They say after every rough night comes a beautiful day. Well, Windermere for me was like the beautiful day after a ‘rough night’ of the train ride to it. But I would not complain too much, for what is the fun of travelling if things do not go amiss and unplanned. After boarding my two hours long train from Manchester to Peak District, I, along with many other passengers found a missing coach in the train. Apparently, no one including the ticket checker knew the whereabouts of the mystery coach and so our fate was sealed as ‘standing passengers ‘ till Windermere. A little ray of hope existed even then , for the train stopped at other stations and people might get down ; but on the flip side they might board the train as well. So, with the hope of getting a seat, I travelled for an hour standing until finally twenty minutes before our destination arrived the coach became empty and I got a chance to sit. (One of the happiest moments of my life. 🙂 )
After taking a seat, the first thing I started doing was taking pictures. Although, I had missed most of my journey, the approaching landscape was equally beautiful to capture.
As soon as I entered the town of Windermere, I found it abuzz with tourists and locals alike. Being a Saturday, many tourists had come to visit the place and enjoy it in a beautiful weather. This photograph was taken in a small by- lane of the market place which was full of pubs, hotels, guest houses, local tourist shops and of course people and dogs.
This is taken at the Windermere Cruise point. It is lovely place which is well-connected to the train station ( about 10-15 minutes by bus) and the town centre (5 minutes walk). This is where the amazing cruise originate from. The best way to enjoy the serenity of this place and the varied sights of the Lake District is to go on a streamer cruise . Each cruise lasts for about 40 minutes (one way). The cruise that I took was till Bowness where I saw the aquarium and rode a steam engine (Yes, those lovely darlings still exist today).
Some of the best things to do in this place are :
- Take a cruise. (https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk)
- Feed the majestic swans which roam the waters .
- Enjoy the beautiful sights of the Lake District from the streamer.
- Enjoy water sports . (This is subject to prior booking and weather conditions. )
After a 40 minutes streamer cruise on the Lake, I reached the aquarium (http://www.lakesaquarium.co.uk) . There is an entrance fee for visiting this place. In fact, the cruise ticket office can give you clubbed tickets for two or more attractions. This helps in reducing the cost per person. The aquarium had several interesting fishes ranging from manta rays, sting rays to catfish and even piranhas. I particularly liked this tortoise because it seemed to be giving me a “Do you want me to give you the I Am TOTALLY Cool type of pose? ”
After visiting the aquarium we headed to board our steam engine (http://www.lakesiderailway.co.uk). Coming from India, I have heard about the famous Toy Train of Darjeeling, but that I would find a steam engine here in the UK was something that I had not expected in this time and age (except maybe in museums). The train, internally had a beautiful decor and gave off an old world charm of riding the steam engines of an era gone by. These trains run everyday from 10 AM to 5:30 PM (subject to changes due to exceptional circumstances) There is a ticket needed to board the train. You can either book tickets online, opt for clubbed tickets, or book from the ticket office on spot. The ride from Bowness to the other end takes a minimum of fifteen minutes (one-way) and there are three to four trains running per hour.
These dense forests have been great shooting spots for movies and crime serials. They are also the perfect setting for camping on a cold lonely night while people gather around the fire and exchange gothic stories with each other. But even in daylight it has an eerie charm. Being wild and free, you never know how many eyes are actually on you from the depths of these canopies.
On our way back to Windermere from Bowness, I saw the water sports camp on the other side of the lake. From boating, sailing, swimming and water skiing, you name it and the provisions were made for you to enjoy them. However, these outdoor activities need to be pre-booked .
Once back in Windermere, my next destination was the Beatrix Potter Attraction (http://www.hop-skip-jump.com) . Though, initially not on my charts, this was an instant plan which I made while chatting with our cab driver on our way from the station to the lake front. According to him, one never gets too old for this attraction and it has been entertaining children and elders alike for over a 150 years. Thus, this heritage of Windermere could not be missed by me.
Although, let me confess as a child I had not got access to Beatrix Potter. But I got to know a lot from the museum. With a special place for little bunnies in my heart I fell in love with Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny in an instant. Below are two photographs from the museum. And yes, when in the Beatrix Potter Attraction you cannot leave without either Peter Rabbit or Benjamin Bunny and so a little , cute Peter Rabbit (soft toy) was welcomed by my family.
Since, the Lake Front was just a fifteen minutes walk from the Train station, I decided to walk my way through. First, because I had enough time to catch my train and Second, I could take one last look at the beautiful place and click some photographs. Apart from the touristy pubs , guest houses and curio shops the blooming flowers on the streets caught my attention. Every nook and corner of this beautiful place had myriad hues in full bloom.
And lastly before I end my post, I would introduce you guys to my lovely little friend, Lily. Windermere being a small place, I had bumped into her many times – on the streamer extending her nose out of the deck to breathe in the fresh air; in the aquarium poking her nose to see the fishes until a flying fish plopped water on her nose; on the train trying to get up and sit on the seats ( she wasnt allowed to sit on the seats BTW) ; and lastly in a curio shop befriending another little yorkie.
I would say that Windermere has been one of the best excursions for me since I came here. It is a highly recommended place , especially in the summers.
P.S the train coach was still missing even on my way back 😛 but thankfully there was space to sit.
Do let me know if you have been to the Lake District and what attractions did you see? Also, Keep looking for more of my adventures in the upcoming days.