The History of Windermere and the Lake District

Here at Windermere Marina Village, we are very proud of our roots.

We are situated close to the village of Bowness and are located in one of the most breath-taking locations in the Lake District.

Our luxury self-catered accommodation has been built using traditional Lakeland materials, reflecting the rich culture and varied history that the world-renowned area of natural beauty has.

But what exactly is this rich history? What is it about Windermere and the Lake District in general that attracts a staggering 15.8 million visitors annually?

It could be the fact that as of July 2017 the Lake District was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status, which recognises the areas for its abundance of remarkable natural beauty.

It could be the fact that the Lake District is the largest National Park in England, providing activities and enjoyment for all members of the family.

Or it could be down to the fact that the area has been an attractive holiday destination for many since the early 1800s.

The History

With early settlers dating back to over 5,000 years ago, the area quickly became the source of stone for axes and the sites of stone circles.

The development of the Grade 1-listed Townend House in Troutbeck began between the 15th and 16th centuries, and some of it is still standing today.

By the 18th century, canals were constructed to allow for easier access for visitors and transportation of coal.

In 1840 the first railway was introduced, connecting London to Kendal and providing a relatively fast way of transportation for the wealthier members of society. This is often referred to as the beginning of tourism in the Lake District.

The introduction of the railway also encouraged local entrepreneurs to begin establishing their own enterprises, and by the middle of the 19th century the Lake District was home to many successful businesses that could now trade with ease and efficiency.

An example of this was Stott Park Bobbin Mill, which at one point manufactured half of the bobbins used in the world’s entire textile industry.

The mining industry was also to feel the benefits from the development in transport links, and opportunities skyrocketed, transporting iron ore and steel to further afield than ever before.

In 1810 a guide book was published that was to evolve the future of tourism in the Lake District forever; William Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes mapped not only points of significance and natural beauty within the location, but also how the individual should view certain points to achieve an all-encompassing feeling known as the sublime.

At this time in history, Wordsworth’s poetry was immensely popular, and due to this he was quickly awarded celebrity status. Consequently, when his Guide to the Lakes was published, tourists flocked in their thousands to catch a glimpse of the sights that Wordsworth regarded so highly.

Grand mansions began to crop up around the Lakes in popular areas such as Coniston, Ambleside and Windermere, and as they say, the rest is history!

Notable Residents and Visitors

The Lake District is set across 2,362 square kilometres or 912 square miles. When considering that England is 130,279 square kilometres in total, the relatively small area in comparison is the birthplace for many notable figures.

William Wordsworth

“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher”

Born in Cockermouth in 1770, poet William Wordsworth lived an incredibly diverse and interesting life. His curious nature took him all over Europe, from the peaks of the Alps to the revolution in France, however, he always returned back to his beloved home here in the Lakes.

Wordsworth was the first to suggest that the Lake District should become ‘a sort of national property’, which is said to have inspired the National Trust. His home in Grasmere, Dove Cottage, is now a popular tourist attraction, enticing around 50,000 visitors each year.

Beatrix Potter

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality”

Author Beatrix Potter was originally from London but spent her childhood holidays in the Lake District with her family. This was what eventually led her to make the move up north in 1905 to Far Sawrey, where she continued to write.

Some of her most famous works are stories for children, most notably The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which is still in publication today.

The Royal Family

Throughout history the area has been a popular attraction for various royal families, with members of the current Royal Family, including HM The Queen and Princess Anne visiting in recent years.

With such a wide and varied history, there is always something to be discovered in the Lake District and its surrounding areas.

Ensure that you have only the best in luxury self-catered accommodation for your next visit – contact Windermere Marina Village directly to book.

Troutbeck in Windermere
Dove Cottage Grasmere
A steam Train