Who are you?
Susan Taylor, keen wanderer for many years! Husband Ro and I enjoy touring and exploring in the UK and, when regulations permit, further afield. There are so many beautiful regions just waiting to be discovered and relished.
Where are you a local authority?
Ambleside, in the heart of the Lake District National Park.
Why are you a local authority on Ambleside?
Being from North West England, I spent many happy weekends camping here until I moved south a few years ago. I still return as often as I can.
What do you love about it?
Everything! The Lake District really is perfect walking country, from gentle lakeside strolls to more strenuous climbs. There are pretty villages dotted throughout the area, as well as historic castles and great museums to explore and scenic lake cruises for lazier days.
This region was home to Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth, among other famous writers and artists, and their former residences can be visited, to gain an intriguing glimpse into their lives.
Ambleside perfectly positions us to enjoy day trips all over Cumbria. And if we don’t feel like driving, there’s a wealth of walks from our doorstep, not to mention excellent shops, pubs, restaurants and waterfalls.
What’s your favourite place to visit in the area?
Tough question! One of my numerous favourites is the stroll from Ambleside to Rydal Water. Some days, we might continue on to Grasmere, while on others, we simply settle down for a pint in the Badger Bar before returning.
For more energetic outings, another great route is the walk over Jenkin’s Crag (via the fine beer garden at The Mortal Man!) and back through Troutbeck. The views as they are wherever you go in the Lake District, are fantastic.
Which local campsite would you recommend?
Skelwith Fold is less than 10 minutes from Ambleside by motorhome, 40 minutes on foot, or there is a bus. Set in glorious woods, it offers plenty of access to roam and magnificent views over the Langdale Pikes and the fells.
If you like to have town amenities right on your doorstep, Hawkshead Hall is just a 10-minute drive from Ambleside, and a five-minute walk from Hawkshead village.
What food and drink is the area known for?
Lamb, fresh from the fells, is a famous speciality. Real ales also feature highly – with microbreweries dotted all over the Lake District, and larger firms such as Jennings, you’re spoilt for choice. Wainwright is one of my favourites, a lovely refreshing ale.
Tell us somewhere great to eat!
The Priest Hole, in the town centre, serves a great local menu, while over the road, the Old Stamp House is a fine Michelin-starred restaurant. Dol Intanon is a fantastic Thai restaurant in the old Market Hall Building.
Where can you get spare kit?
Accessory and outdoor gear shops are plentiful across Ambleside. Caravan Supplies in Penrith is probably the closest specialist retailer.
Where can you find cheap petrol/diesel?
The BP petrol station on Lake Road (A591), the main road into Ambleside.
Where should you avoid in the area?
Ambleside sits right at the foot of the Kirkstone Pass, which rises to 454m above sea level. The one in four gradient here should be okay if taken carefully, but I would avoid driving over the passes at Wrynose and Hardknott. Their one in three gradient, with hairpins and narrow stretches, makes them unsuitable for motorhomes.
Share a highlight that only a local would know!
Bridge House, spanning Stock Beck in the town centre, is one of the most photographed buildings in the Lake District. Originally built as an apple store, it eventually became one of the smallest family homes in the world, housing no fewer than eight!
And if you are (un)lucky enough, you might find yourself almost eyeballing the pilot of a fighter jet while you’re out and about. They train in Cumbria flying low through the mountains and hills, especially on clear days. You hear them before you see them, and you have to be quick to see them, because they are gone again before you can blink.
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