Meet our good friends at Windermere Lake Cruises
Published: Thursday 6th Dec 2018
Written by: The Original Cottages Team
Please introduce yourself…
John Woodburn, Operation Director of Windermere Lake Cruises
What is it you do?
My job is to oversee the operations aspects of the business. Making sure all our vessels operate smoothly, on time and safely. I also manage the teams that work on the boats and piers and make sure that our customers enjoy their trip to The Lake District.
What’s the story behind your business?
Windermere Lake Cruises provides scenic cruises on historic ‘steamers’, modern and traditional wooden launches on Lake Windermere – England’s largest natural lake (or mere). We have 16 vessels operating on 7 routes across Lake Windermere and last year transported over 1.6 million passengers to our many piers or lakeshore attractions.
What makes your business great, why should guests staying at Original Cottages Lake District visit?
We are a large, friendly team who are dealing with a lot of customers each year. Many of these customers haven’t been to The Lake District before or know anything about Windermere before they arrive. Our passion for the area hopefully is apparent and we pride ourselves in giving an excellent experience to all. From when you get off the coach, arrive at the ticket office to when we welcome you on board or deliver our commentaries, we hope this passion and pride comes across. We love showing off one of the most scenic parts of Britain and for many international visitors its great to see them enjoying their visit (as well as taking hundreds of photos!).For many, a cruise on Lake Windermere is a quintessential part of any Lake District break. The views from our inner or outer decks are fantastic whatever the season and we have many repeat visitors who travel with us every year. Whether you just want a relaxing cruise or want to leave the car at the cottage and travel to a lakeshore attraction, we’d love to see Original Cottages Customers on the water. Don’t forget to bring your 10% discount voucher when you arrive to enjoy a great value day out.
What do you love about the Lake District?
I worked physically on the boats for over 15 years working my way up from deckhand to captain and I have never tired of the Lake District scenery. What’s great about working on the water (and now working near the water) daily is observing the dramatic changes of scenery within the different seasons.Although most of our customers will enjoy a long hot summer on the lake, it’s the quieter seasons such as Autumn and Winter that stand out for me. The colours of Lakeland Fells and woods around Windermere are stunning. With our boats a little bit quieter, you get to enjoy the scenery to yourself too.
Tell us about your favourite spot in the Lake District, and why you love it so much?
High Dam near Lakeside Pier is a beautiful spot for walking. Pick up a walks leaflet from the pier for directions.
What are the top 3 places guests of Original Cottages should visit or activities you would recommend they do?
My three top places would be:
- The footpath between Wray Castle and Ferry House. Not only a quieter way to experience the lakeshore of Windermere, but the route also has some amazing places to visit like Claife Viewing Station and Wray Castle.
- If you’re bringing a young family to the area and on a tight-budget, I’d recommend visiting Brockhole – Lake District Visitor Centre. As well as some amazing attractions for children including Brave the Cave, Treetop Trek and Treetop Nets, the adventure playground has just been re-developed and is free for all visitors. Best of all if you arrive there by boat you can get into the Brockhole grounds for free.
- Wansfell is a great introduction to hill-walking and is relatively accessible for anyone from Ambleside village or Waterhead Pier. Once you’ve made the effort up the easy-to-follow track from the village centre, the views across the lake, the village and across to the central Lakeland fells is quite stunning.
What is your best kept secret about the Lake District?
I would say High Dam, but shhh, don’t let everyone know about it.