• LOCATION 1 | Lake District Driving Tour: A Guide to Scenic Ambleside, Keswick and Ullswater


    Ambleside on Lake District audio tour Lake District Driving Tour: A Guide to Scenic Ambleside, Keswick and Ullswater

    Welcome to this Lake District driving tour of Ambleside, Keswick and Ullswater.

    My name is Martin Wilson, a local lad with a passion for exploring the English Lake District. Over many years I have travelled across every part of the area, always in awe of the magnificent scenery, but also discovering different attractions along the way, many of which give us fascinating insights into local history and culture.

    I wanted to put my local knowledge to good use so have produced a website www.lakedistrictdrives.com. This contains 16 different drives and visits all the best towns, villages, lakes, rivers, valleys and attractions across the Lake District and also those just outside the National Park but still in the county of Cumbria.

    Today our tour will take us on the Ambleside, Keswick and Ullswater drive which is a circuit around the central Lake District with some awesome scenery and attractions along the way. A number of locations on route are associated with the famous poet William Wordsworth who spent much of his life in the Lake District and drew much inspiration for his work from the surroundings.

    The tour is around 45 miles in length with 15 attraction stops where you can find out more about each attraction and decide if you want to stay longer. You will need to pull in to each attraction car park to hear more about it. Of course you can also stop anywhere else along the route if you see something you like, it is your adventure!

    Car parking charges and attraction entry fees are not included in the price of this tour.

    You should be parked in Rydal Road car park in Ambleside. We'll spend a few moments here before setting off.

    Ambleside is an attractive and popular town in the central Lake District with plenty of attractions for visitors. It occupies a scenic and commanding location at the head of Windermere lake with good road connections making it a great base for exploring the area. There are plenty of mountains, lakes and rivers nearby, you can see the crystal-clear waters of Stock Ghyll flowing down one side of the car park from the mountains high above. Ghyll (spelt G-h-y-l-l or G-i-l-l) is a local term for a small river, they can also be called Beck's and there are a lot of these in the Lake District transferring water from the mountains to the lakes.

    Opposite the car park is the Armitt Museum which contains some interesting local history. Nearby is the famous Bridge House which is a quirky old building spanning Stock Gyhll on a bridge and is now owned by the National Trust. Beyond this you reach Ambleside centre where you will find plenty of tourist and outdoor specialist shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs.

    You can't see it from here, but the large spire of St Mary's Church is a distinctive feature of the town centre and if you walk past the church you enter Rothay Park which provides some nice open space and play areas next to the River Rothay and Stock Ghyll. Upstream of the town, a short uphill walk follows Stock Ghyll to Stock Ghyll Force which is an impressive waterfall in a woodland setting on the slopes of Wansfell mountain.

    Just over half a mile south from the town centre is the Waterhead area on Windermere lake where you can take a Windermere cruise to Bowness or Lakeside. There have been public cruises on Windermere since 1845 and they played a significant part in the development of Ambleside as a tourist centre, bringing Victorian tourists from the railway stations at Windermere town and Lakeside. Other attractions in Waterhead include the attractive Borrans Park overlooking the lake and the adjacent Roman Fort.

    Rydal Road car park is pay and display with toilet facilities.

    Before we get going, I'll briefly explain how VoiceMap works. It uses your location to play audio automatically at the right time and place. This means you can focus on driving and taking in your surroundings. Don't worry if there are periods of silence. I haven't forgotten you, it just means that were are in between locations. Please make sure to drive safely and obey all the rules of the road. Make sure to stick at or under the speed limit at all times. Not only is it the law, but you might miss some stories or directions if you are driving too fast. The views are spectacular but the driver should keep their eyes on the road! You can also stop the tour whenever you like and resume from where you left off.

    So, let's get going.

    As you leave the car park, turn left on the main A591 road which heads out of Ambleside. We'll be following this road for the first part of the drive. I'll catch up with you shortly.

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Lake District Driving Tour: A Guide to Scenic Ambleside, Keswick and Ullswater