Ambleside is one of the main bases for the Lake District. Ambleside is located on the northern most tip of Windermere and is a hub for the Eastern Fells and the Far Eastern Fells. The walks we have chosen are within a few kilometres of the centre of Ambleside rather than just from within the village itself as we think that the inclusion of routes towards mountains such as High Street makes up for the slight detour! There are both mountainous fell-walks as well as much easier, low level walking routes. Some of the longer routes can also be shortened to make a less challenging day if needed, or longer if you want to give your legs a workout.
Ambleside also makes a reasonable base for exploring Helvellyn if you’ve got transport, with the route up Helvellyn from Thirlmere being the most convenient. It’s also close to the walking area of Great Langdale and Elterwater and all the great routes found there, but that’s another post in the pipeline!
What’s In Ambleside? Aside from great walking, pubs and eateries Ambleside has historic buildings such as Bow Head and the quirky Bridge House, which stands over Stock Beck. Though it may not be your priority as a Mud and Routes reader, there are also good shopping options for walkers to be had in Ambleside. There’s the 20m high Stockghyll Force waterfall just outside the village, that one of the walks below walks past. You can also see if you can spot where the album cover for CSI Ambleside by the often mountain themed indie rockers Half Man Half Biscuit was taken – which was the soundtrack to writing this post!
How Can I Get To Ambleside? As a major tourist village, Ambleside has good bus links to other towns and villages. For trains your nearest stop would be Windermere, which runs from all major cities such as London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Travelling by road you’ll need to take junction 37 off the M6, then follow Kendal, Windermere, then follow along Windermere to reach Ambleside.
What Pubs and eateries are there in Ambleside?– this is the lakes, you’ll be falling over pubs left right and centre! Highlights include the historic Lakeland Robinson’s pub The Golden Rule.
Maps for Keswick Walks: While you’ll need to check each route individually as some walks will need an extra map sheet, we recommend the ORDNANCE SURVEY Explorer OL7 The English Lakes South Eastern Area , or the excellent Lake District BMC (British Mountain Map)
Recommended Guidebooks: We recommend the Lakeland Fellranger series by Cicerone or the Wainwright’s Illustrated Walking Guides to the Lake District.
Weather Forecast: Met Office Lake District Mountain Weather for Ambleside
Height Gained – 190 metres , Distance – 6.5 km, Time –2 hours
Recently voted one of Britain’s favourite walks, and for good reason. This is a scenic low level route between the two villages of Ambleside and Grasmere, via Rydal on the old Coffin Route. It’s an excellent track for the distance with views of Rydal Water and Grasmere.
Height Gained – 390 metres , Distance – 6 km, Time –2.5 hours
This minor summit may only be 482 metres in height, but the views are extensive! The summit is often ascended from Ambleside, but can also be climbed from Troutbeck, with this route ascending to the higher summit of Baystones. This short walk also passes the waterfall of Stockghyll Force, and just walking to the waterfall is an ideal short walk.
Height Gained – 740 metres , Distance – 12.2 km, Time –5 hours
Red Screes is a pleasant summit, with a grassy ascent from Ambleside. There’s even a small tarn on the summit. You can return the same way if you wished, or you can descend via Scandale for a satisfying circular walk. You could also descend to the Kirkstone Pass Inn – if you can get transport back. Those looking for a challenge could tack this to the end of the Fairfield Horseshoe for a taxing day out.
Height Gained – 200 metres , Distance – 6 km, Time –2 hours
This is a short low level walk exploring the Troutbeck Valley starting from the Brockhole National Park Centre between Ambleside and Windermere. It’s worth making a short detour into Troutbeck for a quick pint or lunch at the Mortal Man.
Height Gained – 400 metres , Distance – 9.4 km, Time –3.5 hours
Loughrigg Fell is another of those low in altitude, high in attitude Wainwrights with the summit providing extensive views all around. The route then keeps on giving with a return along the built path on the southern shore of Rydal Water. Those looking for a shorter walk or an alternative ascent can follow this walk just up to Lily Tarn.
Height Gained – 1220 metres , Distance – 20 km, Time –8 hours
This Local Expert route by Dave Chick is without a doubt, one of the classic Lake District horseshoe walks, and can be started from Ambleside itself. This route takes a short low level diversion to arrive at Rydal, and the start of the Fairfield Horeshoe. The route then puls up towards Heron Pike, Great Rigg and then finally on to the summit of Fairfield, with extensive views of the Lake District. The Fairfield Horseshoe then continues over Hart Crag and Dove Crag before finishing off by descending directly to Ambleside over Low Sweden Bridge.
Height Gained – 1075 metres , Distance – 21 km, Time –7 hours
This walk up into the Far Eastern fells of the High Street range starts only a few kilometres from Ambleside in the village of Troutbeck. The grassy ridge provides pleasant enough walking, with the summits of Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick providing plenty of initial interest. It’s then over Thornthwaite Crag before finally arriving at the highest summit on the route – High Street. The return is long, but along the High Street Roman Road for most of the distance.
Height Gained – 370 metres , Distance – 7 km, Time –3 hours
Grasmere is as far from Ambleside as we’ll take you – which is technically walking distance if you take the Coffin Route! This Lakeland winter adventure by Local Expert – Dave Chick takes you up Helm Crag, yet another mid-level corker of a mountain.
Height Gained – 470 metres , Distance –7 km, Time –3 hours
We’ve loads more walks in the Lake District if these aren’t enough for you. If we’ve missed out favourite Ambleside walk out, then tell us in the comments below and we might add it to the list.