The Beginners Guide to The Lake District – Episode 2 | The South Lakes

Published: Wednesday 4th Sep 2019

Written by: Alex Barton

If you haven’t yet read our first entry on The Beginners Guide to The Lake District, you can do so HERE.

We’ll start this second episode by introducing you to what is probably the most popular area of the Lake District, the south lakes…

Windermere from Wansfell

The South Lakes is a popular and busy destination all year round with many visitors choosing to congregate around lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, particularly around Bowness-on-Windermere. Bowness is the busiest part of the south lakes with its lake front setting and easy access to lake cruises but there are plenty of other quieter more peaceful parts of the south lakes to enjoy too. We’ve listed the main points of interest below:

  • Bowness-on-Windermere - Here you will find bars, restaurants, attractions, lake cruises, kayak hire, boat hire and shopping amongst many other activities and ways to spend your time. Many people choose to visit this town because they like the hustle and bustle of the centre whilst still being surrounded by the vistas the Lake District has to offer.

Bowness Bay

  • Windermere – Just up the road from Bowness and named after the lake itself (Although the lake is 1 mile away from Windermere town!). Windermere is the first town you’ll arrive in travelling from the south and offers a range of eateries and shopping along its high street.

Windermere town centre

  • Staveley - A destination not overly popular with holidaymakers. Home to the famous Hawkshead Brewery, if you’re a fan of real ale, a visit here is a must. There are also a variety of local food producers, low lying walks and a large cycle hire shop in the village too. Staveley is also the gateway into the glorious Kentmere Valley, an area that is covered in our Eastern Lakes & Eden Valley blog.

Staveley village

  • Coniston – A popular village that is dominated by its guardian fell, The Old Man of Coniston. Coniston is home to Coniston Water, the 5th largest lake in the national park and offers a range of both cruising and watersports. The area is popular with walkers and hikers who prefer higher climbs as this part of the south lakes is mountainous.

Coniston Water

  • Hawkshead – A quiet village with an annual agricultural show that is popular with locals and visitors alike. Hawkshead also has close to ties to the famous Beatrix Potter who inspired many children with her fabulous tales of Peter Rabbit. The farmhouse she resided in is still open today and lies just outside of Hawkshead at Near Sawrey. The enourmous Grizedale forest is also accessible from Hawkshead and offers outdoor activities including a GoApe course and lots of walking and nature trails.


  • Newby Bridge/Lakeside – The very southern tip of lake Windermere. Lakeside is home to an aquarium and a fantastic motor museum that is a must visit for any petrol heads. Lake cruises depart from Lakeside all year to both Bowness & Ambleside. Lakeside also has easy access to the Cumbrian peninsulas.

Newby Bridge and Lakeside


There is lots more to explore and discover in the south lakes including Orrest Head, Tarn Hows, Esthwaite Water amongst other stunning locations.

If the south Lake District sounds like it might be your cup of tea, then look at our choice of cottages! We have a wide variety of different styles to suit all needs and budgets. You can book with us online, through webchat or over the phone.


Alex Barton



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