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The most well known lake in the Lake District and also the biggest

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Lakeside Aquarium
The Lake District is probably Britain's most well-known National Park, and of the many bodies of water which lie within its borders, Windermere is the most popular. It's also the biggest; stretching out over 17 kilometres in a long, thin shape. This can sometimes make it seem more like a river than a lake - and in fact, you should be careful about using the word "lake" when referring to Windermere. This is a common mistake - but officially, the word doesn't appear in its title at all. The proper name is simply "Windermere".

Did You Know?

It is claimed that Windermere is home to a mystery monster, dubbed Bow-Nessie. The hump backed monster has been sighted 8 times in the last 5 years and it is reported to be up to 50 feet in length.
The area has been hosting tourists since the construction of the Kendal & Windermere railway line in the 1840s. In the intervening years, it has consistently been a favourite destination for hundreds of Britons, for both full holidays, and short weekend breaks.

Tourists relaxing by Lake Windermere
Photo jack berry
Of course, the first thing everybody does when they arrive at Windermere is to just stop, and admire the view. The calm waters and the surrounding greenery make for a spectacular sight from any angle - and thanks to the area's National Park status, this picturesque scenery will be preserved for the future.
The water is bordered by a series of rolling hills, which frame the image perfectly. These peaks and slopes also provide many opportunities for light walking or hiking, which is a popular activity among many visitors. There are taller, steeper hills to the north, which are usually the favoured destinations for more experienced hikers, looking for a challenge!

The rolling hills surrounding Lake Windermere
Photo LindaH
However, lots of people prefer to keep busy by exploring Windermere itself. On almost any day of the year, the water is covered in all sorts of different vessels, from huge ferries to tiny rowboats. The private yachts are the most eye-catching, with their tall, colourful sails. There are several boating clubs based here, which organise regular races. Some people, on the other hand, prefer to set sail in much smaller craft, such as canoes and kayaks. These are available for rental in several different places, and lessons are usually offered as well.

Boats at Windermere
Photo foshie
This also used to be a popular place for jet skis and speed boats, but since 2005, there has been a legal speed limit of 10 knots. This has effectively banned the speediest vessels - and although this somewhat restricts the choice of activities, it has had the benefit of restoring the area to a calm, tranquil state, making Windermere an ideal place to relax.

Sailing on Lake Windermere
Photo john.purvis
An ideal base for visitors to the lake is in one of the surrounding towns. Ambleside and Bowness are particularly notable for their being situated directly on the banks of the water. Both of these contain many convenient hotels, interesting museums, and useful shops selling hiking, boating and climbing equipment. The towns are linked to other areas of Windermere by regular ferries. There is also a smaller town with the name of "Windermere", just a short distance from the waterside.
Despite its relaxing feel, there is lots to do here. Visitors to the Lake District's main attraction very rarely run out of different ways to explore the incredible scenery on offer.

Windermere Cruises

Photo mattbuck4950
Offering cruises on England's largest lake, with packages from 45 mins to 3 hours to all day. Cruises operate from Bowness, Ambleside and Lakeside.

Lakeside Aquarium

Photo Joe Anderson
Lakes Aquarium can be found on the southern shore of Lake Windermere and allows visitors to explore the lakes of the world, discovering the incredible creatures contained within them. The aquarium includes a re-created journey below Lake Windermere, river creatures, a seashore discovery zone, a walk over the lake tank and an interactive adventure in a virtual dive bell.

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Photo Stephen Dawson (cc)
The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway runs along the River Leven from Haverthwaite, at the southern end of the line, via Newby Bridge to Lakeside at the southern end of Lake Windermere. Some services are timed to connect with cruises on Lake Windermere, sailing from Lakeside to Bowness and Ambleside. The railway operate a scheduled service of steam and diesel engines, with various other attractions located at Haverthawaite Station.
Visitor Information
Windermere Tourist Information Centre, Victoria Street, Windermere, LA23 1AD. Tel: 015394 46499
Lakes Aquarium is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission costs around £9 for adults and £6 for children. Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside, Newby Bridge, LA12 8AS. Tel: 01539 530153
Windermere Lake Cruises operate a seasonal daily timetable. Fares depend on the journey, but a round the lake pass costs around £4 for adults, £7 children. Tel: 015394 43360
Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway operates a scheduled service from from April to October. Tickets cost around £8 for adults (return) and £4 for children (return). Haverthwaite Station, Nr Ulverston, LA12 8AL. Tel: 01539 531594

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