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Windermere Marina Village, Cumbria

We stayed at the Windermere Marina Village for 5 nights when we took part in the Windermere Marathon on May 20th, a beautiful run voted the 2nd best marathon in the UK by Runner’s World. Before we go into details, here’s a short film that I made on arriving at the place. It’s not meant to be a glossy film showing the accommodation at it’s best, just an honest first impression on what the average visitor might encounter on arrival in the Marina.

Location - The Windermere Marina Village is on the shore of Lake Windermere, a 2 minute drive south of Bowness-on-Windermere, just off the A592 road. It took me about 8 hours to drive here from the south of England, with Motorway almost all the way except the final 16 miles, which is on a fast ‘A’ road. From the Marina Village it’s a 15 minute walk along a scenic lakeside path to the town of Bowness, where you can get large ferries to any point on the lake. Much nearer, a 5 minute walk away, is the smaller ferry that’ll take you directly across the lake to the west bank (foot passengers go for just 50p!) where there is some great walking and swimming (Bass Rock, about an hours walk from the ferry dock, is a good, quiet spot to swim from, as is the much nearer Cockshott Point). There’s a small shop on-site, and a Tesco Direct supermarket (and lots of other shops too) within walking distance in Bowness and then further away, 2 miles up the road from Bowness, in Windermere town itself, is a far larger supermarket called Booth’s, which has a huge range of goods at very decent prices. The Marina is ideally sited for public transport links, which you might want to take advantage off considering the fact that parking in the Lake District can be quite expensive. I only took the car out 2 days out of 5, the other days I either walked from the cottage to the fell tops, or caught a ferry to my preferred part of the lake.

Check In/Reception - Check in is officially between 4pm and 5.30pm, but I arrived early, at 3pm, and found that my cottage was ready so I could move straight in. The receptionist was ready to offer any information I needed, as well as an area map and a passcard to get me into the Marina pool, sauna, steam room, gym and Spa, which is housed a 15 minute walk away, overlooking the lake, inside the Old England Hotel. Each cottage in the Marina has it’s own parking space right outside the door (plus extra spaces opposite if you party is coming on more than one car), so unpacking was easy.

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The Cottage - My cottage had a leafy garden out front and was spread over 2 floors. The 2 double ensuite bedrooms were on the ground floor, whilst the open plan lounge and kitchen/dining area was upstairs.

First impressions were that everything was spotlessly clean, with no sign at all of ‘tiredness’ or lack of maintenance in the entire place.

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The lounge was fitted out with 2 leather sofas, an armchair, TV, DVD player, radio and patio doors leading onto a balcony that looked out over the yachts of the marina. There was free wi-fi available (it was medium strength in my cottage, got 2 out of 5 bars on my laptop receiver, good enough to upload images and films though) throughout the cottage, and several board games and a table with a chess board fitted into it. The TV got Freeview channels, which amounted to the regular BBC, Channel 4 and ITV plus a few others, and there was a comprehensive instruction folder available for every appliance in the cottage; useful when it came to me using the dishwasher and oven, which I’m not very practiced at…

The living space was nicely decorated with paintings and photos of scenes of the Lake District, wood panel ceiling, medium pile carpet (the sort you can sit and lie on comfortably) and colour matching blinds, curtains and tiles. Very modern but homely at the same time.

Between the lounge and kitchen was a wooden wardrobe that concealed a pull down double bed, making this a cottage that could feasibly sleep 6, although for me that would be a family of 6 including kids, rather than 6 adults. I think that having more than 4 adults here might seem a little crowded.

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Beyond this pull down bed area was the dining table plus 4 chairs, and the very well equiped kitchen. Everything you would need to prepare food and drink was to be found in the cupboards. Cutlery, pans, plates, dishes, and all sorts of spatulas, whisks and whatnot were spread around in drawers either side of the oven and hob, fridge freezer, microwave, kettle and dishwasher. I found it easy, and a joy, to cook in.

Now to the downstairs area. There were 2 bedrooms here, and 2 bathrooms as well. 1 room was en-suite, the other had the bathroom adjoining, but there was also another door into this bathroom, making it more of one for the household to use. Both rooms were very clean, well decorated and had windows looking out onto the Marina. They also had very comfy beds, cupboard space and radiators.

The bathrooms were ultra clean and well provided with towels and soaps. The boiler was set to provide a half bath load of hot water at any one time, but you could override that if you wanted more.

It’s worth mentioning as well that the Marina is extremely quiet at night, I never heard a sound. During the day it was sleepy, but at night it was totally silent.

I didn’t take any photos or video in the Old England pool area, but check out the website below to see images. The pool has a huge window at one end that overlooks the lake, and a few chairs and loungers around it, as well as outside on a patio. I found the pool and sauna/steam to be clean and the ice room, which housed a freezing cold shower and a bucket of ice, a great aid for muscle recovery after a hard run/hike. The pool isn’t really large enough for a good swim unless there’s only you in there, which never happened during my stay, and there was also always a group of kids being taught to swim during the 3 times I used the place, so it’s ok for a splash around, nothing more though.

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In Summary - The Windermere Marina Village has a good location and is a good base for any of the runs in the area (the Windermere Marathon and the Staveley 17km, for example) or for sightseeing Lake Windermere in general. There are also at least 3 classic walks to be started from your front door here (you can read descriptions of them back at the Lake District special home page), and the lake swimming hereabouts (nearest place is Cockshott Point) is good and clean.

The car parking is plentiful and free, my cottage was comfy and extremely quiet and the staff are helpful enough.

If you don’t mind not having the personal touch from the owners that you’d get in a B & B or small hotel (of which their are lots around Windermere) and also if you can get a deal to bring the price down a bit (sign up to their email service to get notice about the deals), then the Marina is a good choice.

For more information on the Windermere Marina Village, please email info@wmv.co.uk or click www.wmv.co.uk

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