Stay the night: White Cross Bay, Cumbria

Simone Kane checks into a new luxury lodge right on the shores of Lake Windermere

A site right on the shores of Lake Windermere might seem an ideal location for a holiday park – and until the floods came it was.

Last November's torrential weather did serious damage to South Lakelands Parks' flagship holiday site, as well as to the wider Cumbrian tourism industry. For a time, bookings in this famously picturesque area plummeted – and local businesses have had to work extremely hard to win back visitors after the natural disaster and the subsequent aftermath of negative publicity.

At Lake Windermere, an extensive £2m refurbishment at the White Cross Bay park has resulted in pleasingly improved facilities. This major revamp features an upgraded boat and clubhouse, new restaurant and beer garden, a multi-sports play area and a collection of luxury lodges, some of which directly overlook the lake and have striking views to the mountains beyond.

White Cross Bay is particularly well situated for exploring the Lake District – on foot, on water, and by car or bus. with the towns of Ambleside, Windermere and the resort of Bowness-on-Windermere all within easy reach.

The rooms

Set in landscaped grounds, the new lodges have been devised with a contemporary look, some sleeping four, some eight. Given the simple decor in light colours along with wooden blinds, springy carpets and stylish, comfy furniture, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a modern apartment.

A spacious living-dining area, a fully fitted kitchen and bright, swanky bathroom complete the luxury feel. Bedrooms are a decent size – the only let-down being a lack of investment in the mattresses, which on our visit resulted in a disturbed night's sleep all round.

The food and drink

Within the park perimeters there is a restaurant and lounge bar – the Flying Boat – as well as a fast-food take-away on site. But if you want to head further afield, the local villages and towns around Lake Windermere offer a range of pubs, cafés and restaurants. For a lakeside lunch, the Wateredge Inn at Ambleside is family friendly, and has a huge garden.

The extras

There is a small indoor swimming pool, as well as a gym, sauna, play area and free Wi-Fi throughout the park. Quite apart from the obvious outdoorsy pursuits such as hiking and watersports, there is plenty in this area to keep visitors of all ages well occupied.

Families can combine a trip on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite steam railway ( with a visit to the Lakes Aquarium (lakes, or take a relaxed cruise on the lake with Ullswater Steamers ( Naturebreak UK (naturebreakuk has just launched its family-friendly wildlife guided tours in the area, too.

Meanwhile, there are, of course, plenty of classic Cumbrian sights within easy reach. When in the Lake District it's always a good idea to have some rainy-day options in mind: indoor pursuits include Wordsworth's Dove Cottage in Grasmere ( and Levens Hall near Kendal (

By contrast, those in search of thrills and adventurous activity could head for the Honister Slate Mine near Borrowdale ( which has a safe but challenging Via Ferrata, and the Go Ape course at Grizedale Forest near Hawkshead.

The access

Family pets are welcome in selected "pet" lodges and caravans, for an additional charge of £15-£25. There are some lodges that have been specially adapted for wheelchair users, and have access ramps, wider doorways and a range of appropriate fittings and fixtures.

The bill

Short breaks at White Cross start at £319 for three nights over a weekend or four nights midweek, with accommodation in a two-bedroom classic lodge. The price includes bed linen – but not bath towels – as well as fuel supplements and on-site entertainment passes.

The address

White Cross Bay Leisure Park and Marina, Ambleside Road, Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1LF (015395 69834;

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific