Lake District – Days 1 and 2: Ambleside and Windermere

Last week I went on a holiday to the Lake District with my girlfriend. We decided to stay in Ambleside because I knew it was a nice town and it is fairly central.

This is the first post in a short series about our adventures in the Lake District.


An evening in Ambleside

We arrived quite late on the Monday, and by the time we had settled down it was dusk. We spent what little daylight we had remaining exploring the town and beginning to plan how we’d spend the rest of the week.

Later on we visited a pub called the Gilded Lily, where I enjoyed tasting three ⅓ pints of local ales. I certainly wouldn’t say no to a pint of Loweswater Gold, which was a distinctive and delightful light, fruity beer.

But my favourite was a beer called Dark Horse. Unfortunately, I didn’t see who brewed it. Extensive searching on the web has led to nothing definitive, so I doubt I’ll be able to track it down again.

A walk from Ambleside to Windermere

On day two, we decided to walk between Ambleside and Windermere. I had been to Windermere before and wasn’t terribly impressed. I wasn’t convinced that the walk would be very exciting either, given that it simply runs alongside the A road.

However, there were a couple of early highlights to the walk, both in the south of Ambleside. The first was Borrans Park, a small park sitting on Lake Windermere. The other was Ambleside Waterside (below), where you get probably the best view of the lake from the town.

Lake Windermere from Ambleside Waterhead

My girlfriend hadn’t been to Windermere before, and was keen to make the journey. We guessed that it would only take us a few hours. Based on a road sign, we thought the walk was three miles long, which isn’t too bad.

But the walk turned out to be a lot more hard-going than we had expected. It may have been a combination of factors. We were walking on hard pavements, and despite the occasional pleasant glimpses of the lake, most of the time we were just looking at oncoming traffic.

Also, I have since found out that our full walk was actually five miles long. If we had walked non-stop (which we hadn’t), then it probably would have taken us more than 90 minutes one way.

A break at Brockhole

As it was, we decided to stop off at Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre, for a break. I had visited before. Then, I didn’t particularly like the sanitised visitor attraction in comparison to the rugged nature that you really visit the Lake District for. However, this time round it was probably the highlight of the day, and a decent place to rest for a bit.

For some reason I had thought that Brockhole was closer to Windermere than it actually is. In truth, it is exactly halfway between Ambleside and Windermere. So the trudge to complete the journey to Windermere was a shock to the system considering I’d thought we’d almost made it.

Windermere

Windermere itself was a bit of a let down. I don’t know if I’m just missing something, but I find the town itself uninspiring, with little unique to see or do.

To make the most of the journey, we sought out an information map to find something to do. We found a viewpoint called Queen Adelaide’s Hill and decided to make our way there before heading back to Ambleside.

The views at Queen Adelaide’s Hill are fairly good, overlooking the lake.

Lake Windermere from Queen Adelaide's Hill

We headed back to the apartment, and arrived back at about 4.30pm. Having walked probably around 12 miles, we had had enough for the day.

2 comments

  1. What a shame you didn’t discover the walk we are about to do today – to take the path on the other side of the lake. A lovely lakeshore path which you can now take all the way from Ambleside to Ferry House. From there you can take the car ferry over to Bowness. Depending on the time of year you can also take a boat from Waterhead or Brockhole to Wray to do the walk on the other side of the lake. This makes the trip to Bowness and Windermere much more appealing with wonderful lake views all the way. You can also do it the other way round. Boat to Bowness – car ferry over to Ferry House and walk back up to Wray or all the way to Ambleside. This is supposing you want to include boats on the walk!

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