Things to Do in Bowness on Windermere
With its location right on the shores of Lake Windermere, Bowness is one of the most visited tourist towns in the country, with gorgeous panoramic views over the lake.
Its narrow streets and charming atmosphere draw millions of visitors each year and there’s plenty to see and do, aside from the numerous local shops, cafes and, of course, our Craig Walks. Here are some of our favourite things to do in Bowness-on-Windermere.
Probably the most popular attraction in the town is the World of Beatrix Potter, which brings the characters of the childhood books to life in a series of recreations of the beautiful Lake District countryside.
The interactive exhibits feature such favourites as Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and more, in scenes such as Mr McGregor’s garden.
While it’s a great day out for the kids, adults will enjoy learning about the real-life history of Beatrix Potter, who spent much of her life in the local area.
Best of all, it’s ideal for a rainy day (which unfortunately, we do experience plenty of)!
Overlooking the lake, this large Grade I listed house is one of the best examples of domestic architecture in the UK, with almost all of its original features still intact.
Designed in the Arts & Crafts style as a holiday home by architect Baillie Scott, the house was built between 1898 and 1900.
As well as offering great views, the house is a packed full of original furniture and features, such as a rare hessian wall-hanging, ornate door handles and window catches, stained glass windows and more. There’s also a beautiful garden and terrace to enjoy too.
Offering trips up to Ambleside and Lakeside, Windermere Lake Cruises is a hugely popular attraction offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountain scenery, as well as the many islands and bays of the lake.
There’s a whole host of cruises on offer, including night cruises, many of which take in the attractions around the lake too.
The Lake District’s visitor centre is just outside of Bowness, on the road to Ambleside and is situated right on the edge of the lake.
There’s loads for the whole family to see and do across the 30-acre site of woodland and meadows, from exploration trails to the large adventure playground the for the kids, as well as plenty of exhibitions indoors when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
There’s also a Treetop Trek adventure, where you can head up into the trees across various ropes, bridges and challenges.
If you want to head out onto the water for yourself, the Bowness Bay Marina have a range of private hire boats that you can take out onto the lake.
There’s nothing like getting out there on your own motor boat to experience England’s largest lake for yourself, whether you just want head out for an hour or so, or to journey all the way up to Ambleside, these easy to drive boats are the perfect way to experience the lake itself.
This self-guided treasure hunt for kids around Bowness will lead right around the picturesque town, taking in all of the major sights, from the lakeside to the woodlands.
You’ll have to follow a series of clues to find the treasure, posted on plaques, signs, statues and more, with some easier than others. The route is just over two hours long and generally takes about two hours to complete.
This 15th-century church sits right in the centre of Bowness and is a Grade I listed building. The church is particularly notable for its East Window, which has been described as one of the finest examples of medieval glass in the North West, with pieces dating back as far as 1260.
It’s a beautiful and peaceful building which is well worth a wander around if you’re at a loose end in the town centre.
Bowness is also home to its own intimate theatre, the Old Laundry, with the stage set in the middle of the 250 seats, with a busy programme of live drama, music, comedy and more.
As the name suggests, the theatre was born from an old Edwardian laundry and, with support from the likes of Griff Rhys Jones, Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Rickman and more throughout the years, has hosted productions from top companies such as the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), as well as names such as Alan Carr, Sue Perkins and Victoria Wood.
A slightly more adventurous way to experience the lake, why not rent out your own canoe or kayak?
With specialised instructors to help get you going, or even come out with you on a guided tour, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried it before.
If you are feeling confident, why not take a picnic out with you and head to one of the many islands in the middle of the lake.
They also offer bike hire if you’d rather stick to dry land, or even stand-up paddleboarding too!
Bowness is also a great place to pick up some local produce to take home as gifts for your friends and family, as well as an abundance of walking shops if you’re planning to do some fellwalking during your stay.
There’s also plenty of lovely cafes and restaurants to take the weight off your feet too, as well as a selection of the usual high street stores.
These are just some of the things to see and do during your stay in Bowness-on-Windermere, but there’s so much more to see in the surrounding towns and villages, such as the adjoining town of Windermere, as well as Ambleside, Kendal, Grizedale, Newby Bridge and more.