Top 22 things to do and attractions in Bowness-on-Windermere (2024)

The Lakes Hotel and Spa is a perfect place to relax after a day of exploring the beautiful Lake District. It has private balconies with hot tubs, an on-site spa, stylish restaurant and co*cktail bar, bike hire, wakesurfing and paddleboarding available.

Well worth the money, staff were very friendly. We were greeted by Andy upon arrival who made us feel very special, giving us a tour of the hotel and showing us to our room. We had booked a room with a jacuzzi on the balcony. Room was lovely, very clean and spacious. We ate in the hotel restaurant the first night and the food was perfect. We also booked some spa treatments which we really enjoyed and the staff were excellent. Breakfast was a buffet style with lots of options. We asked for a flat white both mornings which wasn’t an option on the buffet and it was no problem. Great location in Windermere, a 5 minute walk to the marina and town centre with lots of restaurants, bars and shops. I booked the trip as a birthday treat for my partner, the hotel had left a birthday message in the room which was a nice touch. The warm cookies on arrival also added to the many special things they did. Thank you to all the staff at the hotel for making our stay so enjoyable😁

Rebecca Reeves — Google review

We came for a 1 night stay first impressions wow!We was greeted by lovely staff who upgraded our room at no extra cost!Room was lovely and spacious.Bed was big and comfortable.Hot tub on the balcony amazing with amazing views.Restaurant co*cktail bar was fancy and a lovely terrace outside with beautiful views.Food was lovely we had steak.We also tried co*cktails they were very nice.Breakfast was also nice and was self service.The spa was beautiful and tranquil.Staff was friendly and welcomed us fully.Overall we have a lovely stay and I would definitely recommend.

Rachel Renshaw — Google review

The first thing to note about the Lakes Hotel and Spa, is that it's not a 5 star hotel. On the website, it explains that they've self-assessed the 5 star rating and a lot of the reviews, including mine, would argue it's not accurate (it's probably around a 3-4 star).Pros: The room was nice, quiet, and relatively cool considering the hot weather outside, though the shower was very basic. The welcome from the parking attendant was so friendly and personal (it was probably the nicest part of the trip and did feel 5 star), and the tour by the concierge was also great.Cons: We came for a spa break and that part of the trip fell a bit short. Accessing the spa through a pub felt strange and we weren't given any robes, slippers, or info on lockers etc on arrival (turns out robes and slippers are in your room), which meant it didn't feel like a warm welcome or at all special. The changing rooms were really substandard, with cloth shower curtains and lots of rusty metal fixtures. The spa itself was quite nice, but had to open 2 hours late for maintenance whilst we were there, and then still had a broken sauna. I also just think the setup (pub attached to it and darkly lit spa etc) made it feel a bit grubby and not like a health spa. I was also disappointed that when I asked of we could check out 1 hour late because we'd come on a spa break and couldn't use the spa for another 2 hours, I was told a very firm 'no' by the really unempathetic receptionist. Luckily, another receptionist interjected and immediately resolved the issue, but I definitely wouldn't expect a 5 star hotel to say 'no' to something which felt like a reasonable request.Overall, the room was lovely apart from the bathroom, the bar/terrace looked pretty and some of the colleagues went above and beyond. But the spa was just OK, a bit novelty, with rundown changing rooms, and one receptionist at the hotel was really unhelpful

Jo Whiteing — Google review

Had an amazing stay here. Attention to detail and cleanliness of both the main hotel and room was excellent. Our room had a south facing balcony and hot tub which was a real treat and even the weather cleared to provide a view of the lake. Ate in the co*cktail bar and both meals were delicious with friendly service. Spa was clean and relaxing and quite warm so couldn’t stay too long, but access to the pub bar through the hatch helped cool off with a G&T. All the staff we encountered were very friendly and welcoming right from the entrance gate house and throughout.

CW — Google review

I stayed the day before valentines day with my girlfriend and the staff absolutely made the difference, from the front desk to the concierge (Mark) to the bar staff, they're all lovely.We stayed in the exterior double and it was great. The spa is nice, it does get busy around 4/5 but is dead from 8pm onwards.

Joel Turner — Google review

Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming, especially the gateman, concierge and front of house staff. Even on departure the concierge was giving me advice on the best route for my journey home at that time of day.The room was very comfortable and the bed provided a great night sleep.Spa with great ambience and facilities and the breakfast had a good variety and was very tasty.Well worth a stay if you are visiting!

Allen Weston — Google review

Would give this place a higher rating if I could. A wonderful experience from start to finish, with friendly staff who just want to help you. The room with hot tub was cozy, clean and just amazing (loved the celebration package!) but the hotel amenities such as the pool, restaurant and bar were outstanding too. The breakfast buffet had so many options and did not disappoint. Lake Windermere is just a short walk away, and would recommend hiring bikes to fully enjoy the adventure. Thanks for helping to make my partner's birthday celebration the best!

Mathew Robinson — Google review

I have recently spent a weekend here and I have to say it was very nice. Upon arrival the receptionist and concierge were extremely friendly. I stayed in a room with a hot tub which was all lovely (all be it the room was a little small with very little wardrobe space). I decided to have my first dinner with the hotel. This small dining room held a very tense atmosphere with a very obvious lack of smiles from both other guests and especially the staff. The food was good but I would say £90 for a dinner for 2 with only a main meal and a single drink was a little high. Breakfast was definitely the weak point. Under cooked scrambled eggs, rock solid fried eggs and sausages that I couldn’t finish was the most notable parts. The spa pool and massages were the most enjoyable aspect. Very relaxing. Over all a good stay, the wait staff needs to lighten up and the breakfast was beaten by premier inns

Sarah Stewart — Google review

This was by far and large the BEST hotel me and partner have stayed in! We stayed here for our honeymoon last week and we turned up and they had provided us with a complimentary upgrade to the most beautiful room you have ever seen!The staff were amazing (from the bartenders in the co*cktail lounge to the wonderful people who gave me the best massage and facial). The service and food was outstanding and it honestly was the best week of our lives - we couldn't have asked for more from our stay! We will 100% be staying here again!

Lauren Green — Google review

Wonderful place! Rooms so clean and comfortable. The staff were so friendly and welcoming. Was my mums 80th birthday and they celebrated with us. They arranged the Bentley car to take us out to the restaurant one night free of charge. The hotel restaurant was wonderful. Lovely food and lovely staff. The spa was so relaxing. Just one thing my daughter likes to read in a spa but it was too dark. Big shout out to Katalin who was so friendly and looked after us. Also to Stuart from concierge and Ian from the bar. Would definitely visit again! Thanks to everyone x

Pauline Loftus — Google review

Booked a room for my partners birthday, the room was lovely, has a spacious king-size bed which unfortunately had what looked like a paint stain hidden under the throw and a small hole in the quilt cover, apart from that it was lovely.The sofa in the room seemed nice until we saw it had crumbs all over it and sliders left underneath it from the previous occupants.The hot tub was obviously it's selling point and it was marvelous, we loved it. The steps into the hot tub were sharp and I cut my ankle to the point that it was non stop bleeding, went to the reception and there was a lovely woman that gave me plasters, the glass on the balcony really should be frosted because I could definitely be seen getting in and out.The co*cktail bar and terrace was beautiful, the food was delicious and the staff were very polite and friendly.Having to go through a pub to access the pool was odd and the man behind the bar practically shouted at us because we didn't know we had to check in.Overall it's very lovely, pricey but certainly worth the price we both loved it plus the birthday card they left was nice.Stayed in room 230 13/10/23 - 15/10/23

Connor Thompson — Google review

We stayed on an October weekend. Most of the staff were very pleasant. Apart from one in the ‘Traditional Pub’. The food was fairly priced considering what sort of place it is. The food was also very nice. We ate in the co*cktail bar & terrace. Friendly service in there. We wanted to order some food up to the room but was put off the idea as soon as we read we’d be CHARGED TEN POUNDS [£10] simply for the food to be transported up to our room. Room was very nice. Lovely large TV and the hot tub was very clean, as was the balcony area. Although there was a previous guests pair of rather dirty sliders left under the sofa. Also had to put a carrier bag on the bedside table as it was sticky. We tried to wipe it. The sofa was dirty and looked as if it hadn’t been vacuumed. Overall if you have the money and want a nice weekend I’d recommend it.

Aiden — Google review

We had an amazing time at the Lakes Hotel and Spa for our 10 year anniversary, they were kind enough to upgrade our room too which was an excellent surprise. Really appreciated all of the staff who were lovely and the view from the room was great. The balcony hot tubs are fantastic and you can use them until 11pm which was perfect for us. The celebration package was well worth the money and they wrote a lovely message on the mirror for us which again was a nice touch. We would love to stay again in future and would recommend it. Thank you!

dom mayes — Google review

Really great overall experience, staff were welcoming and polite. The setting and spa were amazing and the building and room were clean and well maintained. However, the breakfast was disappointing and it would have been better if the spa was connected directly to the hotel.I will definitely be returning here.

Terrence Banda — Google review

We were greeted on the drive by the gate keeper, who welcomed us warmly. My wife and I had an apartment room in the Spa complex, which was beautifully furnished. The main part of the hotel was superb. We dined in the hotel on one of our nights. The service was exceptional, as was the food. The surroundings were spectacular. The view from the terrace towards the lake could not be bettered. It is a beautiful hotel in a beautiful location.

Bill Strickland — Google review

My partner and I have just returned from our stay to celebrate our anniversary. We were greeted on reception by Mark, who upgraded us to the Junior Suite with hot tub and gave us complimentary cookies which was a wonderful surprise! Shaun gave us a tour of the hotel and our room, and could not have welcomed us any better. The spa was amazing as was our lunch in the hotel pub. As it was raining in the evening, Mark offered to take us into the Village in the Bentley, another wonderful touch you would not receive in any other hotel. The hotel & bar staff were all fantastic, and we will 100% be visiting again for our birthdays next year!

Abbie Davies — Google review

A 5 star hotel teetering on the very baseline of standards needed to fulfil this rating. Before you book yourself a room with a balcony spa, please be aware that your view may be of the car park, where staff are working loudly. Your balcony will not afford you any privacy either - how about some frosted glass at least? A shocking £12 to use the car park if you've not booked directly with them (why, exactly?). No indoor route to pub and spa facilities. No air conditioning. Bathroom looked tired. No minibar. Water damage to room carpet. And this was a room we were "upgraded" to! All a bit fur coat and no knickers. For the price, I expected better. Felt like a dishonest place, designed to maximise profits at detriment to customer experience.

S P — Google review

What a place! My partner brought me here as a special treat and It did not disappoint. The room was immaculate and the lake view was stunning. The food in the co*cktail bar was absolutely delicious and the staff could not do enough for you. The attention to detail re decor is second to none, The whole place had a luxurious feel to it and the spa area (albeit a little bit too warm) was fabulous, especially having the window to the bar where you could enjoy a drink in a jacuzzi or poolside cabana. The glass of Prosecco on the roof terrace on arrival was a lovely touch too. I’m a little flabbergasted by some of the negative reviews to be honest, it seems booking directly with the hotel is the best way to go but everything was 5 Star. The walk into Bowness was a mere 5 minutes away and what a lovely town, the people really friendly and so many barsand shops which were well worth a visit too.

J F — Google review

Underwhelming honeymoon. We came here hoping for something special after our wedding. When we arrived, my wife told the receptionist that she was writing her signature with her new surname for the first time - and the reply from the receptionist was that she would be able to practice writing the signature by signing lots of bills throughout our stay at the hotel. That was the level of heart we received throughout the whole stay, there was no effort to make it feel special for our honeymoon.Cleanliness was also an issue. We found a large toenail in our bed on the first night, and when we reported it to reception they tried to blame the supplier of the bedding and said they would have the bedding changed for us. The bedding was changed but the cleaner then left a dirty rag on the dresser in the room. Our bathroom had lots of black mould too, and water leaked across floor whenever we used the shower.There was never an effort made to make us feel better about our stay - or valued as customers paying a lot of money to be there. We were frequently ignored by concierge staff and service from most other staff felt underwhelming and heartless. We won’t be going back.

Kieron Bradshaw — Google review

The Spa was noisy and a lot of drunk people still being served more drinks…. not relaxing at all. The plunge pool wasn’t very cold, the steam room not steamy and one of the hot tubs was broken. Male changing rooms were really dirty, no one cleaned them throughout the day. I mentioned the problems to a couple of staff members but nothing was resolved. It’s a real shame the spa was so disappointing as the hotel was amazing. For the price I paid to stay here I was very unhappy.

A FS — Google review

Spot on (if a little pricey). Staff were excellent. Food in Muzumi is generally good (some items are great and some a little bland) and I did enjoy the experience. I judge a place on whether or not I would return, and I would. The staff make this place and the views are fantastic.

Christian Comer — Google review

Our stay at Lakes Hotel and Spa was nothing short of fantastic! From the moment we stepped into the reception, the staff greeted us with personalized warmth, making us feel right at home. The complimentary glass of prosecco added a delightful touch to the check-in experience.The rooms were spacious, impeccably clean, and adorned with modern amenities, providing a comfortable retreat after a long day of exploring.The spa facilities were a highlight of our stay, boasting a pristine swimming pool, three inviting hot tubs, a rejuvenating sauna, and a relaxing steam room—all impeccably maintained for maximum enjoyment.However, the only downside was the consistent noise in the spa area, as some guests seemed to treat it more like a party spot than a serene sanctuary. This disturbance led to the deduction of one star from an otherwise flawless experience.The massage we received was truly out of this world, leaving us feeling completely rejuvenated and stress-free.Lastly, the breakfast spread was expansive, offering a hearty full English breakfast alongside excellent continental options, ensuring a satisfying start to each day of our stay.Overall, Lakes Hotel and Spa exceeded our expectations, and we look forward to returning for another rejuvenating getaway soon.

Vangelis Matthaiopoulos — Google review

I booked a room here for my girlfriend’s 21st birthday and we were not disappointed. We travelled by train and opted for the Bentley chauffeur service which was amazing as the driver gave us a full tour of the town, recommending various shops and restaurants to us before dropping us off outside the hotel and taking our bags in for us. The customer service from all the staff we spoke to was impeccable, and when we first arrived we were given complimentary Prosecco and a tour of the hotel. We had a double room with a hot tub, with a gorgeous view from the balcony. The terrace is a great place to sit and have a co*cktail whilst taking in the scenery. The hotel itself is in an excellent location aswell, only a short walk away from Bowness town and the boats. The only slight negative was the food in the pub, the service was excellent from the staff, but we probably wouldn’t eat there again. The breakfast options were great, a lot of different food ranging from cooked breakfast, to cereal, fruit and cooked meats. We were also able to leave our bags with reception after check out, allowing us to explore the area freely, giving us another day of our holiday. If we hadn’t been able to do this we would have returned home a lot sooner that day than we did, so we really appreciate this service. Overall, an excellent experience, and we would definitely stay again.

Ryan Simnett — Google review

Stayed as a couple from Sunday to Monday. The manager called the night before to say unfortunately one of the Spa team had taken ill and they had to cancel the treatments. As disappointing as this was, it's just one of those things. As a sorry we were given free co*cktails which although wasn't necessary we very much appreciated and enjoyed. Upon arrival we found out we were also gifted a room upgrade which was absolutely fantastic. Really made us feel welcome. The room itself was amazing, and we practically lived in the hot tub on the balcony.Ate at the Asian restraunt which we highly recommend. My girlfriend who is vegetarian also enjoyed and there were plenty of options for her.The staff throughout the stay were brilliant, especially in the co*cktail bar. Very friendly and couldn't do enough for you.The spa itself was very nice, although a bit on the small side. If you like to have a space for yourself and a bit more quiet, then maybe aim to go in out of peak hours. Literally the only downside of the whole thing, which for us wasn't really because we were just chilling in the pool for hours anyways.All in all, a lovely getaway for anyone who needs it.

Joe4TheReds — Google review

Avoid this hotel, my wife caught hot tub folliculitis from their pent house suite room. We immediately informed the hotel about this and they didn’t take any blame and ultimately blamed my wife for apparently wearing fake tan, which she has never worn in her life.She left a trip advisor review about it to then have such a rude response from the manager Justine again deflecting any blame from the hotel when our GP has confirmed this is what it is.Avoid this hotel I’d recommend reading all trip advisor reviews.

James Monk — Google review

Lovely hotel in a brilliant location, the staff were brilliant and reception was very helpful. The room itself was more then big enough and had an upstairs lounge with a huge TV and L shaped couch. The hot tub on the balcony was great to watch the sunset with a great view

D M — Google review

Lovely stay over Easter Bank Holiday. Excellent service, special mention to Patrick for going above and beyond to help us even after his shift ended- thank you.Lovely clean suites with hot tubs, terrace was lovely in the sun and good food mostly, unfortunately chips were a little insipid and dry, but everything else was tasty on the tapas menu.

Debanand Dey — Google review

Top 22 things to do and attractions in Bowness-on-Windermere (2024)


Is Bowness-on-Windermere worth visiting? ›

This dynamic town boasts hundreds of shops, eating and drinking establishments and many fine cultural and historical attractions. The views from Bowness out across the lake and up to the mountains are some of the finest in the Lake District.

Is it better to stay in Windermere or Bowness? ›

At the end of the day, choosing to stay in Bowness-on-Windermere or Windermere is a personal choice for travellers to this part of the Lakes. Both are centrally located and are good bases for touring the Lakes, with Bowness possibly having the edge by virtue of being by Lake Windermere itself.

Why do people visit Bowness? ›

Bowness-on-Windermere is the Lake District's most popular visitor destination; this popularity stems from many things in history including the introduction of the railway, Victorian influences, notable poets and authors such as Beatrix Potter, the status of lake Windermere and much more

What is the most visited place in the Lake District? ›

Windermere and the surrounding area is arguably the most famous and popular area in the Lake District.

Why is Bowness-on-Windermere so popular? ›

The arrival of the town's train station in 1847 boosted tourism to the area; today, it is popular thanks to its location, and the abundance of places to eat, drink, and visit. Just over a mile from England's largest lake, Windermere, stands Windermere town.

Which is nicer, Keswick or Windermere? ›

Which is Better, Keswick or Windermere? Windermere is the more touristy of the two towns with lots of day trippers arriving by coach. Keswick is known for mountain scenery and walks that are easily accessible from the town.

How long does it take to walk around Windermere? ›

Get to know this 46.0-km circular trail near Windermere, Cumbria. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 11 h 58 min to complete. This trail is great for backpacking, birding, and fishing, and it's unlikely you'll encounter many other people while exploring.

What is the crime rate in Windermere? ›

Windermere is among the top 5 safest small towns in Cumbria, and is the 33rd most dangerous overall out of Cumbria's 279 towns, villages, and cities. The overall crime rate in Windermere in 2023 was 79 crimes per 1,000 people.

What are some interesting facts about Bowness? ›

During the 19th century, Bowness grew from a small fishing village to a town living almost entirely off tourism and holiday homes. It was the centre of the boat-building industry that provided the sailing yachts, rowing boats and steam launches used on the lake.

What shops are there in Bowness-on-Windermere? ›

Local Shops in Bowness
  • Bath House. This Lake District-based fragrance and skincare brand Bath House takes inspiration from the local landscape, with stores in both Bowness and nearby Ambleside. ...
  • Fab Home Interiors. ...
  • Herdy. ...
  • The Porterage Co. ...
  • Raining Cats & Dogs. ...
  • Rebecca Cropper Art.

What is the most romantic walk in the Lake District? ›

One of the most romantic things to do in the Lake District for couples is taking a stroll around Glencoyne Bay in Ullswater. This walk was immortalised in William Wordsworth's poem “Daffodils” and remains just as lovely today as when he originally wrote about it in the early 1800s.

Who is the most famous person from the Lake District? ›

William Wordsworth is one of Britain's most famous poets, who lived from 1770 til 1850. His 'Daffodils' poem beginning “I wander'd lonely as a cloud” is the quintessential Lake District poem. He was born in co*ckermouth, just north of the National Park, and went to school in Hawkshead.

What is the least visited part of the Lake District? ›

Haweswater and Kentmere

Known as the Eastern Fells, these areas are along the eastern edge of the Lake District and are less common for tourists to visit. Haweswater is tricky to reach with a single road leading in and out so cars are needed to get there and the best views are found on foot.

What is the most photographed house in the Lake District? ›

Probably one of the best known and most photographed buildings in the Lake District, the 17th Century Bridge House in Ambleside is now in the care of the National Trust.

What's the difference between windermere and bowness on Windermere? ›

'Whereas Bowness is more orientated to the tourist market, Windermere is more of a service town, with all the facilities that brings. We still have two butchers, for instance, and a library and a railway station, unlike Bowness. We just don't have a lake.

Is Windermere Town worth visiting? ›

Visit Windermere, it is the perfect Lakeland destination all year round. With the shores of the lake so close, you are never short of fantastic scenery or leisure activities. Several local viewpoints offer panoramic views of both the lake and more distant mountains.

Which part of Windermere is best? ›

The tarn is a mountain lake which makes a spectacular focal point for the area. Tarn Hows is incredibly popular due to its accessibility and breath-taking backdrop. You can take a walk around the water, enjoying the fabulous scenery, and through the wooded areas which provide stunning sights underneath the canopies.

Which is the best lake to walk around Lake District? ›

Top 10 Lakeside Walks in the Lake District
  • Friar's Crag. Distance: Less than a mile. ...
  • Buttermere Circular. Distance: 4.5 miles. ...
  • Aira Force & Ullswater Way. Distance: 3 miles or 6.5 miles. ...
  • Rydal Water. Distance: 3.7 miles. ...
  • Ennerdale. Distance: 6.5 miles. ...
  • Western Windermere. Distance: 4 miles. ...
  • Pooley Bridge. ...
  • Loweswater Lake.

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