Newby Bridge sits on the banks of the River Leven, which issues from the southern basin of Lake Windermere and runs into Morecambe Bay, overshadowed by the Finsthwaite Height. The village is very small, and consists of a few houses dotted along the lane leading in a northerly direction towards Lakeside.
Walk around to the western shore and you will encounter Fell Foot Park, a National Trust managed estate with lakes shores that allow swimming, fishing, and boat hire. The Leven is famed for salmon, and about a half a mile beyond the bridge, towards Backbarrow, it becomes fierce and turbulent with impressive rapids and white waters. These rapids are a draw to canoeists, where throughout the year scores of these fragile little craft, all brightly-coloured, can be seen struggling against the river's might.
Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
Along the river lane is the Newby Bridge Halt, one of the stops where you can take a short steam train journey on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway. Volunteers keep the Halt in immaculate order with flowers and shrubs, and when the train is standing at the platform huffing and puffing, the picture is one of a more genteel age.
Leaving the Newby Bridge on the Lakeside Road, you shortly come to Lakeside. Here there is the impressive steamer pier, the steam-railway terminus and the Lakeside Aquarium. There are plenty of interactive features for kids - the high point of which is the glass tunnel where you walk under water with fish and ducks swimming above and by your side. The Aquarium has a lovely cafe overlooking the lake and handy gift shop. From the pier you can board one of the steamers for a trip up the full-length of Windermere, calling at Bowness and Ambleside at the Lake’s northern head.
Finsthwaite is a half mile from Lakeside – it comprises a collection of traditional Lakeland homes and farmsteads hidden along the lane and here and there in the fells. On the outskirts of Finsthwaite is the English Heritage managed Stott Park Bobbin Mill. The edifice is one of the few remaining and best-preserved working mills in the country. A guided visit takes about 45 minutes and it’s well-worth the effort. Just north of the village church is the start of an easy, delightful walk up to High Dam. You could picnic with young children whilst admiring two of most idyllic tarns in the region on the way up.
Travel about five miles west of Newby Bridge and the foot of the lake and you come to the little village of Bouth. Tucked away, this secluded village is popular with those who come to the Lakes for an escape. Unlike Ambleside, Grasmere, Windermere and Bowness, you have true peace, set among low rolling fells.
Grizedale Forest Park
Windermere and Coniston are a short drive to both the east and west; the Grizedale Forest Park, and the Cartmel peninsular to the south with its craggy coastline and attractive villages are great for day trips. For a fine dining experience try the White Hart Inn, hosted by Nigel Barton. It offers hearty pub grub and real ale, all served under a canopy of blackened beams, with the welcoming of a cheery log fire.
Newby Bridge, Lakeside, Finsthwaite, and Bouth are amazing places to visit. If you feel inspired to go and stay, have a look at our collection of holiday homes in the region.