This drive around Lake Windermere and Coniston water takes in some of the most
beautiful scenery of the Lake District National Park. The route is circular taking in
Windermere, Bowness, Newby Bridge, Coniston, Hawkshead and Ambleside. It can
be done in as little as one a half hours, but please allow at least 3 to 4 hours to do the
scenery fair justice!
For the purposes of this article I will start and finish the drive at Windermere, but of
course being a circular route you can start anywhere!
From Windermere heading south you will pass Bowness and make sure where you
can feed the Swans and eat fish and chips by the lake or in the nearby park. Heading
south of the Bowness on Windermere, you will see some of the larger and more
expensive residential buildings in the Lake District. Some of them back onto the lake
and have their own private jetties, while many have been converted into luxury hotels.
As a continuing down the lake shore on the A592 towards Newby Bridge, you might
like to take a detour to Gummer’s How. Driving up the steep road for about 5 min you
will see a car park on your right hand side. Once you ditched the car cross the road
and follow signs follow signs for Gummer’s How. The walk will take about half an
hour and you will get the most amazing views of Lake Windermere from the South
and of course the rest of the Lake District. On a clear day is even possible to see
Blackpool from here!
Newby Bridge has a few nice hotels where you might be tempted to stop and have
lunch or take afternoon tea, or make a short detour to the aquarium of the lakes or the
steam railway at Lakeside. Continuing the drive follow the A590 to Greenodd and
Penny Bridge where you should turn off the main road following signs for Coniston
and the A5084. This road follows the River Crake up to its source at the southern end
of Coniston water.
Passing the village of Torver you will get a delightful view of the Coniston fells
before you reach the village of Coniston which houses the John Ruskin Museum.
After this you take could B5285 to the quintessential Lake District village of
Hawkshead where you can visit the grammar school Museum.
Then take the B5286 North to Ambleside, the heart of the Lake District where there
are enough walks and attractions to keep you busy for a whole day, if not whole week
if you are an avid fell walker! From Ambleside it is a simple 10 min drive back down
the shore of Lake Windermere on the A591 to Windermere itself.
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