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A view across Lake Windermere from a wooden jetty

A hub for outdoor adventurers looking to explore the Lake District, there’s a whole host of things to do in Ambleside.

Located at the head of Lake Windermere, the thriving town centre is home to an array of amenities and attractions.

Whether you’re looking to dine at top restaurants, cosy up in a local pub or browse independent boutiques, Ambleside has it all. There’s even a cinema, an indoor climbing wall and a tumbling waterfall!

Read on to discover more on the exciting things to do in Ambleside…

Things to do in Ambleside

Ambleside Climbing Wall

A young girl climbing on an indoor climbing wall

Try your hand at something new with a visit to Ambleside Adventure! This unique facility boasts a challenging indoor climbing wall as well as a bouldering room. There’s even an on-sit café to fuel your adventures!
Ambleside Adventure is open to visitors of all abilities, whether you’re an experienced climber or a total beginner.
Where better to spend a rainy day?

Zefferellis Cinema and Jazz Bar

A man playing a saxaphone

Zeffirellis is an award-winning independent cinema, pizzeria and jazz bar situated in the heart of Ambleside.

This popular venue is a must-visit if you’re stuck on things to do in Ambleside. Catch the newest release at the cinema, tuck-into a vegetarian pizza at the restaurant, or listen to the soothing sounds of modern jazz.

You can even purchase a combined cinema and meal ticket and make a day of it! Plan your visit ahead of time and see what’s on here!

The Rock Shop

Learn something new with a visit to the iconic Rock Shop in Ambleside.

This fascinating shop displays rock and minerals for sale, along with fun-filled activities for little ones. You can dig for fossils, design your own gemstone bracelet, or explore the life-size gem pit.

Hayes Garden World

Trees in Autumn at Hayes Garden World

Hayes Garden World is a magnificent gardeners mecca with a huge range of plants and shrubs. Not your typical garden centre, there is a lot to see and do at this Ambleside attraction.

From April to September, adventurers can follow a trail through the enchanted forest in search of elusive creatures. Foodies may prefer to visit on August 13th or 14th, where the Taste of America will be hosting a barbeque masterclass.

The Bridge House

The Bridge House sitting over Stock Beck

The Bridge House is an iconic landmark in Ambleside.  Boasting a history dating back to the 17th century, this pint-sized stone house was built over Stock Beck to avoid paying land tax.
Formerly an apple store, The Bridge House now serves as a source of creative energy for artists and photographers. Be sure to pack your camera and take a few snaps for yourself!

The Armitt Trust and Museum

The Armitt is a museum, gallery and library dedicated to local history and culture. Artists and authors represented include Kurt Schwitters and Cumbrian legend, Beatrix Potter.

There is plenty to see and do at The Armitt, as well as regular events such as guided walks and storytimes for kids. See what’s on here!

Art Galleries

The Lake District has long been associated with poetic and artistic inspiration. Ambleside has several galleries dedicated to local work, each well worth a visit

A woman sat on a bench looking at artwork on the wall in a gallery

The Cookhouse Gallery is an independent family-run art gallery showcasing contemporary, British crafts. The Peter Hill Gallery features artwork that has been inspired by the Lake District’s stunning scenery.
Further afield, The Heaton Cooper Gallery in Grasmere is worth the trip to see artwork created by three generations of the same family.

Galava Roman Fort

Galava Roman Fort in Ambleside

Galava Roman Fort sits between Ambleside and Waterhead, on the shores of Lake Windermere. Originally built in the 1st century AD, Galava Roman Fort sits under the care of the National Trust.
We suggest combining a visit here with a scenic stroll along the lakeside. Why not pack a picnic and dine with a view from Borrans Park nearby?

White Platts Recreation Ground

You’ll not be short on things to do in Ambleside with a visit to White Platts Recreation Grounds.

A young child playing mini golf

Test your swing with a game of tennis, bowels, or pitch and putt, or play on the best mini-golf course in the Lakes! Take a seat on the grass with a steaming cup of coffee or an indulgent ice cream as the little ones run wild!

With on-site toilets, you wont have to look far for your essential amenities.

Nearby, Rothay Park is an idyllic spot for strolls, picnics, or a visit to the playground.

Rufty Tuftys

A young boy lying amongst balls at an indoor soft play

Struggling for something to do on those rainy days? Rufty Tuftys is a large indoor soft play area, sure to keep kids entertained, whatever the weather.
This adventure play facility benefits from free parking and an on-site café. Enjoy a slice of cake and a cup of tea as the little ones entertain themselves!

Live Music

A microphone on stage at a busy live music bar

There’s many places to experience the delights of live music in Ambleside! Local favourites include Zeffirellis jazz bar, The Unicorn Inn and The Royal Oak.

There’s even regular karaoke nights held at The Ambleside Tavern for those wishing to showcase their inner Beyoncé!

Sports Pubs

There’s no need to miss your favourite live sporting match during your visit to Ambleside.
The Cellar Bar, The Churchill Inn and The Ambleside Tavern are amongst several great places for viewing sporting events.

Beer Gardens

Make the most of the warmer weather on a sunny day and unwind with a cooling drink in a beer garden.

A group of friends clinking glasses of beer in a beer garden

In the centre of Ambleside, you can find the Salutation Hotel and The White Lion Hotel, both of which have outdoor seating.
For a change of scenery, the beer garden at The Wateredge Inn and the YHA at Waterhead offer unrivaled views across Lake Winderemere.

Things to do near Ambleside

If you can tear yourself away from Ambleside, there’s plenty of things to see and do nearby. Centrally located, Ambleside is perfectly positioned for exploring the Lake District, whether by car, bus, bike, or on foot.

A scenic view over a river in Grasmere

Traveling north, the A591 takes you to Wordsworth’s chosen home of Grasmere. Here you can visit the poets grave at St. Oswald’s church, climb Grey Crag, or sample traditional Grasmere Gingerbread.

Keswick and the North Lakes rest further afield, along with Bowness and Windermere in the south. Here you can marvel at the natural beauty of Bassenthwaite and Derwentwater, or walk in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter.

A scenic view over Derwentwater and surrounding hills

The large market town of Kendal is a must, with its excellent facilities and attractions. Uncover local history at Kendal Museum, window shop along the high street, or visit Kendal Golf Club.

West, and the A593 sets you on route to Hawkshead, and the lake and hills of Coniston. While to the east the scenic and spectacular Kirkstone Pass conveys you to Patterdale and the beauty of Ullswater.

The popular town of Ambleside is brimming with exciting things to see and do! Our hand-picked collection of Ambleside cottages put these delights within easy reach!

If you’re interested to know more about how you can spend your time, browse through our guide on what’s on in the Lake District and organise your trip ahead of time!

Images courtesy of: Lythlady – (CC BY-SA 4.0); Andreas Loegler(CC BY-SA 3.0)