Here's John’s top things to do around Ambleside this Spring…

After moving to Kendal in 2004 our Client Relationship Executive, John Smale, has explored most of what’s on offer in the area and here are some of his and his families’ favourites to do this Spring:

1. A Gentle Stroll and a Brew with a View

 A Gentle Stroll and a Brew with a View

From our location at the northern end of Lake Windermere we are spoilt for choice with easy walking options for all ages and abilities. For low level walking head to Skelwith Bridge for a healthy lunch at Chesters by the River (fantastic salads, even better cakes!) or keep going further along the River Brathay to the delightful village of Elterwater where the famous Britannia Inn awaits! Or head a little higher and enjoy amazing views from the top of Loughrigg to the west or climb the ever popular Wansfell to the east.

Our knowledgeable and friendly reception team will be happy to help you pick a potter, but whichever you choose be sure to finish back at Brathay Hall for your well earnt “brew with a view” at our bar and terrace looking directly down the lake!

2. Brave The Cave at Brockhole

Brave the Cave at Brockhole

There’s always plenty to do at the Lake District National Park Visitors Centre and new for 2018 is a fab indoor caving experience, Brave The Cave! A great bad weather option for ages 5+ and in my experience the children will be the ones helping the quivering grown ups through the dark twists and turns! Helmet and head torch provided and booking essential. 

3. Spoilt for Spa choice

Spoilt for Spa Choice

Added to the list by my wife, Lin, but by no means restricted to just the ladies. We are truly spoilt for choice here in the Lake District for luxury and world class Spa facilities right on our doorstep. In the heart of Ambleside you’ll find the Salutation Hotel and Spa, just south of the town overlooking the lake is the newly re-opened Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa, it’s adults only at the Brimstone Spa in the Langdale valley and on the western side of the lake is the Lakeside Hotel and Spa. Check their websites to see what’s on offer and for T&C’s but after walking up all those fells you deserve a little pampering right?

4. Messing Around on Boats

Messing Around on Boats

From my office I can see the ferries cruising up and down Lake Windermere treating passengers to a unique view of the landscape that you just can’t get from on dry land. Even if the weather is a touch damp or misty it’s a fabulous way to unwind and appreciate the beauty of the fells, skies and wildlife. With cruises from 45 minutes to 3 hours there’s something for everyone so visit the Windermere Lake Cruises website for all the information and don’t forget to give me a wave as you pass by.

5. Get Sweaty (and Happy!)

Get Sweaty (and Happy!)

Here at Brathay we have an amazing team of highly qualified outdoor instructors who love nothing more than taking people out into the fells, rivers and valleys for the day. We can offer a whole host of activities to suit your abilities, energy levels, budget and attitude towards mud and water! From a simple guided walk right through to an overnight stay in a mountain hut we are experts at creating a bespoke experience, just get in touch for more details and prices. Warning: Our instructors, whilst tame, may require cake at regular intervals!

6. A Pedal Powered Playground

A Pedal Powered Playground

Cycling is a personal passion of mine and we’re so lucky to have some awesome off road riding right from our front door. There’s miles of cross country bridleway routes to explore but if you fancy some trail riding then just 7 miles south of us is the fantastic Grizedale MTB Centre. With a range of routes to suit all ages and abilities along with a great children’s playground, café, bike hire and sculpture trail it’s a full day out for all. Slightly further north is the spectacular Whinlatter Forest just west of Keswick, again with loads to do for all the family.

7. The National Trust. Cumbrian Style!

The National Trust. Cumbrian Style!

If you haven’t visited a National Trust property recently (or better still become members) then you’re missing some of the best days out in the area (and lots of free parking too for members!). There’s a whole host of great NT places to visit around here and some of our family favourites include Allan Bank at Grasmere (free tea & coffee and Red Squirrels!), Wray castle (dressing up, snooker and croquet!), Sticklebarn and The Langdales (wood fired pizza and free movies!), Sizergh Castle and Gardens (who doesn’t love a Stumpery?) and of course the home of Beatrix Potter herself, Hill Top.

They are just my families favourites so check the website for full details and membership benefits.

8. Absolutely Nothing!

Do Absolutely Nothing!

Look, let’s be honest here, this walking, cycling, sightseeing and caving business is all well and good but you’re on holiday and sometimes you just gotta chill! Have a lie in, take another bath, turn breakfast into brunch, rediscover mooching and pottering, a cheeky beer at lunchtime (why not?) and maybe even sit and write a postcard or two. You’ll need to save some energy for a delicious evening meal of course so don’t wander too far and wear yourself out though!

9. Monet for Nothing

Monet for Nothing

Well for children and students it is anyway but for just £7 adults can currently see a real live Monet painting right here in Cumbria! Yes, you heard me correctly, Monet’s “Haystacks: Snow Effect” is on show at the nationally acclaimed Abbott Hall Gallery in my home town of Kendal until the 28th April. It’s a lovely spot by the River Kent and with a variety of artists on show (Grayson Perry, Alison Watt, Katie Spragg) a Museum of Lakeland Life and café on site it’s a worthwhile trip.

10. A Trip to the Movies

A Trip to the Movies

Often a pleasant surprise for first time visitors to Ambleside is discovering that we have our very own cinema in the town! Zeffirellis is a great venue to see a movie, enjoy a delicious vegetarian meal, catch some live music or just pop in for a drink. Just down the road inBowness on Windermere is the Royalty Cinema oozing old world charm and slightly further afield The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal or the Alhambra Cinema in Keswick should have all the latest releases covered.



All these exciting things to do getting you in the mood for a short break here in the stunning Lake District? Well, why not book a stay with us? Take a look at our short break options here.