This picturesque English town is an ideal base for exploring Lake Windermere and the spectacular Lake District National Park.
Ambleside is a pretty English town in the heart of Lake District National Park. The town’s attractions range from centuries-old architecture and waterfalls to scenic walks and watersport adventures. Ambleside dates back to medieval times when it thrived on the wool trading industry. It has since attracted writers, poets and enthusiasts of outdoor activities.
The town center is easy to navigate on foot. Wander quiet streets to find picturesque stone cottages and half-timbered houses. Several of the buildings are now pubs, guesthouses and souvenir shops. Among these is the 400-year-old Unicorn Inn, a good place to sample a traditional English pub lunch. Learn about the town’s history at Armitt Museum. Investigate 19th-century St. Mary’s Church and its chapel dedicated to the poet, William Wordsworth.
Enjoy some of the many short walks from the town center. One leads to Stock Ghyll Force, an impressive 70-foot-tall (21-meter) waterfall. Visit in spring, when a carpet of daffodils appears beneath the surrounding trees. Look for the 17th-century Bridge House, once used as storage for produce from an orchard. Another walk leads to the striking Stagshaw Garden. This woodland garden bursts to life in summer with blooms of colorful azaleas, bluebells and rhododendrons.
Hike or bike the Kirkstone Pass to witness the breathtaking natural beauty of the Lake District National Park. The pass connects Ambleside with nearby Patterdale. Admire sweeping views of mountain valleys, rolling hills and sprawling lakes.
Enjoy watersport activities on Lake Windermere, England’s biggest natural lake. Join a steamboat cruise from Waterhead Pier, a 15-minute walk from the town center. Rent a kayak to explore the lake or take wakeboarding and waterskiing lessons. Scattered around the lake are historic sites, too, such as the ruins of the ancient Roman fort of Galava.
Get to Ambleside by flying to Manchester International Airport and then rent a car to reach your destination. Ambleside is a year-round destination. Each season offers a different perspective of the town’s exceptional surrounding countryside.