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Life on the Lake

Swap your waterproofs for wetsuits and your poles for paddles...It's time to reconnect with the water, because we've got plenty of it! 

It's safe to say that we've been spoilt by the abundance of awe-inspiring mountain walks, adrenaline-pumping ridges and challenging terrains that sprawl across the diverse Lake District landscape. However, the true tranquility and serenity of the Lake District can only be experienced upon the waters that drift within the shadows of the magnificent peaks that surround them

Here, we bring you our favourite ways to explore the wonderful waters of the Lake's, offering an opportunity to experience the landscape from a unique perspective.

Ullswater Steamers

Celebrating 150 years of cruises on one of England's most beautiful Lakes, the award winning environmentally accredited Lake District attraction is a must do during your next visit to the Lakes. Operating one of the largest heritage vessel fleets in the world, Ullswater Steamers offer visitors an unforgettable experience throughout the year.

The cruises across Ullswater connect some of the most iconic walking routes within the Lake District National Park World Heritage site, running an 8 mile course through the expansive vistas of the Lake Districts highest mountains. However, if walking isn't at the top of your itinerary, then there are few better places where you can sit back to take in some stunning views and enjoy a cold, local ale courtesy of the on-board bar!

Start your day off in the north of the lake at Pooley Bridge. Visit the stunning historic house and gardens of Dalemain, or give your tastebuds a treat by indulging in some local food, drink and crafts at the traditional farmers' market from April to September. 

Travel further south and you'll arrive at Howtown Pier, home to the famous Lakeshore walk to Glenridding, as well as the only wild Red Deer herd in the UK. Stroll along the lakeshore from the pier and find some ideal spots to enjoy a lazy lakeside picnic whilst soaking up some sun (fingers crossed). The kids can fish for tiddlers and feed the ducks, whilst keeping an eye out for Ravens, Peregrine Falcons and Buzzards in the skies above.

The former mining village of Glenridding will be your next stop as you journey to the south of the lake, the gateway to Helvellyn. Standing 300m tall and holding the title of Englands 3rd largest mountain, a daring climb to the summit of this monster is the jewel in the Ullswater crown that shadows the South Western valley of the Lake. 

Your final destination will be a little less treacherous, and a little more serene. Your visit to the Ullswater valley wouldn't be complete without seeing the tumbling waterfall of Aira Force, set within ancient woodland and landscaped glades. A stroll further along the shores from Aira Force will take you to Glencoynce wood, the perfect place to end your day amongst the inspiration for William Wordsworth most famous poem, "The Daffodils".

Paddle Boarding the Lakes

‘Paddle Boarding the Lake’ is Cumbria’s only dedicated stand up paddle boarding (SUP) provider, run by a dedicated team of instructors and guides who have been teaching paddle boarding since 2014.

The company offers an assortment of different adventures, offering introductory lessons, river tours, safaris, group sessions, private sessions and mega SUP adventures. There’s something for everybody, families, friends, young and old. Paddle Boarding the Lake welcomes aspiring and accomplished SUP riders alike.

Here in the Lake District, we have the opportunity to paddleboard in some of the most amazing locations. An amble down Derwentwater is the jewel in the crown for stand up paddle boarding in the Lakes, an ideal destination for your first paddle board intro lesson or river tour. Explore the numerous islands, secluded bays and river mouths at your leisure, keeping a watchful eye out for Otters, Kingfishers, Ospreys and other Lakeland wildlife.


A cruise on Coniston, the 3rd largest lake in the Lake District and home to Donald Campbell’s water speed attempts, is ideal for stand up paddle boarding, with stunning views across the lake and up into the high fells and Langdale pikes.

Drift along River Derwent, Lake District Paddleboarding’s river of choice, running from the shadow of the highest mountain in England (Scafell Pike), all the way to the Irish Sea. Become part of the landscape and experience a unique and adrenaline fuelled perspective of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes.

Lake Windermere, the most popular of all the Lakes, drawing stand up paddle boarders from all around the UK. All windermere tours depart from the north of the lake at Waterhead, Ambleside and is the perfect spot for learning to paddle board, with sheltered bays, accessibility to the mouth of the river Brathay, and close proximity to Ambleside’s lakeside pubswhat’s not to love!

Windermere Jetty

The sights, sounds and smells of life on the Lake. Reconnect with the water at this spectacular new museum on the shores of Lake Windermere. Take a ride on an Edwardian steam launch, spot Beatrix Potter’s rowing boat and marvel at vintage luxury watercraft and speed boats.

The Windermere Jetty Museum is the perfect place to reconnect with the water and to get a taste of what life was like on the lake over the years. Arrive by boat, by road or by foot, and immerse yourself in an unforgettable day of experiences, workshops, history and magnificent displays.

The conservation workshop is the heart and soul of everything at Windermere Jetty, where you can witness a team of master boat builders hard at work in the dedicated workshop. Watch through the workshop windows to see live conservation, part of the 6 step restoration process committed to let stars of the show shine within the many displays at the museum.


When the sun begins to shimmer on the water, the boats from the conservation workshop venture out into the open air to be restored within the boat yard. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to get an even closer look at the magnificent collection of boats as they embark onto the water or undergo their magnificent restoration process.

The boathouse is without a doubt the most spectacular area of the museum, where the lake itself becomes part of the building. Here, you can take the opportunity to hop aboard Ospray, one of the fully-restored Edwardian steam launches for an unforgettable trip out onto the lake.

Take a journey through the galleries, a wall and ceiling covered display packed full of boating paraphernalia and aquatic curiosities. Uncover Windermere’s boating heritage, it’s owners, builders and users via interactive displays, historical collections and oral histories.

Sail 'n' Dine

Sail 'n' dine set sale in 1986 by husband and wife team John and Judie Surridge. Sail ‘n’ Dine now holds the title of Windermere’s longest running yachting business, with 2019 marking 33 years of service to their delighted customers. 

The beautiful Lake Windermere had surrounded and exhilarated the couple for years as they sailed “Allegro” (their treasured 24 foot Hurley yacht), exploring the calm, tranquil, yet sometimes tempestuous waters of England’s largest natural lake. 

Today, visitors can embark on lunch sailing experiences, an evening of sailing and dining, or a Friday and Sunday exclusive trip. With Skipper John at the helm, you'll learn about the history of the stunning landscape that surround Lake Windermere, whilst enjoying top quality, locally sourced food, washed down with a few glasses of wine! The perfect way to see the shores of Lake Windermere and reconnect with the water. 

For us here at Heart of the Lakes, exploring the water in the Lake District is the perfect way to reconnect with Lakes. And if you're wanting to explore all of the 7 wonders of the Lake District, and find out how you can reconnect with Mountains, Communities, Literacy and a whole lot more, then click here to read more >>>   7 Wonders of the Lake District Troutbeck.