One of the most wonderful sights of my life was approaching Windermere early one morning, when the lake was shrouded in mist and the islands seemed to be floating on clouds. There are many places not far from the town where the rambler can appreciate such wonderful views. The area is known for many easily attainable viewing points from which there are panoramic views. These include such places as Orrest Head (reached by a footpath next to the Windermere Hotel, opposite the railway station), Biskey Howe and Queen Adelaide’s Hill.
The town of Windermere stands on the eastern side of the lake and eventually runs into Bowness. These days, the town is always busy during the tourist season and there are frequent boat trips available on and around the lake. It was originally a small medieval village, but the coming of the railways changed all that. Today it is probably the busiest centre in the whole of the Lake District.
Until the opening of the railway line in 1847, Windermere was known as Birthwaite. When the station was opened, Windermere was considered to be a more appealing name and thus the name of the place was changed. Following this, the town developed swiftly around the station, as hotels, boarding houses, shops and cafés opened to accommodate the tourist. Before long, the former village was approaching the outskirts of Bowness, and today the two places run seamlessly into one.
The Windermere Steamboat Museum is an interesting place to visit. The craft exhibited are mainly Victorian and Edwardian steam-powered launches. There are many things to occupy the visitor in Windermere and neighbouring Bowness, but perhaps the greatest attraction is the easy access to other areas of the Lake District.
The Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole is about midway between Windermere and Ambleside. It is a useful information centre for new visitors to the area as the displays and exhibitions contain a wealth of tourist information. The house and gardens are attractive and there are various entertainments for children including an adventure playground.