It’s true that there are plenty of amazing walks which begin in Ambleside itself (Wansfell and Loughrigg Fell, to name two of our favourites), but what if you’re looking for an adventure slightly further afield? Ambleside is surrounded by beautiful walks varying in difficulty, with short flat routes as well as steep mountain climbs. Thanks to an excellent public transport network, as well as an abundance of car parks at the beginning of each walk (we have off road parking here at Elder Grove for anyone driving to the Lakes), each of the following walks is easily accessible from Ambleside. So, without any further ado, here are 6 of our favourite Lake District walks near to Ambleside.
Located just a short drive from Ambleside, Tarn Hows is a peaceful, incredibly picturesque part of the Lake District – and as a result, it’s a popular place to enjoy a
walk! A circular route takes you around the tarn, stretching for about two miles and offering beautiful views along the way. The path is relatively flat, making for a gentle walk; and there are plenty of places to stop for a picnic along the way while enjoying the area’s natural beauty. From Tarn Hows, the walk can be lengthened by heading down into the pretty village of Hawkshead to explore its cobblestone streets, lined with local shops and cafes.
If you’re heading to Tarn Hows by car, there’a a National Trust car park with ample parking; alternatively, take the bus to Hawkshead and walk up to the Tarn for a longer walk.
Coniston Old Man
For a walk near Ambleside which ticks all the boxes – high summit, stunning views, picnic opportunities, a steep climb – look no further. This iconic Lake District walk is popular for its short yet challenging ascent; high peak; and the breath-taking panoramic views from its summit. Standing at 803m tall, it’s the highest mountain in the Furness Fells – meaning there’s a real sense of achievement when you reach the top! There are a number of routes to take to the summit: the most popular, and straightforward, is a linear path which takes walkers past the ruins of a slate quarry and the pretty Low Water (a good place to stop for a break).
From Ambleside, there’s a bus to the centre of Coniston; alternatively, if you’re travelling by car, there’s a car park closer to the Old Man which makes for a great starting point.
Lying almost in the shadow of the Coniston Old Man, Lever’s Water is a good alternative for a slightly easier walk – or a stop off on the way to the peak of the Old Man itself. There are a number of ways to reach Lever’s Water depending on what length of walk you’re looking for. From the car park at the foot of the Coniston Old Man, it’s a relatively short route across gentle terrain. For something a bit different, start from the centre of town and head towards the Coppermines Valley. Coniston was once a hub of industrial activity and this route passes by relics of this bygone era, with the foundations of old buildings still visible to this day. The walk through the valley is flat, with hill climbs coming as you leave the valley and begin the ascent to Levers Water.
Upon arrival at Levers Water, it’s time for a break and a picnic overlooking this pretty reservoir before heading back down to Coniston or, if you’re still craving the great outdoors, up to the peak of the Coniston Old Man.
Located in nearby Windermere, easily accessible by car, foot or bus, Orrest Head is an easy walk which provides stunning views over Lake Windermere. The path begins just off the A591, not far from the bus station: simply follow the signs pointing to Orrest Head (this popular route is well signposted, making it easy to follow). After walking for around 20 minutes through a wooded area, the trees will clear and you’ll reach the final, short ascent to the top. It’s hard not to be stunned by the views which reward you after this short and easy walk: Lake Windermere stretches out below, with mountains including Scafell Pike visible in the distance. Then it’s back into Windermere for a wander around this pretty village and a bite to eat.
Beginning in the centre of Grasmere, this is a pretty walk across farmland and up a few hilly country paths, ending up at the beautiful Easedale Tarn. The path heads past the National Trust owned Allan Bank before making its way along flat farmland. The hillier part of the walk begins after a couple of miles, with Sourmilk Gill and its pretty waterfall to one side. After a short walk along an increasingly rocky path, you’ll cross a ridge and see the stunning sight of Easedale Tarn straight ahead. There are plenty of places to enjoy a picnic on the shores of the tarn, so make sure to pack refreshments before heading off on this scenic walk in the heart of the Lake District.
Accessible, popular and simply stunning: when it comes to walks near to Ambleside, Cat Bells is a Lake District favourite. Rising above Keswick and Derwent Water, it offers a fairly easy ascent to the top, with just a few more challenging sections along the way. It’s a popular walk, which means you probably won’t be alone on the path – and when you reach the summit it’s not hard to see why! Despite its modest height of 451m, the panoramic views from its peak are simply stunning. Derwent Water and Keswick lie below, while Lakeland fells can be seen all around, with Blencathra and Skiddaw both visible in the distance.
If you’re planning a walking trip to the Lake District, or are looking for tips on where to go in the local area, we are always on hand to help. Muddy boots and wet waterproofs are welcome – we have a drying room as well as boot racks around the B&B!