Things to do nearby Birch Cottage (Windermere)
Enjoy the liveliness of one of the Lake District's most popular villages and climb aboard a steamer with Windermere Lake Cruises to discover more of the County's longest lake. Undoubtably a must-do for families is the World of Beatrix Potter in the heart of the village. Blackwell Arts and Crafts House has plenty for adults and kids alike, as does the Lakes Aquarium and Lakeside Motor Museum where you can discover Donald Campbell's famous Blue Bird.
Bowness-on-Windermere is one of the most popular destinations in the Lake District, and it’s not hard to see why! Set on the shores of Windermere, England’s largest natural lake, and boasting stunning scenery and plenty to do, it has something on offer for everyone.
Why not take a trip on the Steamer around Lake Windermere, where you can hop off and then back on again exploring different parts of the shoreline. At Backbarrow the Lakeland Motor Museum is a must-see for motor enthusiasts and anyone else! Whether it’s nostalgia-inducing pedal cars, a replica of Donald Cambell’s Bluebird, or the best classic cars, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find! Alternatively, the pier of Lakeside is home to the Lakes Aquarium, where you can visit fish, frogs, tortoises, ducks and much more, and the Haverthwaite Steam Railway, which will take you on a trip to a bygone era.
If you don’t fancy sitting back on a Steamer, you can ‘do it yourself’ and hire some rowing boats, a self drive motor boat, canoes or a sailing boat. If you’d like to learn how to sail there are several places offering courses.
If you read the books of Beatrix Potter as a child, then take a trip to The World of Beatrix Potter and find out more about all your favourite characters – Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, the Two Bad Mice – they’re all in there! If you’re visiting in summer, don’t forget to catch the wonderful musical retelling of some of the author’s best-loved stories. Or, explore a faithful recreation of Mr McGregor’s garden! You can top it all off with a visit to the tasty café.
For something a little different, take a car ferry over the lake to Hawkshead, one of the Lake District’s prettiest villages. No cars are allowed in the village itself (although there is a large car park on the outskirts) and it is full of whitewashed houses, little cafés, and walks leading off in all directions.
Close to Hawkshead, at Near Sawrey is Hill Top House, Beatrix Potter’s 17th century farmhouse. With the fire lit and all her knick-knacks scattered around, it’s as though she beloved author and conservationist has just stepped outside for a walk!
Back across the lake, Blackwell’s Arts and Crafts House is an inspirational visit and retains many of its original features – leaf shaped door handles, fireplace inglenooks, and carved wood panelling. Other stately homes nearby include Sizergh, Levens Hall and Holker Hall. All are well worth a visit.
There are hundreds of walks in the area, too. You can enjoy low level walks near the lake or go up onto the high fells. A favourite is up to Orrest Head, which takes you through woodland before you get to the summit, a rocky knoll with fantastic views over to Windermere and the Coniston fells beyond. This is an easy fell to ‘conquer’ and it was here that Wainwright first discovered the Lake District.
Ambleside is another lovely town to visit and is just a 15-minute drive from Bowness. Here you will find more shops, restaurants, a cinema, and little nooks and crannies of interest. There is pitch and putt , a climbing wal,l and the 17th century Bridge House, which must be one of the most photographed houses in the Lake District!
Just beyond Ambleside is Rydal Water and Grasmere, both small lakes with beautiful scenery and walks. Just above Rydal Water you will find Rydal Cave with stepping stones leading through a shallow lake (complete with fish!) into the belly of the cave. Though man-made as a result of local quarrying, it is nonetheless impressive and well-worth a visit.
William Wordsworth is buried in Grasmere alongside his family; he once lived in the village at Dove Cottage, which is now a museum. He later moved to Rydal Mount, just a short distance away, also a museum with lovely gardens to explore. Grasmere itself is also famous for it’s delicious Grasmere Gingerbread - you can buy some of the beloved treat, made to the original Victorian recipe, in a tiny little shop in the centre of the village. Beware, though, the delicious smell will draw you in even if you just planed on passing by!