Ambleside is a bustling town in the centre of the Lake District. Perfectly located for easy access to both the South Lakes and the North Lakes, and sitting at the top of Lake Windermere, it’s always a popular destination.
Whether you’re looking for a stroll around the shops, seeking out a bit of culture, or heading for the hills, take a look at just some of these fabulous things to do in Ambleside!
This quirky building that sits right above a small river is probably one of the most photographed in the whole Lake District! With just two rooms - one up and one down - it’s a teeny tiny property that has had a number of uses throughout the years, including being used as an apple store and a summer house. It’s now an information centre owned by the National Trust and you can visit to take a peek inside.
Take a boat trip
Who could visit Ambleside without venturing onto spectacular Windermere? The crown of the national park, this lake is the longest in England and you can see it best by boat. There are options to hire your own, or you can relax on a cruise where you simply sit back and enjoy the views. A selection of routes allows you to explore the whole length, take in just a section, or hop on and off as you please. You can also purchase joint tickets for attractions all around the shore.
Eat and drink
You’ll certainly be spoiled for choice with plenty of places to eat and drink in Ambleside. From waterside pubs and classy restaurants to buzzing bars and cosy cafes, there are lots of choices to keep you refreshed throughout the night and day! Favourites are sister restaurants Zeffirelli’s and Fellini’s. These award-winning eateries serve amazing pizza and fantastic vegetarian food, and there’s even a cinema on site!
You can also browse our pick of the best food pubs in Ambleside.
Stock Ghyll Force
Everyone loves a good waterfall, and Stock Ghyll Force is one of the best in the Lake District! The main falls stand at around 70 feet and once powered the mills of the town. Nowadays, it makes for a short, pleasant walk along wooded paths from the centre of town.
Fancy something to get your adrenaline pumping? Well, you’re in luck with an assortment of indoor and outdoor adventure activities on offer! Adventure Peaks have two sites in Ambleside: the children’s shop near the Market Cross and the operations hub on Lake Road with a superb climbing wall, main shop and cafe. Other adventure activities you can experience in and around Ambleside include ghyll scrambling, motor boating, rock climbing, kayaking, bushcraft, archery, and much, much more!
Ambleside Roman Fort and Borrans Park
Free to enter and with some very clear remnants, Ambleside Roman Fort is a must-visit for any history lover. Right between Windermere and the River Rothay, the fort dates back to the 1st or 2nd century and is thought to have been originally named Galava.
The ruins are reached via an ancient Roman road from lovely Borrans Park. This is the perfect place for a stroll or a picnic with its open green spaces and spectacular lake views!
Walking and Hiking
Fairfield Horseshoe Mountain range
There’s some excellent fell walking on offer from Ambleside. The Fairfield Horseshoe dominates the skyline, covering nearly 13 miles of glorious ridge walking with views for miles. For those not seeking an all-day outing, the smaller fells of Loughrigg and Wansfell are easily accessed from the town. And who can fail to be inspired by the walk along the ridge from Nab Scar?
Browse more walks around Ambleside.
The Armitt Museum and Library
Find a little peace and tranquillity at the Armitt Museum and Library, a wonderful spot that celebrates local history and nature. If you’re a fan of Beatrix Potter, you should visit to find out what she got up to when not writing beloved children’s stories. Learn about her dedication to protecting the environment and admire her many fungi watercolours.
Hayes Garden World
At first glance, a garden centre doesn’t seem like a top place to visit, but Hayes Garden World is really something special! It covers a huge area and sells all sorts of plants, garden furniture and lifestyle products, as well as boasting a wonderful tearoom. There are also regular immersive events throughout the year including popular Christmas grottos, children’s entertainment, and BBQ classes. Don’t forget to book ahead!
St Mary’s Church
There aren’t many churches in the Lake District that have a spire, but St Mary’s Church in Ambleside is one of them! Built in the Gothic style in the mid-1800s, it holds a number of fascinating features including an ancient sandstone font, beautiful stained-glass windows, and carvings of northern saints. Whether you’re interested in architecture or are just after a moment’s peace, this is an ideal spot for a bit of quiet contemplation.
Stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages in Ambleside
Find the perfect holiday property to provide the right backdrop for your Ambleside adventure, whether you plan to go boating, hiking or mountain climbing. Browse our collection of Ambleside cottages today, or take a look at our range of self-catering holiday cottages throughout the Lake District.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.