Last weekend we booked a last minute trip to Ambleside, easily one of my favourite areas to visit in the UK. With so many places to visit, hills to climb and places to eat, I’ve put together a few suggestions for your own stay in Ambleside.
A major location of the Lake District, Ambleside offers fantastic scenery, breath-taking walks and excellent food and drink options. Acting as a hub for South and Central Lake District, Ambleside offers lots of places to stay and excellent (for the area) transport links to the rest of the Lake District.
Hillsdale B&B – A little Gem in the Heart of Ambleside
During our visit, we stayed at the Hillsdale, a 4-star family-run Bed and Breakfast right in the centre of Ambleside. As a location it couldn’t be better – you are only a few minutes walk to the main pubs, bars and eateries of Ambleside.
Inside the décor was tastefully done and very welcoming. A real home from home. Our hosts Lindsey and George were wonderful – they helped us get our bearings and even gave us the perfect suggestion for dinner. More on that
If you’re looking for accommodation in Ambleside expect to pay around £100 for a B&B for the night. If you book in advance you may get a small discount. During peak summer season the prices do creep up. Airbnb hasn’t really taken off in the Lakes so I’d suggest you either book direct or use booking.com to find suitable accommodation.
Tip: if you’re booking somewhere and spot a hotel or B&B on a deals or comparison site, it’s worth ringing them directly. They are usually more than happy to offer a discount on the quoted price by skipping out the middleman.
You can find out more about the Hillsdale B&B by going to the Hillsdale B&B Website
Lake Windermere – Wateredge Inn
Ambleside village is situated at the Head of Lake Windermere (the Lakeside cruise to Lake Windermere is well worth it on a sunny day) and
The Wateredge Inn, a cosy 17th-century inn situated next to Lake Windermere, is always on my itinerary when I visit the area. It’s simply is the perfect place to relax and unwind whilst enjoying the spectacular scenery (at least when the Sun is out). Even if you are just driving through Ambleside, the Wateredge is worth stopping by. For those looking for accommodation it’s also a great place to stay. It’s best to book early as their rooms fill up fast.
You can find out more about the Wateredge Inn By going to their website
Zeffirellis Medidterrean Restaurant
Following the advice of our host George, we booked a table at Zeffirellis – a popular Italian restaurant that is fully vegetarian to boot! This award-winning restaurant offers Meditterian and Italian classics with plenty of vegan choices too.
For my main, I opted for the Pecan and Cashew Nut Wellington, one of the many vegan options served at Zeffierllis. The nut roast is wrapped in pastry served with mashed potato, roasted vegetables and delicious red wine sauce. Unlike the heavy Nut Roasts you often get, this lighter, with the red wine sauce adding a bit of much-needed sweetness and acidity to the dish. If I have one criticism it is, after skipping lunch, I could have done with a little bit more.
My partner went for the Aubergine and Mozzarella Parmigiana. The grilled aubergine is layered with mozzarella cheese topped with parmesan. A true Mediterrian classic.
The wine menu is also fully vegetarian with plenty of vegan options too.
Tip: Looking for a cheap night out in Ambleside – Zeffierllis offers arguably the best cinema deal I’ve ever seen. For just £20.75 you get both a starter and main (or main and dessert) plus a ticket to a film showing on the night, either before or after your meal. If you are thinking of going at the weekend its best to book a table – these tables fill up fast
We finished with a cheese board – my choice of the dessert options.
You can find out more by going to the Zeffirellis Website
Upstairs of Zeffirellis – Jazz Bar
After our meal and a few more drinks, we went upstairs at Zeffierllis to the Jazz bar. Here you’ll find a mix of contemporary and world music live performances every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the majority of which are free. The jazz band on when we visited were excellent (sadly I didn’t grab their name) and really added to the night.
A full list of who is playing every week can be found at the Zeffierllis Live Jazz Page
Where to Drink in Ambleside
Another regular stop for me is the White Lion Hotel – a dog-friendly real ale pub in the centre of Ambleside village. I’d recommend you try a few of their local ales (you can try before you buy if you are unsure).
Later on, I would also suggest you try The Lily, who host live music at weekends – it does get very busy. Definitely a pub for the craft lager lovers.
Breakfast at the Hillsdale B & B
It wouldn’t be a B&B without breakfast in the morning and the Hillsdale offering was just what we needed after a Saturday night in Ambleside. We opted for a full vegetarian breakfast consisting of hash browns, beans, veggie sausage mushrooms, grilled tomato and eggs how you want them. They also have the usual cereals, pastries and drinks available.
How to get to Ambleside
The easiest way to get to Ambleside is via car. If you’re driving from Manchester it takes around 90 minutes to get there. If you want to leave the car behind, there is a regular direct train service that runs straight from Manchester, taking 1 hour 45 minutes. The views on the way are particularly splendid.
Ambleside – The heart of the Lake District
For those looking for a day out or a weekend vacation, Ambleside is the perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Book early if you can and avoid the Bank Holidays if possible (it gets way too busy during peak times) – you won’t be disappointed.