Hiring a boat on Lake Windermere

One of my favourite things to do in the Lakes is to hire a boat on Windermere. We haven’t been for around five years so when we visited as part of our camping holiday in the Lakes this year it was a definite on the activities list. There are two main tourist points around Windermere. Bowness-on-Windermere, where we hired the boat, and Ambleside. Both are beautiful places to visit and if you have the chance you ought to stop at each of them.

Where to hire

We always hire from the same place – Bowness Bay Marina. Their prices are reasonable, the service is really friendly and they’re so helpful.

We were on holiday as a family of five, but by some crazy coincidence my sister and her friends were taking a day trip to Windermere on the same day, so we hired a boat for all of us. That took us to the maximum capacity of 8 people but it wasn’t too cramped on our boat, which was a standard ‘Mystic Electric Boat’. The cost was £65 since Bowness Bay don’t charge for children, making it £13 per adult for a two hour boat hire which I think is pretty reasonable. Dogs are permitted on board too which was great for us, because had Betsy not been allowed to join us we wouldn’t have been able to go at all.

Where to go

The scenery from the boat is amazing. The peacefulness on the water is unrivalled and we spent quite some time just stopped on the lake, soaking up the views. You are free to take the boat wherever you like on the lake with the exception of the few places where the water is too shallow, so you can easily spend those couple of hours exploring the water. You must stay on board though, so no nipping to the other side of the lake for a trip to the pub!

Toddler driving a boat

Hang on to your hats!

The children each took a turn at steering the boat which they thoroughly enjoyed under the watchful eye of their dad. Nobody wanted to give up their place at the helm when their turn was over though! I think the only person who didn’t take the wheel was me – I was far too busy enjoying the wonderful weather we were treated to!

Sister time

The boats are easy to use and before you take yours away the staff will give you a quick rundown of what’s what, so when you leave you know exactly what you’re doing.

You can hire in person on the day at Bowness Bay Marina or you can book in advance online, here. It is necessary to leave a refundable deposit when hiring, which is around £40 if I remember correctly.

This post is part of my Lake District series which I will be adding to in the coming weeks.

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I’d love to see what adventures you’ve had over the summer – let me know in the comments!

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