Claife Viewing Station

Claife Viewing Station

27 January 2021 Local area

Take in beautiful views over lake Windermere and the surrounding fells from Claife Viewing Station

Claife Viewing Station offers magnificent views over Lake Windermere from the serene Western Shore. Take some time out to marvel at the beautiful scenery and enjoy a moment of calm on your action packed holiday in The Lakes. As you stand on the decked platform you’ll be treated to panoramic views extending as far as the eye can see. The elevated position affords visitors an unbeatable location from which to snap photos of the impressive landscape. We highly recommend a trip to this top visitor attraction during your stay at Park Cliffe Caravan and Camping Park. In our opinion it’s one of the best places to truly appreciate the beauty of the region.

What is the Claife Viewing Station?

Did you know the Lake District hasn’t always been a top visitor destination? It’s only been since the beginning of the Picturesque Movement in the 1700s that people began to holiday in this beautiful part of the world. Before that people thought the landscape was rugged, unattractive and wild and favoured trips to seaside resorts in the North West.

The Claife Viewing Station is one of the earliest monuments in Lake District tourism and one of very few purpose built public viewing stations. It was originally built in the 1790s. The very first visitors to the Lake District were very wealthy and came to Claife Viewing Station for dances and parties. Its was built to provide people with somewhere to appreciate the landscape and views across the water. In the early 1800s it was the place to be!

The viewing station fell out of use at the end of the 1800s. The National Trust has since restored and reopened it to encourage holiday makers back to this historic venue. Coloured panels have been installed in the windows to mimic the stained glass in the original building. This allows you to see what the landscape would look like in the different seasons and provides plenty of opportunities for budding photographers!

Yellow is to see a summer landscape, orange for autumn, light green for spring and light blue for winter. There is also a lilac colour to show what the landscape looks like in a thunderstorm and dark blue for when it’s moonlight.


Beneath the viewing platform there is a small courtyard where you can learn more about the history the building. It’s a great spot to rest and enjoy a picnic or stop by the pet friendly cafe. The café in the courtyard is run by The Lakes Catering Company Ltd and open between 10am and 4pm (seasonal hours apply).

You can also walk from the viewing station to Ash Landing Nature Reserve to explore the area further. There are a wide variety of different habitats and environments to experience, depending on which season you come to visit.

How do I get to the Claife Viewing Station?

By car:

Junction 36 off M6, then take A684 which becomes the A591 to Windermere and Ambleside. B5285 from Windermere via Windermere ferry 3 miles. B5286 and B5285 from Ambleside 9 miles. B5285 from Coniston 8 miles.
Parking: Ash Landing, very near Claife Viewing Station and Harrowslack, on Windermere’s west shore.

By bike/foot:

You can take the ferry (either with bikes or without bikes) from Ferry Nab on the Eastern Shore of Lake Windermere to the Ferry House on the West shore. From the Ferry Crossing you can follow the footpath to the viewing station. The Western shore is great for cycling and walking. There are many routes that are suitable for all the family. After visiting Claife Viewing Station you can walk or cycle the interesting low level trail path to Wray Castle. If you do travel to Wray Castle you can make the journey a round trip and catch a boat from Wray Castle or Bark Barn back to Bowness and Ambleside.

Or if you’re walking in the area the map grid reference is SD 387957.