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North West - Lake Windermere

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in north west england

Lake Windermere and Ambleside

1. The Lake District Visitor Centre

Situated on the shores of Lake Windermere, the Lake District Visitor Centre is designed to help visitors to enjoy and appreciate England's largest National Park. Events take place throughout the year, from the Easter Eggstravaganza in April, Waterlife Festival in May even a Roman Invasion. There are interactive exhibitions on two floors with an audio visual display on Lakeland Living, Information Centre, Gift and Book Shop and a Cafe that overlooks the gardens and Lake.

2. The World of Beatrix Potter

Meet Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-duck, Tom Kitten and many other delightful characters in the magical World of Beatrix Potter. The attraction includes all 23 Tales by Beatrix Potter, brought to life in an indoor recreation of the Lakeland countryside, complete with sights, sounds and even smells. Take lunch or afternoon tea in the Tailor of Gloucester Tea Room or outdoors on the garden terrace.

3. The Lakes Aquarium

Recreating the journey of a river from mountain top to sea, the Lakes Aquarium's stunning displays bring you face to face with an array of life found in and around the Lakes. See Lakeland’s menacing pike, char, otters and giant carp. Discover the underwater tunnel complete with diving ducks and don’t miss the Morecambe Bay displays with sharks and rays from around the Cumbrian coast.

4. Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere Lake Cruises - a relaxing way to see Lake Windermere and take in the spectacular scenery in style. Cruises last from 45 minutes to 3 hours, ot you can spend all day on and around the lake with a "Freedom of the Lake" ticket. You can even combine a sail on the lake with a trip on a steam train!

5. Rowing Boat Hire

Why not take out your own boat to discover the beauty and tranquility of Lake Windermere at your own pace. Rowing boats are available from the wooden huts to the right of Bowness Promenade and from Waterhead (Ambleside). You are given a full safety talk on where and where not to go on the lake, and lifejackets and safety boat cover are provided.

6. The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Take a nostalgic steam train journey through the Lake District on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway - the Lake District's only Standard Gauge Preserved Railway. Relax as you travel back in time through the changing scenery of the Leven Valley from Haverthwaite Station to Lakeside at the foot of Windermere. You can also visit the shop, restaurant and engine shed.

7. Grizedale Sculpture Park

The Grizedale Sculpture Trail is one of the Lake District’s most noteworthy attractions. Eight marked paths designed to suit all levels of physical fitness and ability take visitors through Grizedale Forest, which covers over 6,000 acres and is scattered with sculptures commissioned by Grizedale Arts. You can visit the "Cafe in the Forest" which serves Casseroles, Paninis, soups and cakes, and the Forest Shop and Information centre.

8. Windermere Sailing Lessons

Take a sailing lesson at Windermere Sailing and Adventure School, who will teach you all you need to know to get to grips with this exhilerating sport. Windermere's large expanse of flat non tidal water is an ideal environment to get to know your windward from leeward, and tacking from gybing! Fully qualified instructors keep close to you at all times, and full safety cover is provided.

9. Stock Ghyll Force Waterfall

Stock Ghyll Force is a spectacular 70 foot waterfall which is located a short walk from the centre of Ambleside starting from behind the Salutation Hotel. Stock Ghyll tumbles down through a series of waterfalls to the centre of Ambleside, passing under the famous Bridge House. Once there were 12 watermills driven by the power of Stock Ghyll and other local becks, producing bobbins, processed fabrics, paper and ground corn.

10. The Armitt Collection

The Armitt Collection showcases the diversity of Lakeland history and culture, from the Romans to Beatrix Potter and the artist Kurt Schwitters. There is an outstanding collection of Beatrix Potter's watercolour drawings, who also bequeathed her collection of 450 fungi!  You can enjoy changing exhibitions and interactive displays for families, and the museum shop sells a range of Made in Cumbria gifts.
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