Things to do nearby Cliff End Firs
From Cliff End Firs it is a short stroll downhill to the centre of Ambleside. Blessed with beautiful scenery, this bustling South Lakeland village is largely Victorian though there has been a settlement here since Roman times. The Roman fort of Galava was built around AD79 in Ambleside 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 the Hardknott Pass. It makes use of a strategic position, protected on two sides by water. 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 and passing under the famous Bridge House, a popular subject for many artists including Turner. Today Bridge House has become an icon for Ambleside, so why not take a trip to Ambleside’s 17th century curious relic for a few photographs.
Within the village you’ll find a wide selection of pubs and cafés. There’s a great choice of restaurants too, from Italian to Thai, Indian to vegetarian, Ambleside really does have it all. Try Zeffirellis for tasty Italian vegetarian 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. And 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 and are in fabulous settings.
Windermere is the largest natural lake in England and is surrounded by mountain peaks and pretty Lakeland villages. Amble down to Waterhead Pier, opened in 1845 and once popular with the Victorians. The bay is now a cluster of gift shops and cafes where you can while away an hour or two. Steamers and launches sail from here daily throughout the year. The main cruise is a 3-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. Sail on Windermere in the evening and watch the sun setting behind the mountains whilst listening to cool jazz on an evening buffet cruise.
Low Wood Watersports Centre, with its large lake frontage set against an inspiring mountain backdrop, is a great location for waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing, kayaking, canoeing or boat hire. If you prefer hiking or mountain biking there is no better base than Ambleside for exploring the fells. Enjoy gentle strolls through the Grasmere and Rydal valleys or climb Loughrigg and Wansfell for spectacular views. And only a short drive away is the Langdale valley with one of the most popular and distinctive mountain ranges in England. Crammed with outdoor gear shops, Ambleside also provides ample retail therapy for mountain lovers.
For youngsters you’ll find plenty of entertainment in the centre of Ambleside. 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 family 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.