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Windermere

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Cumbria  /  Lake District  /  Windermere
(4.3/5 based on 9,000+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: nature, sightseeing, wildlife areas
Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. It is a ribbon lake formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of ice at the start of the current interglacial period. It has been one of the country's most popular places for holidays and summer homes since the arrival of the Kendal and Windermere Railway's branch line in 1847. Historically forming part of the border between Lancashire and Westmorland, it is now within the county of Cumbria and the Lake District National Park.EtymologyThe word 'Windermere' is thought to translate as " 'Winand or Vinand's lake'... The specific has usually been identified with an Old Swedish personal name 'Vinandr', genitive singular 'Vinandar'"... although "the personal noun is of very restricted distribution even in Sweden." Another possibility is that it refers to a "Continental Germanic personal noun, 'Wīnand'...Since this name could not have been current until the 12th century, the fact that the Old Norse genitive singular '-ar-' has been added to it, it would suggest that Old Norse was still a living language in the area at that time." The second element is Old English 'mere', meaning 'lake' or 'pool'. It was known as "Winander Mere" or "Winandermere" until at least the 19th century.Its name suggests it is a mere, a lake that is broad in relation to its depth, but despite the name this is not the case for Windermere, which in particular has a noticeable thermocline, distinguishing it from typical meres. Until the 19th century, the term "lake" was, indeed, not much used by or known to the native inhabitants of the area, who referred to it as Windermere/Winandermere Water, or (in their dialect) Windermer Watter. The name Windermere or Windermer was used of the parish that had clearly taken its name from the water. The poet Norman Nicholson comments on the use of the phrase 'Lake Windermere': "a certain excuse for the tautology can be made in the case of Windermere, since we need to differentiate between the lake and the town, though it would be better to speak of 'Windermere Lake' and Windermere Town', but no one can excuse such ridiculous clumsiness as 'Lake Derwentwater' and 'Lake Ullswater."
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Where to stay

Lakeside resorts with views of the town and Lake Windermere sit along the shores. Pubs and shops flank cozy B&Bs and inns in the town's center. The town's historical center is close to the lake and offers transportation to outlying attractions.
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Recently planned trips to Windermere

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