A guide to shopping in Windermere holiday cottages

A guide to shopping in Windermere

Kim 23 February 2024

Windermere lies within the Lake District National Park and is the largest lake in England at around 11 miles long. This beautiful stretch of water was created by glaciation and is known as a ribbon lake, because of its narrow shape and great depth.

Dotted around Windermere you’ll find several Lake District towns and villages, but for a spot of shopping, you’ll want to head to Bowness-on-Windermere, which sits on the lake’s eastern shore, Windermere village, less than a mile away, and Ambleside, located at the head of the lake. Between them they offer retail therapy in an enchanting and historic setting that’s guaranteed to make you want to stay awhile.

Browsing the many independent and specialist stores, discovering locally produced fare and simply watching the world go by from a quaint café is such a joyful way to spend a day. It also gives you a chance to relax and recharge your batteries ready for more hiking and sightseeing.

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Windermere shopping centres

Buildings and shoppers in the centre of Bowness

Bowness-on-Windermere and Windermere village have busy high streets where independent and well-known retailers thrive side by side. They are small and compact, so easily walkable for a shopping trip. The main retail streets are Crag Brow, Helm Road and Lake Road in Bowness, and Main Road, Crescent Road and High Street in Windermere. If you fancy combining a bit of retail therapy with a scenic walk, take a look at some of our favourite strolls to try. 

Homeware and gift shops in Windermere

Mother and daughter looking at plates in a homeware shop


Now known around the world, Lakeland began life in Windermere, and its flagship store can still be found in the village. The kitchen and homewares giant sells thousands of products and is known for its cookware, gifts and, of course, its creative solutions to household problems.


Iconic home and giftware brand Herdy, inspired in everything they do by the area’s Herdwick sheep, has a shop in Bowness. Pick up a cute teddy of the lovely ‘smiling’ sheep, or browse its collection of quirky mugs, kitchenware and rugs.

Love The Lakes

Bowness-on-Windermere’s gift shops are well worth a visit. Love The Lakes is the place to go if you’re after a foodie memento of your trip as they stock a great selection of locally sourced cakes, relishes, and sweet and savoury treats. However, they also offer bath and body products from local makers such as Sedbergh Soap and Pure Lakes, as well as homewares and home fragrances by Herdy and Lauren’s Cows.

Bath House

Artisan fragrance and natural skincare maker Bath House started up in the Lake District in 1997 and is still based in Cumbria, in Dent. It now has six stores, including one in Bowness and another in nearby Ambleside.

Beatrix Potter

Each summer, thousands of visitors flock to The World Of Beatrix Potter and you’ll also discover the Beatrix Potter Shop in Windermere, next to the attraction in Bowness town centre. There, you can find anything and everything to do with the author’s much-loved characters, including Peter Rabbit soft toys, cute ceramics, figurines and tableware.

Mabel and Mu

If you’ve brought your four-legged friend along on a dog-friendly holiday in the Lake District then he’ll love a visit to Mabel and Mu. This family-run pet shop in Bowness on Windermere makes and sells harnesses and collars for dogs and cats in a range of different colours, designs and fabrics.

FAB Home Interiors

Another local homewares favourite, FAB Home Interiors is located in Bowness, on the shore of the lake at Windermere Quays. Its elegant and stylish interior pieces are sure to draw the eye!

Clothes shops in Windermere

A range of colourful tops on a rail in a shop

There’s a great selection of clothes shops in Windermere – more than you might expect for a place this size. You’ll find well-known names such as Fatface, Joules, Crew and Joe Browns, but you’ll also find designer boutiques and independent clothes shops.

Some of our favourites include:

  • Impressarum – organic cotton t-shirts with quirky and unique prints
  • The Hen House – boutique selling women’s fashion, accessories and jewellery
  • Blue Owl – a family-run boutique with a great selection of clothes, bags and shoes
  • Morse Point – designer clothing for men and women
  • FW Tyson – supplying mountain shoes and boots to walkers and hikers since 1887
  • Lakeland Leather – specialist leather store with jackets, bags and more

Outdoor shops in Windermere

Man with rucksack hiking in the Lake District

As they’re in the heart of the Lake District, renowned for its excellent hiking, walking, climbing and mountain biking, it’s no surprise that you’ll find several outdoor shops in Bowness and Windermere. Whether you’ve broken a lace in your walking boots, or are looking for a bike to hire so you can explore the locality on two wheels, you'll find a selection of fantastic outdoor shops in Windermere.

Shops to visit include:

  • Stuart’s Sports – an independent shop run by a family of outdoor enthusiasts
  • Mountain Warehouse – discount outdoor clothing and accessories
  • Windermere Canoe and Kayak – water sports equipment including canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and accessories
  • Trespass – specialist outdoor clothing chain

Food shops in Windermere

Rug with a picnic basket and treats on

The Lake District is celebrated for its food – sticky toffee pudding anybody? The quality of local produce is sublime and the number of artisan producers within this relatively small region is impressive. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Windermere’s food shops, whether you’re looking for a picnic to eat by the lake or gifts for foodie friends, a snack to keep you going while you’re sightseeing or that special something to remind you of your trip.

Delicious delis

Speciality food shops to look out for include craft bakery and cake maker Brysons, which has a shop in Bowness, and the famous Hawkshead Relish Company, which has won awards for its chutneys and preserves. And don’t forget to visit independent supermarket Booths, a local favourite.

Eating out and in

If you’re after food on the go then there’s a good selection of takeaways in Windermere, including chip shops and pizzerias. There is no shortage of coffee shops, bars and restaurants where you can sit and watch the world go by as you sample local dishes, indulge in homemade cake or savour your latte. 

On a hot day, stop off at The Little Ice Cream Shop in Windermere – they hand make more than 40 flavours of gelato, so you’re sure to find your favourite. And don’t forget your pooch, she’s bound to love their dog friendly ice cream Doggo Woof Woof!

Art galleries and antique shops

A woman looking at artwork in a gallery

Don’t forget to check out Windermere’s art shops and galleries for distinctive work by local artists. With classical and modern ranges, there’s something to suit every style. If you’re looking for a piece of local history, then you’ll also find several antique shops in Windermere.

Here are some of our favourites:

Windermere markets

Market stall selling a selection of chutneys

Wandering around the markets in Windermere gives you a unique snapshot of local life, the people who live there and their heritage. Farming and people’s connection to the land goes back thousands of years and this deep-rooted relationship is evident in the local produce on display. From home-baked breads and cakes to locally reared meat and fresh veg, you’ll find a fabulous selection of food to tempt you.

Markets are a great place to look for unique gifts too – local artists and makers often have stalls displaying their work – and if it’s clothes or homewares you’re after, then you’ve come to the right place.

Bowness’s weekly market takes place in Glebe Park, next to the lake. You’ll find a whole host of stalls and could spend the whole morning or afternoon pottering about.

Cottages in Windermere

View out over Windermere village

After a busy day’s shopping in Windermere, why not return to one of our beautiful country cottages to rest, recharge and ready yourself for another day of excitement and adventure in England’s glorious Lake District?

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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