Lake Windermere View

Lake Windermere View

Central Lakes Tourist Information

The Central Lake District contains Britain's most visited lake - Windermere and the equally popular Coniston Water and this gentler central area of the Lakes is both William Wordsworth Country around Grasmere and Ambleside, and Beatrix Potter Country around Hawkshead. The birth of the tourist guidebook and tourism in Britain can be traced to this literary heart of the Lake District - find out more at the superb Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere!

The Central Lakes is a hub for specialist shopping and dining centres like Ambleside, Windermere village, Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston village, all with a range of fine specialist food shops, gift shops and outdoor clothing shops. Dine in Michelin Star restaurants around Windermere or choose one of the many fine real ale inns, wholefood and organic cafes and world cuisine restaurants all plentiful in bustling holiday favourite area - the Central Lake District.

Art & Literature in the Central Lakes

The Central Lakes is the literary heart of the Lake District containing the two famous historic Lakeland homes of William Wordsworth, Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage both around Grasmere. Explore Beatrix Potter Country in the area and take a tour of the author's historic home Hill Top around Hawkshead. Poet, artists and social commentator John Ruskin also had a home here - beautiful Brantwood withe expensive gardens and pier drop off point sits on the eastern shores of Coniston Water and is open to the public with on-site cafe.

Many famous artists are linked to the Central Lakes area like Arthur Ransome, author of the world famous children's novel 'Swallows and Amazons', inspired by time spent around both Coniston Water and Lake Windermere. See artwork by pioneering 20th century artist Kurt Schwitters on show at the Armitt Museum in Ambleside.

Coniston Water & Lake Windermere

Two of the most popular lakes in the Lake District, Coniston Water and Lake Windermere are in the Central Lakes and both offer a host of water sports, lakeside walks and boat trips. The Central Lakes is also a hotspot for family attractions including The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness and the great value Brockhole Visitor Centre on the shores of Lake Windermere with free on-site outdoor adventure playground.

Specialist Shopping in the Central Lakes

The Central Lakes small towns and villages including Grasmere, Bowness-on-Windermere, Hawkshead village and bustling centre Ambleside offer superb specialist shopping in the Lake District. Top quality outdoor clothing shops, fine deli shops, antiques emporiums, book shops, unique boutiques and Lakeland craft centres are plentiful in all these popular holiday destinations in the Central Lake District.

For Lakeland crafts and gifts, shops in Ambleside and the Central Lake District are a treasure trove for unique craft jewellery, accessories, home furnishings and elegant clothing ranges. All of the main centres in the Central Lakes including Ambleside, Grasmere, Hawkshead village, Coniston village, Bowness-on-Windermere and Windermere town boast a fantastic range of Lake District gift shops, craft centres and independent galleries.

Buy Beatrix Potter gifts and souvenirs in the Central Lakes at the Beatrix Potter gift shop within The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness and in wonderful Peter Rabbit shops in Hawkshead and Bowness-on-Windermere.

Accommodation in the Centre of the Lake District

  • Bowness on Windermere
    Prices from
    £30
    Per Person Per Night B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 390 reviews
    Rating from 390 reviews
    Classic Victorian guest house in Bowness, 10 minutes' walk from Lake Windermere, restaurants and shops. 8 luxury rooms, free WiFi and off road parking. Locally sourced breakfasts.
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  • Ambleside
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    £30
    Per person, per night (B&B)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 146 reviews
    Rating from 146 reviews
    Charming bed and breakfast accommodation in a convenient central Ambleside location - recently voted the most stunning town to live in the UK. Free WIFI and parking available.
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  • Prices from
    £125
    Per room per night with breakfast (based on 2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 1063 reviews
    Rating from 1063 reviews
    Special Offer
    7 nights for the price of 6
    Award-winning boutique hotel in Windermere. Fine dining, 2 AA Rosette restaurant. Luxury rooms and suites, bar and lounge. Ranked no.10 in top 25 Tripadvisor Romantic Hotels.
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  • Prices from
    £27
    Per person, per night B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 148 reviews
    Rating from 148 reviews
    Charming Windermere village guest house. AA Highly commended in the top 10% of 4 star B&Bs in UK. Four poster rooms, award-winning breakfasts, private parking and central location.
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  • Coniston
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    £35
    Per person B&B
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 329 reviews
    Rating from 329 reviews
    4 star Coniston Inn offering bed and breakfast accommodation with 12 comfortable ensuite rooms. Close To Coniston Lake. (Mid week breaks available 2-5 days)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 329 reviews
    Rating from 329 reviews
  • Prices from
    £27
    Per person, per night B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 148 reviews
    Rating from 148 reviews
    Romantic Bed & Breakfast in Windermere with a beautiful range of four poster & feature double guest rooms available. Extensive breakfast menu. Close to lake cruises and walks.
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  • Ambleside
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    £30
    Per person per night B&B
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 109 reviews
    Rating from 109 reviews
    Classic Victorian B&B in central Ambleside, beautifully modernised with single, double, twin and family en-suite rooms. Full English/ vegetarian breakfasts. Bike storage & WiFi.
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  • Prices from
    £48
    Per person per night (inc breakfast)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 82 reviews
    Rating from 82 reviews
    5 Star Silver awarded B&B in Grasmere, set in beautiful gardens with stunning views from all of the rooms. Serving an award winning breakfast each morning. Close to attractions.
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  • Troutbeck
    Prices from
    £35
    Per person B&B (Based on 2 Sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 574 reviews
    Rating from 574 reviews
    Luxury & traditional Lake District B&B inn with panoramic views in unspoilt Troutbeck. Available for mid week breaks, en-suite rooms with 4 poster option.
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  • Waterhead
    Sleeps 6
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    £450
    Per Week (Sleeps 6)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 75 reviews
    Rating from 75 reviews
    Luxury Waterhead self-catering holiday apartments with an on-site swimming pool and sauna, and communal courtyard with BBQ. Ideal Lake District accommodation. Sleeps 6.
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    Rating from 75 reviews
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