Ambleside is an attractive small town at the head of Windermere which has been popular with visitors, particularly walkers and climbers, for many years.
It has a good range of shops, hotels, guest houses, pubs and restaurants. Visitors must visit Bridge House, built more than 300 years ago as an apple store. It is now a listed building, used as an information centre for the National Trust. It is literally on a bridge and is a tiny structure.
William Wordsworth worked in Ambleside as Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland in the early 19th Century, when he lived at nearby Rydal Mount until his death. The building is now a writer’s home museum. Dove Cottage, a home he shared with his sister Dorothy for almost nine years, is at nearby Grasmere.
The National Trust look after the home of the author Beatrix Potter, she of Peter Rabbit fame. Hill Top is maintained as if the writer still lived there and has just popped out for a moment.
While exploring, look up at the spire of St Mary’s Church – it’s stone, an unusual feature in Westmorland churches. Westmorland became part of Cumbria in 1974.
The fells and mountains which provide a stunning backdrop to the town, offer photo-opportunities no matter what the weather or the light. And if you want a challenging drive through the heart of the Lake District, why not tackle Kirkstone Pass? It’s a drive you won’t forget, as you meet jaywalking sheep and come across a vista even more spectacular than the last.
This is the Lake District at its best.