Things to do at Stagshaw Garden and Ambleside
Drink in the views from lofty peaks, stroll along lakeshore paths or go for a wander in the woodlands with these popular spots and walks in Ambleside. Discover the Roman fort down by the lakeside then make your way down to Stock Beck to have a look at Ambleside’s most curious relic: Bridge House.
Escape to Stagshaw Garden
Just a short walk from Ambleside, this informal woodland garden is a welcome sanctuary from the hustle and bustle below. Sit and enjoy views out to the lake and fells beyond.
Created by Cubby Acland, a former National Trust land agent in 1957, the garden has an outstanding collection of rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas as well as many other unusual trees and plants.
There are more than 300 shrubs set among the large native oak trees, and carpets of native daffodils and bluebells bursting into life in the spring. Look out for Cubby’s Painters’ Palette where he planted an array of camellias to represent an artist’s palette, complete with a thumb hole.
Getting to Stagshaw garden
There is a small car park just off the A591 at Waterhead, signposted Stagshaw Garden. Use LA22 0HE for satnav.
This semi-open woodland, renowned for fine displays of bluebells and daffodils, was once owned by William Wordsworth. A relaxing wander around Dora’s Field or a sit-down on a bench is a lovely way to lose half an hour in Rydal.
Wordsworth bought this small plot of land in 1826 and later gave it to his daughter, Dora. When she tragically died, Wordsworth, his wife and their gardener planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs in her memory.
Getting to Dora's Field
Dora’s Field is approximately 1.5m north of Ambleside. Follow the A591 from Ambleside to Rydal. Dora’s Field is next to St Mary’s Church.
Bridge House stands over Stock Beck in the middle of Ambleside as a quirky reminder of the town's past. One of the Lake District’s most famous buildings, Bridge House attracts thousands of visitors every year. Come and see this quaint 17th-century building, it has had many uses over the centuries, including housing a family of eight.
This year, as part of a cultural collaboration with The Armitt, Bridge House will be open to visitors for ticketed tours every Thursday. Find out more about the story of this famous building and its connection with The Armitt’s unique collection.
Walk & Talk tickets can be purchased from The Armitt for £8 where the tours will begin at 11.30am and 2.30pm every Thursday. Tickets include entry to the museum and a personal tour of Bridge House.
Getting to Bridge House
The closest parking is at Rydal Road car park (charges apply). Use LA22 9AY for satnav. On foot, turn right out of the car park and Bridge House is situated just a short walk along the pavement on the right. The Armitt is across the road from Bridge House, just past the mini roundabout on the right.
Discover a Roman fort
Uncover the history of the Roman fort in Ambleside that dates back to the 1st century. Imagine a bustling community during your visit to the remains on the shore of Lake Windermere.
Ambleside Roman Fort is open every day, all year round. It’s a popular spot for some peace and quiet in the town. The bustle of the crowd falls away as you wander across the fort site towards the head of the lake.
Getting to the Roman Fort
The closest car park is at Waterhead (charges apply). Use LA22 0ES for satnav. On foot, turn right out of Waterhead car park and cross the road. With the lake on your left follow the path through Borrans Park until you reach the gate for Ambleside Roman Fort.
Great walks around Ambleside and Windermere
Put the amble in Ambleside with these popular walks, whether you fancy an outdoor feast in lofty surroundings or an easily accessible lakeside park with perfect picnic spots.
- Ambleside Champion Tree Trail
- Discover some of the tallest trees in England on this 45-minute circular walk through Skelghyll Woods and take in the views from Jenkyn’s Crag. Follow the tree symbols and stop off at one of the many picnic benches for a breather and a tasty treat.Download the trail
- Ambleside to Troutbeck and back via Wansfell
- Visit the 17th-century Townend farmhouse and return to Ambleside via a more challenging route over Wansfell Pike. Wansfell boasts great views over the surrounding fells.Download the trail
- Ambleside Common Wood Walk
- Take a casual stroll through moss-covered oak trees and discover a variety of wildlife habitats, the babbling beck and coppiced hazel. Drink in the far-reaching views of Windermere from Common Wood.Download the trail
- Post Knott, Windermere Views Walk
- A short but steep climb takes you up to a variety of panoramic views of Windermere and the fells beyond, with plenty of resting places and potential picnic sites.Download the trail
Take to the waters
Whether you fancy a kayak, canoe or a good old-fashioned rowing boat, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Lake Windermere. For more information, please visit the Lake District website.
Find out more about the history of Ambleside Roman Fort, Dora’s Field and the 17th-century Bridge House.
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