I thought our guests might be interested in some culture in the Ambleside area of the Lakes – yes there is some! So here we go, the Riverside guide to our favourite Ambleside points of interest: for those of you who enjoy a bit of culture!
Top 5 Experiences In The Ambleside Area
1-The estate of a remarkable man
Take a 19th century Steam Gondola across Coniston Water to Brantwood, home of John Ruskin, the writer, artist and social reformer described by Tolstoy as
The house is full of art, objects and stories, while outside a range of trails thread the 250-acre estate. And – overlooking the lake – you’ll find eight unique and beautiful gardens, continuing the horticultural experiments that Ruskin began. The Professor’s Garden was Ruskin’s favourite: it’s dedicated to plants which are good for the body and soul. Much like the Lake District itself, you could say.
2-Storytelling, nature, art and farming
Beatrix Potter was a remarkable woman: a storyteller, artist, naturalist and farmer. Hill Top – at Near Sawry – was the farm she bought in 1905 from the proceeds of her first“little book” – Peter Rabbit – and she used Hill Top itself and the surrounding countryside as inspiration for many of her stories. Full of her favourite things, including original illustrations,the house appears as if Beatrix had just stepped out for a walk.
3-A poet’s home, in harmony with its setting
While Dove Cottage is the better known, it was Rydal Mount – between Grasmere and Ambleside –where Wordsworth lived for 37 years. It’s an informal place: you’re left to your own devices to tour the house, including the great man’s attic study with its views down to Windermere. The poet was a keen landscape gardener and the four-acre garden is more or less as he planned andplanted it. His aim was that it should be in harmony with its surroundings– and indeed it is a delightful spot, with its fell-side terraces over looking Rydal Water. Next to the garden is Dora’s Field, which William and Mary planted with daffodils in memory of their only surviving daughter Dora,who died of TB aged 43.
4- The hills are alive with the sound of … Lake District Summer Music
An international music festival featuring top artists plus a summer academy for young musicians on the brink of their careers. The focus is on classical and chamber music – but other genres feature too. There are performances in 17 venues across the Lake District– from intimate historic churches at the foot of mountain slopes to solid town halls in Lakeland market towns. There are world-premieres with pre-concert talks by composers and new collaborations between world-famous artists meeting for the first time in the inspiring setting of England’s best known,best-loved landscape.
5-A night of culture in a dramatic setting – Keswick’s modern Theatre by the Lake,
On the shores of Derwent water, was described by the Telegraph as “the most gorgeously situated theatre in England”. There’s a wide-ranging programme from contemporary to classic, and two auditoria – the 400-seater main theatre, and the smaller Studio. You could always start the evening before the performance with a sail across the lake: from the main jetty it’s just 200 yards to your seat in the stalls.