It’s often a hassle to drive around in the area as the roads are so narrow – making passing difficult as almost every second person has a huge 4×4 and the roads are built for horses and carts – and parking spaces are hard to come by in many places. The area is just so popular that you’d have to go out of season, that’s between November and March, to have a good chance to finding parking spaces wherever you wanted. So we looked into taking buses around, but found that if we brought passes for the Windermere Lake Cruises we could hop on and off wherever we wanted, hiking in between arrivals/departures, or even getting off at one point on the lake and hiking to the next dock. It was no more expensive that the bus or taking the car if you bear in mind petrol and parking costs, and it was a gentle, nice way to see the lake too. Here’s a shot of one of the old steam boats that make up part of the fleet.
On all boats you have the choice of sitting outside or in, and you can bring your own food and drinks to consume onboard, no problem.
The Lake Cruise 24hr tickets are good value if you plan to travel a lot, and there’s also a special walkers ticke that allows you to take a boat one way up the lake, walk back a while, then catch another boat back to the start point. Dogs travel free too. I’d recommend this method of transport to points of interest (such as Beatrix Potter’s home, ‘Hilltop’ and the Lakes Aquarium) around Lake Windermere very much; no traffic jams, no parking hassle, and you get a great view as you travel too. Below is a view of Lake Windermere, looking south, taken whilst out for a hike near Orrest Head.