A Visit to Bowness on Windermere

Bowness on Windermere, what surprise, it was manic with people everywhere, ferries toing and froing, laughter and excitement in the air. Children running along the quayside screaming, swans and ducks eagerly waiting to be fed at the lakes edge and as we moved up into the town  looking for somewhere to eat, the hustle and bustle continued everywhere you looked, I’ve never seen a place so busy. The choice of where to eat was overwhelming, so much choice, maybe a look at TripAdvisor before we arrived might have been helpful. We opted for The Royal Oak on Brantfell Road, just off the main street. The service and food were very pleasant, we went in mid-afternoon and it was very quiet with only a few other people eating, there was a lovely open fire burning away the chill of the mid October air.

The Royal Oak, Bowness on Windermere, welcoming open fire

This was the first afternoon of a mid-week stay in October, staying in our Motorhome “Jemima” at the Braithwaite Fold Camping and Caravanning site on Glebe Road. Bowness hasn’t changed much in the last ten or so years since my last visit but it’s surely got a lot busier and more exciting. We finish our lunch washed down with a few beers for Arb and a few wines for me. After lunch we wondered round the local shops, calling in the various drinking establishments we came across, just so we could get our baring’s, seeing what was on offer and to make sure Doris our Jack Russell was allowed in. After a few good hours getting to know Bowness town centre and a few drinks and a little worse to the wear we headed off back to the van to chill out and watch a bit of TV, ready for a walk tomorrow through Healed Wood and over into Far Sawrey for lunch at the Cuckoo Brow Inn.

After a leisurely breakfast we set off for our walk, which was on the other side of Lake Windermere, so we headed for the car ferry a short walk from the camp site. The circular walk wasn’t a long one, just over five miles including the ferry crossing, but there was hell of a hill to climb over Belt Ash Coppice. We arrived at the Windermere Ferry Terminal (Ah just a road leading into the lake) and the ferry was just arriving at the far side of the lake, so we had to wait for it’s return. The ferry’s from this point are roughly every 20 minutes. They begin departures from Bowness at 06:50 and the last return crossing from Sawrey is 22:00 during the summer Monday – Saturday and 08:50 on Sunday and the last return crossing from Sawrey is 22:00, it takes about 10 minutes each way and for foot passengers is only 50p charge. Once on the other side of the lake we followed the waters edge for just over a mile, then turned back on ourselves to start the climb through Belt Ash Coppice and on towards Far Sawrey, full details and directions of the walk can be found on the Walks page “Bowness on Windermere to Far Sawrey Circular” or by following the link.

Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey

As we dropped down into Far Sawrey, the Cuckoo Brow Inn pub is to the right down the lane towards Near Sawrey. We stopped off for lunch at The Cuckoo Brow Inn, a very oldy  world  and dog friendly pub, with an eclectic mix of furniture. Service and food were excellent with a very relaxed atmosphere, the sort of place you could spend all afternoon just chilling and letting time pass you by. We don’t always expect good service and food in these remote places where you may never return again. After a very nice lunch, a few drinks and the batteries recharged after climbing that bloody hill, we headed down the lane towards the lake and the ferry back to Bowness, which was just docking as we arrived.

Hanging Chicken Kebab at the Village Inn


As it was still only mid-afternoon we headed into Bowness town to have a look for some Christmas presents and obviously this ended having a few more drinks. We stayed out for quite a while and decided to have dinner at the Village Inn where the hanging chicken kebabs are must have. Well it was mid evening and we were worn out from walking, drinking and eating so, it was time to retire back to the van.

Well, it was our last full day before we head home, what a lovely day and any trip to Windermere wouldn’t be the same without a lake cruise. wWe went on the red cruise to Ambleside at the top of Lake Windermere, about a 70 – 75 minute return journey if you don’t stop off at Ambleside. We walked into Ambleside town which is just short of a mile from the lakeside.  We wandered round the town looking in the various shops. Ambleside is a nice place but not as interesting as Bowness and  seemed very cramped. We only stayed just over an hour and had a drink at the Wateredge Inn lakeside pub whilst we waited for our boat to arrive to take us back to Bowness. We arrived back in Bowness just in time for lunch “life can be hard can’t it?”, This time we tried The Art’s bar & Grill,  a modern and trendy sort of place on Brantfell Road, serving traditional food, but also a range burgers and kebabs and an extensive range of cocktails, very nice and dog friendly.




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