[A] brand-new jetty has been unveiled at Wray Castle in the Lake District, with scheduled sailings due to get underway this Easter for the official start of the summer holiday season.
Since Wray Castle was opened by The National Trust as a visitor attraction in 2011, the growth in numbers has been significant with nearly 100,000 visitors in 2017. The fantastic location on the western shore of Windermere means that visitors can access the sites in a number of ways including arrival by boat.
Windermere Lake Cruises will be running up to 14 daily services to The National Trust’s Gothic revival castle on the shores of England’s largest lake from Saturday 24 March and throughout the summer. The new, improved jetty is higher and longer than the original pier, meaning there is now potential to sail larger vessels to Wray than ever before and expand the number of boat services which can travel to Windermere’s tranquil west shore.
At the same time, an enhanced walkway will provide better access to passengers walking up to Wray Castle and help people link up with a wider network of lakeside paths, including walking south to the nearby Claife Viewing Station.
Unlike other ‘typical’ castles, Wray Castle is full of family-friendly features and activities, including the Peter Rabbit Adventure, castle-building and dressing-up spaces, an outdoor play area, extensive grounds and scenic views across the lake. Open daily until the beginning of November, this year also marks the launch of Wray Castle’s first ever exhibition, ‘The Women of Wray Castle: Convention and Control’, which reflects on the lives of two prominent women from the castle’s early history, Margaret Dawson and Beatrix Potter.
Scheduled sailings to Wray will be part of Windermere Lake Cruises’ ‘green cruise’ route, linking up with Ambleside (Waterhead) and Brockhole, and the popular Walkers’ tickets.
Operations Director at Windermere Lake Cruises, John Woodburn, says, “This newly installed jetty is a handy stop-off point for anyone wanting to explore Windermere’s western shore and routes to and from Wray Castle. It is a stronger structure than before, making it more weather-resistant and suitable for our larger modern waterbuses, as well as the traditional wooden launches. It even gives us the option of introducing all-year round services in the future.”
General Manager for the National Trust in the South Lakes, John Moffat, says, “We’re really pleased that this new jetty will provide more opportunities for visitors to travel sustainably to the castle, and to explore the beautiful west shore of Windermere all year round, in all seasons. Travelling to Wray Castle by boat makes for a great start to any trip, and allows visitors to see some great views of the lake and mountains which would otherwise be missed.”
Darren Slater, from Jetties and Moorings adds, “It was a privilege to work on this project as we take great pride in our work. It’s not just a job to us, it is a lifestyle. It’s nice to keep our lakes alive!”