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A lovely, interesting town and a great base for touring too
Attractions in Ambleside
Member Name: SusanLesley
Attractions in Ambleside
Date: 19/06/09, updated on 21/06/09 (113 review reads)
Advantages: Nice shops, tea rooms, hotels, guest houses and scenery
Disadvantages: Gets very busy at peak times
I first went to Ambleside with my parents and sister, who was studying Beatrix Potter as part of her A level in Art. We stayed at a bed and breakfast on the road from Lake Windermere into Ambleside opposite a nice garden centre. I have since visited Ambleside to stay on a couple of occasions and now, when we stay in Bowness on Windermere, we always visit Ambleside at least once while we are there.
Ambleside itself is a good base for touring as it lies on the A591, the main north to south road through the Lake District. It was originally granted its charter as a market town in 1650 and still has lots of old, interesting buildings. My favourite of these is the tiny house built over the Stock Ghyll, the stream that runs through Ambleside. Originally built as a summerhouse for the Ambleside Hall, it is now owned by the National Trust, who opened it as their first information centre in 1956.
St Mary's Church in Ambleside is worth a visit. It has a 150-foot spire and a mural of the rush bearing ceremony which takes place on the first Saturday in July, when the children carry rushes through the town. The mural was painted by students of the Royal College of Art who were evacuated to Ambleside during World War II.
In the centre of the town there is a pub called the Salutation and behind this is a great walk to see some stunning waterfalls. It's a bit of a climb but well worth the effort. I love waterfalls so I really enjoyed this one. There are lots of leaflets in the local shops showing the various walks from Ambleside and this is one of the ones detailed, so if you're interested it will be easy to find the information.
This lovely town is a mixture of specialist and gift shops, pubs, hotels and tea-rooms. We found a café on the side of the Ghyll serving speciality teas and all sorts of home made cakes and snacks. It's not obvious from the centre of the town but well worth looking for. The town gets very busy at peak times and the roads and the footpaths are very narrow so care needs to be taken by all.
There are a couple of large car parks and also street parking for which you need to get a ticket on sale at the local shops in the street where you park.
Ambleside is about 20 minutes walk from the northern end of Lake Windermere and you can catch the boat from here to Lakeside at the southern end of the lake or Bowness which is about halfway down. This is something that we do every time we visit as it is such a lovely cruise down the lake.
As you walk from Ambleside to the lake you pass a garden centre which has a nice café and gift shop and I must tell you a funny story about this from our last visit. We were walking round the gift shop when a voice on the tannoy kept asking for the owner of a particular vehicle to return to the car park. Eventually the voice asked the owner to return as his car was 'parked on top of another vehicle'. Everyone in the gift shop seemed to stop in their tracks and we all looked at one another in disbelief before all bursting out laughing!! What had happened was that someone had parked on a slope and left the handbrake off so his car had run into the car behind and mounted its bumper.
Anyway back to Ambleside - this lovely town is also a great base for touring the Lake District. When we first stayed here we didn't have a car and we visited Beatrix Potter's house by walking down to the lake at Waterhead and caught the boat across to the other side where we walked all the way to Near Sawrey. After visiting the house and the local pub we then walked to Hawkshead where we caught the bus back to Ambleside.
Obviously if you do have a car then you can easily get from Ambleside to the other towns, passes and lakes of the Lake District. If you're feeling really fit you can hire a bike here and get pedaling!
There is a great variety of accommodation in Ambleside from posh hotels to bed and breakfast and self catering. There are also lots of camp sites around the area so there is something to suit everyone.
In conclusion Ambleside is a really lovely place to stay and a great base for touring the rest of the area.
Summary: A lovely place to stay or visit
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