Kendal - Grange - Windermere drive

A drive around the south east corner of Lakeland including some varied and interesting attractions. The popular towns of Kendal and Bowness, a number of famous historic houses, the beautiful Cartmel peninsula plus England's largest lake, Windermere.




Route Map




Summary of main attractions on route (click on name for detail)
Distance Attraction Car Park Coordinates
0 miles Kendal N 54.33013, W 2.74567
3.8 miles Low Sizergh Barn N 54.28212, W 2.76701
4.8 miles Sizergh Castle N 54.27951, W 2.76822
7.4 miles Levens Hall & Gardens N 54.25987, W 2.77526
16.0 miles Grange-over-Sands N 54.19382, W 2.90795
18.6 miles Cartmel N 54.20087, W 2.95561
21.3 miles Holker Hall & Gardens N 54.18504, W 2.98163
26.6 miles Haverthwaite Station N 54.24935, W 3.00020
27.6 miles Lakeland Motor Museum N 54.25924, W 2.98886
30.0 miles Fell Foot park N 54.27621, W 2.94987
33.8 miles Beech Hill picnic site N 54.32014, W 2.94117
35.8 miles Blackwell House N 54.34286, W 2.92214
37.7 miles Bowness-on-Windermere N 54.36591, W 2.91993
39.1 miles Windermere town N 54.37644, W 2.90474
43.5 miles Staveley N 54.37691, W 2.81592
48.2 miles Kendal N 54.33013, W 2.74567



The Drive

Distance: 0 miles         Location: Kendal, Westmorland Shopping Centre car park         Coordinates: N 54.33013, W 2.74567

Kendal town centre
The historic market town of Kendal, located at the south east Lake District boundary, is often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Lakes’ due to its position, or ‘the auld grey town’ due to the many old limestone buildings (rather than the climate!). Its other claim to fame is of course Kendal Mintcake which has long supported mountaineers and walkers worldwide. Lake District visitors often miss the town as they speed past on the A591 bypass, but it is an interesting place to explore with a number of attractions.

The town has a myriad of old alleys and buildings and there are plenty of good shops, cafes and pubs. Castle Hill, across the river from the town centre, is home to the ruined Kendal Castle and has some wonderful views of the surrounding area. At the southern end of the town centre is the huge Parish Church, Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Abbot Hall Art Gallery and nearby K Village shopping centre. Also worth visiting is Kendal Museum and The Brewery Arts Centre which has an interesting and varied selection of events. Pay and display car park with toilet facilities.



Travelling:

Leaving the multi-storey car park, turn right and follow the main road which, after a few bends, crosses the river on a narrow bridge. Get in the right lane of the two lane one-way system. The road follows the pleasant river for approx 0.5 miles until a T junction where you turn right to cross the river again. Get in the left lane which bears left once over the bridge. Continue away from the town centre, through a crossroads with traffic lights and onwards beyond the town boundary. Soon join the main A591 dual carriageway and pass a service station with shop on the left. Continue for approx 1 mile until a minor left turn leads in to Low Sizergh Barn.

Distance: 3.8 miles         Location: Low Sizergh Barn          Coordinates: N 54.28212, W 2.76701

Low Sizergh Barn
Part of the Sizergh Estate, Low Sizergh Barn is a working farm with a popular farm shop selling a variety of local produce and gifts. There is a good range of produce to buy and you can sample homemade delights in the adjacent cafe. Another benefit of the cafe is that it overlooks the milking sheds and you can normally watch the cows being milked from around 3:30pm each day. Outside there are a few picnic tables and you can follow a farm trail through the attractive surrounding countryside. Free parking and toilets for visitors. Open daily all year.

Travelling:

As you leave the car park, just before the gateway to the dual carriageway, an alternative exit lane leads to the left alongside the cowsheds. Follow this lane which soon meets a T junction with the intriguingly named Nannypie Lane. Turn right underneath the dual carriageway then right again on the Sizergh Castle access road.

Distance: 4.8 miles         Location: Sizergh Castle          Coordinates: N 54.27951, W 2.76822

Sizergh Castle
Sizergh Castle is an impressive stately home now owned by the National Trust but occupied by the Strickland family since the 13th century. It is very close to the main A591 but well hidden from the road and is worth exploring. Originally just a pele tower, the house has been extended over the centuries to provide a home to the owners but you can still tour much of the property and there are guided tours available. Outside there is a lovely garden including a limestone rock garden and a large pond in front of the castle. Beyond this there are some good walks around the huge estate. There is also a cafe, gift shop and toilets adjacent to the large free car park. Castle open daily, except Mondays, from April to October. Gardens, shop, cafe open daily except early January. Admission fee applies.

Travelling:

Return down the access road and continue straight ahead at the minor road junction. Immediately on the right is The Strickland Arms pub which provides refreshments in a pleasant setting. Continue a short distance to a T junction with the main A590 dual carriageway. The route continues to the right along the A590 but there is no right turn allowed, so turn left then all the way around the nearby roundabout to continue on the A590. After approx 0.4 miles, take the left turn which is the A6 towards Milnthorpe. Shortly, approach a T junction where you turn left, cross the River Kent bridge and Levens Hall entrance is immediately on the right.

Distance: 7.4 miles         Location: Levens Hall & Gardens          Coordinates: N 54.25987, W 2.77526

Levens Hall & Gardens
Another fine stately home built around a medieval pele tower, Levens Hall also provides an interesting visit. The house itself has plenty to offer but the main attraction is the large ancient topiary garden which has some wonderful shapes to behold. The estate extends across the A6 to Levens Park which follows the picturesque River Kent upstream and provides an enjoyable walk in parkland occupied by deer and rare Bagot goats. There is also a cafe, gift shop, toilets and free car park for visitors. House and gardens open Sun-Thurs, Easter-October. Admission fee applies.

Travelling:

As you exit Levens Hall, turn left on the A6 and in approx 0.3 miles take the left turn which becomes the A590 towards Barrow. The dual carriageway soon approaches the impressive limestone cliffs of Whitbarrow Scar on the right and becomes single carriageway. Shortly, another section of dual carriageway takes you to a large roundabout where you take the first exit, the B5277 towards Grange. After approx 1 mile, enter the village of Lindale and take the first exit at the mini-roundabout. In another 1.5 miles, enter Grange-over-Sands, pass the train station on the left and take the first exit at the mini-roundabout. Pass the duck pond and gardens on the left and shortly beyond this is a left turn to Main Street car park.

Distance: 16.0 miles         Location: Grange-over-Sands, Main Street car park         Coordinates: N 54.19382, W 2.90795

Grange-over-Sands promenade
Grange-over-Sands is an attractive seaside town overlooking Morecambe Bay. The town became a popular Victorian resort after the railway was built in the mid-19th century and many of the buildings, including some grand hotels, date from that period. The mile-long traffic free promenade provides a pleasant walk with good views across the estuary although the adjacent sands have been covered by grass in recent history due to the river channel shifting away. Behind the promenade are the pretty ornamental gardens and an impressive duck pond. The town itself has a number of small shops and cafes including the popular, old fashioned Hazelmere Cafe & Bakery and the renowned Higginsons Butchers. The car park is pay and display with public toilets nearby.

Travelling:

Exit Main Street car park and turn left which leads uphill through the town centre. Shortly, take the second exit at the mini-roundabout towards Cartmel. Immediately pass an impressive clock tower on the right and enter a short one-way section. At the crossroads go straight ahead towards Cartmel. The road climbs away from the town centre and passes some typical limestone built houses. After a fair amount of climbing the road leaves the town, passes Grange golf club on the right and reaches a T junction where you turn right. The road descends towards Cartmel and shortly enters the village. Turn right at the first T junction and almost immediate left beyond the Pig & Whistle pub. At the next T junction, turn right which soon leads to the village square. At the far end of the square, bear to the left of the Village Shop which leads to the racecourse car park.

Distance: 18.6 miles         Location: Cartmel, racecourse car park          Coordinates: N 54.20087, W 2.95561

Cartmel Priory
The pretty and ancient village of Cartmel is something of a hidden gem set amongst fields on the Cartmel Peninsula, with a delightful village square, some lovely old buildings and various visitor attractions. The main draw for visitors is the horse racing, held at the picturesque racecourse, with a few meetings each year including Spring and Summer bank holiday weekends. During these events the village becomes unbearably busy but the rest of the year is more sedate. The centrepiece of the village itself is the impressive 12th century Cartmel Priory which has a fascinating history and is well worth exploring. The village is well provided with good eating and drinking establishments. There are various pubs, cafes and restaurants including the renowned L’Enclume restaurant. The village is also famous for its own sticky toffee pudding available at the Village Shop. Pay and display car park with toilets on the racecourse.

Travelling:

Exit the car park, passing through the village square again, past the Priory and continue on this road for approx 0.3 miles to a T junction where you turn right. The pleasing open road follows the valley for approx 1.4 miles to enter the village of Cark-in-Cartmel. Shortly, take the first right turn to Holker which soon passes the Rose & Crown pub on the left and meets a T junction where you turn right on the B5278. Continue for approx 0.3 miles to Holker Hall entrance on the left.

Distance: 21.3 miles         Location: Holker Hall & Gardens          Coordinates: N 54.18504, W 2.98163

Holker Hall
Holker Hall is a superb stately home set within equally superb gardens and parkland. The original house dates from the 16th century but has been added to since then to create the current building. The west wing was completely destroyed by fire in 1871 but was rebuilt and that part of the house is now open to the public and makes a fascinating open tour. The rest of the house is the private residence of the owners, Lord and Lady Cavendish. Outside are 25 acres of wonderful landscaped gardens and beyond those is attractive parkland. There is also a food hall, cafe, gift shop and toilets set in the courtyard area. Open Weds-Sun, March-October. Admission fee applies.

Travelling:

At the exit to Holker Hall, turn left on the B5278. Continue on the scenic road which has some open views ahead towards the Coniston Fells before entering a wooded section. Continue for approx 3 miles to cross the River Leven on the outskirts of Haverthwaite village. Very shortly take the next right turn where the main road bends sharply left. Follow this for approx 0.5 miles to a T junction with the main A590. Turn right across the dual carriageway and immediately left into Haverthwaite railway station.

Distance: 26.6 miles         Location: Haverthwaite Station, Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway         Coordinates: N 54.24935, W 3.00020

Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway provides a wonderful 3.5 mile train ride within the picturesque River Leven valley. The line was originally a spur of the Furness Railway, joining at a junction near Ulverston. After the line was closed in the 1960’s, the Lakeside to Haverthwaite section was reopened as a heritage railway in 1973. The steam trains, old fashioned stations and scenery make it an enjoyable experience and trains normally run frequently in season but are limited from November to March. There are also a number of theme trips throughout the year. The trains are timed to combine with the Windermere Lake Cruises where you can also sail the length of Windermere. Haverthwaite station has a large free car park, cafe, gift shop, picnic area and toilets.

Travelling:

Exit the car park and turn left on the main A590. Very shortly take the first left turn to Backbarrow. Continue through the village of Backbarrow, passing the village store on the right and soon cross the bridge over the impressive River Leven adjacent to the Whitewater Hotel. Immediately beyond the hotel, turn left and follow this road for approx 0.2 miles to the Lakeland Motor Museum, the main car park is on the right opposite the museum.

Distance: 27.6 miles         Location: Lakeland Motor Museum          Coordinates: N 54.25924, W 2.98886

Lakeland Motor Museum
Lakeland Motor Museum was originally located at Holker Hall but has now moved to its own striking premises adjacent to the picturesque River Leven at Backbarrow. There are apparently around 30,000 exhibits with varied and interesting themes plus a gift shop. A separate building houses the Campbell Bluebird Exhibition including several life-size replicas of vehicles used by Malcolm or Donald in their various land and water speed record attempts. Adjacent to the museum, overlooking the river, is Cafe Ambio which serves a good selection of refreshments in very pleasant surroundings. Admission fee applies to the museum which is open every day apart from Christmas day.

Travelling:

Leaving the museum car park, turn right and continue a short distance to a T junction with the main A590 where you turn left. In approx 0.8 miles, enter the small village of Newby Bridge where you can get refreshments at the Swan Hotel (over the bridge) or the Newby Bridge Hotel on the right. Continue a short distance to a roundabout, taking the first exit which is the A592 towards Windermere. Follow this road for approx 1 mile before reaching the entrance to Fell Foot Park on the left.

Distance: 30.0 miles         Location: Fell Foot park          Coordinates: N 54.27621, W 2.94987

Fell Foot park
Fell Foot park is an attractive National Trust owned garden on Windermere lake shore. This is the point where the lake ends and the River Leven begins and it is ideal for a paddle in summer. There are plenty of open grassy spaces with numerous picnic tables from where you can relax and admire the views across the lake. There are also some good footpaths around the mature gardens, a cafe and rowing boat hire. Free entry to the park which is open daily all year, cafe closed over winter. National Trust pay and display car park with toilet facilities.

Travelling:

At the park exit, turn left on the A592. The winding road follows the lake northwards and although the lake is never far away, views are often obscured by trees. Continue for approx 3.4 miles to Beech Hill picnic area on the left, immediately before the Beech Hill Hotel.

Distance: 33.8 miles         Location: Beech Hill picnic site          Coordinates: N 54.32014, W 2.94117

Beech Hill picnic site
A pleasant raised grassy area adjacent to the car park with a few picnic tables and good views over the lake. There is also a footpath with many steps leading down to the wooded lakeshore area. Being a little out of the way, the picnic site is often relatively quiet and is a good place to enjoy the scenery. The car park is pay and display and has seasonal toilet facilities.

Travelling:

Leave the car park, turn left and continue on the A592 passing some very nice but well hidden private properties overlooking the lake. After approx 0.9 miles you see the B5360 junction on the right where the main A592 turns sharply left. Take the B5360 turn and continue for approx 1 mile to Blackwell House entrance, signposted on the left.

Distance: 35.8 miles         Location: Blackwell House          Coordinates: N 54.34286, W 2.92214

Blackwell House
The iconic Blackwell House is a beautiful example of Arts and Crafts architecture. Built in 1900, the ethos was to handcraft as much as possible using local craftsmen and the finished result is certainly impressive. You can explore the large house which is in a wonderful setting high above Windermere lake and there are lovely views across the water to the mountains beyond. The views can also be appreciated from the superb terraced gardens and from the cafe which spills out on to the terrace in good weather. The house is open daily all year apart from early January. There is a car park, shop and toilets. Admission fee applies.

Travelling:

Leave Blackwell House and turn left, continuing on the B5360 for a short distance to a T junction with the A5074. Turn left towards Bowness, passing more exclusive properties and some impressive hotels, well hidden from the road but with great views over the lake. After approx 0.6 miles, take the left turn which is the B5284 towards Bowness. Drop down the hill a short distance to a T junction with the A592 where you turn right. Immediately pass the Windermere ferry turning and continue approx 0.5 miles to where the road meets the lakeshore. There is always plenty going on here with non-stop boats and people. The road then rises away from the lake passing various shops and cafes to meet a mini-roundabout where you take the first exit and very shortly Rayrigg Road car park is on the left.

Distance: 37.7 miles         Location: Bowness-on-Windermere, Rayrigg Road car park          Coordinates: N 54.36591, W 2.91993

Bowness-on-Windermere centre
Bowness-on-Windermere lakeside
Bowness is probably the busiest town in the Lake District and at times the crowds can be oppressive but it is an interesting place in a great lakeside setting with plenty of attractions. The World of Beatrix Potter attraction is one of the more popular and is opposite the car park. The town centre itself has numerous shops, cafes and pubs where you can easily spend some time exploring before wondering down past St Martin’s Church to the nearby lakeside area.

The picturesque lakeside area is slightly separate to the town centre but often just as busy. There are a number of jetties where you can catch one of the many Windermere lake cruises. Beyond the jetties is Glebe Road which forms a popular loop along the lakeshore. Within this loop is a large open recreational area known as The Glebe. The grassy area provides lovely views up the lake and there are various activities available such as mini golf and tennis. Beyond The Glebe is Cockshott Point which also has some good open grassy areas and a footpath along the attractive lakeshore. There are a number of shops, kiosks, cafes and pubs around the lakeside area. Rayrigg Road car park is pay and display with toilet facilities.



Travelling:

Exit the car park, turn right and retrace your steps a short distance to the mini-roundabout where you turn left up the hill on the A5074 towards Windermere town. Passing a number of shops, cafes and restaurants, continue to climb away from Bowness town. The road is then lined with numerous hotels and guest houses before you approach Windermere town centre. Just before the start of the one-way system, car parking is signposted on the right. Take this right which is Broad Street and a short distance along on the right is Broad Street car park.

Distance: 39.1 miles         Location: Windermere town, Broad Street car park          Coordinates: N 54.37644, W 2.90474

Windermere town
Windermere town is actually about 1 mile distant from Windermere lake and was formerly called Birthwaite until the railway came in the mid-19th century at which point the station and hence the town took the name of the lake. Although basically joined to Bowness, it is a separate town with its own attractions. The town centre has a number of attractive buildings, independent shops and cafes. Adjacent to the train station is the popular Lakeland shop, Booths supermarket and Tourist Information Centre. Above the town is the wonderful viewpoint of Orrest Head which has sweeping views in all directions. It is a short but fairly strenuous walk starting from opposite the railway station. The car park is pay and display with adjacent toilet facilities.

Travelling:

Turn left out of the car park and right at the T junction on the A5074. Immediately pass through Windermere town centre on the one-way system. Shortly the road becomes two-way again and you soon reach a T junction with the main A591 where you turn right. The main road leads up and away from Windermere with some good open views of the surrounding countryside. Continue for approx 2 miles to Ings village which has a service station with shop on the main road and the popular Watermill Inn on the minor road to the right. Beyond Ings village, continue for approx 0.9 miles before you take a left turn towards Staveley village. The road leads through the village for approx 0.7 miles, passing a left turn to Kentmere valley, before you see a Spar shop on the left. Immediately before the shop, take the left turn then immediate right to Staveley Mill Yard.

Distance: 43.5 miles         Location: Staveley, Mill Yard          Coordinates: N 54.37691, W 2.81592

St Margaret's Tower, Staveley
Staveley is a typical Lakeland village with slate houses, surrounding hills, a fast flowing river and a number of interests for visitors. It is easily missed from the main A591 but it is a lot more pleasant than it used to be before the bypass was built. Staveley Mill Yard is the hub of the action with various shops and businesses including Hawkshead Brewery and pub, the huge Wheelbase cycle shop and Wilf’s cafe. There is also a large but often busy free car park for visitors. Elsewhere in the village itself is St Margaret’s Tower which is all that remains of the old church and the Eagle & Child Inn which has a lovely riverside beer garden.

Travelling:

Exit the car park, turning left past the Spar shop to continue on the main road through the village. In approx 0.7 miles, cross the Windermere railway line on a level-crossing and just beyond this is a T junction with the main A591 where you turn left towards Kendal. In a short distance, pass a service station with shop and continue for approx 1.5 miles to a large roundabout. Stay in the left lane which continues straight through to Kendal. The road descends towards the town with some good open views. Enter the outskirts of the town and the road soon drops steeply, passing through traffic lights and the impressive County Hall on the left before bearing sharply left. Then take the right lane to turn right at the next traffic lights. Westmorland Shopping Centre car park is then immediately on the right.

Distance: 48.2 miles         Location: Kendal, Westmorland Shopping Centre car park         Coordinates: N 54.33013, W 2.74567

River Kent, Kendal
Return to start point.