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Rydal Rd, Ambleside, Cumbria - June 2009.jpg
Rydal Road, Ambleside Town Centre
Grid reference: NY375037
Location: 54°25’31"N, 2°57’45"W
Population: 2,600
Post town: Ambleside
Postcode: LA22
Dialling code: 015394
Local Government
Council: Westmorland & Furness
Westmorland and Lonsdale

Ambleside is a town in Westmorland, which stands at the head of Windermere, England's largest lake. The town is within the Lake District National Park and is a centre for fell-walking and sightseeing.

From Ambleside the Kirkstone Road leads north up through the dramatic Kirkstone Pass linking Windermere with Ullswater over the high fells.

The town and around

The name of Ambleside appears to come from Old Norse, perhaps Hamles sǽtr ("Hamel's summer pasture") or Á-mel-sǽtr ("riverbank pasture").

Boats run along the lake from Ambleside to Bowness-on-Windermere and Lakeside, offering fine views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Ambleside is a base for hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking. It has a selection of shops, hotels, guest houses, pubs and restaurants.

To the south of Ambleside is the Roman fort of Galava, dating from 79 AD.[1]

The Armitt Library and Museum provides a source of local history with a collection which represents many of the local artists and writers of the past.

On the west, Loughrigg Fell rises above the town; to the north are Red Screes and the hills of the Fairfield group. To the east is Wansfell.


Ambleside was granted a market charter in 1650[2], and its Market Place became the commercial centre for agriculture and the wool trade. King James II granted a further charter allowing the town to collect tolls.[3]

The old packhorse trail between Ambleside and Grasmere was the main route between the two towns before the new turnpike road was completed in 1770. Smithy Brow at the end of the trail was where packponies were re-shod after their journey. With the coming of the turnpikes, the packhorse trains were superseded by horse-drawn stagecoaches, which regularly travelled between Keswick and Kendal by way of Ambleside[4].


Bridge House, Ambleside
  • Bridge House was built over Stock Ghyll more than 300 years ago probably as a summer house and apple store for Ambleside Hall. The building was purchased by local people in 1926 and given to the National Trust. It is now used as an information centre for the National Trust, and is part of the Trust's Windermere and Troutbeck property.[5]
  • William Wordsworth's house at Rydal Mount stands near the town.
  • The Homes of Football photographic art gallery on Lake Road houses the work of the photographer Stuart Roy Clarke, and represents one of the best collections of football photography in the world.

Mountain rescue

The town maintains one of the busiest volunteer mountain rescue teams Langdale and Ambleside MRT in Great Britain.

Ambleside (centre-left) and the nearby village of Waterhead (right) as viewed looking East from Loughrigg Fell


  1. Retrieved on 2008-02-07
  4. "History of Ambleside". Golakes. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  5. Bridge House — Information from a notice at Bridge House.

Outside links