The Windermere Ferry connects the eastern and western shores of Windermere. It has been operating for more than 500 years.
The ferry operates every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Its timetable sees crossings begin around 6.50 am and end at 9.50 pm (8.50 pm in the winter). There is a service from one side to the other every 30 minutes.
The current vessel, Mallard, can carry 18 cars and over 100 passengers. Queues can build up in the summer but it’s a pleasant trip and a good way to get to Hawkshead and Grizedale Forest from Bowness or Windermere without driving round the lake.
At the time of writing (November 2018) the price for a single ticket for a car and its passengers is £4.40. The fare for a pedestrian is 50p. Bikes, motorbikes, and caravans plus minibuses, goods vehicles, and coaches (weighing up to 8 tonnes) are also permitted.
From March 2018 passengers pay on the ferry by card or cash. The unpopular ticket machines on the shore have been discontinued.
The ferry usually closes for a month every 5 years for a refit.
During the summer months a minibus service (the Cross Lakes Experience) runs from Ferry House to Hawkshead, calling at Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop House.
Leisure cruises on Windermere (between Bowness, Ambleside, and Lakeside) are offered by Windermere Lake Cruises.