A weekend in Ambleside

Discover our top-rated picks for this Lake District gem

Ambleside may be a small town, but its reputation for being a perfect base for exploring the central Lake District has seen it rocket in popularity with visitors seeking an outdoor getaway.

Located right at the top of Lake Windermere with Grasmere and the Langdale Valley just a stone’s throw away, Ambleside and its beautiful surroundings have all the ingredients for the most scenic of escapes. Planning a trip? Don’t miss our recommendations for things to do and the best places to stay and eat.

 Things to do in Ambleside

Ambleside is a largely Victorian town, having expanded with the charcoal production and woollen mills brought by the Industrial Revolution. It was around this time that the town started to gain fame and prosperity through the steady growth of tourism – something that has continued to the present day. A stroll around the streets will reveal inviting pubs, bars and restaurants, along with an array of independent shops that are perfect for an afternoon’s browsing.

To discover more of Ambleside’s diverse history, a visit to the Armitt Museum and Library is a must. Its fascinating and entertaining collection celebrates over 2000 years of Lake District history, from the Romans to Beatrix Potter, and provides a great family-friendly day out. If you’re looking to further explore the region’s rich literary history, a short north-westerly drive will see you discover Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, where some of the poet’s best-known works were written.

No visit to Ambleside would be complete without testing out your walking boots – you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to awe-inspiring routes. Explore the delightful low fell of Loughrigg which runs from Ambleside towards both Langdale and Grasmere or, for a gentler ramble, walk in Wordsworth’s footsteps with a circuit of Rydale Water. Thrill-seekers will also enjoy the activities and water sports on offer at Brockhole on Windermere, which is just a short ferry ride from the Waterhead Pier terminal.

Recommended things to do

Ambleside Roman Fort

Around Rydal Water (walk)

Brockhole on Windermere

Dove Cottage and The Wordsworth Museum

Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside (walk)

The Armitt Museum & Library

Places to stay in Ambleside

Whether you’re seeking a homely B&B, a top-rated family campsite or a luxury cottage getaway, you won’t be short of options in this Lake District hub.

Top-rated recommendations

Brunt House

Herdwick Cottage, Ambleside

Old Ambleside House

Skelwith Fold Caravan Park

The Langdale Estate

The Old Village Shop

Where to eat in Ambleside

From creative and contemporary cooking to delicious pub grub, Ambleside has great food in ready supply.

Top-rated recommendations

Drunken Duck Inn

Forest Side, Grasmere

Lake Road Kitchen

Rothay Manor Hotel

The Old Stamp House Restaurant

Wateredge Inn

Discover more Weekend Escapes