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Things to Do in Ambleside - English Lake District

Updated on October 30, 2017

What to do in Ambleside, Cumbria

Ambleside is a village in Cumbria, in England's glorious Lake District. Ambleside is the base for many Lake District activities, in the centre of the Lake District National Park.

People come to visit Ambleside in their thousands every year. Many have visited again and again, drawn back by the beauty of the Lake District, all the outdoor activities, the history, and the charm of Ambleside and the Lake District.

Ambleside is a great place to visit at any time of the year.

If you are visiting Ambleside for the first time, my list of things to do in Ambleside might help you plan your time.

I live just 2 miles outside Ambleside, and visit Ambleside several times every week.If you have any questions about your visit to Ambleside, Cumbria and the Lake District, please leave me a message , and I'll answer you as soon as I can. If you know if any other things to do in Ambleside which you think I should add, please let me know.

This is a personal list of my favorite things to do on a visit to Ambleside.

(photo thanks to David Jones and flickr creative commons)

Things to do in Ambleside #1 Zeffirellis, Ambleside

Visit Zeffirellis Cinema, restaurant, cafe and Jazz Bar

Zeffirellis, Ambleside, is an absolute gem We residents are so lucky to have this amenity, and visitors to Ambleside flock to Zeffs ( as we call it) in droves.

There is so much going on at Zeffirellis , Ambleside , that Zeffs alone could take up several "things to do in Ambleside" categories.

Firstly, there's Zeffirellis Cinema . Five screens, high tech screen and sound, great comfortable seating and the latest films.

The latest of the screens to be added to Zeffirelli's is called Fellinis ( you'll realise that the owners love Italian film directors!) Fellinis is a supremely comfortable studio cinema screening the latest movies, plus relays of live theatre, opera and music events. It's brilliant! Fellini's is located in Church Street, Ambleside.

Then there's Zeffirellis Restaurant serving interesting, good value vegetarian food in great surroundings. The combined cinema and restaurant "meal deal" is tremendous value, and guarantees you a reserved cinema seat. Booking is essential.

There's also Fellini's Restaurant which is a little more upmarket and spacious than Zefferillis. You can still buy the excellent movie plus meal ticket - it's just a little more expensive.

During the day there's Zeffrellis Cafe , a favorite place to meet for coffee, lunch or tea. Super salads, snacks, quiches and cakes.

And lastly , there's Zeffirellis Jazz Bar open most Friday and Saturday nights, with live music, bar and food.

As you can see, I'm a great fan of Zeffirellis, Ambleside.

Where to stay if your visiting Ambleside and the Lake District - We'd love to welcome you to White Moss House or Brockstone Cottage

Your perfect holiday cottage
Your perfect holiday cottage | Source

I live 2 miles from Ambleside, and I've written lots about the area

Here are more of my pages about the Lake District.

Firstly, here's here's the link to our Grasmere cottage website - just click here to see where you could be staying.

If you're visiting Ambleside, these pages will give you lots of useful information.

William Wordsworth's Daffodils
William Wordsworth's poem, Daffodils, was written just half a mile from my home. Often known by its first line "I wandered lonely as a Cloud" the p...

Lake District Information.
I live at White Moss House , Grasmere, in the Lake District, and have written lots of lenses and articles giving information about things to do in the Lake D...

Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District
The Lake District , in North West England,is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I'm lucky- I live in Grasmere, in the heart of the Lake District....

Wordsworth's Lake District.
I live in a house owned by William Wordsworth, close to Dove Cottage Grasmere where Wordsworth wrote his most famous poems, including "Daffodils" ....

Things to do in Ambleside #2 Go out on Windermere Lake

Take a boat trip from Ambleside

At the southern end of the village of Ambleside is Waterhead, on Lake Windermere.

At Waterhead, Ambleside you can hire all manner of boats.

Most popular are the old fashioned "Windermere Steamers" operated by Windermere Lake Cruises. These glorious old boats go round Lake Windermere , from Ambleside Waterhead to Bowness, Newby Bridge and back.

There are many smaller launches you can ride on, or you can hire a rowing boat.

The choice of boat rides from Ambleside is huge.

Taking a boat on Windermere is one thing you must do on your visit to Ambleside.

Find your way to Ambleside. - Use Google maps to find your way around.

A markerAmbleside in England's Lake District. -
ambleside LA22
get directions

Things to do in Ambleside #3 -see Bridge House Ambleside

Visit the Bridge House, Ambleside

The Bridge House , Ambleside is a curious little building.

The Bridge House is right in the middle of the village of Ambleside, and features in most people's photos of Ambleside.The Bridge House is now run by The National Trust, having once been an apple store and later a home for 8 people. Look here for more information about the Bridge House Ambleside.

Things to do in Ambleside #4 Visit a traditional pub

Ambleside has a good choice of pubs.

Pictured here is the Royal Oak, on Church Street.

Ambleside has a good selection of pubs and bars serving real draught ale.

There are the traditional small pubs which include the Royal Oak, The Unicorn and the Golden Rule. There are pubs with satellite TV screen such as Churchills and the Sportsmans,

Other Ambleside pubs are part of hotels , - these include the Queens,the White Lion, and the more upmarket Salutation, and the Wateredge, which is down on Windermere lake shore at Waterhead ( with higher prices than most of the others- but a great lakeside garden makes it worthwhile on a summer's evening)

For more guidance on planning your route round Ambleside 's many pubs, why not read A pub crawl round Ambleside written by my friend , Paul at Ambleside Online UK, our local community website and a great source of Ambleside information.

Ambleside Christmas lights and lantern proecession

Ambleside Christmas Lights

If you're in Ambleside for the Christmas lights weekend you're in for a treat. Read all about Winter in the Lakes and Ambleside lights here. This year the big day is Saturday 18 November. For the website click here.


Things to do in Ambleside #5, enjoy a local cafe.

Ambleside has a vast choice of great cafes

Looking for morning coffee, (with cakes of course.), or a light lunch, or afternoon tea?

Ambleside has so many cafes that it's really hard to chose.

Here are some of my favorites.

Top of the list has to be The Apple Pie Eating House ( pictured).The Apple Pie is an independent craft bakery, serving superb cakes, pies, breads and light meals. Just next to The Old Bridge House on Rydal Road.. Just looking at their website makes your mouth water!

My new favorite little cafe is The Copper Pot on Church street. Run by a local family, serving delicious home made cakes, wonderful breakfast and lunches, and great coffees.

Also recommended are Zeffirellis cafe ( see #1 of things to do in Ambleside), Sheila's Cottage Cafe Treff and Lucy's .

More of a restaurant than a cafe, but also serving snacks and light meals during the day is The Glass House , an old converted mill, also near the Bridge House..

Lucy's and The Glass House, along with Zeffirellis, are also excellent for dinner at night.

All these are privately run special places. We do have a couple of chain coffee house too , but why not take a look around and try somewhere special to Ambleside?

Apple Pie Bakery and Cafe Ambleside

Lots more things to do in Ambleside

Some more ideas of things to do in Ambleside

There are lots of great shops in Ambleside- in fact, I think an article about Ambleside shops might well be a good idea.

Ambleside has been called "The Anorak Capital of the UK" ( anorak being the old word for waterproof hiking jackets). There are about 20 shops in Ambleside selling a wide range of outdoor clothing and equipment.

There is an excellent shoe shop, some interesting gift shops, a lovely chocolate shop.....hold on to your purse strings!

You can picnic in the park, or play tennis, bowls or pitch and putt.

There is a great wooden play area for children in Ambleside Park.

You can do some great walks from Ambleside.

You can hire a bike and go for a spin.

The Armitt Museum has some fascinating exhibits, including Beatrix Potter's Collection, which she bequeathed to the Armitt Trust.

There is an excellent bookshop Fred Holdsworth's now known as Fred's Ambleside

If you can spare a minute to leave a message, a suggestion, or a questions, I'd be very happy. Thank you.

Thanks you for visiting my Things to do in Ambleside list - I hope you enjoyed reading about Ambleside

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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I would love to see even more photos of your beautiful village. I especially love the photos of the bridge house and would like to know more about it and its history. Curious how it came to be! Thank you, too, for the restaurant info. I'm always thrilled to hear about a good vegetarian restaurant--so difficult to find sometimes, when one is traveling.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image
      Author

      Sue Dixon 5 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @anonymous: I love the Apple Pie's cakes and pies far too much!

    • Grasmere Sue profile image
      Author

      Sue Dixon 5 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @anonymous: Yes, it's very easy to walk to Ambleside, either along the main road or a more winding side road. It takes about 30 minutes. You can't really go wrong! There is a bus stop outside the Waterhead Hotel if you don't want to walk.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would like to know if there are clear signage leading visitors from Waterhead pier to Ambleside town and how long does it take one to walk from the pier to the town?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Lovely site just like having a chat with a friend. Already fans of Ambleside, especially The Apple Pie Eating House. Will be trying pitch and put next time we visit.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image
      Author

      Sue Dixon 5 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @uktvbrackets lm: You're right, the Horseshoe Chip shop in the Slack ( opposite the cinema) is excellent. You can eat in or take away. The fish is freshly cooked and perfect.

    • uktvbrackets lm profile image

      uktvbrackets lm 6 years ago

      beautiful part of the world. The chippy is great too!!

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 6 years ago from UK

      have stopped in Ambleside a couple of times now and loved the surrounding area. Lots of interesting places around the lakes. Would love to visit again - thanks for reminding me of some great times

    • Fignewton37 profile image

      Fignewton37 6 years ago

      Ok. I'm convinced. I want to visit Ambleside and the Lake District. My wife and I have wanted for a long time now to visit England. When we do, I am putting Ambleside on the agenda. Thanks for the lens, you lucky dog.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image
      Author

      Sue Dixon 7 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @junecampbell: That's interesting - I wonder how many Amblesides there are?

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      There is a community called Ambleside in West Vancouver, which is a suburb of Vancouver. It was modelled after Ambleside in England, I think. I visited the Lake District once. I wish I could have stayed longer. It's a lovely area. Maybe someday.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Ambleside looks like a cozy place. Oh, I would love to travel the world and see far away places. That's one thing I love about your lenses, is that I get to see parts of this big world through your eyes.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      I always enjoy your lenses! I feel like I have been on a virtual tour and they really make me want to visit the Lake District and experience it all in person. Most Excellent!!!

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 7 years ago

      It is a long time since I have visited - but I would certainly love to go back. I have happy memories of holidays there.