Known as one the best towns to use as a base for exploring the Lake District, Ambleside is located on the edge of Windermere, England’s largest natural lake making this region a favourite with water sports enthusiasts and walkers. As a gateway to Scotland, this area has several interesting Roman fortresses to visit, such as Galava, Ravenglass and Hard Knott Fort.
The Lake Windermere ferry is a convenient service for crossing the shores and exploring the area, with cruises and boat hire available. A popular local attraction is Hill Top, the farmhouse owned by Beatrix Potter which is worth a visit for fans of the author. An iconic building of Ambleside is the tiny Bridge House over Stock Breck, and a short walk from the town is Stock Ghyll Force where there is a safe railed off point to view the impressive 70 foot waterfall.
Wray Castle is a great family day out, with dressing up for children and lots of outdoor space with play equipment. Grizedale Forest has numerous walking and cycling trails with a Go Ape tree top obstacle course on site. The Armitt Museum houses a gallery and collection of museum exhibitions. Open to the public, Dove Cottage was the family home of William Wordsworth and guided tours are available of the small museum and gardens. Also in the area is Rydal Mount House with portraits and memorabilia of the poets work.
The rural county of Cumbria is one of the most attractive in England. It contains the whole of the area known as the Lake District, as well as the northern part of the Pennines mountain range and, somewhat counter-intuitively, a part of the Yorkshire Dales.
The county is replete with attractions for the visitor, its historic heritage ranging from houses and gardens to stone circles and activities ranging from walking and climbing to watersports and fishing. Cumbria's lakes, valleys and fells can loosely be broken down into eight areas.
The North Lakes are the most popular with the serious outdoor enthusiast and the South Lakes draw most of the holidaymakers. The Western Lakes are less busy but still hold some varied attractions and appeal to the walkers as well as families and groups. They are home to England's tallest mountain, known as Scafell Pike.
East Lakes has its quota of mountains too, including the well-known Helvellyn, and is a fairly quiet area. Visit the Eden Valley and North Pennine area for wilderness, castles and rural villages, or perhaps consider North and South Cumbria. In the former we find Hadrian's Wall and the city of Carlisle. In the latter, coastal resorts and the biggest town, Kendal. Finally, the edge of the Yorkshire Dales is a beautiful part of Cumbria with country pubs, easy walking, and a thriving arts scene.