|A drive of contrasts around Englandís largest lake, Windermere. The route visits some of the most popular attractions in Lakeland and also some relatively remote and peaceful parts on the western shore. The scenery is fabulous throughout.|
|Central Lakes Drives||Home|
|Summary of main attractions on route (click on name for detail)|
|Distance||Attraction||Car Park Coordinates|
|0 miles||Waterhead, Ambleside||N 54.42116, W 2.96284|
|2.1 miles||Brockhole Visitor Centre||N 54.40120, W 2.93914|
|4.3 miles||Rayrigg Meadow picnic site||N 54.37897, W 2.91924|
|5.3 miles||Bowness-on-Windermere||N 54.36591, W 2.91993|
|7.6 miles||Blackwell House||N 54.34286, W 2.92214|
|9.5 miles||Beech Hill picnic site||N 54.32014, W 2.94117|
|12.5 miles||Fell Foot park||N 54.27621, W 2.94987|
|15.1 miles||Lakeside, Windermere||N 54.27882, W 2.95697|
|15.9 miles||Stott Park Bobbin Mill||N 54.28541, W 2.96517|
|21.0 miles||Esthwaite Water||N 54.35029, W 2.98460|
|21.9 miles||Hill Top, Near Sawrey||N 54.35247, W 2.97133|
|24.1 miles||Hawkshead Village||N 54.37410, W 2.99679|
|27.1 miles||Wray Castle||N 54.39822, W 2.96968|
|30.8 miles||Waterhead, Ambleside||N 54.42116, W 2.96284|
Distance: 0 miles Location: Waterhead car park, Ambleside Coordinates: N 54.42116, W 2.96284
|Waterhead from Borrans Park|
Travelling:Leave the car park and turn left on the A5075 towards Windermere town. This immediately joins the A591 at the traffic lights where you continue along the picturesque lake shore road. As you leave Waterhead, the peaceful and attractive Stagshaw Gardens is on the left and approx 0.6 miles beyond is the Low Wood Hotel which is well known for water sports in a spectacular setting. Continue on for approx 0.8 miles to Brockhole visitor centre on the right.
Distance: 2.1 miles Location: Brockhole Visitor Centre Coordinates: N 54.40120, W 2.93914
Travelling:From Brockhole, continue south on the A591 towards Windermere town. After approx 1 mile, pass through Troutbeck Bridge village where there is a petrol station & shop. Continue past Troutbeck Bridge for approx 0.5 miles to the mini-roundabout and turn right on the A592 towards Bowness. Shortly, Hammarbank pay and display car park is on the right with good views over the lake. Continue beyond this, down the steep hill and around a couple of bends to Rayrigg Meadow car park on the right.
Distance: 4.3 miles Location: Rayrigg Meadow picnic site Coordinates: N 54.37897, W 2.91924
|Queen Adelaide's hill|
Travelling:Turn right out of the car park and continue on the A592 towards Bowness. After approx 0.6 miles pass the new Windermere Jetty boat museum and enter the outskirts of Bowness. Shortly on the right is Rayrigg Road car park which is ideally placed to visit the town.
Distance: 5.3 miles Location: Bowness-on-Windermere, Rayrigg Road car park Coordinates: N 54.36591, W 2.91993
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 lake shore. 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:From the car park, continue on the A592 towards the centre of Bowness town. Very shortly come to a mini-roundabout and turn right towards the lake, still the A592. Drop down the hill to enter the lakeside area. After a short distance the main road turns away from the lake but you can take the right turn here and follow the Glebe Road loop which gives some good views of the lake as you pass various shops and cafes. Additional parking is available here.
The road soon brings you back to the A592 where you turn right and continue southwards towards Newby Bridge. Shortly, take the left turn which is the B5284 towards Kendal. Continue up the steep hill to a T junction where you turn right on the A5074. The road then passes some exclusive properties and impressive hotels, well hidden from the road but with great views over the lake. After approx 0.6 miles, take the B5360 on the right towards Newby Bridge. In a short distance the first entrance on the right is Blackwell House.
Distance: 7.6 miles Location: Blackwell House Coordinates: N 54.34286, W 2.92214
Travelling:Leave the car park and turn right on the B5360. Continue for approx 1 mile to a T junction with the A592 where you turn left. After approx 0.8 miles, pass the prominent Beech Hill Hotel on the right and just after this is Beech Hill picnic site, also on the right.
Distance: 9.5 miles Location: Beech Hill picnic site Coordinates: N 54.32014, W 2.94117
|Beech Hill picnic site|
Travelling:Continue on the A592 towards Newby Bridge. Although the road is never far from the lake shore, the lake is mostly obscured from view by trees. After approx 3 miles, the road approaches the end of the lake and the view opens up a little. Shortly on the right is Fell Foot park.
Distance: 12.9 miles Location: Fell Foot park Coordinates: N 54.27621, W 2.94987
|Fell Foot park|
Travelling:Back on the A592, continue towards Newby Bridge and after approx 0.8 miles, turn right at the big roundabout which is the main A590. After a very short distance, take the right turn which passes over the old narrow Newby bridge towards Lakeside. Just over the bridge on the right is the Swan Hotel which provides refreshments in a pleasant riverside setting. The minor road from here on becomes quite narrow and windy so take care when driving. After approx 1 mile, reach the village of Lakeside and just before the Lakeside Hotel on the right, turn right to Lakeside car park.
Distance: 15.1 miles Location: Lakeside, Windermere Coordinates: N 54.27882, W 2.95697
Travelling:Return to the road and turn right towards Hawkshead. In just over 0.5 miles, Stott Park Bobbin Mill is on the left hand side with the choice of two separate car parks.
Distance: 15.9 miles Location: Stott Park Bobbin Mill Coordinates: N 54.28541, W 2.96517
|Stott Park Bobbin Mill|
Travelling:Continue on the minor road which heads northwards towards Hawkshead. The road is close to the western shore of Windermere but the lake is mostly hidden by trees. After approx 2 miles, Graythwaite Hall is on the left and its lovely gardens are open from April - August, often at their best in the spring. Continue through wonderful countryside and woodland for approx 2.7 miles to meet the wooded shores of Esthwaite Water, the visitor centre car park is just beyond on the right
Distance: 21.0 miles Location: Esthwaite Water visitor centre Coordinates: N 54.35029, W 2.98460
The lake has close connections with both William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, a shoreline walk follows in the footsteps of the latter and storyboards tell you about the different animals in her books. The small visitor centre at Esthwaite Water has a cafe, fishing tackle shop, picnic area and toilets. Open all year, cafe open Easter to November. Pay and display car park.
Travelling:Leave Esthwaite Water car park and turn left. Very shortly take the left turn to Sawrey. The narrow road follows the wooded shores of Esthwaite Water before climbing a short distance to the village of Near Sawrey. Soon meet a T junction in the village where you turn right and Hill Top car park is immediately on the right.
Distance: 21.9 miles Location: Hill Top, Near Sawrey Coordinates: N 54.35247, W 2.97133
|Hill Top house|
The house is open daily, except Fridays, from February to November and is also open Fridays in the summer. Closed in winter. Admission fee to house which can be very busy and a timed ticket system operates. Outside there are attractive gardens, a small gift shop and toilets which are all free entry and open the same time as the house plus weekends in November and December. The nearby small car park is free for visitors to the property. The Tower Bank Arms next door is a quaint looking pub which also has connections with Beatrix Potter.
Travelling:From Hill Top car park, turn left on the B5285 towards Hawkshead. The road soon follows the picturesque eastern shore of Esthwaite Water. Just past the lake the road bends to the left and the village of Hawkshead is ahead. Take the right turn to Hawkshead village, still the B5285. The first left turn brings you to the village car park.
Distance: 24.1 miles Location: Hawkshead Village car park Coordinates: N 54.37410, W 2.99679
|Hawkshead Village from the churchyard|
Travelling:Turn right out of the village car park, then quickly right at the first T junction, left at the second T junction towards Windermere, then first left towards Wray. The pleasant lane passes through the hamlet of Colthouse and gradually climbs before traversing the slopes of Latterbarrow hill on the right with good views ahead and left towards Lakeland mountains. There are a few places to pull in and admire the scenery. Continue for a short distance to the hamlet of High Wray, a right turn here takes you approx 1 mile down a dead end to Red Nab free car park on the wooded shore of Windermere from where there is a good path along the lakeshore. The road continues to descend beyond High Wray and soon enters a small wood where you will find the ornate entrance to Wray Castle on the right.
Distance: 27.1 miles Location: Wray Castle Coordinates: N 54.39822, W 2.96968
Outside there are extensive grounds stretching down to the picturesque shores of Windermere lake. There are some fabulous walks along the lake shore which provides a good place for a picnic. Cruises around northern parts of the lake can be taken from the nearby jetty in season. Admission fee applies to the Castle which also has a cafe and toilet facilities. Castle open daily from February to October, weekends only in November. Closed in winter. Grounds are open daily all year. National Trust pay and display car park.
Travelling:Return to the ornate Castle entrance gate and turn right. The road descends and passes Low Wray campsite. Continue along the winding road for approx 0.7 miles to a T junction and turn right on the B5286 towards Ambleside. Continue for approx 1.5 miles through attractive countryside and woodland to a narrow bridge over the River Brathay. Just beyond is a T junction where you turn right on the A593 towards Ambleside. Soon cross another tight bridge, this time over the River Rothay. Once over the bridge, the road bears left and becomes one-way. Get in the right lane which soon comes to a T junction. Turn right on the A5075 for approx 0.5 miles and Waterhead car park is on the left.
Distance: 30.8 miles Location: Waterhead car park, Ambleside Coordinates: N 54.42116, W 2.96284