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Do you remember when?

There was a time when winter in the Lake District was something to look forward to – a much anticipated opportunity to enjoy thrilling new activities on the lakes and fells.

Skating on WindermereIn Bowness on the shore of Windermere the renting of rowing boats be replaced by a lucrative trade in the hire of ice skates.  Special railway excursions ran from London and surrounding cities bringing thousands of people eager to line up for a chance to skate on Englands longest lake.


There were skating races, ice yachting and moonlight skating parties on ice up to 35cm thick. Can you   imagine the fun of being on an ice yacht running on glass balls powered by huge sails with a rudder cutting into the ice for steering!



Windermere Lake Cruises could not operate all year round, like they do today, and the Windermere ferry that crosses the lake was replaced by coaches driven across the ice. In the middle of the night you could hear the ice roaring and cracking like a scene from the wild lands of Canada’s Yukon Territories – what a magical place the Lake District must have been!

Grasmere frozen

No one alive today can remember times such as these, but a winter in the Lake District occasionally provides a glimpse into how it must have been more than one hundred years ago.

In 2010 we had what for us was a big freeze where the smaller, shallower lakes of Grasmere, Rydal Water and Derwentwater froze to a depth where some brave souls ventured onto the ice with skates. I remember one winter skiing the two miles down the main road from Windermere station to the lake – a one time ride where an hour later it would not have been possible.

Today keep an eye on the weather forecast. Look for northerly winds, high pressure with clear skies and plunging temperatures.  When the snow sits on the fells and the ice clings to the edge of the lakes the air is so clear and crisp it seems to freeze in the lungs. 

Kirkstone Pass in Winter



This is the time to board the train on a modern day excursion to the Lake District. Come and experience the magic, the beauty and who knows maybe you too can take a moonlight skate on Tarn Hows to see the moon shining like a pearl on a frozen lake. 

Walking on the ice

Published on Saturday 8th December 2018

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Lake District Tours start with an unfair advantage. The Lake District is one of the most sublimely beautiful places I’ve seen.

Their service is attuned to the scenery. Rather than travelling in big impersonal coaches, it’s as if you’re being driven around by friends who’ve been looking forward to your visit so they can show you, and share with you, the special places they’ve come to love.

After five memorable and varied weeks overseas, we’re telling family and friends how the Lake District tour was the highlight.

 Thanks again – Don & Judy Lipscombe

Lake District Tours Excellent service

“Four days of sublime scenery, most of which we would have missed had we not been guided by Andy.  He was generous with his exceptional local knowledge, was a considerate and careful driver, but mostly was a most enjoyable travelling companion.  Highly recommended.  Tim & Gethyn Prior”

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