Around Ambleside

The beauty of the Lake District is all around us and by choosing to base yourself in Ambleside, you're right in the heart of this stunning landscape. Here are a few suggestions for exploring the area from Riverside B&B, but we're more than happy to recommend places to visit during your stay with us.


Ambleside

Things To Do & Where To Eat In Our Local Town

Follow the links below to discover some of our favourite walks from our doorstep and where we like to eat

Keswick

Stunning Lakeside Views over Derwent Water

Explore this popular market town with independent shops and the stunning Borrowdale Valley.

Cumbrian Coast

Wild beaches and spectacular sunsets

Visit this beautiful coastline and explore the quieter western Lake District.

Grasmere

Once home to William Wordsworth

Grasmere is nestled among high peaks between Ambleside and Keswick.

Elterwater & Langdale

Instantly recognisable peaks and fells

The Langdales are no more than a 10 minute drive from Riverside Guest House and offer walking for all abilities.

Windermere & Bowness

Home to England's longest lake

The bustling towns of Windermere and Bowness are a stone's throw from England's longest lake.

Brief History

Running north to south from the pass of Dunmail Raise, the classic glacial U-shaped valley containing the popular tourist spots of Grasmere and Ambleside lies at the heart of the English Lake District. It is home to the two lovely but relatively small lakes of Rydal and Grasmere, both surrounded by woodland and pasture, and overlooked by craggy high fells.

More than most other valleys, Grasmere, Rydal and Grasmere show off a diversity of landscape, offering a sample of everything the Lake District has to offer.

Humanity has left its mark here over the millennia. There is some Neolithic or Bronze Age rock art at Allan Bank and the possible medieval burial site of King Dunmail at Dunmail Raise to the north. A Roman fort and civilian settlement was constructed at Waterhead, Ambleside.

Industry-wise, the valley has seen much activity. Mining and slate or stone quarrying as well as charcoal production were all carried out here. The abundant water power available from the becks was used from the medieval period until the 19th century for a number of processes, including corn grinding, wooden bobbin production, crushing bark for tanning, and manufacturing linen and woolen cloth.

Tourism has played an important part in the valley’s story. Through its mention in the early guide books as well as the influence of Wordsworth, Grasmere, Rydal and Ambleside became hugely popular destinations. This was further enhanced by the building of metaled roads after 1770 and the railway to Windermere in 1847. Of course, Grasmere and Rydal are forever linked with William Wordsworth and his family as well as other important figures of the Romantic movement. The Wordsworth homes of Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount are enjoyed by visitors from all over the world. Dora’s Field in Rydal is a delightful area of woodland that was planted with wild daffodils as a memorial to Wordsworth’s daughter Dora who died at a tragically young age.

The conservation link is strong in the valley, too. Wordsworth had protested against the extension of the railway from Windermere and this was also taken up by John Ruskin. It was here, at Allan Bank on the shores of Grasmere, that Canon Rawnsley came to retire.

Rawnsley was an instrumental figure in the preservation and protection of the Lakeland landscape and was formative in the birth of the National Trust. The Trust now owns many properties in the valley, including the more recently bought traditional farmhouse of High Lickbarrow Farm, the iconic, quirky 17th century Bridge House in Ambleside and the beautiful, tranquil designed landscape of High Close Estate and Arboretum. The 16th century Rydal Hall, now owned by the Diocese of Carlisle, is another example of a designed landscape and features The Grot, a tiny summerhouse looking out to the waterfall and an example of the early Picturesque movement.

The Grasmere, Rydal and Ambleside Valley is a thriving landscape of natural beauty, community and
industry, with magnificent surviving villas, designed landscapes and major artistic importance. Make sure you come and visit.

For further info on the lakes try lakesworldheritage.co.uk.