windermere / bowness
Located on the shores of Lake Windermere and under the ever impressive Fairfield Horseshoe Ambleside is right at the heart of the Lake District and is quintessentially Lakeland with a great range of facilities, entertainment, food & drink and lots of great walks and bike rides starting and finishing there.
The origins of Ambleside can be traced back as far as AD79 and the Roman fort of Galava which is still visible alongside the river Rothay on the outskirts of the town close to the excellent Borrans Park where you can enjoy a day by or in the lake.
Shopping in Ambleside may appeared to be dominated by anoraks and cagoules but there is so much more. Outdoor enthusiasts are well catered for with many specialist shops selling every piece of kit you can think of to help you spend a day in the hills, make sure you know how to use it though especially a map and a compass. For more specialist equipment for tackling the hills climbing equipment for rock and winter is available at the Climbers Shop and Adventure Peaks.
Amblesides location right in the heart of the Lake District national Park makes it an ideal place not only to visit but to base yourself for a stay too. As well as the great range of local amenities many of the most popular walks the area has to offer start from here including:
Loughrigg with its ever popular caves
Low Sweden Bridge
Skelwith Bridge and Chesters
Many great bicycle rides both on and off the road can start and finish in Ambleside with a choice of flat (well as flat as it gets round here anyway) routes up the Langdale Valley, to Windermere and to Gresmere. Hilly routes are everywhere with some of the best past Little Langdale towards Wrynore and Hardknott, past Grasmere towards Keswick and via the Struggle to Patterdale. If you like your cycling a bit dirty many of the best Lake District mountain bike rides can start and finish here too.