Windermere, Windermere Lake, Cumbria, LA23 1AH – Visit Now
Perhaps no water in England is more storied than Windermere. For centuries it has drawn to its banks the great and good of Britain, each reinforcing its iconic status. It has the claim to fame of being the largest body of inland water in England, and the nearly 15km² surface area definitely supplements the scale and serene drama of the region.
Swimmers who enjoy a challenge have naturally flocked here for centuries. For others, the sheer misty-eyed romanticism of following in the breast-strokes of Wordsworth, Potter or Coleridge is enduring enough to get them in the water.
The nearby town took the name of the lake in the 19th century partly because it was such a famous landmark. The bustling tourism that’s drawn to the town as a result means it’s not short of a B&B or guest house. There’s also plenty of opportunity to get out on a boat onto the lake, in fact it’s normally teeming with them.
On a pleasant day, you might like to pad down from Grasmere with some tough local gingerbread and pass through Ambleside to Borrans Park. There, at the Waterhead end of Windermere you can paddle in amenably shallow waters, and take a crawl along the northern shore, before resurfacing for some fish and chips.
Windermere’s size, both as a lake and a natural celebrity means there are plenty of swimming groups to get involved in. Troupes of intrepid night swimmers can often be seen going in for a splash under the dazzling starlight of clear Cumbrian skies. Elite open-water swimming has also found a natural home in the lake. Windermere played host to the inaugural Great Northern Swim in 2008 and thousands of swimmers go head to head with the water and each other here every year.