We were lucky enough to take a trip to the Jetty Boat Museum in Windermere last week – and what a find. For all you boat buffs this really is great place to while away a couple of hours in the most stunning of locations.
The museum sits on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere just outside Bowness. It was originally called the Windermere Steamboat Museum and was built in 1977 by a local builder (and avid boat collector) called George Pattinson. Unfortunately, the site was closed to the general public in 2007 and subsequently taken over by the Lakeland Arts Trust.
In 2011 the trust secured Lottery funding to redevelop the site and restore the collection to its former glory. A series of new building were designed by architects Carmody Groarke and include exhibition spaces for the display of steam launches, motorboats, yachts and other vessels, telling the stories of their construction and use on the lake.
The new museum was officially opened in March of this year by HRH Prince Charles.
Museum right on the water’s edge
When you arrive there is plenty of parking (pay on exit). But don’t be deceived by the outward, plain appearance of the buildings – this is a very contemporary collection of buildings that ensures the boats are well displayed.
There are lots of different displays to wander around and information about the exhibits and the lives of people involved in the history of these vessels is well organised and varied. The Museum is fascinating with its collection of steamboats, rowboats, and speed boats all reflecting the history of boating on Lake Windermere. If you have the opportunity, there are a number of very informative but informal talk throughout the day about how the boats are conserved.
Visit the museum on a good weather day and there are plenty of photo opportunities. Take a few snaps on the water’s edge or pose along the jetty. Wander around the outside and you can enter the wet dock which allows the display of boats on water within the museum
Steam Boat trip
The highlight of our visit was a glorious hour on the lake in the steam boat Osprey. This is a beautifully restored 1901 steam boat that only takes 10 passengers. It has a coal fired engine that makes practically no noise – amazing!
Swallows & Amazon
If you are a Swallow and Amazon fan the Jetty Museum a must. The collection includes the original sailing boats from the film.
There is a superb café that serves delicious food throughout the day, and the view out of the windows is something else. We’ll be back again to see the new exhibits and have a trip on one of these really special boats.
The Windermere Jetty Museum is “Highly recommended” and only a 40 minute drive from Hawthorns Caravan Park.
PS – the museum and cafe are both dog-friendly.
Windermere Jetty Museum
Rayrigg Road, Windermere
Cumbria LA23 1BN
t: 01539 637940