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The Lake Country

Like a sailboat, the only thing better than owning a pub is a friend owning one.
A good friend of ours has made the career leap and we, of course, plan to take advantage of that next June. We will be taking the train from London to Kendal and thence to Bowland Bridge (http://www.hareandhoundslakes.com/).

All I know about the area is Wordsworth's poetry. There appears to also be a very interesting motor car museum in the area also.
I ask those of you who have traveled there to tell me what to see.
We plan to be there only a few days at it is part of a London and Lisbon return.

Regards,
Dennis and Elinore

Posted by
979 posts

Hi Dennis -

Well, Bowland Bridge is a tiny hamlet situated to the south of Kendal and Bowness/Windermere (town) and roughly midway between Kendal and Windermere (the lake), and I can almost guarantee that public transport will be sparse, if non existent, so to get to the Hare and Hounds you are probably best getting a taxi or begging a lift from your friends.

What’s nearby? Well, ‘swearing in church’ as it were, there’s another pub nearby, the well known Masons Arms at Strawberry Bank which overlooks Bowland Bridge. You are not far from the chain hauled ferry south of Bowness which will take you across Windermere (lake) and leave you with a steep uphill walk to Far Sawrey and Hill Top, the former home of Beatrix Potter (better known as ‘Mrs Heelis’ to some locals!).

From Bowness you can catch one of the Windermere ferries (three of them, white with green trim, The Teal, The Tern and The Swan) up the lake to Ambleside and the town and hills around, or down it to Newby Bridge to access the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway (some steam hauled). Alternatively there are any number of launches plying similar routes on the lake. If Wordsworth is your thing you’ll need to catch the bus (I believe it’s the 555) which will take you to Grasmere from Windermere (town) bus station - it is a fair old walk up through Bowness and Windermere to the top of the latter. Alight at Grasmere to visit Dove Cottage (it’s on the main road, the A591, outside of the village) where Wordsworth was possibly at his most productive (there are a couple of other Wordsworth residences nearby, notably Allan Bank). However if you stay on the bus it will take you all the way through the Lakes to Keswick which is worth a stroll round (it’s favoured by Rick Steves as his Lakeland stopover). The bus trip, which advertises itself as ‘the most scenic bus ride in England’, is a fairly leisurely affair and takes a good hour or so to reach Keswick.

If the weather is fine, the Lakes are walking central and there are any number of footpaths from easy Lakeside strolls to full blown mountain expeditions, the choice is yours. If that is your thing there will be a ton of information locally. If you decide to visit Keswick, it’s possible to bus there and back, catch a launch across Derwentwater, climb Catbells and return to Keswick - see handy video piece by Rick Steves! - but it would be a long day. (My favoured way of doing it is launch to Hawse End, climb Catbells, descend and walk back to Keswick via the house where Beatrix Potter wrote ‘Squirrel Nutkin’ - name escapes me for the moment but it was doing tea and cakes last time we passed - Nichol End - more tea and cake at the Marina - and Portinscale - more cafes and a pub - and back to Kendal. You can shorten this by catching the boat back from Hawse End, but you miss the en route refreshments).

There is a Lakeland visitor centre at Brockhole, but I have never spent a great deal of time there (bar one rainy afternoon, when the planned falconry exhibition had been moved indoors to a lecture room - focused the mind somewhat when a large Harris Hawk was swooping about in such a confined space!).

Not sure where the motor museum is, as it is not really my thing. I’m sure you’ll have a great trip and if the weather doesn’t cooperate, well, you are staying in a pub! If there’s anything else you think I might be able to help you with, do let me know.

Ian

Posted by
539 posts

Will you have access to a car once you get to Bowland Bridge as otherwise it is going to be a nightmare getting to anywhere?

The Lakeland Motor Museum is south of Lake Windermere.

https://www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk/

This is only a few minutes walk from Haverthwaite Station on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.

https://www.lakesiderailway.co.uk/visitor-attractions/

Actually you could make a really good day of this by catching a steamer from Bowness Pier of Lake windermere to Lakeside Pier
https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/

Then go for a trip on the steam railway and visit the motor museum.

If you are interested in transport, then a short distance to the north of Bowness Pier is Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories. I've not visited here, but a friend said it was very good with enthusiastic staff.

https://www.visitcumbria.com/amb/windermere-steamboat-museum/

There is also the Steam Ship Gondola which runs cruises on nearby Coniston Water. This was built by the Furness railway company in the mid C19th to take tourists for a cruise on Coniston Watert. (They wanted something completely different to the boats being used on Windermere.) The gondola was abandoned and sunk before being rescued and restored to its Victorian glory. It is the oldest working steam yacht in the north of England.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola

You may also be interested in the chain link ferry that carries cars and foot passengers from Ferry Nab at the southern end of Bowness across the lake to Ferry House at Far Sawrey. It is worth doing just for the ride!

https://www.visitcumbria.com/amb/bowness-ferry/

A bit further away is the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, which at a gauge of just 15" is a completely different experience. It was built to carry minerals mined in the hills down to the port and then started to carry passengers. It is now a popular tourist attraction. If it is a fine day, try and get a seat in one of the open carriages which is a unique experience!

https://ravenglass-railway.co.uk/

As well as Wordsworth, the Lake District is also famous for beatrix Potter. I'm ignioting things like the World of Neatrix Potter aimed at the children (althought the Japanese go for it in a big way.) The Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead has copies of her illustrations.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beatrix-potter-gallery-and-hawkshead

You can also visit Hill Top where she lived. (You can walk to this from Ferry House after catching the chain link ferry, but it is a steep climb...)

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top

Posted by
159 posts

Thanks for all the input regarding the Lake DISTRICT :)

I hope there is Uber or Lyft in the area as I do not (at 73) relish the thought of driving up there from London.
Ten years ago my wife and I drove from London to Landsend and back. Once is enough.

Posted by
28436 posts

very very very unlikely to find uber or (we don't have lyft at all), but there are certainly plenty of taxis.

The best way from London to the Lake District is to "Let the Train take the Strain" from London Euston Station to "Oxenholme for the Lake District station" and quick change to Windermere station, then a taxi or your friends to pick you up.

Fast and frequent - much faster than anybody can drive, much of the time the train goes at 125 mph!!

Posted by
159 posts

Nigel,
Thanks for the local knowledge. We were planning the train route you laid out, but just want flexibility when there. Are there car rental offices in Kendal where we could rent a car for a few days?
Regards,
Dennis

Posted by
159 posts

I did some homework and Enterprise has an office in Kendal. Will my being 73 be a problem when renting? I sent them an email asking, but wonder if someone here already knows the answer.

Regards,
Dennis

Posted by
28436 posts

Their website only addresses the other side of the question - minimum ages. I hope you let us know what they reply to you.

I'd have thought 72 or 73 is quite young. My wife is 72 and she's still a kid. Now over 80, maybe a question....

Some years ago my father was still renting cars in his 80s in the Cotswolds, and in Naples!

Posted by
159 posts

After looking through the forum, I checked with both Auto Europe and Kemwell. The both let you input your age and I PASSED!!
As they were only showing manual transmissions and I think I no longer want that extra stress, I am still contacting Enterprise and Avis to see if the local office in Kendal will have any problem with my age.
Will pass along anything I learn.

Posted by
2185 posts

73 is fine I wouldn't waste your time - there's no maximum age restriction as long as you're fit to drive

Posted by
3036 posts

I started researching for a future trip for myself, and found the following list of taxis in the Lake District.
These may be useful for you, or for someone else reading this thread.

Lakeside Taxis at Windermere 015394 88888 and Kendal 01539 239 239
Lakes Taxis at Windermere 015394 46777
South Cumbria Taxis in Bowness-on-Windermere 07835 505697
Pegasus Taxis & Travel in Bowness-on-Windermere 015394 88888
Ace Taxi in the Windermere area 015394 45445
Windermere Taxis 015394 42355
Amber Taxis in Ambleside 015394 42000
Kevin’s Taxi in Ambleside 015394 32371
John’s Taxi in Ambleside 07759 143423
Ambleside Taxi Tours 015394 88285
Hilltop Taxis in Ambleside 07979 664472
Adam’s Taxis Ambleside 07553 835820

Ambleside Private Hire Taxis in Grasmere 015394 35925
Hawkshead Taxis 015394 36946
Bluebird Tours in Coniston
K Cars in Kendal 01539 731000

Posted by
159 posts

Rebecca,
Wow, and I thought I did research.

Will print it out and put it into "the file".

I am leaning towards a rental if possible just for the convenience considering I will likely be there only about 3 days

Dennis

Posted by
3036 posts

Yes, your rental car will be most convenient.
You can go where you want, when you want, which is a big plus, and have your bags in the trunk.
I am not brave enough to drive in England, therefore, I researched all that stuff.
I'm happy to share the info I found just in case some of it is useful to you or to someone else.
The Lake District is beautiful.

Don't miss Keswick; my favorite town I've been to in the Lake District.
Best place there for fish and chips: The Old Keswickian, on the downtown square.
Best pub: The Dog and Gun.
Don't miss the little theatre overlooking the lake.
Check to see if there are any plays or musical performances there you may wish to catch in the evening.
Hotel suggestions if you want them; just ask.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
43 posts

The train from London will be around 3 hours opposed to at least double that driving. Whatever you do, don't just turn up on the day for a rail ticket. Book an "advance" ticket. This limits you to a particular train time but will be much cheaper. Picking a random date next month I can see tickets from London Euston to Kendal station 200 yards from Enterprise for £105 return. This involves a change at Oxenholme station on the outskirts of Kendal.
Alternatively, just book the direct leg to Oxenholme and get a taxi the 3 miles or so straight to the Enterprise depot.
If you buy a railcard for £30 that last a year you will reduce your rail fare by a third. You say "we". If there are two of you, there is a "2 together" railcard, still £30 but covers the two of you so long as you travel together. So your fares will be 2x£105=£210, minus a third =£140 plus the £30 = £170, enough saving for a free meal out each.
Obviously, expect tickets to be a little more expensive by next June.

Posted by
159 posts

I have had some second thoughts about seeing the Lake District in June
The June trip would be in conjunction with a wedding in Lisbon, but I wonder if that may a tad ambitious. Why not a second trip centered on London and the Lake District?

What about September? According to what I read, the weather will be about that of June and the crowds will have abated.

Any thoughts will be appreciated

Dennis and Elinore

Posted by
43 posts

September is a good choice. It can be the last throws of summer or the start of Autumn, but we often have beautiful weather in Sept. Main difference is the daylight hours. In June it is light until 10pm, by mid Sept it is 7:30pm.
Visitor wise, it will still be busy. Mainly with empty-nesters who have been waiting for the schools to restart, so not much difference.

Posted by
5826 posts

There will be no difference in crowds between June and September - both will be busy.