Situated to the North of Lake Windermere, Ambleside is a haven for tourists and walking enthusiasts alike. It’s perfectly situated within the Lake District for some of the most famous fell walks and has plenty for those who aren’t up for such a challenge, too!
From getting out onto Lake Windermere to exploring the beautiful natural surroundings of the Lake District National Park or learning about the rich history of this beautiful area, there’s a whole list of exciting things to do - and most of it you’d be able to fit into a day trip!
Take a Boat Ride on Lake Windermere
Enjoy the peace and quiet of Lake Windermere by taking a boat trip. Setting off just south of Ambleside centre at Waterhead (don’t worry, there are transport links!), you’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing ride on the lake.
Some ferries have options for longer cruises if you want to go the whole length of the lake, but if you’re only here for the day, there are shorter cruises available, too. Either way, be sure to bring your camera and enjoy the picturesque landscape surrounding Windermere.
It's a great way to relax and take in the sights of the area with very little effort and the ferries often have a guide telling you about Lake Windermere and what you are seeing in your surroundings.
It’s also ideal for families - it’s not every day you get to head out on a boat!
Head Out into Grizedale
Grizedale Forest is a fantastic place to get out and about in nature. While walking the fells is what many visitors to Ambleside are aiming for, if you’re only here for the day, Grizedale is a great alternative.
With routes signposted as you walk through the forest, there’s plenty of nature to look out for as you head out on your ramble. Red an roe deer, foxes, red squirrels and some rarer species of bird and dragonfly are all possible wildlife sightings you may encounter!
There is the opportunity to explore Grizedale by bike, with bike routes clearly marked out, Bring your own or hire one - it’s entirely up to you! For those looking for a bit more adventure, there’s also a mountain biking track on the North Face trail - perfect for those adrenaline junkies!
As you head through the forest, you’ll come across some incredible sculptures made out of wood and metal. The wooden sculptures have been in place since they were commissioned in 1977 - and they’re still standing strong today!
While you’re in Grizedale Forest you may want to take a look at...
Go Ape in Grizedale
A fun way to traverse Grizedale Forest is bu high ropes, segways, zip wires and more. Go Ape gives visitors the chance to see the area from a different point of view - no matter whether you’re a fan of heights or not,
From the Tree Top Challenge which isn’t for the faint of heart to the ground-based segway adventures, the more kid-friendly Tree Top Adventures or Zip Trekking adventure, there’s plenty of ways to experience the Go Ape, no matter your age or adventure level!
Each course an take a few hours, with some taking less than 60 minutes, so it’s a great addition to any day trip to the Ambleside area - you just need to travel a little bit to Hawkshead to enjoy it!
Visit Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top House
Think of the Lake District and you’ll probably think of the writer Beatrix Potter. She was incredibly inspired by the Lakes when writing her children’s books and her house at Hill Top remains as a glimpse into her life in the Lakes and is lovingly looked after by the National Trust.
This 17th Century farmhouse was where Beatrix created some of her most famous works. After claiming her royalties for The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she bought Hill Top and moved in, and thus began a lifetime of inspiration and love of the Lakes. The house today contains many of Beatrix’s possessions, giving a sneak peek into the mind of one of our best-loved children’s authors.
Her garden was the inspiration for many of her later stories, and it is kept as close to as it would have been when she lived there by a team of dedicated gardeners. Luckily for them (and us!) Beatrix often documented what plants she grew and how her garden was laid out, so you can be pretty sure what you’re seeing is as accurate as possible to what her garden would have looked like all those years ago.
From the rhubarb patch where Jemima Puddleduck tries to hide her eggs, to the beautiful path leading up to the house as she described and depicted in her Tale of Tom Kitten, it’s easy to see how inspired by her surroundings she was - and now you can visit them for yourself!
With a small entrance fee to pay to enter the house, you’ll b helping the National Trust keep Hill Top in the best possible condition for even more years to come.
Visit Wray Castle
Nestled on the shores of Lake Windermere, the gothic Wray Castle is definitely an eye-catching attraction. Even though it is a castle with turrets and an imposing facade, it has never taken part in any battle - or as the National Trust put it “a castle that would only ever have to defend itself from the Cumbrian weather”.
However, don’t let the fact that Wray Castle hasn’t seen any fighting put you off. This incredible building is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Inside, you will find interiors which many have described as church-like rather than castle-like, but no one can deny that the panoramic views of Lake Windermere and the Lake District beyond from the castle aren’t easy to beat.
There are daily guided tours around the castle, giving you a glimpse into the history of this incredible location and why it came to be on the shores of Lake Windermere. There are also plenty of activities to get the whole family involved in!
Ambleside is a beautiful village, and the surrounding areas have so much for you to do, see and explore - we’ve not even covered half of what you can do here!
To find out for yourself what Ambleside has to offer, why not book a stay with us at one of our parks and use it as a base for your day trips in the Lake District? For more information on how to book with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today.