Where Your Journey Begins........
is a sprawling tourist town on the shore of Windermere, about halfway along the 12 mile length of the lake between Waterhead at the North end, and Lakeside at the South end. It developed after the opening of the railway line from Oxenholme and Kendal to Windermere in 1847. Bowness was the nearest accessible point on the lake.
Now Cumbria’s most popular destination, the town is busy for much of the year. People come to enjoy the lake for sailing and watersports, or just to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the area and the town’s delightful setting.
Bowness-on-Windermere is now one of the main centres of Outdoor Activities in the UK and an extensive selection of top Adventure Activity companies, guides and instructors are based around here. More details are found in our Activities Section.
The Victorian influence can be seen everywhere – in the late 19th century, wealthy businessmen from Lancashire built large residences overlooking the lake, and many of these have now been converted to hotels.
We were looking to make a reservation for the Lake District and spotted a very reasonable offer for the above for Bed/Breakfast and Evening meal. We had previously had a look around this hotel and felt this was too good an opportunity to miss.
On pulling up outside the hotel, our car was whisked away and parked by the reception staff to a car park to the rear, this was a bonus for central Bowness as parking is of a premium. The only downfall being that you had to leave your car keys with reception and request your car should you wish to take a drive. This however did not prove a problem to us.
We were taken to our room, our friends had adjoining rooms which was convenient. The rooms were clean, spacious with a sitting area and ensuite bathroom. The beds were very comfortable. Unfortunately we were in a room to the side of the hotel so as such, didn’t have a lake view. After we had settled in, I decided to take a walk around Bowness , the shops and lake are just a 2 minute walk away, very handy. I then joined my friends in the spa area and was pleasantly surprised by the reasonable size of the indoor pool, with loungers, there was also a steam room, sauna & ice room, very relaxing. Also it was nice to see the lake through the full length windows.
In the evening we had booked a table adjacent to the window for views of Lake Windermere, but in all honesty most of the tables have a splendid view. There was also a lawned terrace down to the lake which would be fabulous in summer. The food was excellent, there was an extensive choice and we felt very reasonable , for the price we had paid. We did however feel the wine was on the dear side.
Later that evening we settled in the hotel bar, very comfortable but quiet, a little lacking in atmosphere possibly due to the very expensive drinks menu? Or the time of year!
All in all we would recommend this hotel, I would like to stay here during the summer months (we stayed in January) when you would get the full benefit of its location adjacent to beautiful Lake Windermere. Just be aware of the fact that your bar meals and drinks bill could potentially be a little expensive.
The Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa is one of the finest 4-star Lake District hotels. Set on the shores of Lake Windermere - England's largest lake - our hotel offers the best of breathtaking scenery and exceptional facilities. From unrivalled views over our mature lawns, to private jetties and moorings on the lake - our hotel proves a popular choice for family holidays, business and weddings.
The hotel is a perfect venue for celebrations, events and conferences; we boast superb hotel accommodation, stylish meeting and function rooms, exquisite gardens and surrounding lake views as well as a luxurious spa.
The hotel in Cumbria is perfect for country adventures - hire a private jetty on our lake and marvel in the glorious scenery we have on offer. And once you've finished exploring, we recommend a visit to our spa and thermal suite for a relaxing steam before you dine in our award-winning Number 23 Church Street Restaurant.
Let Macdonald Hotels' Lake District setting be your perfect base for a trip to one of the most scenic and beautiful parts of England.
Traditional country house charm
Majestic views of Lake Windermere
Extensive private gardens
106 luxurious bedrooms