Wintery whimsical Windermere.
Lake Windermere is England‘s largest natural lake with a whimsical name that just rolls of your tongue, located within the Lake District National park. There are many towns located around the lake, the largest among them being the equally named Windermere. I visited the lake in winter 2017 as a stop on the way to Glasgow, and while the nature was very beautiful, I found the area to be quite touristy and a bit overrated as a place to visit.
The area around lake Windermere is mostly known for upscale hotels and lakeside cottages and is definitely not a budget destination, as (primarily, but not only) British families like to retreat there for vacation and it is very touristy. However, I managed to not spend a single penny the day I visited Windermere, due to a lucky series of coincidences and the kindness of the locals (read here). I will admit, that it was mostly due to the fact that I visited during winter.
The train connection to lake Windermere arrives to Windermere town and access to the lake is a short bus ride away, at Bowness-on-Windermere, a quaint little town. So on the bus I went, and explored the town of Bowness, which had plenty of pretty, old fashioned English buildings and green parks.
Impressions of Bowness-on-Windermere
A bit late in the day I also decided to go on a lake cruise (which I got for free) to Lakeside and back and the views were quite spectacular, despite the foggy weather. Or maybe because of it? It felt like the lake was cut off from the outside world and I could almost imagine we were about to reach the mythic island of Avalon, as I could even see a castle in the mist.
Since it was a gloomy, rainy winter day and I had to catch a train in the early evening, I did not have time to explore Lakeside as it would deserve and took the boat straight back, but I wasn’t particularly bothered by it, as to be honest, the place was small and according to the local guy I met, only served as a tourist trap. It was also too cold to swim, so about 10 hours in Windermere were more than enough for me at the time, although the lake must be very nice in the summer and I would love to come back some day.