Stretching for ten-and-a-half miles through some of England's most dramatic countryside, Windermere is the largest lake in England - and certainly one of the country's most popular. The charming town of Bowness, set on the famous lake's shore, dates back to about 1400, though little else is known about its history before the arrival of the railway in 1847. This was strongly opposed at the time by the local gentry, including the writer William Wordsworth. But far from damaging Bowness' reputation, the railway only served to enhance it. The delightful town, crammed with slate-topped cottages and narrow sloping lanes, could now be discovered by people from all over Britain. It quickly became one of the country's most popular destinations.