Kendal - Grange - Windermere drive
A drive around the south east corner of Lakeland including some varied and interesting attractions. The popular towns of Kendal and Bowness, a number of famous historic houses, the beautiful Cartmel peninsula plus England’s largest lake, Windermere. 48 miles.
Summary of main attractions on route
|Distance||Attraction||Car Park Coordinates|
|0 miles||Kendal||N 54.33013, W 2.74567|
|3.8 miles||Low Sizergh Barn||N 54.28212, W 2.76701|
|4.8 miles||Sizergh Castle & Gardens||N 54.27951, W 2.76822|
|7.4 miles||Levens Hall & Gardens||N 54.25987, W 2.77526|
|16.0 miles||Grange-over-Sands||N 54.19382, W 2.90795|
|18.6 miles||Cartmel||N 54.20087, W 2.95561|
|21.3 miles||Holker Hall & Gardens||N 54.18504, W 2.98163|
|26.6 miles||Haverthwaite Station||N 54.24935, W 3.00020|
|27.6 miles||Lakeland Motor Museum||N 54.25924, W 2.98886|
|30.0 miles||Fell Foot park||N 54.27621, W 2.94987|
|33.8 miles||Beech Hill picnic site||N 54.32014, W 2.94117|
|35.8 miles||Blackwell House||N 54.34286, W 2.92214|
|37.7 miles||Bowness-on-Windermere||N 54.36591, W 2.91993|
|39.1 miles||Windermere town||N 54.37644, W 2.90474|
|43.5 miles||Staveley||N 54.37691, W 2.81592|
|48.2 miles||Kendal||N 54.33013, W 2.74567|
The attraction car park coordinates are available as Points Of Interest (POI) files for your sat nav device. Use the following link to download a zip file containing the most common POI file formats; Kendal – Grange – Windermere POI. Further information on sat nav files can be found on the Navigation page.
Distance: 0 miles
Location: Kendal, Westmorland Shopping Centre car park
Coordinates: N 54.33013, W 2.74567
The historic market town of Kendal, located at the south east Lake District boundary, is often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Lakes’ due to its position, or ‘the auld grey town’ due to the many old limestone buildings (rather than the climate!). Its other claim to fame is of course Kendal Mintcake which has long supported mountaineers and walkers worldwide. Lake District visitors often miss the town as they speed past on the A591 bypass, but it is an interesting place to explore with a number of attractions.
The town has a myriad of old alleys and buildings and there are plenty of good shops, cafes and pubs. The River Kent runs through the town with pleasant walks along its banks. Castle Hill, across the river from the town centre, is home to the ruined Kendal Castle and has some wonderful views over the surrounding area. At the southern end of the town centre is the huge Parish Church, Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry and Abbot Hall Art Gallery. Also worth visiting is Kendal Museum and The Brewery Arts Centre which has an interesting and varied selection of events. Pay and display multistorey car park with toilet facilities.
Leaving the multistorey car park, turn right and follow the main road which, after a few bends, crosses the River Kent on the narrow Miller bridge. Get in the right lane of the two lane one-way system. The road follows the pleasant river and soon passes a footbridge over the river. Just beyond, you can see the historic Abbot Hall and Parish Church across the river. Shortly, meet a T junction where you turn right to cross the river again on Nether bridge. Get in the left lane which bears left on the main A6 once over the bridge. Continue away from the town centre, past the local College and through a crossroads with traffic lights, heading out of town. Just beyond the town limits, join the main A591 dual carriageway towards Lancaster and soon pass a service station with shop on the left. Continue for approx 1 mile until a minor left turn leads in to Low Sizergh Barn.
Low Sizergh Barn
Distance: 3.8 miles
Location: Low Sizergh Barn
Coordinates: N 54.28212, W 2.76701
Part of the Sizergh Estate, Low Sizergh Barn is a working farm with a popular farm shop selling a variety of local produce and gifts. There is a good range of produce to buy and you can sample homemade delights in the adjacent cafe. Another benefit of the cafe is that it overlooks the milking sheds and you can normally watch the cows being milked from around 3:30pm each day. Outside, there are a few picnic tables and you can follow a farm trail through the attractive surrounding countryside. Free parking and toilets for visitors. Open daily all year.
As you leave the car park, just before the gateway to the dual carriageway, an alternative exit lane leads to the left alongside the cowsheds. Follow this lane which soon meets a T junction with the intriguingly named Nannypie Lane. Turn right, underneath the dual carriageway, then right again on the Sizergh Castle access road. The car park is on the left at the end of this road.
Distance: 4.8 miles
Location: Sizergh Castle & Gardens
Coordinates: N 54.27951, W 2.76822
Sizergh Castle is an impressive stately home and estate, now owned by the National Trust but occupied by the Strickland family since the 13th century. It is very close to the main A591 but well hidden from the road and is well worth exploring. Originally just a Pele tower, the house has been extended over the centuries to provide a home to the owners but you can still tour much of the property and there are volunteer guides to help you.
Outside, there is a lovely garden, including a limestone rock garden and a large pond in front of the castle. Beyond this there are some good walks around the huge estate. There is also a cafe, gift shop, picnic tables and toilets adjacent to the large National Trust pay and display car park. Castle open daily, except Mondays, from March to October. Open Bank Holiday Mondays. Gardens, shop, cafe open daily except early January. Admission fee applies.
Return down the access road to the gated entrance and continue straight ahead. Immediately on the right is The Strickland Arms pub which provides refreshments in a pleasant setting. Continue a short distance to a T junction with the main A590 dual carriageway. The route continues to the right along the A590 but there is no right turn allowed, so turn left then all the way around the nearby roundabout to continue on the A590. After approx 0.4 miles, take the left turn which is the A6 towards Milnthorpe. After approx 0.8 miles, meet a T junction where you turn left, cross the River Kent bridge and Levens Hall entrance is immediately on the right.
Distance: 7.4 miles
Location: Levens Hall & Gardens
Coordinates: N 54.25987, W 2.77526
Levens Hall is a fabulous stately home and estate with world famous gardens. Home to the Bagot family since the late 19th century, you can tour certain parts of the house, admire its ornate interior and learn its fascinating history, from its origins as a 13th century Pele tower. House guides are on hand to tell you more along the way. Outside, the main attraction is the large ancient topiary garden which dates from the late 17th century and is apparently the oldest in the world. There are some wonderful shapes to behold and it is well worth a visit.
The estate extends across the A6 to Levens Park which follows the picturesque River Kent upstream and provides an enjoyable walk in parkland occupied by deer and rare Bagot goats. There is also a cafe, gift shop, toilets and free car park for visitors. House and gardens open daily, except Saturdays, from Easter to October. Cafe and gift shop open daily all year, except late December and early January. Admission fee applies to house and gardens.
As you exit Levens Hall, turn left on the A6 and in approx 0.3 miles take the left turn which joins the main A590 towards Barrow. The dual carriageway crosses the low lying Lyth Valley with open views to the right of distant Lakeland mountains, and the River Kent estuary not far away on the left. Ahead are the impressive limestone cliffs of Whitbarrow Scar which gleam in the sunlight. The road soon becomes single carriageway and shortly beyond there is a minor left turn to Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve, an oasis for wildlife, including nesting Ospreys in season. Beyond this, the road soon become dual carriageway again before meeting a large roundabout where you take the first exit, the B5277 towards Grange. After approx 1 mile, enter the village of Lindale and take the first exit at the mini-roundabout, still the B5277 towards Grange. Continue, with low wooded hills on the right and soon pass Grange golf course on the left. Shortly, the impressive looking Netherwood Hotel is on the right as you enter Grange-over-Sands town. Pass the train station on the left and take the first exit at the following mini-roundabout. Pass the duck pond and gardens on the left and shortly beyond this take a left turn to Main Street car park.
Distance: 16.0 miles
Location: Grange-over-Sands, Main Street car park
Coordinates: N 54.19382, W 2.90795
Grange-over-Sands is an attractive seaside town overlooking Morecambe Bay. The town became a popular Victorian resort after the railway was built in the mid-19th century and many of the buildings, including some grand hotels, date from that period. On the other side of the railway line, the mile-long traffic free promenade provides a pleasant walk with good views across the estuary towards Arnside Knott and the hills of northern Lancashire. Despite the town name, the adjacent sands have been covered by grass in recent history due to the River Kent channel shifting away. Adjacent to the car park are the pretty ornamental gardens and an impressive duck pond. Away from the estuary, the town is surprisingly hilly and there are some quite strenuous walks up the attractive wooded hills behind. The town itself has a number of small shops and cafes, including the popular Hazelmere Cafe & Bakery and the renowned Higginsons Butchers. The car park is pay and display with public toilets nearby.
Exit Main Street car park and turn left which leads uphill through the town centre. Shortly, take the second exit at the mini-roundabout towards Cartmel. Immediately pass an impressive clock tower on the right and enter a short one-way section. At the crossroads, go straight ahead towards Cartmel. The road climbs away from the town centre and passes some typical limestone built houses. After a fair amount of climbing the road leaves the town, passes Grange Fell golf club on the right and reaches a T junction where you turn right. The road descends towards Cartmel and shortly enters the village. Turn right at the first T junction and almost immediate left, beyond the Pig & Whistle pub. At the next T junction, turn right which soon leads to the village square. At the far end of the square, bear to the left of the village shop and the racecourse car park is just ahead.
Distance: 18.6 miles
Location: Cartmel, racecourse car park
Coordinates: N 54.20087, W 2.95561
The pretty and ancient village of Cartmel is something of a hidden gem, set amongst fields on the Cartmel Peninsula, with a delightful village square, some lovely old buildings and various visitor attractions. The main draw for visitors is the horse racing, held at the picturesque racecourse, with a few meetings each year including spring and summer bank holiday weekends. During these events the village becomes unbearably busy but the rest of the year is more sedate. The centrepiece of the village itself is the impressive 12th century Cartmel Priory which has a fascinating history and is well worth exploring. The village is well provided with good eating and drinking establishments, including the renowned L’Enclume restaurant, and is also famous for its own sticky toffee pudding available at the village shop. It is an enjoyable stroll through the village and alongside the attractive River Eea. Pay and display car park with toilets on the racecourse.
Exit the car park, passing through the village square again, past the Priory and continue on this road for approx 0.3 miles to a T junction where you turn right. The pleasing open road follows the River Eea valley for approx 1.4 miles to enter the village of Cark-in-Cartmel. Shortly, take the first right turn to Holker which soon passes the Rose & Crown pub on the left and meets a T junction where you turn right on the B5278. Continue for approx 0.3 miles to the gated Holker Hall entrance on the left. The car park is a short distance along the access road through parkland.
Distance: 21.3 miles
Location: Holker Hall & Gardens
Coordinates: N 54.18504, W 2.98163
Holker Hall is a superb stately home set within equally superb gardens and parkland. The original house dates from the 16th century but has been added to since then to create the current building. The west wing was completely destroyed by fire in 1871 but was rebuilt and that part of the house is now open to the public and makes a fascinating open tour. The rest of the house is the private residence of the Cavendish family. Outside are 25 acres of wonderful landscaped gardens and beyond those is attractive parkland. There is also a food hall, cafe, gift shop and toilets set in the courtyard area. Open daily, except Mondays & Tuesdays, from March to October. Also open bank holiday Mondays within that period. Admission fee applies.
At the exit to Holker Hall car park, turn left on the B5278. Continue on the scenic road, with wooded slopes on the right and low lying land towards the River Leven estuary on the left. There are some open views ahead towards the Coniston Fells before entering a wooded section. Continue for approx 3 miles to cross the River Leven at the outskirts of Haverthwaite village. This river is the outflow from Windermere lake. Very shortly, take the next right turn towards Newby Bridge. Follow this for approx 0.5 miles to a T junction with the main A590. Take care as you turn right across the dual carriageway and immediately left into Haverthwaite railway station.
Haverthwaite Station, Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
Distance: 26.6 miles
Location: Haverthwaite Station, Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
Coordinates: N 54.24935, W 3.00020
The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway is a privately operated heritage railway, running from Haverthwaite to Lakeside on Windermere. The line dates back to 1869 when it was a fully functioning branch line connected to the main Furness line at Ulverston, primarily to transport goods from Windermere. After the branch line was closed in the 1960’s, the Lakeside to Haverthwaite section was reopened as a heritage railway in 1973. Nowadays, it is a delightful 3.5 mile line, with steam trains chugging through the attractive Leven valley and period carriages giving a real sense of the old days. The trains are timed to combine with the Windermere Lake Cruises at Lakeside for an enjoyable train & boat ride in season, with a very limited service outside of that period. Haverthwaite station has a large free car park, cafe, gift shop, picnic area and toilets.
Exit the car park and turn left on the main A590. Very shortly, take the first left turn to Backbarrow. Continue through the village of Backbarrow and eventually cross a bridge over the impressive River Leven which falls through a narrow channel below. During the infamous storm Desmond flood in December 2015, the river came over the top of the bridge, destroying the parapets. Hard to believe in normal conditions. Just beyond the bridge is the Whitewater Hotel. Immediately beyond the hotel, turn left and follow this road for approx 0.2 miles to the Lakeland Motor Museum, the main car park is on the right opposite the museum.
Lakeland Motor Museum
Distance: 27.6 miles
Location: Lakeland Motor Museum
Coordinates: N 54.25924, W 2.98886
Lakeland Motor Museum is located in striking premises adjacent to the picturesque River Leven at Backbarrow. There are apparently around 30,000 exhibits tracing the development of road transport through the twentieth century. A separate building houses the Campbell Bluebird Exhibition including several life-size replicas of vehicles used by Malcolm or Donald in their various land and water speed record attempts. Admission fee applies to the museum which also includes a gift shop. Open every day apart from Christmas day. Adjacent to the museum, overlooking the river, is Cafe Ambio which serves a good selection of refreshments in very pleasant surroundings.
Leaving the museum car park, turn right and continue a short distance to a T junction with the main A590 where you turn left. In approx 0.8 miles, enter the small village of Newby Bridge where you can get refreshments at the Swan Hotel (over the bridge) or the historic Newby Bridge Hotel on the right, a former private mansion house. Continue a short distance to a roundabout, taking the first exit which is the A592 towards Windermere. Follow this road for approx 1 mile before reaching the entrance to Fell Foot Park on the left.
Fell Foot Park
Distance: 30.0 miles
Location: Fell Foot park
Coordinates: N 54.27621, W 2.94987
Fell Foot Park is an attractive National Trust owned parkland on Windermere lakeshore with a number of activities for visitors. Originally, it was one of many private estates around the lake with a mansion house for a wealthy landowner. The wonderful gardens were established in the mid-19th century, along with the Victorian gothic style boathouses and piers that are now used for the cafe and boat hire. The mansion was demolished in the early 20th century in anticipation of a larger house, but that never happened and the site was largely abandoned for a time before being donated to the National Trust in 1948. It was then used as a campsite before opening as a Country Park in 1972.
Many people come to Fell Foot to picnic, play and paddle. There are plenty of grassy areas by the water with picnic tables dotted around. From the waters edge there are fantastic views up the lake towards the mountains in the distance. The lake is narrow at this point and it soon becomes the River Leven downstream. Boating is also popular and you can hire kayaks, rowboats and paddleboards. Windermere Lake Cruises operate a small passenger ferry between May and September which regularly travels the short distance to Lakeside across the lake.
There are some good footpaths around the mature gardens which stretch to open meadows downstream. As well as the cafe, other facilities include an adventure playground and toilets. There is free entry to the Park which, along with the cafe, is open daily all year. The car park is National Trust pay and display.
At the park exit, turn left on the A592. The winding road follows the eastern shore of Windermere lake northwards through woodland. Although the lake is never far away, views are often obscured by trees. Continue for approx 3.3 miles and there is a large layby on the left with good views over the lake, Just beyond this is the entrance to Beech Hill picnic area on the left, immediately before the Beech Hill Hotel.
Beech Hill picnic site
Distance: 33.8 miles
Location: Beech Hill picnic site
Coordinates: N 54.32014, W 2.94117
Beech Hill picnic site has a small raised grassy area with picnic tables overlooking Windermere lake. There are good views towards the wooded hills on the opposite side of the lake and the central Lakeland mountains beyond. You can also access the lakeshore here where there is a small shingle beach inbetween trees, although it is down a steep footpath with many steps from the picnic area. Being a little out of the way, the picnic site is often relatively quiet and is a good place to enjoy the scenery. The large car park is pay and display and has seasonal toilets but no other facilities. Beech Hill hotel is next door.
Leave the car park, turn left and continue on the A592, passing some very nice but well hidden private properties overlooking the lake. After approx 0.9 miles you see the B5360 junction on the right where the main A592 turns sharply left. Take the B5360 turn and continue through pleasant woodland and countryside for approx 1 mile to Blackwell House entrance, signposted on the left.
Distance: 35.8 miles
Location: Blackwell House
Coordinates: N 54.34286, W 2.92214
The iconic Blackwell House overlooking Windermere lake is a beautiful and rare example of Arts and Crafts architecture. The Arts and Crafts ethos evolved around simple architecture, decorative artwork, nature and light with high quality materials and local craftsmen who would handcraft as much as possible. The house was built in 1900 as a holiday home for Manchester brewery owner Sir Edward Holt, around the same time as a number of other big houses were built for wealthy city industrialists in the area. After the death of Sir Edward Holt and then his wife, the house became a school during the second world war until 1976 after which it was used as offices. After an uncertain couple of years lying empty, it was purchased and restored by the Lakeland Arts Trust in 1999 before opening to the public in 2001.
You can explore the large fascinating house which was designed by Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, an influential figure in the Arts and Crafts movement at the time. Outside are lovely terraced gardens which were designed by the renowned landscape architect Thomas Mawson who lived locally and also designed a number of other well known and popular gardens around Windermere. The house and gardens are in a wonderful setting high above Windermere lake and there are excellent views across the water towards the Coniston mountains in the distance. The views can also be appreciated from the cafe which spills out on to an outdoor terrace in good weather.
Inside the house is a gift shop and toilets. The house and gardens are open daily all year with a charge for entry. Closed early January. Parking plus access to the cafe and gift shop are all free.
Leave Blackwell House and turn left, continuing on the B5360 for a short distance to a T junction with the A5074. Turn left towards Bowness, passing more exclusive properties and some impressive hotels, well hidden from the road but with great views over the lake. After approx 0.6 miles, take the left turn which is the B5284 towards Bowness and Lake. Drop down the hill a short distance to a T junction with the A592 where you turn right. Immediately pass a large marina and the Windermere ferry turning on the left, and continue approx 0.5 miles to where the road meets the lakeshore. There is always plenty going on here with non-stop boats and people. The road then rises away from the lake, passing various shops and cafes, to meet a mini-roundabout where you take the first exit and very shortly Rayrigg Road car park is on the left.
Distance: 37.7 miles
Location: Bowness-on-Windermere, Rayrigg Road car park
Coordinates: N 54.36591, W 2.91993
Bowness is an attractive and very popular tourist town on the shores of Windermere lake. Until the mid-1800’s it was a small peaceful village but all that changed with the opening of the railway line from Kendal to nearby Windermere town in 1847. Victorian tourists started pouring in to the area and the towns of Windermere and Bowness grew massively to meet the tourist demand. Nowadays the two towns merge together and are regularly filled with tourist crowds but Bowness still retains a lot of charm by the lake with plenty of attractions and is worth exploring.
One of the most popular attractions is The World of Beatrix Potter, opposite the car park. The famous children’s author wrote 23 enchanting little books in the early 1900’s, with characters such as Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin and Jemima Puddle-Duck still much loved across the world. This popular family attraction recreates 3D scenes from the stories which mesmerizes children and adults alike. The town centre itself is nearby and has numerous shops, cafes and pubs where you can easily spend some time exploring before wondering down past St Martin’s Church to the nearby lakeside area.
The picturesque lakeside area overlooking Bowness Bay is slightly separate to the town centre but often just as busy. There are a number of jetties where you can catch one of the many Windermere Lake Cruises. Beyond the jetties is Glebe Road which forms a popular loop along the lake shore. Within this loop is a large open recreational area known as The Glebe. The grassy area provides lovely views up the lake and there are various activities available such as mini golf and tennis. Beyond The Glebe is Cockshott Point which also has some good open grassy areas with shingle beaches and a footpath along the attractive lakeshore. There are a number of shops, kiosks, cafes and pubs around the lakeside area. Rayrigg Road car park is pay and display with toilet facilities.
Leave the car park at the exit and turn right on the minor road, then soon right again on the A592 to retrace your steps towards Bowness centre. Soon meet the mini-roundabout where you turn left up the hill on the A5074 towards Windermere town. Passing a number of shops, cafes and restaurants, continue to climb away from Bowness town. The road is then lined with numerous hotels and guest houses before you approach Windermere town centre. Just beyond a bus stop on the right and just before the start of the one-way system, car parking is signposted on the right. Take this right which is Broad Street and a short distance along on the right is Broad Street car park.
Distance: 39.1 miles
Location: Windermere town, Broad Street car park
Coordinates: N 54.37644, W 2.90474
Windermere town is actually about 1 mile distant from Windermere lake and was formerly called Birthwaite until the railway came in the mid-19th century at which point the station and hence the town took the name of the lake. Although basically joined to Bowness, it is a separate town with its own attractions. The town centre has a number of attractive buildings, independent shops and cafes. Adjacent to the train station is the popular Lakeland shop, Booths supermarket and Tourist Information Centre. Above the town is the wonderful viewpoint of Orrest Head which has sweeping views in all directions and is where the famous walking guide author Alfred Wainwright first encountered the Lake District in 1930. It is a short but fairly strenuous walk, starting from opposite the railway station. The car park is pay and display with adjacent toilet facilities.
Turn left out of the car park and right at the T junction on the A5074. Immediately pass through Windermere town centre on the one-way system. Shortly, the road becomes two-way again and you soon reach a T junction with the main A591 where you turn right. The main road leads up and away from Windermere with some good open views of the surrounding countryside and hills. Continue for approx 2 miles to Ings village which has a service station with shop on the main road and the popular Watermill Inn on the minor road to the right. Beyond Ings village, continue for approx 0.9 miles before you take a left turn towards Staveley village. The road leads through the village for approx 0.7 miles, passing a left turn to Kentmere valley, before you see a Spar shop on the left. Immediately before the shop, take the left turn then immediate right to Staveley Mill Yard and car park.
Distance: 43.5 miles
Location: Staveley, Mill Yard
Coordinates: N 54.37691, W 2.81592
Staveley is a typical Lakeland village with slate houses, surrounding hills, a fast flowing river and a number of interests for visitors. It is easily missed from the main A591 but it is a lot more pleasant than it used to be before the bypass was built. Staveley Mill Yard is the hub of the action with various shops and businesses including Hawkshead Brewery and pub, the huge Wheelbase cycle shop and Wilf’s cafe. There is also a large but often busy free car park for visitors. Elsewhere in the village itself is St Margaret’s Tower which is all that remains of the old church, the Eagle & Child Inn which has a lovely riverside beer garden, and public toilets. A pleasant short walk leads around the village and along the River Kent.
Exit the car park, turning left past the Spar shop to continue on the main road through the village. In approx 0.7 miles, cross the Windermere railway line on a level-crossing and just beyond this is a T junction with the main A591 where you turn left towards Kendal. In a short distance, pass a service station with shop and continue for approx 1.5 miles to a large roundabout. Stay in the left lane which continues straight through to Kendal. The road descends towards the town with some good open views over the River Kent valley and surrounding hills. Enter the outskirts of the town and the road soon drops steeply. At the bottom of the hill, continue through traffic lights and past the impressive County Hall on the left before bearing sharply left. Then, take the right lane to turn right at the next traffic lights. Westmorland Shopping Centre multistorey car park is then immediately on the right.
Distance: 48.2 miles
Location: Kendal, Westmorland Shopping Centre car park
Coordinates: N 54.33013, W 2.74567
Return to start point.