The tiny village of Newby Bridge is familiar by name to most visitors to the southern Lakes, for it lies just beyond the southern tip of Windermere and has long been important as the first crossing point over the River Leven. For a long time the main road into Furness crossed the Leven across the fine 16th century five arched stone bridge here, although it now runs along the eastern bank of the Leven. The road north-east to Kendal was also important, as were roads into Cartmel. The village now spans the river, but as late as the mid-Nineteenth century most of it was on the Furness (western) bank.
The main attractions in this area sit just to the north of Newby Bridge. On the eastern bank of the lake is the Fell Foot estate, now owned by the National Trust while opposite it is the Aquarium of the Lakes and the southern terminal for the Windermere steamers. This played an important role in the development of the tourist trade in the area, especially after the railway arrived in 1869, bringing visitors up from the industrial areas of Furness. Most of the railway is now gone, but the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway still runs steam trains between Lakeside and Haverthwaite, a short but attractive line along the Leven Valley.