Situated in the heart of the Lakes, Ambleside is the ideal base for exploring the beautiful English Lake District. Historically within the county of Westmorland, it is situated at the head of Windermere, England's largest lake. The town is within the Lake District National Park.
Useful links when visiting Ambleside:
With its own 'Olde Worlde' character, Ambleside is a major Lakeland activity centre which has excellent facilities for shopping and dining.
Ambleside is also a popular base for hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking. There are a number of shops selling equipment for walkers and climbers in the town and Ambleside maintains one of the busiest volunteer mountain rescue teams in Great Britain: The Langdale & Ambleside MRT.
Many well-known characters have been associated with the town. William Wordsworth worked in Ambleside, as Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, from 1813, while living at Rydal Mount in the nearby village of Rydal. This government position induced Shelley to write a sonnet of mild reprimand, To Wordsworth, but it gave Wordsworth the financial security to pursue his poetry. In 1842, he became the Poet Laureate and resigned his office as Stamp Distributor.
Ambleside Civic Trust has produced a leaflet entitled ‘Ambleside Heritage Trail’, which guides you through some of the interesting parts of Ambleside, especially old Ambleside, highlighting building of interest, including How Head. This is the oldest building in Ambleside, and incorporates stone from the old Roman Fort, and river cobbles.
A short walk from the centre of the village leads to Stock Ghyll Force, a spectacular 70 foot waterfall which may be viewed safely from a railed viewpoint. In spring the area under the trees is a carpet of daffodils. Once there were 12 watermills driven by the power of Stock Ghyll and other local becks.
Every year on the first Saturday in July, Ambleside celebrates its Rushbearing Festival. This custom dates back to the days when the earthen floor of the church was strewn with rushes for warmth and cleanliness.
Areas of interest in the town today include:
Armitt Library and Museum: This provides a source of local history with a collection which represents many of the local artists and writers of the past.
Bridge House: Built over 300 years ago, this National Trust property used initially as a summer house and apple store is now used as an information point for the Trust and is part of the Trust’s Windermere and Troutbeck property. The 17th Century Bridge House over Stock Ghyll is one of the most photographed scenes in Lakeland.
St Mary’s Church: Built in 1850 to accommodate the enlarged congregation as tourism developed after the opening of the Kendal and Windermre railway in 1847. Designed by George Gilbert Scott in the gothic revival style, is has a stone spire which is unusual for Westmorland churches and makes it the tallest building in the town.
Ambleside caters for all tastes. It is also very central and provides easy access to other Lakeland towns and villages of interest including: Grasmere, Hawkshead, Bowness-on-Windermere and Keswick.