The Lake District by Water, From Cruises to Kayaking

From the grandeur of Lake Windermere to the sparkling River Rothay, the waters of the Lake District provide some of the UK’s most classic scenery. But as pretty as the views are, there is little to beat getting afloat for a completely different way to experience the region. Depending on your taste, you could discover anything from adventure kayaking to fly fishing; you could try waterskiing thrills or a relaxing Lake District cruise. Here are a handful of recommended water-based activities and experiences within easy reach of Grasmere and Ambleside:

Lake District Cruises & Windermere Boat Trips

A day trip on England’s grandest lake is a must for any trip to Cumbria. Journeys on the lake set out from several pick-up points, including Ambleside, just minutes from the hotel. You can take in stunning views and some of the most famous landmarks with a whole range of options from a 45 minute cruise exploring Windermere’s islands, to longer trips such as special buffet and music cruises. Other tickets combine a scenic boat trip with other top attractions on route, for further variety.

For a full range of Windermere boat trips, timetables and prices, see

Lake District Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Rapidly gaining in popularity, stand up paddleboarding (or SUP) is an active yet relaxing way to explore the Lake District waters. With no reliance on wind or wave power, it is an especially welcome option on calm days too, when the weather isn’t great for sailing. If you have your own equipment, there are various places you could launch and enjoy the lakes. Should you be a beginner or looking for Lake District paddle board hire, your best bet is to head to the Watersports Centre on Windermere (further details HERE).

Lake District Kayak Trips & Canoeing Sessions

   Hiring or bringing your own kayak is a fantastic way to enjoy the lakes (image credit: Channel Kayaks)

With so much water to explore, canoeing and kayaking in the Lake District are hugely popular across many of the lakes. Do check local regulations and access information however, because you cannot launch and travel absolutely everywhere (there are various useful documents, outlining access points, rules and guidelines on the official Lake District National Park site).

Should you be newer to the sport or not enamored with the idea of travelling with a boat on your roof, there are also various places to hire kayaks in the Lake District. One of the nearest and best value of the lot is Windermere Canoe and Kayak, who offer friendly service, a well-stocked shop and reasonable hire rates (just £25 to rent a two-person kayak for three hours!).

Sailing Lessons & Experience Days

For newcomers and experienced heads alike, the Lake District is a naturally brilliant place to go sailing. On most days of the year, venues such as Windermere and Coniston get a healthy breeze, while you’ll never be short of space. For the short stay visitor, the best answer is to hire a sailing boat- and there are some great options even if you’ve never sailed before. Several companies offer starter sessions and family experience days; Ark Sailing are just one example who offer friendly tuition and a range of short courses, just 10 miles from Rothay Garden.

Powerboating, Waterskiing and Extreme Sports

Although there is a 10km/nh speed limit on Lake Windermere, it is possible to enjoy waterskiing in the Lake District here, just a few minutes from Grasmere and Ambleside. All inclusive sessions are the way to go here, with wetsuit and buoyancy aid hire included- all you need is the courage to give it a shot! Prices start at a reasonable £55 for two people, with top local tutors able to get you on your feet quicker than you might think! Click HERE for further details.

Fishing for Trout and Pike on Esthwaite Water

Although all the larger lakes contain fish populations, Esthwaite is perhaps the most reliable of all to try a spot of fishing in the Lake District- and also has the benefit of boats for hire and fishing guides. The lake is stocked generously with quality trout through the season, which offer great sport on both various flies, with trout from a couple of pounds typically, to the occasional beast. Talking of monsters, there is also some excellent winter fishing for pike.

If you’re new to fishing or the area, a guided trip is highly recommended and worth every penny. You’re sure to find beautiful scenery and quality fishing- along with the chance of catching something quite special! For current day ticket prices, fishing news and guided trips, see

For the beautiful remote tarns, wilderness sport is also great fun- see our brilliant Lake District fly fishing guest blog written by local artist and angler Scott Winstanley.

Rothay Garden Hotel: Your Ideal Base for Short Breaks in The Lake District

Offering a warm welcome, superb restaurant and spa facilities, and an idyllic riverside location, Rothay Garden hotel is one of the best places to stay The Lake District. We are just minutes from a whole range of local attractions, activities and some truly beautiful places to walk, cycle or paddle. See our accommodation and special offers sections for prices, availability and and some cracking seasonal 2016 deals on Lake District escapes.

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