Sunday 1 December 2013

Ambleside, Cumbria

We have a soft spot for Ambleside having stayed in the place 9 years ago.  I consider it to be one of the key tourist towns in the Lake District.  It’s only a short drive from Windermere Town and is just a mile or so north of Lake Windermere. 

Driving through Ambleside is a bit confusing as there are lots of one way streets so you need to keep your wits about you to pick up the road signs. 
Parking is also a bit tricky, but we tend to use the car park behind the library as there is usually plenty of space.  Although if you have trouble walking up hills this car park is one to avoid as it’s very steep.
There are lots of B&Bs in the town and you can understand it with all the cafes, restaurants and pubs in the town.  You are spoilt for choice and can easily spend a few nights here sampling what it has to offer.
The Sunday when we  visited was mad busy with walkers and tourists.  If you are looking to buy walking or mountaineering equipment this is the place for you as there are plenty of shops catering for your needs.

Ambleside only has two charity shops:  Age UK and Oxfam.  Unfortunately only Age UK was open.  I know it’s a Sunday, but Ambleside is busy on a Sunday and I’m sure Oxfam could find a couple of volunteers.  Hey ho.  By the way, Neil found nothing exciting but I noticed it did stock some walking gear.
I’ve noticed over the years visiting Ambleside, high street chain shops are creeping in.  I always think  high street chains are so every day and can be found everywhere, whereas independent shops are unique and in the Lake District they often reflect the distinctiveness of the place.  I do think it’s important to keep Ambleside local, otherwise these high street chains just make the shopping experience bland.
Finally we were hungry and I had the urge for a Sunday lunch.  Surprisingly we were struggling to find a place we liked.  Pubs showing sports were a no-no and some places were just a NO.  Years ago we had a nice meal in Stampers restaurant which is tucked away in the basement of a building on a side street.  I remembered the food was nice, despite nearly concussing myself on one of the low alcoves.  This Sunday they were doing roast beef with all the trimmings so we ordered it.  Stupidly we didn’t have long on our parking ticket and time was counting down.  Our meal came out 15 minutes before our parking ticket was to expire.  Thankfully we are both fast eaters and it was a really lovely meal.  Sometimes I think I could eat a Sunday dinner without the roast meat as everything else is so lovely – Yorkshire puds, stuffing, pigs in blankets, gravy and vegetables.  I was surprised there weren’t more people eating here as the food was ace and it turned out to be one of the best meals we had on our holiday. We managed to eat our meals and pay the bill with three minutes to spare to run to the car.

I do like visiting Ambleside - it’s a great place to pick up gifts for people, you can get a decent meal here, and it’s a good place to base yourself on a holiday if you like having a nightlife.  Go visit and if you are here on a Sunday, go to Stampers as they do a lovely Sunday lunch.

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