Sunday 17 November 2013

Bowness-On-Windermere, Cumbria

You have to remember there are two towns by Lake Windermere - Windermere, which isn’t on the lake side but up the hill near the train station and Bowness-On-Windermere which is by the lake.  This fact has confused me before.

If you are looking for some retail action on a Sunday in the Lake District, Bowness-On-Windermere is one of the best places to go.  Everywhere is open and it’s always jam-packed full of people.
First and foremost, parking in Bowness-On-Windermere can be a pain.  We tried to get parked in the car park near The World of Beatrix Potter and failed miserably.  Bowness is a very popular destination and you really need to get here early.  In the end we drove up the hill towards Windermere and found a very tight spot on a side road at the edge of Bowness.  On the plus side it was free parking, on the down side it took me ages to squeeze into the space.
As we wandered down the hill the shops tended to be independent shops vying for the tourist pounds with their trinkets and hand-made crafts.  I can’t remember seeing any empty shop fronts and if there were any they were being refurbished.  Bowness is such a tourist destination you would have to be nuts not to be able to make a good living here.

The place is also full of cafes, restaurants and takeaways that even with the pickiest eater would find something to eat.
We were looking for charity shops and although we found a couple, one seemed to have closed down and had been replaced by a Pasty Presto.  That shows how busy a town is when charity shops close down to make way for new business ventures.
We dodged the traffic and managed to get to the edge of Lake Windermere.  Gosh it was really busy not only with tourists but also animals.  The ducks, geese and swans were busy mugging kids for bread and treats.  There were also a bird of prey sanctuary collecting funds to continue their work and they brought some owls out.  The owls were really beautiful creatures although I do have my reservations about keeping them in captivity.  I really hate birds being  caged or tethered, they are designed to fly and I have always been tempted to release them into the wild.

The lakeside was pretty impossible to have a stroll along so we found a little side street with a junk / cheap antique shop.  Neil found some records to browse through but they were just bobbins. 
Bowness-On-Windermere is definitely a good pit stop on a tour of the Lake District.  It has a beautiful lake where you can take a boat trip, there is the Beatrix Potter Experience for the kids, and there are plenty of shops and places to eat.  However the crowds can be pretty intense especially on a sunny day.  I’m not entirely sure if I would want to spend a weekend here, but without a doubt we’ll visit Bowness-On-Windermere again.


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