Claife Viewing Station is an old Victorian viewing point, overlooking Lake Windermere. It was originally built in the 1790’s and designed by John Carr. Following the earliest guide books, it was fashionable with the lakes very first tourists, who would come to the Claife Viewing Station in search of the picturesque thrill. The original building featured windows tinted with coloured glass to recreate the landscape in different seasons and conditions. Yellow created the perfect summer landscape, whilst orange produced an autumn one. Light green gave the feel of spring and light blue created the presence of winter. Dark blue coloured glass to produced a moonlight scene and lilac gave the impression of a thunderstorm.

The Claife viewing station remains open today and is one of the earliest monuments to Lake District tourism. The rare example of a Victorian viewing platform has been described by some as a nightclub of its day. I assume this is due to amount of tourists flocking to see the views through the bright coloured glass. The National Trust has recently completed a major renovation project on the Claife Viewing Station. The new first floor platform allows you to view across Windermere just as the Victorians would have. As you can see from the photos, the renovation has brought back the coloured glass the Victorians used to gaze through, so make sure you take the time to take a peek.

If you are have caught the ferry across by car, the best place is to park in the Ash Landing car park and head uphill through the forest trees for a quarter of a mile, where you’ll discover steps leading upward, towards the Claife Viewing Station. This is the method we took, providing you with stunning scenery and lake side views from this unique point on the map, on the west shore of lake Windermere.

Claife Viewing Station Directions

As mentioned, The Claife viewing station may be accessed along a footpath from the ferry crossing to Near Sawrey. Situated at Claife Heights, near the village of Far Sawrey. (Famously known for Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm).

Windermere west shore, Far Sawrey, Ambleside LA22 0LW

54.350972, -2.942307

OS Grid Ref : SD 387957

Keep an eye out whilst in the area as quite a few villages were used in her books that you may recognise. The Tale of Tom Kitten, The Fairy Caravan and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck a few books to name a few. There literally is so much to see on the west shore of Windermere that you can easily make a day of it, exploring on foot or by bike.