Things to do at Claife Viewing Station

Claife Viewing Station in the west shore woods of Windermere, Cumbria

There’s so much to do around here, you can easily make a day of your visit to Claife Viewing Station and the west shore of Windermere. Start off your trip on the ferry, from Bowness; there’s no need to bring a car to this part of the Lakes, it’s best to explore on foot or by bike.

Claife Viewing Station

Built in 1790 to a design by John Carr, this was a ‘pleasure ground’ for the very first tourists to the Lakes. It’s hard for us to imagine today but people didn’t always flock here to admire the views.

Described by some as a Victorian nightclub, you will find your imagination running wild as you wander up to the Viewing Station and discover its colourful history. The short uphill walk from the Courtyard or Ash Landing carpark, to the top reveals the Viewing Station building and panoramic view across Windermere.

On your way back, don’t miss our cosy café in the Courtyard for a tasty Ferryman’s lunch, scones, tea and fresh coffee.

Family fun

Bring your bikes over on the Bike Boat (in the summer) or the ferry and cycling along the west shore track. It’s a gentle route so all the family will manage. Or for the tech savvy visitors, hunt for geo-caches between Claife and Wray Castle.

Bring your bikes over in the summer on the handy bike boat
People using the bike boat on Windermere's west shore
Bring your bikes over in the summer on the handy bike boat

Woodland treasures

As you explore this side of Windermere, you will start to uncover layers of hidden history and glimpses of the old woodland industries. The woodlands were once an important resource for the local iron, leather and bobbin–making industries, as well as providing timber and firewood.

As you walk, look out for the remains of charcoal burning platforms. These produced charcoal fuel for use in the iron industry.

The woodlands were traditionally managed by coppicing, a method which involves cutting down trees, usually oak, ash and hazel, and allowing them to re–grow from the stumps or roots. You may be able to spot some of the multi–stemmed hazel trees that have been managed by coppicing, when you’re out and about around Claife.