Explore 200 years of boating heritage at the NEW Windermere Jetty

View of the lake from Windermere Jetty's Exhibition Gallery.
A view of the lake from the Exhibition Gallery at Windermere Jetty. The architectural designs were created to frame scenes of the lake, as well as to allow for the movement of the exhibits within the collection.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while now, you may remember that I’ve written on a couple of occasions about a new visitor attraction due to open on the eastern shore of Windermere – the Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories. And after much anticipation, this £20 million attraction finally opens its doors to the public this Saturday 23rd March 2019.

I went along to the press preview event to find out more, and to take a few photos to share with you on the blog. I hope some of these images will tempt you to pay a visit for yourself in the next few weeks, or during your next stay in the Lakes, as it really is well worth seeing.

And if you didn’t read my first, more in-depth article about the history of the site and the significance of the collection of boating heritage being preserved at the Windermere Jetty, you can take a look here.

Windermere Jetty buildings
Windermere Jetty comprises seven buildings designed by architects Carmody Groarke on the site of the original Windermere Steamboat Museum, which opened in 1977 and closed its doors in 2006. The walls and roofs of the new buildings are covered with oxidised copper, and are intended to weather over time to blend into the surrounding parkland landscape. Heat is sourced from a lake source heat pump.
A hanging display in the main entrance at Windermere Jetty
A hanging display in the main entrance
Inside the boathouse
Inside the boathouse
The main exhibition area at Windermere Jetty, featuring Brankshome
The Exhibition Gallery currently features Branksome, described as ‘one of the finest surviving steam launches in the world’. HRH The Prince of Wales opened the previous museum on this site back in 1977, and apparently made a cup of tea on board using the steam kettle.
The exhibition area at Windermere Jetty
A bit misty outside, but lovely from the inside…
Skylight on display at Windermere Jetty
The skylight from Britannia, which was Windermere’s largest private steamboat. It was broken up in 1950.
Yacht Margaret at Windermere Jetty
Yacht Margaret, possibly the UK’s oldest existing sailing yacht.
Temporary exhibition space at Windermere Jetty featuring (Re)Make
An evolving exhibition space currently featuring (Re)Make, a dance film created by Sara Wookey in collaboration with Camilla Robinson during the museum’s construction
Mary Anne at Windermere Jetty
Mary Anne, one of the original ferry boats, which is currently undergoing careful conservation in a purpose-built ‘cradle’.
The Conservation Workshop at Windermere Jetty
Inside the Conservation Workshop, with architect Andy Groarke describing the design process. The workshop will be open to members of the public, with boats from the collection being worked on in a ‘live’ environment.
The old fire station at Windermere Jetty and model boating pond
The late 19th century fire station, which is being restored as a space to support artists and education, along with a model boating pond to the left.
Jetty at Windermere Jetty
It took six months of welding underwater to complete work on this jetty
Windermere Jetty jetties
Windermere Jetty from the lake, where passengers can be dropped off by Windermere Lake Cruises for a visit to the museum. Over £13 million of funds were contributed to the project by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Exhibition Gallery from the lake
Esperance during repair work
The boat on the left is Esperance, a pleasure boat built for the wealthy industrialist Henry Schneider, who used to travel on it to work in the mornings (complete with breakfast from his home at the Belsfield Hotel, I’ve previously been told!). Esperance is currently undergoing major restoration for display on dry land.
Inside the boathouse
Back inside the boathouse
Osprey at Windermere Jetty
Osprey, built in 1902 and beautifully restored to take passengers on a circular trip around the middle of the lake. The tour costs £10 per passenger, in addition to the standard entry fee (pre-booking advised to avoid disappointment).
Café at Windermere Jetty
I enjoyed a long peaceful sit in the café, which is light and airy, and on a fine day will have absolutely outstanding views across and along the lake. It’s a beautiful and calming place to sit even on a grey day when you can’t see much!

It is so lovely to see the Windermere Jetty project completed, and to be able to visit the stunning collection of boats on display there. And although it was a grey, misty day on which to take photographs, that can only mean that there will be even more to see when you visit!

Windermere Jetty is located on the edge of the popular town of Bowness-on-Windermere, on Rayrigg Road. Admission at the time of writing costs £9 per adult, with child and family ticket options available too. A trip on the heritage steam boat Osprey costs an additional £10 per person (pre-booking advised). On-site parking is £4 (£10 if you don’t buy an admission ticket), or you can take the short walk from one of the town’s car parks. Alternatively you can reach the Windermere Jetty on board some services with Windermere Lake Cruises, to make an even more special day out.

For more information on the attraction and travel by boat, visit Windermere Jetty and Windermere Lake Cruises online.

Do you have memories of the previous Windermere Steamboat Museum? Have you visited the newly opened Windermere Jetty for yourself? If so, it’s always lovely to hear from you, so let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

One Comment

  1. In my opinion, learning a little about the history of the Lake District really adds to the experience of enjoying the landscape, and the Windermere Jetty is a wonderful new addition through which to explore the heritage of the area.

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