The Lake District wouldn't have its trademark deep lakes, lush valleys and striking year-round colours without the rain. But that doesn't mean you want to be stuck in it during a particularly wet day. Fortunately, there is plenty to do, whatever the weather so, if you're staying at one of our holiday cottages in the South East Lake District, read on for our itinerary for a wet-weather day in Bowness-on-Windermere. You may even find yourself hoping for the odd rainy day so you have an excuse to stay indoors and sample more of its exciting attractions!
Breakfast is the most important meal
Start your day with a hearty breakfast in one of the many excellent cafés and tearooms the village boats. The Magic Roundabout and Mio Mondo Coffee Shop always receive excellent reviews for their breakfasts. Another place to sample is Homeground Coffee and Kitchen in Windermere, which has a loyal following of locals and visitors who love its relaxed vibe and huge portions. Get there early to grab a table!
Delve into the Arts and Crafts movement
Next, head to Blackwell for a relaxing morning spent absorbing the stunning surroundings of this exquisite Arts and Crafts house. Just a mile out of Bowness village, Blackwell claims an elevated position overlooking Lake Windermere. Completed in 1901 by celebrated architect Baillie Scott, the house was originally a retreat for Manchester brewery owner Sir Edward Holt and his family. Crafts are woven into the very fabric of the building and today this Grade I listed property still retains many of its original decorative features. Take in the splendid views from the drawing room window seats or curl up and relax in the fireplace inglenooks. Marvel at the stained glass and wood panelling or learn a thing or two about life in the late Victorian times. Children will love the fancy dress box, the colouring corner and the hide and seek trail around the house. If there is a moment between showers, don't miss a roam around the gardens. Initially styled by Arts and Crafts garden designer Thomas Mawson, their views over the lake towards the Coniston fells are spellbinding whatever the weather.
A spot of lunch
The tearoom at Blackwell offers an excellent menu of light lunches, cakes and refreshments promoting fresh local produce. Alternatively, head back into the village and enjoy one of the many excellent pubs offering food all day. The Angel Inn has roaring fires and a warm ambience and the Flying Pig pub is praised for its hearty portions and delicious fresh dishes. Both have a good wine list and serve a selection of local ales.
Enter the World of Beatrix Potter
Once fuelled up and rested, a visit to the World of Beatrix Potter is a must for all book-lovers. While the attraction may seem more suited to children and families, each year, visitors of all ages flock from around the world to explore the much-loved stories of Peter Rabbit and his friends. Your self-guided tour starts with a brief introductory film before you step out into the enchanted world of Beatrix Potter's imagination. Meet the characters from the stories while you journey through the 3D scenes, taking in the sights, sounds and smells and reading extracts from the books. Do you dare enter Mr McGregor's Garden? Chelsea RHS Gold medal winner Richard Lucas has expertly recreated famous scenes from the stories in this charming outdoor show garden. Careful attention to detail and real planting that evolves throughout the year means you could visit regularly and still see something new each time! Computer technology provides a 360-degree virtual walk, allowing you to enjoy the scenery that inspired Beatrix Potter's lifelong works from the comfort of a warm and dry gallery.
A spot of retail therapy
The World of Beatrix Potter can be explored comfortably in an hour or two, leaving you just enough time to cram in a little shopping. The village is home to an excellent selection of independent gift shops, art galleries and clothes stores, as well as the odd well-known high-street chain. Don't miss Quarry Rigg precinct, up near the Royalty Cinema, Ash Street, the charming pedestrian walkway tucked behind the main road, and Glebe Road, which has a small selection of shops along the lakeshore.
Explore life on the water
If shopping isn't your thing, or if you have a little more time, you may like to squeeze in another top attraction. Windermere Jetty is Bowness's latest museum. Located on the shore of Windermere, just outside the village, the museum allows you to experience life on the lake through a series of stories and exhibits. Different to other museums, here you'll see steamers, yachts, speed boats and motorboats displayed on water in the live boathouse as well as in the adjacent exhibition galleries. And you can see first hand the work that goes into restoring these old gems in the conservation workshop. It's also possible to enjoy a heritage boat trip from the jetty or you can choose to relax with a coffee and take in the views from the shore-side café!
Bowness offers plenty to explore in the evenings, too. Whether you're looking to relax with a quiet evening meal after a busy day or fancy dancing the night away in a lively bar, Bowness has something for everyone. Cosy traditional pubs like the Hole In T' Wall boast open fires and local ales and often have live music at the weekend. Newer establishments like Baha and The Fizzy Tart serve an extensive cocktail menu in more of a city-style atmosphere. The Old Laundry Theatre is an intimate and atmospheric theatre that promotes an excellent programme of professional plays, comedy, music and arts. But if all that sounds too energetic and you prefer an evening of indulgence, book a twilight spa package at the Old England Hotel and Spa and prepare to be pampered!
Don't forget to take a look at our holiday cottages around Bowness-on-Windermere, many of which are perfect for a lazy, rainy day with log burners, board games, and cosy beds! You can also browse all of our holiday cottages with the cottage search or check out our other Lake District itineraries for more inspiration!
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