Commonly referred to as the crossroads of the Lake District, Ambleside plays different roles by being the most central town of the Lake District National Park. It conveniently features in many of our tours which is only a good thing as I’ve never met a sole who didn’t fall in love with this honeypot.
On one hand, its widely regarded as the outdoor activity capital of England, pulling enthusiasts in from all over the world to conquer the fells which encompass the town.
Lying a mile north of England’s largest lake, Windermere, it’s a hub for water sports enthusiasts, with paddle boarding, kayaking and even swimming a daily occurrence on Waterhead’s beaches. If land activities are more your thing, then a wide variety of walks which can be done from this town with Skelwith Force offering a short walk for an hour or so, and Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain being only a few miles away for the keener adventurer.
On the other hand, it’s a place to relax and enjoy the beauty, both natural and architectural. Ambleside is home to many picturesque beautiful stone buildings, both old and new. On a busy day, up to 20,000 cars can pass through the town centre, and even on the quietest days the visitors can outnumber the locals. Yet despite its popularity, there is still a village feel to the town with a strong community vibe and local events. Sheepdog trials are held here annually, as is Ambleside Sports, an event which has been running long before even famous local William Wordsworth called the region home.
Book yourself a private food lovers tour, and you’ll even get the chance to dine at some of The UK’s best restaurants, many located in Ambleside. If you’re a foodie, check out Lake Road Kitchen, The Samling or The Old Stamp House, all regularly voted in the top 50 restaurants in England. Ask your guide which is their favourite local beer (with over fifty breweries nearby) or their favourite savoury treat from The Apple Pie Cafe. Go veggie for the day at Zeferellis and watch a movie in the studio cinema upstairs after you’re done.
There isn’t a piece of outdoor clothing or a type of cake which cannot be purchased in Ambleside; it has something for everyone, and so much more for the nature lover, outdoor enthusiast or even the romantic (thanks to its gorgeous backdrop and relaxed nature).
Ambleside is a truly lovely small town. It has a rich and interesting history which your guide will tell you all about as you make your way north and towards Grasmere and Keswick, south towards Windermere and Bowness, east and over the Lake District’s highest mountain road, The Kirkstone Pass or west and towards the magnificent Langdale Valleys.