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Windermere Jetty Museum

You may be one of millions of people across the UK planning a staycation this year and if you’re heading to the Lake District, there’s no chance of missing out on amazing scenery and fantastic adventures.

If strapping on a pair of boots and crawling up a mountain in all manner of weather isn’t your thing, but you’re still keen on embracing the great outdoors and learning more about the region’s fascinating cultural heritage, then a visit to Windermere Jetty Museum is definitely worth your time.

Windermere Jetty Museum on the shore of Windermere

Just a short walk from Bowness town centre, the museum is easy to get to on foot, by car or by boat. It’s one of the few places in the area you can park for free*, and Windermere Lake Cruises drops you off right at the museum if you jump on a red cruise.

Dedicated to the boats, people and rich history of Windermere, this magnificent award-winning boat museum and café is impressive from road and lake and is perfectly embedded in the Lake District landscape.

The gallery at Windermere Jetty Museum

Its magnificent galleries brilliantly narrate Windermere’s 200-year-old boating past, displaying high and low a remarkable collection of motorboats, steam launches, sailing yachts and record-breaking speed boats. The objects on display reflect the evolution of boat engineering and innovation through time and expert local craftmanship.

With a bucket load of family activities that embrace the outdoors, you’ll be drawn to all corners of the museum, across meadows, to the lakeshore and down to the water’s edge to discover what life on the lake was really like all those years ago.

New experience coming to Windermere Jetty Museum


In 2021, the museum launches a new experience for families to uncover hidden treasures and sunken secrets of the lakes most intriguing shipwrecks.

Revealing a fascinating insight into the perils of Windermere’s long-lost ships, Wrecked! prompts new thinking about the human impact on the lake and embraces a spirit of adventure with a trail that reveals a mysterious creature that’s caused havoc at the museum.

Displays and narratives lead you into a mesmerising hidden place beneath the ripples; an immersive experience that ignites your senses and reveals intriguing stories, myths, and tales of the lake.

With over forty vessels in the collection, some of the most remarkable are the ones you get to see being restored and experience on the water.

A team of highly skilled boatbuilders preserve these on-site, bringing them back to their former glory to make waves once again on Windermere or rest easy on land for generations to come.

MV Penelope 2 - Windermere Jetty Museum

Standing proud among the private and large commercial vessels on the lake, Steam Launch Osprey and Motor Vessel Penelope II are arguably the finest vessels on the water. With passengers limited to just a few, these beautiful historic vessels perfectly reflect the regions local heritage and easily inspire mindfulness as they gently glide across the water, taking in the rugged landscape of surrounding fells along the way.  

Osprey - Windermere Jetty Museum

The museum runs daily 30-minute or 75-minute cruises on the lake and you’ll be welcomed onboard by a crew who are the essence of living life on the lake. Come rain or shine, they lead you on a fascinating journey across the water and will talk animatedly about the collection, letting you take a closer look at the engine and intricate details of the mechanical elements of the vessel.

Cruises are best enjoyed when the lake is calm, and the weather is fine and there is no booking necessary if you turn up unannounced.

Find out more about booking a heritage boat trip.

Windermere Jetty Museum Cafe

When back on dry land, you must stop at the museum’s café where you’ll find a mouth-watering choice of homemade light lunches and tasty treats. Facing out onto the lake it reveals some seriously impressive views of Windermere, and with plenty of picnic benches positioned by the lakeshore it’s an enticing place to watch the world go by and let the kids explore.

Lakeshore Campsite - Windermere Jetty Museum

If you don’t want the adventure to end, lunch can be enjoyed in your own private cove along Windermere’s shoreline. Down at the museum’s Lakeshore Campsites, kids can build a den, learn new skills, and toast marshmallows over a real charcoal campfire whilst the grown-ups relax by the water, underneath repurposed boat sails and on handcrafted seating.

Before you go…there’s a shop at the museum selling all sorts of beautiful gifts and locally made products. Pick up a gift or memento of your visit as every purchase will help support the museum.

Windermere Jetty Museum is open daily

10am-5pm March-October

10am-4pm November-February (closed 25 and 26 December).

*Up to four hours free parking for museum and café visitors.

Museum entry is not required to visit the Café, shop or for heritage boat trips.

For up-to-date information and to book tickets visit windermerejetty.org or call 01539 637940.

 

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