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Bowness on Windermere
Bowness on Windermere
southlakes map Whether looking for adventure or simply to relax, the English Lake District has long been the preferred destination for those looking for a true break from the daily grind.

The tranquillity of the lakes, the imposing Lakeland fells and forests and their stunning flora and fauna has, unsurprisingly, been the inspiration for many writers and artists, from Wordsworth and Coleridge, to Beatrix Potter and Alfred Wainwright.

Where to start when listing the 'major' towns or villages within the southlakes area is not an easy task. For now we have simply gone with the most familiar names, those within close proximity to one of the major lakes, but there are many more places and attractions worthy of mention on this page.

As this site develops further, more of these places will be included here.From Grasmere in the north of the area, Barrow-in-Furness in the south (Barrow is actually located on the Furness Peninsula), to Kendal and Sedbergh in the east, we are giving a brief description, along with a link to a community web site (where we can find one).

Grange-over-Sands Grange-over-Sands

The town is a great location for anyone wishing to explore the southern Lakeland fells, as it is home to many B&Bs, hotels and holiday properties.

Towns and villages local to Grange are Lindale, to the north-east, Cartmel to the north-west (famous for its priory) Allithwaite to the west. The country house Holker Hall, which was built on land which once belonged to the priory, is nearby.

Above the town is Hampsfield Fell (usually known as Hampsfell at 727ft), which is mentioned in Wainwright's book ‘The Outlying Fells of Lakeland”.

Bowness on Windermere Bowness on Windermere

Possibly the most commercialised and popular destination in the Lake District , Bowness is Cumbria’s most popular destination.

People come from all over the world (particularly Japan) to enjoy the lake for sailing and water sports, or just to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the area and the town’s picturesque setting. Readers of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series of books will recognise Bowness as the lakeside town of 'Rio'


Just north of Bowness and situated at the head of Windermere, the longest lake in the English Lake District, the busy town of Ambleside is a great place for families to explore all the delights that the area has to offer.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of camping trips to Ambleside. My favourite walks are those to Loughrigg Tarn, Skelwith Bridge and Tarn Hows.

For those with a taste for adventure Ambleside is a popular venue for water-sports and if climbing’s your thing, the nearby Langdales are home to some of the best climbing in the Lake District.

For the novice, the indoor Ambleside Climbing Wall is a great place to hone your skills.

For those looking for something less strenuous the numerous lakeside parks offer adventure for children and relaxation for parents, fishing on the lake is good and the surrounding area is great for birdwatching.

Coniston Coniston

Coniston is a town located on the western shore of Coniston Water. Though picturesque, it does not suffer such intense tourism as other nearby places such as Bowness and Ambleside.  It is located at the mouth of Coppermines Valley and Yewdale Beck, which descend from the Coniston Fells. It sits beneath Coniston Old Man which forms the county's highest point at 2,634ft.

In the 19thC Coniston was home to the social critic John Ruskin who, rather than be buried in Westminster Abbey, was laid to rest at St Andrews, Coniston. Today the Ruskin Museum acts as a memorial to Ruskin.

The book Swallows and Amazons (written by Arthur Ransome) portrayed childhood adventures on the lake, and in particular, Peel Island (in the novel, Wild Cat Island).

Donald Campbell famously broke four world water speed records on the lake, and died there in 1967 whilst attempting another yet another record. His body and boat the boat (Bluebird K7) were discovered in 2001 and he was buried in Coniston in 2001. A new wing was built at the Ruskin Museum to accommodate the fully restored Bluebird K7 boat.


Sedbergh lies about 10 miles east of Kendal and about 10 miles north of Kirkby Lonsdale (both of which are mentioned elsewhere on this site), and sits on the north bank of the River Rawthey.

Even from the narrow shop-lined main street the picturesque hills can be seen, which until the mid 19thC were the only means of access to the town.

A wealth of information is available on the superb  Sedbergh community website at:

Hawkshead Hawkshead

One of the most picturesque villages you will ever see. Situated halfway between the north of Consiton Water and Lake Windermere, it has prospered since its beginnings as a medieval market town.

Its grand history includes connections with the poet William Wordsworth and children's story author Beatrix Potter.

Nowadays it has a car-free village centre, with cobbled streets and courtyards, allowing tourists to get a real sense of what the Lake District is all about.


Nestled between the coast and the beautiful South Lakeland fells the medieval village of Cartmel is a great place to visit at any time of year.

The racecourse at Cartmel hosts seven race days each year and boasts the longest run-in of any racecourse in Britain. The programme allows a rest day after each day’s racing for visitors to explore the local area and its manifold attractions.

The area around Cartmel is home to some of southlakes most relaxing and accessible walks. At 150 metres Cartmel fell is one of Wainwright’s outlying fells, ‘a lovely belvedere for viewing a lovely valley’, according to the great man.

The walk to the summit from the picturesque St. Anthony’s Church is an absolute delight, as is the church itself, which dates from 1504 and is open to visitors every day of the year.

The 12th century Cartmel priory has been a magnet for pilgrims for over 8 centuries and from September 25th - 29th this year (2015) will be hosting a series of events to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

The village itself boasts some fine hostelries and eateries, and is possibly most famous today as the home of Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Simon Rogan’s Michelin Starred restaurant, L’Enclume.


Set in the heart of the English Lake District the village of Grasmere is, according to Wordsworth, ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’.

He certainly found it inspirational. Wordsworth lived for eight years in Dove Cottage and wrote some of his best-loved poetry there.

Grasmere’s central location makes it an ideal base for exploring the Lake District. The picturesque village is overseen by the impressive Helm Crag, also known as the Lion and the Lamb, or the Old Lady at the Piano depending on perspective.

There are many lovely walks around Grasmere. The walk from the village of Grasmere to the remote Easedale Tarn, two miles to the northwest, with its accompanying waterfalls, is a particular favourite.

Ulverston Ulverston

Ulverston is a market town in the South of the Lake District. Though in the 'Furness' area it is referred to as Ulverston - without the "in-Furness" suffix. A few miles north of Barrow-in-Furness, Ulverston is a Market town with great character and lovely shops.

It is fast becoming famous foe the many annual festivals it hosts such as Another Fine Fest (referring to Laural & Hardy) as Ulverston was the birthplave of Stan Laural. Other festivals include, The Dickensian Festival.

Ulverston's most visible landmark is Hoad Monument (Sir John Barrow monument), resembling a lighthouse, and built in 1850. The monument provides wonderful views of the surrounding area, including Morecambe Bay and parts of the Lake District.

Ambleside, Arnside, Backbarrow, Barrow-in-Furness, Bowness, Cark, Carnforth, Cartmel, Coniston, Dalton-in-Furness, Eskdale, Flookburgh, Grange-over-sands, Grasmere, Grizedale, Haverthwaite, Hawkshead, Kendal, Keswick, Kirkby Lonsdale, Levens, Milnthorpe, Newby Bridge, Ravenglass, Sedbergh, Ulverston, Windermere, Bassenthwaite Lake, Ullswater, Derwent Water, Loweswater, Crummock Water, Thirlmere, Buttermere, Hawswater, Ennerdale Water, Wast Water, Lake Windermere, Coniston Water, and many more Wonderful Places. Copyright © 2018

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