The Lake District is probably one of the most picturesque places in the world. It is home to numerous waters, some of which can be explored on commercially operated ferries and small boating craft. Some of these lakes include Windermere, England’s largest natural lake, Ullswater and Coniston, the second and third largest lakes in the Lake District respectively, and Derwentwater. Of course, visitors can also use their own craft or hire watercraft to explore many other waters in the Lake District, such as Thirlmere, Grasmere and Esthwaite Water.

Esthwaite Water, one of my favourite lakes, is only 20 minutes from Blenheim Lodge. Hubby goes there to fish and enjoy some peace and quiet on the water. I sometime accompany him also to take in the breathtaking scenery and tranquility of the Lake and its surrounding countryside. (Photo courtesy of
Esthwaite Water is only 20 minutes from Blenheim Lodge. A fishing club there hires out boats and tackle to anglers. (Photo courtesy of

At Windermere, visitors may hire canoes, row boats, kayaks, pedal boats and motor boats with small engines to chunter around the Lake. There are also regular ferry services which take visitors from Bowness to Lakeside, Waterhead for Ambleside and Ferry House for Hawkshead. Bowness Pier is located at the midpoint of Windermere and forms the hub from which all these ferries depart. Visitors may also hire small water craft at Bowness Pier. Bowness Pier is only 5-7 minutes’ walk from our guest house, Blenheim Lodge.

windermere lake cruises, bowness bay, lake district
Take a cruise on Lake Windermere from Bowness Bay. (Photo by Tony West, courtesy of

Ullswater offers rides on restored Victorian steamers, which really do look the part with their pretty colours. Glenridding is the main starting point for these steamers, which cruise to Pooley Bridge and Howtown on this very beautiful ribbon of water, where mountains form a stunning backdrop.

A steamer awaits passengers by the pier at Glenridding, perfectly reflected in the very still waters of tranquil Ullswater. (Photo courtesy of
A steamer awaits passengers by the pier at Glenridding, perfectly reflected in the very still waters of tranquil Ullswater. (Photo courtesy of

Derwentwater in Keswick may be crisscrossed by launches or small rowing craft or motorboats. There are 7 jetties where visitors can stop and hop on and off, with evocative Lakeland names such as High Brandlehow and Hawse End, Keswick (of course) and Lodore. If stopping at Lodore, why not visit the Lodore falls?

lodore falls, lake district, keswick
Lodore Falls, courtesy of The Falls are located on private land but there is an honesty box for visitors to make a contribution.

Coniston Water has launches and gondolas to transport visitors across the Lake. The gondola is a fully restored Victorian artefact and a cruise in it should take one back in time with its plush velvet seats and beautifully crafted handiwork. Coniston Launch has boats which run on solar power reflecting its eco-friendly credentials.

coniston launch, coniston water
‘”Ruskin” landing at the Brantwood jetty with the Coniston fells behind.’ Photo and words by Ben Barden.

If you fancy taking to the water in a small craft only, why not bring your own? It is also possibly to hire small watercraft at larger lakes such as Windermere, Coniston and Derwentwater. At Windermere, we at Blenheim Lodge can also arrange yacht cruises to include dinner or lunch. Just ask us for details.

A view of yachts bobbing about Lake Windermere from our lounge windows
A picture perfect view taken from our lounge at Blenheim Lodge: yachts bobbing on the waters of Lake Windermere with Old Bowness village in the foreground and snow-capped mountains in the background. You could be on one of those yachts on a lunch cruise!

Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

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