Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Lake District in Cumbria, England, Ambleside is a delightful haven for nature enthusiasts, literary aficionados, and history buffs alike. Here’s our comprehensive guide on the best things to do in this quaint Cumbrian town. So, here the Things to do in Ambleside.
A visit to Ambleside is an encounter with unspoilt beauty and rustic charm. Its stone-built architecture beautifully intertwines with stunning natural landscapes, offering a myriad of exciting experiences for its visitors.
Immersing in History and Literature
One of the significant things to do in Ambleside is to take a trip through time by visiting the historical sites that litter the town.
Standing tall for over 300 years, the Bridge House is a distinctive and charming National Trust property that once served as a home, a workshop, and even an apple store!
The former residence of celebrated poet William Wordsworth, Rydal Mount, is a must-visit spot. Explore the rooms where Wordsworth penned his famous verses and stroll through the beautiful gardens he designed.
The faux-medieval Wray Castle, a National Trust property, is a grand neo-Gothic castle with intriguing stories and plenty of space for kids to play.
Things to do in Ambleside: Savouring the Local Food
No visit to Ambleside is complete without a gastronomic adventure. The town offers various regional and traditional dishes that you must try.
Things to do in Ambleside: Outdoor Activities in Ambleside
A quintessential part of an Ambleside visit is exploring the great outdoors, and there’s no better place for it than the Lake District.
Skelghyll Woods offers an array of walking trails through ancient woodland, boasting England’s tallest tree and stunning views of the surrounding lakes and mountains.
Unveiling the Artistic Side of Ambleside
Ambleside is not just about picturesque landscapes and historic sites. This quaint town also boasts a thriving artistic scene that visitors can immerse themselves in.
Armitt Museum and Library
For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Armitt Museum and Library is a must. This local gem offers a unique glimpse into the artistic and cultural history of the Lake District, with a particular emphasis on Beatrix Potter, who was a significant benefactor of the Armitt.
Heaton Cooper Studio
Another must-visit for art aficionados is the Heaton Cooper Studio. As the home of a family of landscape painters whose relationship with the Lake District spans over a century, this gallery showcases works that beautifully depict the landscapes of the region.
Active Adventures in Ambleside
Ambleside’s location in the heart of the Lake District makes it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From gentle strolls to challenging hikes, there’s something for everyone.
One of the most popular hikes in the area is Loughrigg Fell. Despite its relatively modest height, it offers some of the most spectacular panoramic views in the Lake District.
Discovering Ambleside’s Rich Literary History
When you visit Ambleside, you’re not just exploring a town — you’re stepping into a world rich with literary history and associations.
Dove Cottage and The Wordsworth Museum
Located just a short drive from Ambleside, in the town of Grasmere, you’ll find Dove Cottage and The Wordsworth Museum. Once the home of renowned poet William Wordsworth, today it is a dedicated museum where you can explore the poet’s life and works.
Beatrix Potter Gallery
In the nearby town of Hawkshead, the Beatrix Potter Gallery is a treat for literature and art lovers alike. The gallery showcases the original artwork of Beatrix Potter, the famed author of the beloved Peter Rabbit series.
Indulge in Local Delights
No visit to Ambleside would be complete without sampling the local fare. From classic British dishes to innovative culinary creations, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
The Old Stamp House
For an unforgettable dining experience, head to The Old Stamp House. Located in the former office of William Wordsworth’s father, this Michelin-starred restaurant offers innovative dishes inspired by the local Cumbrian landscape.
For those seeking a more casual dining option, Zeffirellis offers delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes. After your meal, you can catch a movie in their cinema or enjoy live music in their jazz bar.
More to Explore
Ambleside is just the beginning. The Lake District and the surrounding area offer even more treasures waiting to be discovered:
- Best Things to do in Dartmoor National Park
- Exploring the Charm of Cotswold’s Towns and Villages
- Things to do in Wheatley: Exploring the Hidden Gem of Oxfordshire
Whether you’re exploring a National Trust site, appreciating works of art, hiking up a fell, cruising on a lake, or indulging in local cuisine, Ambleside provides a multitude of enriching experiences for every visitor.
To learn more about other UK destinations and for more travel inspiration, check out:
Best Hiking Trails near Ambleside for Beginners
Ambleside is a hiker’s paradise. If you’re a novice, don’t fret. The Loughrigg Fell trail is a popular choice for beginners. It’s relatively short and easy, but offers stunning views over the lakes and surrounding fells. Another beginner-friendly route is the Rydal Water Walk. This peaceful, low-level walk offers spectacular scenery and fascinating history.
Family-Friendly Activities in Ambleside
When it comes to family-friendly activities, Ambleside has plenty to offer. From the educational Beatrix Potter Gallery to the exciting Brockhole on Windermere, a visit to Ambleside can be as educational as it is fun. If your kids love animals, the Go Ape Grizedale adventure park has treetop courses and forest segways.
Romantic Things to do in Ambleside for Couples
For couples, there’s nothing quite like a romantic lake cruise. Companies like Windermere Lake Cruises offer sunset cruises that are perfect for a romantic evening. Alternatively, a visit to the stunning Rydal Mount, the former home of William Wordsworth, can be a wonderfully romantic experience.
Hidden Gems in Ambleside Off the Beaten Path
Step off the beaten path and discover Ambleside’s hidden gems. Check out the Stagshaw Garden, a woodland garden known for its collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. Also, don’t miss the quirky Bridge House, one of the smallest houses in Britain.
Ambleside Travel Guide: What to Know Before You Go
Before you go, be sure to check the Visit Cumbria website for comprehensive travel information about Ambleside. This includes everything from accommodation options, local events, and weather forecasts, to information on visitor facilities.
Ambleside Activities for Rainy Days
Even on rainy days, Ambleside has plenty to offer. Visit the Armitt Museum, which celebrates the history and culture of the Lake District, or catch a film at Zeffirellis Cinema, which also hosts live jazz performances.
Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Ambleside
If you’re traveling on a budget, there are many free or inexpensive activities in Ambleside. Enjoy a picnic by Lake Windermere, explore the local shops, or visit the Ambleside Roman Fort, a free historical site.
Ambleside Attractions Open in Winter
Many of Ambleside’s attractions, including the Windermere Jetty Museum, [Bridge House](https
://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ambleside/features/bridge-house—the-little-house-over-the-bridge), and local galleries, remain open during winter. Be sure to check individual websites for opening hours and conditions.
Outdoor Activities near Ambleside for Adventure Seekers
For thrill-seekers, try Hawkshead Outdoor Adventure, which offers climbing, ghyll scrambling, and more. The Ambleside Adventure also provides a range of outdoor activities including canoeing, kayaking and rock climbing.
Ambleside Cultural Events and Festivals
Ambleside hosts several cultural events throughout the year. The Ambleside Traditional Lakeland Sports Day in July, the Ambleside Christmas Lights Switch On in November, and the Wordsworth Winter Lecture Series at the Wordsworth Museum are just a few to look out for.
Ambleside is much more than a beautiful Lake District town; it’s a place where history, literature, nature, and gastronomy converge, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience. Explore, discover, and immerse yourself in the myriad of things to do in this charming Cumbrian town. It’s time to start your Ambleside adventure!
For those interested in exploring more of England, check out our other comprehensive guides: