BRIDGE HOUSE, AMBLESIDE was built in the sixteenth century in what was then an apple orchard. It is built on a stone arch over Stock Beck, and was originally an apple store. Later it was used as a cottage, a weaver's and a gift shop. A family with six children is believed to have lived there at one time. In 1956 it was opened as an information centre for the National Trust, which it remains to this day. To visit it park at the car park next to the fire station on Rydal Road, and walk towards Ambleside town centre when you will find the bridge house on your right hand side.
WINDERMERE LAKE CRUISES. Boats sail throughout the year between Ambleside, Bowness and Lakeside. On board Coffee Shops sell a wide range of refreshments. Ring 015395 31188 for further details, or go to the lakecruises website. While at Lakeside you can visit the Aquarium of the Lakes, or ride on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway. From Bowness you can cross the lake by ferry and walk the 2 miles to Hilltop, once the home of Beatrix Potter.
ESKDALE TO RAVENGLASS RAILWAY. The drive from Ambleside to Eskdale is definitely not for the faint hearted. There are 1 in 3 gradients and hairpin bends, and the road is in many places wide enough for only one vehicle, with blind bends to add to the danger. The road goes over the aptly named Hardknott Pass, and descends to Eskdale, where you can park at the station and buy a return ticket on the narrow-gauge railway to the small coastal resort of Ravenglass. The track was laid in 1875, originally 3ft gauge, but now reduced to 15 inches. The journey from Eskdale to Ravenglass is 7 miles and takes about 45 minutes. Many of the journeys use steam locomotives.
ASHNESS BRIDGE. One of the best known views in the Lake District is seen at Ashness Bridge on the east side of Derwent Water. This is on the road to Watendlath branching off the B5289 near the north end of the lake. This is another narrow road with few passing places, best avoided in the busiest holiday season. After crossing the bridge, there is a car park on the right side of the road. For another impressive view cross back across the bridge, walk a short distance upstream, and turn around to see almost the whole of Derwent Water.
Looking for somewhere to stay in the Ambleside area? We recommend the Greenhowe Caravan Park, Great Langdale, Ambleside, LA22 9JU, England. Write for their brochure, or telephone 015394 37231. For more energetic visitors, try the nearby climb up Dungeon Ghyll. The view from the top is spectacular.
Last updated August 2001