Adventures around Windermerewith PlusBus
Spectacular bus rides leave regularly from Windermere railway station. These are not just ways of getting from A to B: bus journeys around Grasmere and Windermere are beautiful experiences in their own right. There are open-topped buses and views over lakes and mountains. And - best of all - with a bargain PlusBus ticket, you can add a day's unlimited bus travel onto your train journey and explore the poetry of the Lakes without adding to the traffic.
1. Wordsworth Grasmere
“The loveliest spot that man hath ever found,” is what the writer William Wordsworth called Grasmere. He lived here for nearly a decade, writing some of his best-loved poems. His old house, little white-washed Dove Cottage, is now at the heart of Wordsworth Grasmere. It’s a museum and visitor site that celebrates the poet’s life and work and channels the spirit of creative inspiration that has drawn poetry-lovers to the Lakes for centuries. The wood-panelled rooms of Dove Cottage, with its climbing roses and hillside garden were Wordsworth’s home from 1799 and are still as cosy and evocative as ever. The neighbouring museum now has a café and rooftop viewing area and there’s a new introductory film and soundscape.
- Buy your PlusBus ticket alongside your train ticket and get to Wordsworth Grasmere on open-topped 599 or bus 555 from Windermere station – both running past lakes and rivers for eight lovely miles and taking about half an hour to get there. See Good Journey’s directions.
- Eat Fragrant, honey-spiced Grasmere gingerbread from the tiny cottage-shop by St Oswald’s churchyard, where Wordsworth and family are buried.
- Walk four scenic miles along the ‘old coffin road’ footpath or get the bus two stops back towards Winderemere to visit Wordsworth’s later home at Rydal Mount. See Good Journey’s directions.
2. Windermere Jetty Museum
Two centuries of boating history provide the theme at this state-of-the-art museum on the shores of England’s largest natural lake. Windermere Jetty is cruising is full steam ahead through the area’s boat-rich history with water (literally) at its heart. Seven barn-like buildings surround a mesmerising boathouse, where an antique wooden steam launch gives visitors rides around the lake (for an extra fee). See Good Journey’s directions.
- The museum includes Beatrix Potter’s own homemade wooden rowing boat, record breaking hydroplanes and pioneering speedboats. It’s an extraordinary collection, mostly gathered by a steam enthusiast in the 1970s. One corner is dedicated to Swallows and Amazons, with Arthur Ransome’s sketch book and the swallow flag from his dinghy. As much as a museum it’s an immersive boat-themed experience, with the optional vintage cruises (book in advance) and an onsite paint-and-sawdust-smelling workshop where you can watch old water-worn boats being carefully restored. Giant windows look out across water and wooded islands towards the misty Western shores of Windermere and cormorant-haunted islands.
- Get there from Windermere train station, bus 508 runs every couple of hours and stops directly outside the museum. The more frequent open-topped bus 599 stops at the Royalty Cinema and it is a pleasant ten-minute downhill stroll to the museum from there.
- For more boat-related fun, your PlusBus ticket also takes you from Windermere station to Bowness Pier (on bus 599), where steamboats set off for a cruise around the lake.