Windermere, the heart of the Lake District

Despite the name, its fair to say the Lake District has much more to offer than just Lakes; there can be natural beauty found miles away from the nearest body of water and hiking trails galore in the driest of places.

However, no trip to this amazing part of the world can be complete without visiting one of our Lakes, and the greatest of them all is Windermere.


Created by a couple of huge glaciers 12,000 years ago, and taking its name from Vinandar, a Viking Lord who ruled this area a thousand years ago, Windermere is as grand as England’s largest lake should be. At over ten miles long and nearly a mile wide, it forms the perfect introduction to the area as it is the first lake seen when travelling into the area from the South, as most of our visitors do.

To spend time on or around this lake is a real treat; impossible to say what is more impressive about Windermere; it’s history or its setting, but whatever you’re in to, Windermere has something of interest.

Did you know, for example, that Windermere is home to one of the oldest powered boats in the world? An old steam powered vessel from the late 1700’s named the Dolly. And in the 1930s and 1950s, world water speed records were frequently set here.

Today, Windermere is home to many different user groups, including fishermen, water sports enthusiasts, nature lovers and of course, people visiting simply to enjoy the stunning beauty of the area. One of the more adventurous ways it to take to the water by taking a ride on one of the famous Windermere Lake Cruise boats which make their way around the mere and transport more people annually than any other fleet of boats in the UK, the oldest being Tern which dates back to 1891.

Every year, the Great North Swim descends on Windermere; the largest organised swim in the UK with ten thousand swimmers taking part in different length swims, from 250 meters to ten kilometres with some swimming competitively and others for charity.

Along the shores of Windermere lie some of the most impressive houses of Victorian Britain – this was a holiday hotspot for the wealthy thanks to the likes of Coleridge and Ruskin and to a greater extent, William Wordsworth whose “Guide to the Lakes” really put this area on the map.

Here at Mountain Goat, we know how special Windermere is, so with almost every one of our tours, you’ll have the chance to visit this wonderful lake and learn so much about this historic icon. In fact, if you take the Beatrix Potter's Favourite Countryside Tour or our Lake District tour from Manchester, you’ll even get to take a cruise on Windermere as part of your day out with us.

Windermere is not to be missed and is made even more amazing with a knowledgeable Mountain Goat guide to share it with.