The Western shore of Lake Windermere is the perfect place for a great car-free day out - whatever the weather!
This day out makes the best of buses, bikes and boats for a truly memorable experience. From The Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole head over to Wray Castle (National Trust) and some great cycle tracks. If you don't want to cycle, there's loads of great walking routes too!
Start at Brockhole which is so easy to get to - see the greener transport information on the right. No Bike? No worries! You can hire them here. You could even hire electric bikes if you fancy something different (or a little push!). The beautiful house at Brockhole has a cafe, pick up your picnic lunch here.
Wander down through the landscaped gardens to the jetty and hop aboard the new Bike Boat. It runs from May to September at weekends and daily in the summer holidays. The views over to the Langdales are stunning - I love it when I can enjoy the journey, instead of hurrying from A to B.
Hop off at Wray Jetty near Wray Castle. This Mock-Gothic castle sitting on the shores of Lake Windermere with turrets, towers and informal grounds is a family favourite. Pop in if the weather takes a turn for the worse! The rooms are empty of grand possessions - leaving plenty of space to dressing up and story telling, the kids will love it!
When you arrive on the west shore of Windermere, there is a great choice of routes you can take. For family fun, take the traffic-free shore path to Harrowslack - look out for little beaches that make for great picnic spots. For the more experienced cyclists there's a network of quiet roads and bridleways just waiting to be explored. Head to the picturesque village of Hawkshead - there's plenty of cafes and pubs, and the Beatrix Potter Gallery (National Trust) is well worth a visit. Or follow the bridleways over Claife Heights down to Harrowslack. Have a look at this map for detailed routes www.golakes.co.uk/travel/BikeBoat.
From Harrowslack you can take the car ferry over to Bowness-on-Windermere, and hop on the 800 Bike Bus back to Ambleside. Or wind your way back to the Wray Castle jetty where you can pick up the Bike Boat back to Brockhole. The leisurely lake cruise is the perfect end to a perfect day.
For more car-free inspiration and to download the FREE See More Lake District App visit www.golakestravel.co.uk
For more walking routes for all around Windermere and the National Park visit Miles Without Stiles http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/thingstodo/mileswithoutstiles
I'm a visitor travel assistant at Nurture Lakeland and I love exploring the Lake District! I'm passionate about protecting this precious landscape, and helping visitors to get out there and get away from it all. I've been looking at ways to get around without the car, and I'll post some ideas for car-free days out on this site.