For many, the Lakes proper begin with Windermere, though WINDERMERE town was all but non-existent until 1847 when a railway terminal was built here, making England’s longest lake (after which the town is named) an easily accessible resort. Windermere remains the transport hub for the southern lakes, but there’s precious little else to keep you in the slate-grey streets. All the traffic pours a mile downhill to Windermere’s older twin town, Bowness, actually on the lake, but you should at least stay long enough to make the twenty-minute stroll up through the woods to Orrest Head (784ft), from where you get a 360 degree panorama from the Yorkshire fells to Morecambe Bay. The path begins by the Windermere Hotel on the A591, across from Windermere train station.

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