With a length of 10.5 miles (equivalent to 16.9 km), a width of one mile and a depth of just over 200 feet, Lake Windermere is regarded as the largest natural water body in England. It is located in Lake District (in the northwest coast of England). It is replenished by a number of rivers. They include Rothay, Cunsey Beck, Trout Beck and Brathay among others. The main river draining it is River Leven whose source is the southernmost point.
The immediate environment consists of several foothills which provide pleasant low level walks. Higher fells of the central Lakeland are found to the north. The basin is greatly utilized for cultivation.
For many years, the area has a popular destination for holiday makers. The main attractions are the numerous boating activities that take place here. Thousands of boats have been registered to use the waters. Launches and steamers are also very common. The authorities that manage activities within the resource imposed a speed limit of 12mph (or 10 knots) on all powered vessels in March 2005.
There are numerous hotels in the area because of the large number of tourists to the area. A good number of these are renovations of grand mansions built by wealthy businessmen in the 19th century. Other businesses have also come up including restaurants, cottages, pubs and exhibitions.
The large number of activities taking place has given rise to a number of towns in this area. Ambleside is a busy town located less than a mile from the northern shore. It has numerous shops, pubs and restaurants. Waterhead, to the north, is a common stop for cruising tourists. It has a garden centre and a number of cafes. Other towns in the vicinity are Newly Bridge to the south, Ferry Nab to the east and Bowness also to the east among others.
A total of 18 islands are found in Lake Windermere. The largest (privately owned) is about 40 acres in size and is found just opposite Bowness. The other islands include Thompson Holme (the second largest), Maiden Holme, Crow Holme, Bee Holme, St Mary Holme and Lady Holme among others.