Windermere West Shore Lakeside Walk

By Dave Roberts   

on December 8, 2018    No ratings yet.

Windermere West Shore Lakeside Walk

Further Details

Route Summary:

An easy walk on the western shores of Windermere that’s best done alongside the ferries from Ferry Nab in Bowness-on-windermere or Ambleside.

Route Start Location: Ferry House to Wray Castle (or in reverse) - You can catch the ferry from either Ambleside or Bowness

7.24 km 176 m 2 hours or so

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Easy Moderate Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


Cuckoo Brow Inn at Far Sawrey is an ideal spot to finish the walk before returning on the ferry if you walk it in reverse.

The Kitchen Court Café at Wray Castle is also open daily from 10am to 5pm, 7 days a week.


Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking :

The Harrowslack National Trust car park, at GR SD388959 is close to the start if you don’t want to catch the ferry.

For those using th ferry, there should be no problem parking in Ambleside or Bowness at most times.

Public Transport:

You can reach the start of this walk by the Bowness To Ferry House (Cross Lakes Shuttle) that runs seasonally. You can return the same way, or continue with a ferry from Wray Castle to Ambleside and on to Bowness. Windermere Lake Cruised provide a  special Walker’s Ticket that covers the entire route and makes this a great day out with an easyish walk.

Those looking to walk the route off season or in both directions can catch the Windermere ferry from Bownesss to Ferry House. This is also a car ferry, and the crossing only costs 50p for pedestrians (is this 1988?).

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Windermere West Shore Lakeside Walk Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Windermere West Shore Lakeside Walk

The West Shore Walk along Windermere is one of the best low level walks in the Lake District. It’s an ideal family walk for those based in and around Windermere and Bowness-on-windermere. It follows good path for the entire length, being designated by Miles Without Stiles as being suitable for all – with sections accessible to motorised wheelchairs and pushchairs. Check the links to the relevant pages on the route information below.

The Windermere West Shore Walk starts off from the Ferry House on Windermere’s west shore opposite Bowness. You can reach the start by car by parking at  the nearby Harrowslack National Trust car park. A better option is to reach the start by using either the Bowness To Ferry House (Cross Lakes Shuttle) that runs seasonally or the Windermere ferry from Bownesss to Ferry House that runs all year (more information can be seen above)

A short detour at the start of the walk can take you to the National Trust’s Claife Viewing Station. This was built in the 1790s in order to give wealthy tourists of the era a pre-determined view of Windermere. It’s now a ruin, but used to host balls and parties during it’s heyday.

The walk continues along a good lakeside path, with the way easy to follow for the distance.  Wray Castle is the final landmark on the route, except for the landing stage. It’s owned by the National Trust and is a gothic revival castle built in 1840 by a retired surgeon called James Dawson. Visitors can now visit most of the castle during the summer months, and the grounds are open all year round. Combined with the cruise on Windermere and the lakeside walk, this makes for a full on day out! There’s a cafe here as well, so an essential stop on the walk.

Finally, you can retrace your steps to the start or catch a ferry from the Wray Castle Landing Stage (details provided above).

Windermere West Shore Walk Route Description

More information on these sections can be found on the following links: Ferry House to Red Nab and Red Nab to Wray Castle. Alternatively, there’s a description by the National Trust – here.

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.
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