of Windermere, the hotel boasts an incredible location. Cocktail in hand, of course, I had the pleasure of watching the sunset over the water from the lounge, before retiring to my room where I was treated to a private balcony and triple-aspect views of the pier and marina.

If you want an even more indulgent stay, you can relax in the luxury spa or work up an appetite in the gym before enjoying afternoon tea or fine dining in the elegant Lakeview Restaurant.

To book, call 015394 87894

Address: 23 Church Street | Bowness-on-Windermere | LA23 3DF

Visit the website – The Old England Hotel and Spa

For more information about visiting Bowness, head to Visit Lake District, the official tourism guide for the region.

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