Rydal Road, Ambleside town centre
|Area||1.238 km2 (0.478 sq mi)|
|Population||2,596 (2020 estimate)|
|• Density||2,097/km2 (5,430/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Ambleside is a town and former civil parish, now in the parish of Lakes, in Cumbria, in North West England. Historically in Westmorland, it marks the head (and sits on the east side of the northern headwater) of Windermere, England's largest natural lake. In the Lake District National Park, it is south of the highest road pass in the Lake District, Kirkstone Pass and both places are the meeting point of well-marked paths and mountain hiking trails. In 2020 it had an estimated population of 2596.In 1961 the parish had a population of 2562.
Ambleside is co-administered by South Lakeland District Council and in minor matters forms part of the Lakes civil parish. The other main co-administration is Cumbria County Council. Ambleside was formerly a township,in 1866 Ambleside became a civil parish in its own right until it was abolished on 1 April 1974 to form Lakes.
From 1894 to 1935, Ambleside formed its own urban district.
"Steamers" are the throwback name for the ferries (diesel-propelled) which run most days to Bowness-on-Windermere and Lakeside offering fine views of the lake and the mountains – see Waterhead locality below.
Ambleside is a base for hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking. It has several hotels, guest houses, restaurants and shops. Specialist shops sell equipment, guides and give recommendations to walkers, backpackers and climbers. Ambleside is a popular starting point for the Fairfield horseshoe, a hillwalking ridge hike.
A concentration of ten pubs or bars within a quarter-mile radius reflects how the local hospitality market serves residents, tourists, visitors and the student population associated with the University of Cumbria.
The town's name is derived from the Old Norse "Á-mel-sǽtr" which literally translates as "river – sandbank – summer pasture".
To the south of Ambleside is the Roman fort of Galava, dating from AD 79.
In 1650 the town was granted a charterto hold a market. In the reign of James II, another charter was granted for the town to collect tolls. The town's Market Place became the commercial centre for agriculture and the wool trade. 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 pack ponies 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 via Ambleside.
The Samling Hotel was built in the 1780s, then called the "Dove Nest".
Ambleside & District Golf Club founded in 1903 ended in the late 1950s; Windermere Golf Club is a few miles along the lake's east side.
The Armitt Library and Museum opened in 1912 in memory of Sophia and Mary Louisa Armitt is notable as a resource for history. Its main resident collection overviews Lake District artists and writers with display panels, photographs and copies of their key works, and some originals of minor works.
Bridge House was built over Stock Ghyll more than 300 years ago, probably as a summer house and apple store for Ambleside Hall. It was purchased by local people in 1926 and given to the National Trust. Listed Grade I, the building is now used as an information centre for the National Trust, and is part of the Trust's Windermere and Troutbeck property.
The building was depicted by the Victorian landscapist Lewis Pinhorn Wood (1848-1918) in his late 19th century work The Cobbler's Shop on the Bridge.
A shared Church of England and Methodist church. Before the 17th century the dead of Ambleside were buried at St Martin's Church, Bowness-on-Windermere, Ambleside then gained the right to its own registers and had a chapel dedicated to St Anne. This was too small to accommodate the enlarged Anglican congregations as tourism boomed from the Kendal and Windermere Railway opened in 1847.St Mary's Church was built in the 1850s to a design by George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style. Notable features include:
Early 20th century Vicar, Henry Adamson Thompson, is depicted on the right of the mural. – killed in World War II – share the same part of the churchyard.His body and that of his only son, Henry Lionel Francess Thompson
Other burials include Annie, Sophia and Mary Louisa Armitt.
The town's many decades-old Catholic Church in a traditional design is a consolidation of two churches; until 2013 nearby Grasmere held services, whose reverend, Kevan Dorgan of Windermere was translated to the consolidated parish. His predecessor, who retired, was David Duanne.
The Ambleside campus of the University of Cumbria, formerly St. Martin's College and Charlotte Mason College, is at the northern end of the town; courses held at the campus include Conservation, Forestry, and Outdoor Studies.
On 1 December 2009, it was announced that the Ambleside campus would be 'mothballed' at the end of July 2010, and would no longer take new undergraduate students. The closure was in the face of fierce opposition from the Ambleside students,the townspeople, and support pledged from Tim Farron, MP for the campus and its students.
In July 2011, the university announced a plan to reopen the campus and increase student numbers at the Ambleside campus beginning in 2014.In September 2014, the newly refurbished campus was reopened.
Brathay Exploration Group, a youth charity, mainly meets at associated Clappersgate.
Waterhead Pier at Waterhead, about one mile south of the town centre, is a boarding point for Windermere Lake Cruises on Windermere. Services run year-round connecting to Bowness-on-Windermere and Lakeside. Between March and October, a second service operates to the Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre and Wray Castle.
Waterhead has hotels, cafés, boat hire establishments and the YHA youth hostel.It is mostly green buffered from the town, including by copses of mature trees.
William Wordsworth worked in Ambleside, as Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, from 1813, while living at Rydal Mount in the nearby village of Rydal.This government position induced Shelley to write a sonnet of mild reprimand, To Wordsworth , but it gave an income other than poetry. In 1842, he became the Poet Laureate and resigned his office.
In 1846 Harriet Martineau moved into her new house, “The Knoll,” where she lived until her death in 1876."Something of a Victorian superstar," she was a professional woman, international correspondent, ran a micro-farm on her property and formed and worked for a Property Association which helped working families in the neighborhood build their own homes. Her winter lectures packed the Methodist Church beside her home.
The author Mairin Mitchell (1895–1986) was born at Ambleside, the daughter of Dr Thomas Houghton Mitchell, a local GP.
Artist Kurt Schwitters was resident for 2+1⁄2 years until his death in January 1948. Under legislation to lower the risk of well-covered sympathiser spies he was interned in the Isle of Man for 14 months of World War II after fleeing Nazi Germany to Norway which was invaded in 1940; his release to London was secured with A. Dorner of Rhode Island School of Design's attestation and sponsorship.
Locomotive manufacturer Edward Bury (died 1858) and his wife Priscilla Susan.
The poet Dorothy Gurney wrote the words to the popular wedding hymn "O Perfect Love" at Pullwyke near Ambleside.
The town maintains the Langdale & Ambleside MRT, one of the busiest volunteer mountain rescue teams nationally.
Ambleside features an oceanic climate, but being within the Lake District it does experience higher annual rainfall than the average for the North-West of England. Parts of the town have been flooded on numerous occasions, with the River Rothay breaking its banks during Storm Desmond in December 2015.
|Climate data for Ambleside (60m asl, averages 1981-2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||1.1|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||231.0|
|Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm)||18.9||14.6||16.1||12.7||12.4||11.6||12.8||14.7||14.0||18.9||18.3||16.0||180.9|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||46.6||61.0||90.4||132.8||159.5||154.0||149.0||136.1||99.4||73.1||47.7||45.1||1,194.7|
Westmorland is a historic county in North West England. It formed an administrative function from the 12th century until 1974. Between 1974 and 2023 the county has formed part of the administrative and ceremonial county of Cumbria. In April 2023, Westmorland will be revived when local government in Cumbria is reorganised into two unitary authorities, one of which is to be named Westmorland and Furness and will cover all of the historic county along with parts of historic Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumberland. The people of Westmorland are known as Westmerians.
Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. More than 11 miles (18 km) in length, and almost 1 mile (1.5 km) at its widest, it is a ribbon lake formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of ice at the start of the current interglacial period. It has been one of the country's most popular places for holidays and summer homes since the arrival of the Kendal and Windermere Railway's branch line in 1847. Forming part of the border between the historic counties of Lancashire and Westmorland, Windermere is today within the administrative county of Cumbria and the Lake District National Park.
Kendal, once Kirkby in Kendal or Kirkby Kendal, is a market town and civil parish in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, England, 8 miles (13 km) south-east of Windermere and 19 miles (31 km) north of Lancaster. Historically in Westmorland, it lies within the dale of the River Kent, from which its name is derived. At the 2011 Census, the town had a population of 28,586, making it the third largest town in Cumbria after Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness. It is renowned today mainly as a centre for shopping, for its festivals and historic sights, including Kendal Castle, and as the home of Kendal Mint Cake. The town's grey limestone buildings have earned it the sobriquet "Auld Grey Town".
Windermere is a town in the civil parish of Windermere and Bowness, in the South Lakeland District of Cumbria, England. In the 2001 census the parish had a population of 8,245, increasing at the 2011 census to 8,359. It lies about half a mile (1 km) east of the lake, Windermere. Although the town Windermere does not touch the lake, it has now grown together with the older lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere, though the two retain distinguishable town centres. Tourism is popular in the town owing to its proximity to the lake and local scenery. Boats from the piers in Bowness sail around the lake, many calling at Ambleside or at Lakeside where there is a restored railway. Windermere Hotel opened at the same time as the railway.
Grasmere is a village and tourist destination in Cumbria, England, in the centre of the Lake District, named after its adjacent lake. It has links with the Lake Poets: William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived in Grasmere for 14 years and called it "the loveliest spot that man hath ever found." Grasmere lies within the historic county of Westmorland. In 1961, the civil parish had a population of 1,029. That of the Ambleside and Grasmere ward was 4,475 in the 2011 census and estimated at 4,592 in 2019.
Milnthorpe is a small market town on the southern border of Cumbria, 7 miles south of Kendal, civil parish and electoral ward are in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, England. Historically in the county of Westmorland and on the A6, the town contains several old hostelries and hosts a market every Friday. The parish, which includes the small village of Ackenthwaite, had a population of 2,199 according to the 2011 Census.
Bowness-on-Windermere is a town and former civil parish, now in the parish of Windermere, in South Lakeland, Cumbria, England. Due to its position on the banks of Windermere, the town has become a tourist honeypot. Although their mutual growth has caused them to become one large settlement, the town is distinct from the town of Windermere as the two still have distinguishable town centres. Historically part of Westmorland, in 2012, Bowness was one of the official stop off points for the Olympic torch before it made its way to the Olympic Games opening ceremony. In 1951 the parish had a population of 3345.
Staveley is a village in the South Lakeland district, in Cumbria, England. Historically part of Westmorland, it is situated 4 miles (6 km) northwest of Kendal where the River Kent is joined by its tributary the Gowan. It is also known as Staveley-in-Westmorland and Staveley-in-Kendal to distinguish it from Staveley-in-Cartmel. There are three civil parishes – Nether Staveley, Over Staveley and Hugill (part). Their total population at the 2011 Census was 1,593 but this includes those living in the hamlet of Ings in Hugill parish.
Westmorland and Lonsdale is a constituency in the south of Cumbria, represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2005 by Tim Farron, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats (2015–2017).
Hawkshead is a village and civil parish in Cumbria, England, which attracts tourists to the South Lakeland area. The parish includes the hamlets of Hawkshead Hill, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) to the north west, and Outgate, a similar distance north. Hawkshead contains one primary school but no secondary school and four public houses.
Torver is a village and civil parish in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, England, 3 miles (4.8 km) south west of the village of Coniston and 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Coniston Water.
Lakes is a large civil parish in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, England. In the 2001 census the parish had a population of 5,127, decreasing at the 2011 census to 4,420. It covers the small town of Ambleside, and the villages and hamlets of Clappersgate, Rydal, Grasmere, Troutbeck, Chapel Stile, Elterwater, Little Langdale and Waterhead.
South Westmorland was a rural district in Westmorland, England from 1894 to 1974. It saw various boundary changes during its existence, particularly in 1935, when it absorbed Kirkby Lonsdale urban district, whilst parts merged with Ambleside and Grasmere Urban Districts to form Lakes Urban District at the same time. The district was abolished in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, with the area becoming part of the South Lakeland district of Cumbria.
St Martin's College was a British higher education college with campuses in Lancaster, Ambleside and Carlisle, as well as sites in Whitehaven, Barrow and London. It provided undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the arts, humanities, business studies, teacher training, health and social care. In 2006 the college was granted the power to award its own degrees. On 1 August 2007, the college merged with other institutions to form the University of Cumbria.
Ambleside Roman Fort is the modern name given to the remains of a fort of the Roman province of Britannia. The ruins have been tentatively identified as Galava, mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary. Dating to the 1st or 2nd century AD, its ruins are located on the northern shore of Windermere at Waterhead, near Ambleside, in the English county of Cumbria, within the boundaries of the Lake District National Park.
Troutbeck is a village and former civil parish, now in the parish of Lakes, in South Lakeland district in Cumbria, England. It is 3 miles (5 km) north of Windermere town, and west of the A592 road. It is a conservation area and includes the National Trust property of Townend. In 1961 the parish had a population of 592.
Moses Bowness (1833–1894) was a Victorian photographer, farmer, entrepreneur and poet.
Troutbeck Bridge is a village in South Lakeland, Cumbria, England. It is situated 1 mile north of Windermere on the A591 road running through the Lake District and was historically in the county of Westmorland. The main secondary school for Windermere and Ambleside, The Lakes School, is located in the village, as is the postal sorting office for the area. Troutbeck Bridge takes its name from where the road crosses the Trout Beck.
St Mary's Church is in Ambleside, Cumbria, England. It was built in the 1850s to a design by George Gilbert Scott in Gothic Revival style . The building is Grade II* listed. Notable features include its stone spire, which is a local landmark and an unusual feature in Lake District churches.
St Mary's Church is in the village of Rydal in the Lake District, Cumbria, England. It is an active Anglican parish church in the deanery of Windermere, the archdeaconry of Westmorland and Furness, and the diocese of Carlisle. The church, built in the Gothic revival style, is situated off the A591 road between Ambleside and Grasmere and is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.