3 Day Itinerary
We are often asked for ideas of things to do whilst people are here in the lakes so we thought we would put together a couple of suggested itineraries for 3 & 4 night stays:
A Taster of Lakes and Fells – a 3 night Itinerary
If you’ve just two full days based in Ambleside, we know you’ll be keen to make the most of your time. A day on the lake and a day in the fells seems the ideal balance – and we’ve a few ideas for making the most of your arrival and departure days too.
Arrival day – Stock Ghyll walk
Once you’ve checked into Elder Grove (any time after 3:00pm), we recommend finding your feet and getting your bearings with a walk from our door.
Stock Ghyll Force falls from the fells down into Ambleside from the slopes of Wansfell. There is a wooded footpath from the centre of the village that follows the route of the Ghyll through trees up on to the fell, with views towards the Kirkstone Pass and the higher fells. The route then it loops back down into Ambleside.
This loop takes about 1.5 to 2 hours and is described in full (along with an extension over to Scandale Beck and High and Low Sweden Bridge) in the second leaflet of the Lakeland Leisure Walks Around Ambleside set – we’ve copies for guests to use in the B&B or you can buy them in the village.
Full day 1 – Lake cruise and Wainwright inspiration
Alfred Wainwright’s first view of the Lake District apparently came from Orrest Head, a small fell with a great view across Windermere to the Langdale Pikes and much more. He made the short climb from Windermere station and that view inspired him to visit the Lakes often (later moving to Kendal) and then to create his Pictorial Guides.
For a grand day out, we recommend that guests take a Lake Steamer from Ambleside (Waterhead) to Bowness-on-Windermere. This sailing takes about 35 minutes and you can then walk up through Bowness, buying a picnic lunch in one of the shops in Windermere village. There’s a Booths supermarket full of local produce near Windermere Station and that’s where you need to be to start the Orrest Head walk.
Across from the station, Orrest Head is clearly signposted, initially on a track up through the woods. The fell is featured in The Outlying Fells guide by Wainwright and the walk to its summit and viewpoint is also one of five routes featured in the Lakeland Leisure Walks Walks around Windermere pack, which we have in the B&B for our guests.
If you descend back down the same way, you can either retrace your steps to Bowness jetty to sail back to Ambleside or there’s a regular 555 bus from the railway station, along the lake road to Ambleside and then onward to Keswick. Elder Grove is just a few metres from the bus stop, just after Hayes Garden World and before you go right into Ambleside.
If the Orrest Head walk is not your thing, there are plenty of options for spending more of your day on lake Windermere. These include a stop off at the Lake District National Park Centre at Brockhole (with restaurant and lakeside walks) and several cruise suggestions including one that starts and finishes in Bowness and reveals the islands of the lake as well as the fell views from it!
You can find out more about the Windermere Lake Cruises at https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/
Full day 2 – Spoilt for choice in and around Langdale
Of course, we’re very biased but we think this area of the Lake District is one of the best for walking so Elder Grove is a great base for exploring the fells. The Langdale Pikes (Harrison Stickle and Pike O’ Stickle) stand out from wherever you are around Ambleside.
They dominate the views from miles around but they’re a challenging walk and the summits are a bit of a rock scramble – we’d only recommend them for experienced hill walkers
But the Langdale Valley is surrounded by plenty of other wonderful mountains – Pike O’Blisco, Pavey Ark, Crinkle Crags as well as some great low-level walking including the ethereal cathedral cave.
We recommend our guests to browse the guides and maps in our lounge, read a bit about the options and then have a chat with us to plan a day out in the fells that matches your skills and fitness.
If you’re new to hill walking, there’s a real gem that’s much closer to Ambleside – Loughrigg Fell (1101 feet) can be climbed without even having to get into your car! It’s a complicated plateau on top but a fantastic introduction to fell walking with views in every direction from the trig point at the summit and on the circular route around the top. You’ll see the best of Windermere stretched out to the south, Langdale and those Pikes to the Northwest and Helm Crag with its unusual lion and lamb rocks to the north.
Again, we’d recommend the Lakeland Leisure Walks route card as a good place to start for the Loughrigg walk. The route sets off through Rothay Park (just down Vicarage Road from Zeffirelli’s) before heading up hill to the trig point on Loughrigg Fell. The descent follows the same path initially before heading slightly further west to Todd Crag and then down past Lily Tarn to rejoin Under Loughrigg Lane and back into Rothay Park.
The route is almost 5 miles and should take a relatively fit walker about 2-3 hours to complete so it’s a lovely way to spend half of your day, perhaps combining the walk with some shopping in Ambleside or a leisurely late lunch. Loughrigg is best climbed in good visibility (for safety and for the views) and, as the navigation can be tricky, probably with an Ordnance Survey map as well as the Loughrigg Summit walk route card.
After your Taster of Lakes and Fells, we recommend that you also shop for a Taste of Cumbria before you head home.
If your journey takes you south towards Kendal and the M6, there’s an award-winning foodie destination on your route, half a mile south of Kendal on the A591, just before its junction with the A590. Low Sizergh Barn (https://www.lowsizerghbarn.co.uk/) has one of the best farm shops in the area as well as a café, local crafts and gifts and even daily opportunities to watch the cows come in for milking.
Notes: As well as the Lakeland Leisure Walks guides, we’d also recommend carrying an OS map and having a look at the Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells, originally written and illustrated by Alfred Wainwright and revised more recently by Chris Jesty.