Surrounded by mountain peaks and forest, Lake Windermere has been a popular vacation destination for years. The natural beauty here has inspired artists and writers for generations, and continues to inspire tourists who come to visit the quaint villages, walk the majestic trails, and take boat trips or go swimming at this famous place.
Understandably, camping at Lake Windermere is becoming more and more popular every year. After visiting this region many times we wanted to share with you some of our favourite Lake Windermere campsites and what you can do near each. We then explain wild camping in Lake Windermere, and tell you what weather to expect.
So read on to begin your Lake Windermere camping adventure!
Camping in Lake Windermere
This area of outstanding beauty is not only perfect for hikers and nature lovers, but there are also many family friendly and fun activities situated around the lake too – like the Lakes Aquarium and The World of Beatrix Potter.
When deciding where you wish to camp, it’s helpful to know what the surrounding area offers. So we’ve split Lake Windermere into two parts for simplicity’s sake – the western shore, and the eastern shore. Later we will share our favourite campsites on each side of the lake.
The western shore is more rural and remote and would be the perfect base for outdoor enthusiasts as Scafell Pike – England’s tallest mountain – is on this side. You will also find many hill walks up Claife Heights, as well as the beautiful Grizedale Forest and Coniston Water – a lovely ribbon lake.
As such, the western shore of Lake Windermere tends to be quieter than the eastern shore and does lack restaurants and pubs.
The eastern shore is much busier and has several towns and villages that lie along the lakeside. Whilst that means the shore can get busy, there are many restaurants close by and family-orientated attractions, and most of the boat trip companies are also based on this side. Unsurprisingly, the majority of Lake Windermere campsites are based on the eastern shore too.
Therefore, if you’re looking for an area with places to eat, easily accessible water activities and other attractions – rather than mountains and walking trails – then being based on the eastern shore makes most sense.
Some of the best Lake Windermere campsites: Western shore
Low Wray Campsite
This National Trust campsite is located directly on the shore of Lake Windermere in lovely wooded surroundings. Along with very helpful staff and clean facilities, you can also hire kayaks to use on the lake.
There are many little lakeside beaches within walking distance, and countless trails to explore too. You can also get pastries and sometimes even pizza on site, but the busy town of Ambleside isn’t too far away either – within walking distance.
Hawkshead Hall Campsite
Although situated around a mile from Lake Windermere, we love this campsite due to its peaceful atmosphere and rural farm setting. The pitches are large, the facilities spotless, and there’s a quaint village pub just a ten minute walk away.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to get back into nature and away from the hustle and bustle of life, then this campsite is perfect. It’s a great spot for stargazing too.
Some of the best Lake Windermere campsites: Eastern shore
Fallbarrow Holiday Park
Situated in Bowness, this large campsite and holiday park is perfect if you want to be close to amenities, water activities, and a variety of pubs and restaurants. There’s also an on-site playground, bar/restaurant, and entertainment in the evenings, so there’s lots to do.
It’s not possible to pitch a tent here but you can rent one of their many on-site caravans and lodges that sit by the lakeside.
Bowness on Windermere Campsite
This peaceful campsite sits close to Bowness so it is near amenities and attractions like The World of Beatrix Potter, and is on the bus line (599) that takes you to Bowness and Windermere.
The surroundings are beautiful and you’re just a few minutes walk away from the lake, five minutes walk from the ferry to the other side of Lake Windermere, and around ten minutes from pubs and restaurants in Bowness.
Park Cliffe Camping & Caravan Estate
If you fancy something a little regal, how about camping on a 25-acre estate? That’s what you get at this campsite which has great views from the hillside pitches. This whole site is immaculate, and the food at the on-site restaurant is very good.
There’s also a lovely walk from the campsite which goes up the hill and brings superb panoramic views of Lake Windermere. The site is only a short distance from Bowness and just a few miles from the Lakes Aquarium and the historic Stott Park Bobbin Mill too.
Wild camping at Lake Windermere
Like other areas of England, wild camping at Lake Windermere isn’t officially allowed, however people still do it. Although campers are allowed to pitch their tent if they have the permission of a landowner.
However as this area is a popular walking and hiking area, many outdoor enthusiasts often wild camp here. If you are planning to wild camp in the Windermere region – and can’t be swayed to stay in a campsite instead – we’ve compiled the following guidelines to help keep you out of trouble and camp in a considerate manner:
- You should camp in the same place for one night only, and pitch your tent discretely and in a remote place which will not be easily seen. Therefore don’t camp in or near settlements, someone’s farm or on cultivated land. If you think you’re on private land, always seek out the landowner and ask permission. They may request a small fee.
- Campers should set up their tent at dusk, and take it down at dawn. A tent that is discreet, blends in with the landscape, and pitches quickly is best. Therefore a lightweight walking tent like this one would be a great investment for someone planning to wild camp at Lake Windermere.
- If you are walking a main trail you should camp away from the path as a matter of courtesy.
- When wild camping in Lake Windermere you must never make a campfire. For cooking, use a storm cooker. Our recommendation would be the Swedish brand Trangia, as their storm cookers are safe and virtually indestructible. Portable solar ovens, like this one by GoSun, are also a good fuel-less option.
- Take any rubbish with you, and leave your camping spot exactly the way you found it.
Camping at Lake Windermere: Weather and best months to visit
Summer is the most popular season to visit Lake Windermere as daytime temperatures tend to be a pleasant 15-20 Celsius. That makes the summer months perfect for outside adventures, but it is worth bearing in mind that rainy days do still occur.
Spring and Autumn are good seasons to visit as you will avoid the peak tourist months, and with daytime temperatures ranging from 8-16 Celsius, it’s still possible to enjoy the great outdoors. One thing to be aware of is the fact nighttime temperatures can sometimes drop to 2 or 3 degrees, so if you’re camping make sure you’re well prepared.
Winter often sees frost on the hills that flank Lake Windermere, making it one of the most photogenic seasons. However it can be cold, with daytime temperatures rarely making it above 6-8 Celcius, some snow on occasion, and rain every other day.
Recommended for your Lake Windermere camping adventure
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