Windermere, Lake District, England

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A picturesque town at the head of Lake Windermere. Over the ages many people have recognised the importance of Ambleside, and for different reasons. The Romans built a fort here and you can see artefacts in the towns museum. The town was granted a market charter in 1650 and various buildings from that period remain, like the tiny Bridge House over Stock Ghyll. The Lakeland poets living in the area made Ambleside a very fashionable place in Victorian times
Today it is an important Lake District centre for walking, climbing and touring in the area
The village of Troutbeck is in its own conservation area, and is 3 miles north of Windermere. Townend, the National Trust owned yeoman farmer's house built in 1628, is at the southern end of the village. In addition there are 12 older houses than this in the village
The Queens Head Inn in Troutbeck  keeps alive a tradition once widespread in Cumbria, of the mayor making ceremony. A ceremonial post whose main job is to set off the local foxhunt meets.
The small town of Windermere developed in 1847 when the railway reached the area. The rich built their houses here - many are now hotels!
The Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole is a good place to start your touring as it gives you a lot of background on the Lakes. It also is worth a visit as it stands in 32 acres of gardens on the lake shore
Bowness was a separate village, but now effectively Bowness is just the extension of Windermere down to the lake
Older than Windermere, Bowness dates from the 10th century, when the area was colonised by the Vikings. The name Windermere comes from a Viking chief, Vinland, naming the lake after himself , Vinland's Mere, now Windermere.
On the lakeside, much of the activity naturally centres on the lake itself. Sight seeing boats leave the piers at Bowness and Waterhead every half hour.
The Windermere Steamboat Museum has a collection of Victorian and Edwardian lake vessels. A Victorian steam launch makes passenger trips onto the Lake from the museum
A car ferry operates regularly to the other side of the lake, and there are trips to Belle Isle in the middle of the lake opposite Bowness. The famous round house on Belle Isle was built in 1774.
A picturesque stone village, founded in the 10th century by a Viking Haakr, hence Hawkeshead. To keep the character of the village, cars are effectively banned. You park outside and walk in.
There are of course the Wordsworth connections. He went to the Grammar School (founded 1585) from 1779 to 1787. He must have been a bit of a vandal, as the desk on which he carved his name is still there. He stayed at Anne Tyson's Cottage while he went to school
The famous Tarn Hows beauty spot is two miles north west (follow signs on B5285)
Near Sawrey on the edge of Esthwaite Water was immortalised by Beatrix Potter, who wrote many of her books when she owned Hill Top farm in this area
Far Sawrey is half way between Near Sawrey and Lake Windermere. The car ferry from Bowness comes in here. And there is a butterfly garden and nature reserve.
Plus a mile and a half marked walk round the Claife Shore of Windermere
Newby Bridge
The village takes its name from the five arched 16th century bridge that crosses the River Leven as it heads from Lake Windermere to the sea. On the downstream side of the bridge a weir controls the flow of water out of Windermere
On the east side of the lake, about a mile away is the National Trust's Fell Foot Country Park
The village is known for its priory, built in 1188, of which only the gatehouse remains. The monastic church still remains and is one of the few monastic churches in Britain to survive the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.
Cartmel has a reputation as a place for  artists, and  hence the village has a number of studios where you can see works of art on display
There is horse racing on a lovely parkland setting
Grange over Sands
The arrival of the railway in1853 developed Grange into a popular resort for the crowds in Lancashire
The "over Sands" part of its name refers to the fact that it stands on the "short cut over the sands to Lancashire". This journey over the sands was always difficult. In the 16th century the Duchy of Lancaster appointed an official guide to lead people across the sands. There is still a guide today, resident in the Guide's Farm, and he takes regular groups on walks over the sands.
Hempsfell, behind Grange, has a nature trail, and from the top there are views across to the Isle Of Man
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