Leisure & Local Area

Brantholme Guest House


Ambleside is the hub, bang in the middle of the Lake District and a really good jumping off point for virtually anywhere in Cumbria. The Lake District National Park is an adventure playground for those who love outdoor activities and a dream world for those who simply want to tour around taking in the views.

The Lake District National Park was designated in early 1951 and is the largest National Park in England encompassing Scafell Pike (the highest peak in England), Wastwater (the deepest lake) and Windermere (the longest lake). Is Tarn Hows the most photographed beauty spot in the Lake District? You’ll have to decide for yourself but a trip to Tarn Hows is surely a must when you’re staying at Brantholme in Ambleside.

The mountains [fells] and lakes form a unique landscape that poets [such as Wordsworth, Coleridge &John Ruskin] and writers [such as Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome &Alfred Wainwright] have found their inspiration. And don’t forget Postman Pat (and his black and white cat), created by John Cunliffe and set in the Lake District. Visitors can easily follow in their footsteps or simply wander out of our Ambleside B&B, leave the car in our car park and head for the hills.

Grasmere and Windermere are very close by and the popular tourist towns of Coniston and Keswick are only a short drive away. Use the side menu to explore the areas further.


A few miles away, a short trip by car or bus is Grasmere. Made famous by Wordsworth, who lived there for 14 years and described it as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”

Like Ambleside, Grasmere also has it’s sports day. Grasmere Sports was first held in 1852 and is a big event in the village’s calendar, drawing visitors from far and wide.

The annual Grasmere ‘Rushbearing’ceremony goes back even further in terms of traditions, and of particular note is the annual village procession with all sorts going on –you’ll see (&hear) choirs and brass bands, but look out for the six ‘maids of honour’decorated with rushes and flowers.

Grasmere is a pleasant village, small but perfectly formed, it’s great for a day visit and makes for a lovely circular walk from our Ambleside B &B. Stop off for lunch while you’re there or pick up some Grasmere Gingerbread.


Hawkshead is situated a short drive from our Ambleside B&B at the northern tip of Esthwaite Water, to the west of Lake Windermere and the east of Coniston Water. It’s location has made it a real honeypot for visiting tourists who wish to explore water based activities, climb the fells or simply mooch around the galleries, shops and local pubs.

Hawkshead is probably the most charming of Cumbrian villages and it’s a little like stepping back in time. Its very old buildings and quaint churches assure you of seeing something interesting around every corner.

This village is a definite day trip contender from our Ambleside B&B and remember that gentler strolls tend to be found along the lakeside if you prefer low level walking. There are various places to hire bikes in Ambleside so why not hire a mountain bike in Ambleside and cycle over to Hawkshead?


Keswick is a haven for walkers and climbers to enjoy the northern fells and is only about a 25 minute drive from Ambleside. Keswick is a bustling market town , particularly on market day when the world comes to visit. Keswick is also the home to Keswick Brewery, if you like real ale then you should definitely give it a try?

It bustles even more during it’s festival times, when beer, jazz, walking and film are amongst its main attractions. For the super-fit, there’s an excellent half marathon held annually and wonderful strolls around Derwentwater or Bassenthwaite Lake.

Keswick is also home to many Visitor Attractions, including the Theatre by the Lake, Honister Slate Mine, Cumberland Pencil Museum and the enchanting Castlerigg Stone Circle.


Windermere is perhaps the most famous of Lake District towns and is only a few miles from our Ambleside B&B by road. You can even take the boat to Bowness if you’re not in any particular hurry. The town gets it’s name from England’s largest lake;Windermere.

Strangely the town of Windermere is not directly on the lake –this claim to fame has been adopted by Bowness-on-Windermere which is very popular and can get very busy. The two towns are, in fact, joined –it’s unlikely that the average tourist would spot the difference when driving between the two!

As well as the lake cruises, there is the Beatrix Potter Attraction, Windermere Steamboat Museum (currently undergoing a £10 million refurb), Blackwell, the Arts &Crafts House and Holehird Gardens (described by some as,”a Special Lakeland Garden!”

Definitely worth a look –go by boat, enjoy the scenery on the way down and then head for one of the cosy bars or restaurants in Bowness or Windermere. Just don’t miss the boat back [though you could return on the open top bus!].


A very pleasant drive (and not too long) takes you to Coniston. Whether you intend to walk up Coniston Old Man or maybe take the steam yacht Gondola across Coniston Water to visit Brantwood (John Ruskin’s Home), Coniston will certainly be worth a trip out from the Old Vicarage at Ambleside.

Donald Campbell and Bluebird are forever linked with the Lake, check out the Museum, and Beatrix Potter’s Hill-Top is close by. Did you see the movie “Miss Potter”with Renee Zellweger in the title role or “Accross the Lake”with Anthony Hopkins as Donald Campbell?

Leisure Time

Walking –There are so so many walks on our doorstep. Our favourite walks are featured on our dogs page.

Swimming –We’re lucky to have swimming centres and leisure pools close to our bed and breakfast in Ambleside, including Keswick Leisure Pool and Askham Outdoor Swimming Pool. Of course, if you’re brave enough, you could always try a dip in one of the beautiful lakes that the Lake District is famous for! If you’d like some advice on where best to swim, including the quieter lakes, find out more here.

Cinema &Music –If you would like some evening entertainment Ambleside is lucky to have two fantastic cinemas, Zefferellis and Fellinis, both with Vegetarian restaurants. Both are within a 5 minute stroll from our front door.

Between Zefferellis and Fellinis there are 5 cinema screens with state of the art Dolby®Digital technology, 2 of which have Dolby®3D capability. The cinema shows the latest movies and selected Art House films and was voted best independent cinema 2007 RAAM and included in The Guardian top 10 best independent cinemas 2010. To find out what’s on click here >>

Zefferelllis also has an upstairs Jazz bar and cafe with live music on every week. To find out more about up and coming shows click here >>

Fun for Kids

Apart from the children’s play area and Rothay Park being a stones throw from our front door and Lake Windermere being a short walk away, there are lot’s of other child friendly activities in the area. Here are just a few:

Brockhole –Just a 10 minute drive away (or you can go by boat!) Brockhole is an excellent family day out where you can enjoy indoor or outdoor play areas, beautiful gardens, treetop treks and exhibitions. They also have a cafe with stunning views over lake Windermere and a shop selling locally sourced products.

The World of Beatrix Potter –If your children enjoy Beatrix Potter books then they will love this place. The tales are brought to life and they can meet all of their favourite characters and dine in the Beatrix Potter themed tearoom.

The Ambleside Climbing Wall –For those little adventurers there is a great local climbing wall.

South Lakes Safari Zoo –Safari on foot and explore the animal kingdom. Come face to face with and discover Rhinos, Lions, Tigers, Bears, Hippos, Wolves, Snow leopards, Jaguar, Giant otters, Primates, Vultures, Penguins and much, much more at the UK’s most interactive animal park and Europe’s only Safari Zoo.

The National Trust –There are a few great National Trust sites around where you can have some great family days out. Our favourites are Allan Bank, an old house overlooking Grasmere with a painting room, toy room and extensive gardens and Wray Castle, with it’s outside adventure playground, lakeside walks and inside dressing up and castle building.

Go Ape –Fancy a tree top adventure, we have a local Go Ape for you to visit which also offers the new Forest Segway Experience at Grizedale Forest.

Don’t forget that some of our rooms and our suite can be converted into family rooms, give us a call to find out more.

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