One of my favorite areas to visit in England is the Lake District area. It reminds me so much of home with the lakes, waterfalls, hills, mountains, and beautiful scenery. I stayed in the little Victorian town of Ambleside on my visit to the Lake District. I only stayed overnight and was overwhelmed with all the Lake District activities. Here are my top 10 things to do in Ambleside while you are exploring the Lake District.
As most of you know, I love walking around new towns when I travel. And Ambleside is a beautiful one to walk through. Nestled at the base of mountains and at the head of Windermere Lake, there is so much to see in this small town. From the cute shops, delectable restaurants, picturesque homes, and gorgeous scenery, this is one place in the Lake District that is too good to pass up.
So much history can be found while exploring the headstones in the cemeteries of local churches. The Gothic Revival style St. Mary’s Church of England was built in the 1850s. The stone spire makes this church one of the most unique ones built in the Lake District. When walking through the cemetery I found some really interesting gravestones that I couldn’t help photographing.
Built over 300 years ago, the Bridge House houses an Information Center for the National Trust. Situated over Stock Ghyll it could have been a summer house back in the day. Although, I still can’t get over how small the houses used to be compared to the size of them today. Now, the Bridge House is the subject of paintings and beautiful photographs by people far and wide.
Of course, while traveling, you need to eat. There are several tips to finding a great restaurant from asking a local to seeing which place has a line waiting outside to get in or you can do what I do. I happened to stumble upon Dodd’s Restaurant when I was walking around Ambleside. Looking at the menu posted outside, I found several dishes that I would like and the price was reasonable. Dodd’s has a nice selection of Mediterranean dishes that are locally sourced and they are delicious! Sometimes you can find an extraordinary meal when you least expect it, which makes traveling so much fun. All the unexpected surprises you will find!
I love finding little local bookshops on my travels. Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop is one of my favorites. This cute little bungalow has two stories of books, maps, and guidebooks for you to continue your exploring of Ambleside and the Lake District. Opened almost every day of the year, the staff is always available to answer any question you might have. Fred’s is definitely a place you want to check out while you are visiting Ambleside.
Ambleside is a fantastic base for you to hike the Lake District. Besides having several stores focused on selling outdoor gear needed for said hikes, there are several trails for you to choose from. You can enjoy gentle walks through the valleys or climb to see magnificent panoramic views from nearby mountains. There is a short walk from town to see the 70-ft Stock Ghyll waterfall. Plus, Ambleside is the gateway to the Langdale Valley, which is home to one of the most popular mountain ranges in England. If you are interested in more hikes, you can get a list from the National Trust.
As my sister keeps telling me, there are sheep back in the states. What makes the sheep here so special? I have no idea! I just know that these sheep are just begging to get photographed. They are able to freely roam wherever they want to and that includes sometimes jumping on stone fences and running across roads. Who cares if there are cars coming toward them. They don’t! It is quite the sight to see how these animals think they rule the land. You can read more of my sheep story here.
The Lake District has a limitless amount of water sports for you to do here. There is sailing, boating, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing, diving, and paddleboarding to name a few. Ambleside is a wonderful place to visit in the summer. And with the town located right on Windermere Lake, which happens to be the largest lake in England, you will never run out of things to do in Ambleside.
A short distance away from Ambleside, is the second largest lake in the Lake District, Ullswater. Ullswater looks like a typical Lake District narrow ribbon-shaped lake although the mountains have stretched it into a ‘Z’. You will be able to see many sailboats on the lake due to the numerous sailing marinas located around the lake. But, I’m also just content to sit by the water and soak up all the sparking sunshine on the water.
My favorite thing to do in the Lake District and near Ambleside is exploring Aria Force. Aria Force is a nature area that showcases the raw ‘power and beauty of nature, a place to escape the ordinary’. I couldn’t agree more! There is a peaceful and scenic trail that will take you to the waterfalls through the forest. Once there, you have several choices for viewing the falls. You can view them by hanging over the gorge from the viewing platform, from the waterfall bridge, or from below. All the advantage points of the 65-ft drop of gushing water are spectacular. As I’m always chasing waterfalls, this is one of nicest and closest I have been able to get to one this large. Aria Force is a must-see activity in the Lake District and Ambleside.
If you are a traveler who craves adventure, there are plenty of things to do in Ambleside. With all of these activities in the Lake District, you might have to make more than one trip to this gorgeous area. I know I have to go back!
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If you are coming to England for a visit, check out these posts for further travel inspiration:
- The Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary to England & Scotland
- Top 12 Things to Do in Portmeirion
- Sheep Driving Distractions in the Lake District
- Cecil Court – The Hidden Book Lovers Street in London
- Most Intriguing Bookstores Around the World You Must Visit
- The Best Ghost Tours Around the World
- Tempt Your Taste Buds at Borough Market in London