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We visited the Lake District this year on holiday and camped around 30 minutes drive from Lake Windermere at Braithwaite. Lake Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. At over ten miles long, 1 mile wide and 220ft deep it certainly is huge and provides a great variety of wildlife and activities.
Lake Windermere is home to otters as well the widest variey of plants in the National Park, a wide variety of fish, underwater plants and birds. To get a glimpse of what lives in the lake the Lakeside Aquarium is the place to visit displaying a wide variety of fish and lake dwelling creatures including a Wells Cat Fish which is huge and otters. Another attraction is the Lakeside to Haverthwaite steam railway which is a good way to see a lot of the local scenery.
Steamer and Launcher services run all day on the lake and offer a laid back form of transport across the lake rather than driving round. There are also motor-boats and rowing boats for hire at several points around the lake, wind-surfing, canoe hire and rock-climbing are other activities that are available.
I believe the best way to get a feel for the place is on foot or by bike with plenty of footpaths, and cycle paths and routes around the shore. The lake offers plenty of grand scenery at different points due to being looked over from high up from many of the footpaths.
There are many varied food and retail outlets surrounding the lake itself although most of these seemed a bit overpriced and we ended up choosing a pub at random on the way back to our campsite. However this does mean you are able to stay at the lake all day and not have to worry to much about actually finding something to eat. We personally opted to take a pack lunch to last us through the daytime.
There are a large number of B&B's and Hotels surrounding the lake and in the towns nearby. There are also a large number of camp-sites and caravan parks which usually means however your staying there's a good chance you can find somewhere with vacancies even during high season without booking.
Overall we really enjoyed visiting Lake Windermere itself and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the countryside. The area offered more than we were expecting with a lot of genuine attractions to keep visitors busy.