It can often be hard to find an activity where the parents get a little bit of time to chill out, without the kids immediately declaring their boredom, but we found the perfect solution by combining a Windermere Lake Cruise with a trip to the Lakeland Motor Museum.
We walked the short distance from the Treetop Nets to the Brockhole jetty, where there was a Windermere Lake Cruises ticket desk to purchase your tickets. You can also buy them online if you prefer and then simply exchange your booking confirmation for the tickets on arrival. We did the latter and exchanged our online booking voucher for tickets with minimal fuss. I had printed a copy of the timetable off the day before, so that we knew exactly where and when we could catch the boats throughout the day.
We had a Freedom of the Lake ticket including Lakeland Motor Museum entry, which meant that it could be used on any of the boats for a duration of 24 hours and that we could also use it to visit the museum. However, if you did only wish to travel on a particular route, then you can buy tickets specifically for the journey that you require. There are a great range of ticket options available, along with the choice of adding an attraction for greater value for money. Attractions that can be added are the Lakeland Motor Museum, the Lakes Aquarium and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway.
There was plenty of seating for us to wait on until our boat arrived and then when it started to come into the jetty, all the customers began to form an orderly queue. On first glance it looked as though our boat was nearly full, so I was slightly worried about us being able to find seats altogether. Whilst it was busy, there were in fact still plenty of seats available on the upper deck, so my family and I sat on two rows upstairs, so that we could get a great view of the scenery.
We had decided that we would travel to Bowness first, prior to visiting the Motor Museum, so as our boat travelled on a circular route, this meant that we firstly had to travel to Ambleside, before returning back past Brockhole and onto Bowness. This was a really relaxing and enjoyable boat journey which had the most picturesque backdrop to our travels. The boat guide pointed out some areas of significance and also highlighted some peaks to us in the distance. My children really enjoyed looking out for wildlife, as well as trying to spot some of the hotels and landmarks that were mentioned on the journey.
On arrival in Bowness, my children immediately spotted an outdoor stall selling ice cream, so we disembarked and had a little walk around the waterfront, before purchasing a cone each for us all. There was also a little arcade that we played in for a while, before we continued further up the road in order to explore some of the town.
We had last visited the area a couple of years ago, so Riley couldn't quite remember his last trip, so we walked up to the outside of the Beatrix Potter Museum and took him for a look inside the shop. Both my boys collect coins, so they were keen to see if they had any of the new Peter Rabbit coins on sale.
There was a choice of seating available and as the weather had become quite cold and overcast, we decided to sit downstairs for the next part of our journey. There were some long seats with tables in between, along with large picture windows at the side, so you could still see all the scenery as you travelled. A small refreshment shop was also located downstairs, so we enjoyed some hot drinks and snacks to warm us up.
All of the journeys that we had with Lake Windermere Cruises were really smooth along the water and not bumpy at all. I sometimes get a bit dizzy or light headed when travelling on boats, but these cruises were really relaxing and enjoyable and it was nice to be able to enjoy this time together as a family.
If, like us, you decide to visit the Lakeland Motor Museum, then you will need to catch a bus once you arrive at Lakeside. These run regularly and in time with the boat arrivals and departures, with the journey on the bus taking approximately 10 minutes. It is a great little service which makes exploring the area really easy.
On our arrival to the Lakeland Motor Museum, my children immediately remembered it. It has some superb displays and exhibits that my kids always find really fascinating. The museum itself is located within a converted mill and it boasts a massive collection of over 30,000 exhibits that cover a wide range of transportation from the twentieth century. As well as the main museum, there is also a separate exhibit in an adjacent building, that is dedicated to The Bluebird and the racing career of Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell.
As we entered the main shop and reception area, my children were provided with some quiz books that they could fill in as we had a look around and they were really pleased to see that some of the questions were different from our previous visit. The quiz book encouraged them to read the information on the displays, which helped them to learn more and gain a greater understanding of the vehicle that they were looking at.
My eldest son found the original prices of the cars really interesting, so he downloaded an app whilst there, that allowed you to convert historical prices into the modern day equivalent. One vehicle originally cost £400 new which sounded so inexpensive, but once you converted this to today's money, it would have been the same as thousands of pounds.
There were some new exhibits in place that had arrived since our last visit, so it was great to be able to have a look at some new vehicles that we had not seen before. It is actually quite amazing how they manage to fit so many displays in one place. Everything is so well laid out and the route through the museum is really easy to follow. The extensive car collection covers a large time span and features some wonderful cars ranging from prestige and luxurious, to performance and iconic.
Along with the vehicles, there are also some really fun shop displays, as well as old vehicle and fuel station signs all adorned along the walls. As an added bonus there is also a small room upstairs that features some old arcade style games. Each of the games cost 20p to play and there is a change machine so that you can exchange a £1 for a few coins. My son Ben loved the Super Steer-A-Ball game and managed to get his timing to perfection so that he could complete the route successfully.
There was also a fantastic display of bicycles and motorbikes upstairs in what was quite a magnificent collection. With so many to look at and compare, it was really interesting to view some of the older and more unique designs that varied quite a lot to todays modern comparisons.
My youngest son Riley really enjoyed learning about the Bluebird and he even chose to watch the video that played in the exhibit, sitting nice and quietly and listening to everything that was being said in the documentary. He absolutely loves to learn and find out new and interesting facts, so he was amazed hearing all about the record attempts that took place on the lake. Another couple visiting actually commented on how well behaved and quiet he was, which was a lovely compliment to receive.
Once we had finished looking around all of the exhibits, we returned to the shop with our completed quiz books so that the children could claim their prize. They were all rewarded for their efforts with a lovely little medal, which Riley was particularly proud of, especially as he had managed to answer most of the questions all by himself.
Overall we had a fantastic time with both Windermere Lake Cruises and the Lakeside Motor Museum. The boats looked really well maintained and all the staff on board seemed very accommodating and friendly. A small refreshments bar on board ensured that we could buy some hot drinks and snacks, whilst enjoying a leisurely cruise around the lake. Riley absolutely loved waving to the other boats that went past, whilst Ben enjoyed looking for wildlife both in and around the lake. The on-board commentary ensured that we didn't miss anything of significance and this also kept the children interested as they tried to spot what was being described by the guide.
The Lakeland Motor Museum was well enjoyed by my children and although we have visited previously, they still found it just as fascinating as our previous visit. There were some new exhibits that we had not seen before and the quiz that children are provided with on entry was also different. My kids really enjoyed looking for all the answers throughout the museum and also had a great time playing on the vintage games in the upper floor. Both attractions were superb and it was a fantastic way to spend a relaxing afternoon together.
For more information on Windermere Lake Cruises or the Lakeland Motor Museum, then you can visit their websites or their social media pages on the following channels:
Windermere Lake Cruises
Website - https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/windermerelakecruises
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Windermereboats
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/windermerelakecruises/
Lakeland Motor Museum
Address: Lakeland Motor Museum Ltd, Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8TA
Website - www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LakelandMotorMuseum/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/LakeMotorMuseum
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/lakelandmotor/
*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary Freedom of the Lake & Motor Museum Ticket for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience. Opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.