Explore the English Lake District

What’s so great about the Lake District?

There are a huge number of reasons to visit the Lake District

Do you love the countryside?

We have a lot of that. Bowness is popular, but it can take less than 5 minutes to find a completely peaceful spot. And every day the view changes slightly. The lake can be absolutely still with gorgeous reflections of the surrounding hills, or animated and angry, with waves whipped up by the wind. The light and shadow on the fell-sides changes as the sun moves, creating new patterns. The trees on the far side of Windermere change with the seasons, with an absolute riot of colours in the Autumn.

Have a busy life, and need to chill?

Spend a couple of hours in a luxury spa, just 2 minutes from May Cottage. Free to our guests, you can unwind in the sauna, steam room and jacuzzis. Just remember to bring your costume and a pool towel. There is nothing more calming than gliding across Windermere, gazing at the hills, trees, lovely buildings, as new views come into sight. Or standing on the top of a hill you have just climbed and appreciate the stunning scenery. Then reward yourself with something from one of wide range of cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Like literature?

The lake district was home to, and inspired, William Wordworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Beatrix Potter and many others. Wordsworth famously lived in Dove Cottage Grasmere, Coleridge in Keswick and Beatrix Potter in Near Sawrey, close to Hawkshead. “A literary guide to the Lake District” by Grevel Lindrop is a comprehensive guide to all the notable writers influenced by this beautiful part of the world.

Enjoy the history of this country

The lake district is packed with history. The landscape looks wild but is essentially man made. The earliest human settlement was at least 5000 years ago, since when the area has been a source of stone age axes, copper, iron ore, slate, graphite, wool, bobbins (really), literature and images. All over the Lake District you can see evidence of the different industries and activities, with museums and tours to help

Want to challenge yourself?

There are a lot of mountains and hills. Alfred Wainwright wrote about 214 of them, which have now become known as “Wainwrights”. Many people like to climb these to tick them off, others enjoy the journey. Because of the good drainage mountain biking is fun all year around. Key centres with bike hire and multiple trails are Whinlater (near Keswick) and Grizedale (near Hawkshead). Road biking is also a challenge, with a number of iconic climbs. Despite the popularity of Lake District you can find quite roads, and the traffic is more tolerant than in less relaxed areas. Open water swimming is growing in popularity, with the Great North Swim in Windermere in June drawing thousands to take the plunge. There are also events in Ullswater, Derwentwater and Conniston.

Enjoy beer?

Welcome to the county with the greatest number of micro-breweries. Once you have tried pints from Hawkshead, Conniston, Watermill, Cumbrian legendary, Handsome and Hesket Newmarket breweries then its time to really start exploring. There are new ones opening regularly.

Enjoy eating out?

The Lake District has 7 Michelin starred restaurants. This is a lot for such a small area, and it has an effect on the overall standard of restaurant food – many establishments really do go that extra mile. If you want some advice we are happy to share our guests reviews with you.

Close to the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere

For a small town Bowness has a very wide choice of cafes, pubs and restaurants

Time to visit?



Across the Lake District


in the South Lakes area

Food & Drink

In the Bowness area

What's On

the next 12 months


Windermere Lake Cruises

The most popular attraction in Cumbria, and it’s easy to see why. Windermere is England’s largest lake, 10.5 miles long. Cruises go from Bowness pier, less than 5 minutes’ walk from May Cottage. The ‘Red Cruise’ goes north to Ambleside, with its hills, waterfall, shopping and roman fort. The Yellow cruise goes south to Lakeside and the Steam Railway and Motor museum. The Blue Cruise is a short circular tour of the middle of the lake. Or get the ‘Freedom of the Lake’ and go on any route. https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/ T: +44 (0)15394 43360

Windermere Jetty - Museum of Boats, Steam & Stories

Opened in March 2019, Windermere Jetty museum is a massive update to the old Steamboat Museum, and contains nationally important collection of historic vessels, plus a café with the best lake view. W: https://windermerejetty.org/

Blackwell – the arts & crafts House

Just a mile from May Cottage this grade 1 listed building is an arts and Crafts masterpiece, with great views and good café. W: https://www.blackwell.org.uk/

The World of Beatrix Potter

The Lake District’s natural beauty and abundant wildlife inspired Beatrix Potter to write her much-loved stories. Come and explore this wonderful landscape where the tales are brought to life. Click here for more info W: https://www.hop-skip-jump.com T: 015394 88444

Hill Top – Beatrix Potter’s 17th century farmhouse

Owned by the National Trust, this cottage gives a great insight into the character of Beatrix Potter. Best to travel by minibus or on foot as parking is a real issue. W: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top

Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Train

Steam journey from Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park, past seven request stops with a 1:40 gradient at times, to Dalegarth Station, near Boot in Eskdale. W: https://ravenglass-railway.co.uk/ T: 01229 717171

Honister Slate Mine

High adrenaline adventure and educational mine tours at this unique slate mine, home of the beautiful Westmorland Green Slate. W: https://honister.com/

Holehird Gardens

Lakeland Horticultural Society Click here for more info W: www.holehirdgardens.org.uk T: 015394 46008

Hawkshead Brewery

Based in Staveley, this is a great small brewery with daily tours, and an on-site beer hall, that serves food, and sometimes has entertainment. A number of signature ales including Hawkshead Bitter, Brodies Prime and the legendary NZPA. W: https://www.hawksheadbrewery.co.uk/


Walking and touring We can help with personalised walks & scenic driving routes

Mountain Goat

Guided mini-bus tours of some the best sights in the Lake District. Run daily. W: https://www.mountain-goat.com/

The Lake District Walker

Get a guided walking tour around Lake District and beyond. This is the perfect activity for any outdoor enthusiast, with walks of all levels. Also ghyll scrambling W: https://www.thelakedistrictwalker.co.uk T: 01900826291

The Lakes Hotel Spa

“The most relaxing spa development in the lakes”. With a leisure pool, two hot-tubs, steam-room, sauna, poolside bar. Just two minutes from May Cottage, and free for May Cottage guests. W: https://www.lakeshotel.com

VIP Lake Tours

Exclusive boat hire with a Skipper of a Luxury Motor Cruiser. Perfect for a birthday, proposal, wedding, or any special occasion. W: https://www.mylakecruise.net/

Mountain Biking

There are hire shops in Bowness and Windermere, who will provide maps of local routes. But the best place to ride locally is Grizedale Forest, near Hawkshead, with a range of off-road routes and bike types, including electric. W: https://www.grizedalemountainbikes.co.uk/

Horse Riding

Lakeland Pony Treks is close to Windermere, and has experiences to suit all abilities W: http://lakesriding.co.uk/

Food & drink

Our guests let us know which restauarants, cafes and pubs they have particularly enjoyed. Here's a list of their favourites

Our guests' favourite restaurants

Villa Positano

Great quality rustic Italian food, owned and run by an Italian family

T: 01539 445663


Good quality ‘Indian’ restaurant, with a Bangladeshi focus. Excellent spicing. Try some of the specials.

T: 01539 443944 


Good quality Italian restorante & pizzaria

T: 01539 444227

Jacksons Bistro

Bistro, steaks a speciality.  Special Occasion Dining

T: 01539 446 264


Modern British fine dining. T: 01539 448242  

House of Siam

High quality Thai cuisine.  T: 01539 422412

Our guests' favourite pubs and cafes

Royal Oak

The closest to May Cottage, and one of the favourites. Usually 4-5 craft ales.

The Crafty Bar

Real ale bar in Windermere. Quirky, fun and huge choice of beers.

The Albert

A good Robinsons pub, with huge food portions

Hole in t'Wall

Traditional, real fires, jugs hanging from the ceiling, real character.

The Flying Pig

Real ales and interesting food. Can be busy.  


New. On the Glebe next to Fab. Wide selection of ales and lake view

Whats on

over the next 12 months


1st  – Haweswater Half Marathon –edenrunners.co.uk/haweswater.html

20th-22nd  – Northern Craft beer Festival, Hawkshead Brewery beer Hall, Staveley http://www.hawksheadbrewery.co.uk/whats-on.aspx



3rd – 5th – Bowness Bay Blues Festival. In its 9th year with 29 artists across 9 venues.





Friday 15th – Sunday 17th  – Windermere Boat & Adventure Show. https://www.windermereboatshow.com/

Sunday 17th  – ASICS Windermere Marathon. https://www.brathay.org.uk/events/asics-windermere-marathon-2020/

Saturday 23rd, Monday 25th, Wednesday 27th  – Cartmel Races Whit Meet.   www.cartmel-racecourse.co.uk/

30th – Grasmere gallop.  https://www.grasmeregallop.co.uk/






Every Saturday from 6th – Windermere Lake Cruises Buffet Cruise

Friday 5th-Sunday 7th   Great North Swim – Brockhole Visitor centre.  www.greatrun.org/great-swim

5th-6th – Keswick Beer festival –www.keswickbeerfestival.co.uk

20th– 21st –  Brathay 262 – 24 hour cycle event

Friday 26th, Sunday 28th  – Cartmel Races June Meet –.  www.cartmel-racecourse.co.uk/

27th – Morecambe Bay guided walk



every Wednesday and Saturday – Windermere Lake Cruises Buffet Cruise –

Saturday 4th – Windermere Sprint Triathlon http://www.getsetnorth.org/windermere-sprint-triathlo/4592700107

Sunday 5th – Windermere Triathlon –. http://www.getsetnorth.org/windermere-triathlon/4592771905

16th-19th – Summer Beer Festival – Hawkshead Brewery beer Hall, Staveley. http://www.hawksheadbrewery.co.uk/whats-on.aspx

Saturday 18th, Monday 20th – Cartmel Races July Meet. www.cartmel-racecourse.co.uk/

Thursday 30th  Ambleside Traditional Lakeland Sports. https://amblesidesports.co.uk/



every Wednesday and Saturday – Windermere Lake Cruises Buffet Cruise.

Tuesday 18th – Hawkshead Show.  http://www.hawksheadshow.co.uk/?VISITORS_INFORMATION

Saturday 29th, Bank Holiday Monday 31th – Cartmel Races August Holiday Meet. www.cartmel-racecourse.co.uk/

Sunday 30th August – Grasmere Sports. https://www.grasmeresports.com/






4th-6th – Grasmere Guzzler Beer festival. https://www.tweediesgrasmere.com/grasmere-guzzler/

13th – Ambleside Trail 60 – 60km trail run.



24th – Langdale Marathon & half Marathon –https://www.brathaychallenges.com/events/running/langdale-marathon

tbc – Wasdale Head show & shepherd’s Meet



Kendal Mountain Festival 19th-22nd http://www.kendalmountainfestival.com/

Ulverston Dickensian Festival – 28th – 29th



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