Things to do nearby 4 Miller Bridge House
Stroll into Ambleside's bustling heart and enjoy a host of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Zeffirellis is a perfect spot to relax in an evening, with their cinema, restaurants and jazz bar offering a packed calendar of events. Surrounding the village are ample low fells excellent for exploring; Loughrigg, Stockghyll Force and Todd Crag are popular for a gentle ramble, and there are plenty of more strenuous options for the serious hiker too.
Blessed with beautiful scenery, Ambleside is a bustling South Lakeland village situated at the northern end of Lake Windermere. Though largely Victorian, there has been a settlement here since Roman times when the fort of Galava was built to house 500 soldiers. Their aim was to defend the south Lakeland fells from invasion and to guard the vital trade route to Ravenglass via Hardknott Pass. The remains of the fort were excavated between 1914 and 1920 and can be found next to Borrans Park at Waterhead on the northern end of Windermere.
From the centre of Ambleside take a short walk uphill to view the spectacular Stock Ghyll Force, a 70-foot waterfall nestled in a wooded glade. Stock Ghyll Force once drove twelve watermills producing fabrics, paper and corn. This tributary of the River Rothay meanders into the centre of Ambleside via a series of waterfalls, eventually passing under the famous Bridge House, a popular subject for many artists, including J. M. W. Turner. Today, Bridge House has become an icon of Ambleside, so why not take a trip to the curious 17th century relic for a few photographs? It is, after all, one of the most photographed buildings in the Lake District!
Within the village you’ll find a wide selection of pubs and cafés. There’s a great choice of restaurants, too: Italian, Thai, Indian, vegetarian, and more! Try Zeffirellis for tasty vegetarian Italian food and take in an arthouse film at their cinema or chill with some live music in their jazz bar. If you’re looking for good beer, head to Ambleside’s hidden gem, the Golden Rule, off the main street. Beautifully unchanged in decades, it’s a favourite of locals, tourist and walkers alike. If you fancy something very special, two Michelin restaurants are on the doorstep; The Samling and The Forest Side. Both have outstanding restaurants producing culinary delights to tantalise your taste buds in fabulous settings.
Ambleside has a vibrant cultural scene with several museums, galleries and studios. The Heaton Cooper Studio is a gallery and art shop founded by the landscape artist Alfred Heaton Cooper in 1905. Some of our other favourite galleries are the Old Court House, Walton Mount, Cookhouse and Hobbs. The Armitt Library and Museum is a hub of local history and Beatrix Potter donated many of her natural history watercolours here. Heading outside the town there are a vast number of historical houses to visit from Blackwell, a joy for arts and crafts buffs, to Wray Castle a fairy tale of a place with empty rooms for you to imagine your own place in its history.
Low Wood Watersports Centre, with its large lake frontage set against an inspiring mountain backdrop, is a great location for water skiing, wakeboarding, sailing, kayaking, canoeing or boat hire.
Pitch and putt, crazy golf, tennis and French boules are amongst some of the activities at White Platts Recreation Ground. There’s also an infants play area. Take a picnic to Grizedale Forest for more fun, hunting out the 40 sculptures that are scattered throughout the forest, many of them hidden amongst the trees. Or for a real adventure there’s an exciting Go Ape! and a 'Junior Tarzans' course set in the trees!
If you prefer hiking, Loughrigg Fell is a pleasant walk overlooking Grasmere and Rydal Water. There are several gentle paths leading to beautiful viewpoints and picnic locations, making it perfect for a day out. Make sure you include a visit to the cave with the jagged open mouth! For those of you wanting a more strenuous outing, the Fairfield Horseshoe is a stunning mountain walk featuring eight different mountain tops (great for Wainwright bagging). Experience panoramic views across the Lake District on this walk from Ullswater to the Scafells. It makes a wonderful summer day out and a great excuse for a post walk pint of local real ale in one of Ambleside's fantastic pubs. Before setting off, make sure you have all the necessary equipment from one of the village’s many outdoor gear shops!
The area offers a fabulous array of bridleways for mountain bikers and a range of quiet roads for the road cyclists among you. Of course the Hardknott, Wrynose and Kirkstone passes make an appearance in many classic Lake District cycling events and they make for excellent training opportunities! Alternatively, for a rather more sedate pedal, why not cycle around the lake and catch a launch steamer back?
Windermere is the largest natural lake in England and is surrounded by mountain peaks and pretty Lakeland villages. Wander down to Waterhead Pier, opened in 1845 and once popular with the Victorians. The bay is now a cluster of gift shops and café where you can while away an hour or two. Steamers and launches sail daily from here throughout the year. The main cruise is a three-hour sail between Ambleside, Bowness and Lakeside. Hop off the boat to sample the delights of the steam railway and aquarium at Lakeside or the World of Beatrix Potter attraction at Bowness. Float across Windermere in the evening and watch the sun setting behind the mountains whilst listening to cool jazz on an evening buffet cruise.
The two small lakes of Rydal Water and Grasmere are just a 15-minute drive from Ambleside and boast beautiful surrounding scenery and varied walks. Both villages are famous as being home to William Wordsworth, who is buried in the church at Grasmere with his family. Both of his homes, Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount and Gardens are now museums.
Grasmere is also famous for it’s delicious Grasmere Gingerbread - you can buy some of the beloved treat, made to the original Victorian recipe and served up by staff in traditional dress, in a tiny little shop in the centre of the village.