In and Around Ambleside

Quick Facts about Ambleside

Population – 2,600 (2011)
District – South Lakeland
Landmarks – Bridge House, Charlotte Mason College

Ambleside, at the head of Windermere and the foot of Kirkstone Pass lies in the very heart of the Lake District, with easy access to Grasmere, Keswick, Windermere and the Langdales. Ambleside’s history reaches back at least as far as Roman times.

At nearby Waterhead, the Romans built a stone fort on a trade route through South Lakeland (this is now Borrans Field). In 1960 the town was granted a market charter. The town became a commercial centre for agriculture and the wool trade. The 17th and 18th centuries were a major period of rebuilding, initiated by yeoman farmers and landowners made wealthy by the profits of the woollen trade.

Many houses date from this period, most notably the pretty village of Troutbeck. The one that stands out and is a great example is Townend, this property is owned by the National Trust.


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When walking around, Ambleside you will see the iconic Bridge House, this tiny house over Stock Beck can be found in the centre of the town and is one of the most photographed buildings in the Lake District.

The building was originally built as an apple store, the building is now owned by the National Trust and is open daily (March to October).

Around the Lake

Walking – Known to many as the walking capital of South Lakeland, Ambleside abounds with routes for all ages and abilities, from lakeside strolls to fell walks. Cycling – The fells west of the town offer a good introduction to those new to cycling in the Lake District. There are many places in the town to hire bikes.

On the Lake

Ambleside’s superb location on the shores of Windermere means access to the lake is easy. There is a huge variety of activities on offer, to suit all tastes and abilities.

There are also some great opportunities for fishing not only in the lake itself but on both Rothay and Brathay Rivers and also on Loughrigg and Holehird Tarns (Permits are available in local stores). If you just want to sit back and relax and enjoy the views, a trip on a lake steamer would be the choice for you!


Not forgetting the great choice of accommodation from hotels and family run b&b’s to Holiday cottages in the Lake District and campsites. Combined with its historic roots, Ambleside is an ideal place to spend your holiday. To view all the accommodation providers CLICK HERE

Did you know?

‘The struggle’ aptly describes the steep ascent out of Ambleside to the Kirkstone Pass Inn. Teams of pack ponies and horse-drawn carriages regular laboured up this gruelling hill. It’s also the scene of an annual Car Pull, where teams compete to pull a one-tonne car up the 3-mile struggle in the fastest possible time! The current record stands at 51.20!!

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