An old market town whose
charter was granted in 1650, Ambleside is one of
Lakeland’s tourist hotspots. It first became
popular in the 19th century when new-fangled
railways sparked a travelling boom.
The poet William Wordsworth worked here as the Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland. There is a Wordsworth chapel at St. Mary's Church and nearby is Rydal House where he once taught. Another literary figure, Mrs Hemans (‘the boy stood on a burning deck’) lived at ‘Dove Nest’ in the 19th century. The poet and critic Matthew Arnold also lived here.
A number of 17th century buildings, including a watermill, give the town an air of historic importance. The Bridge House, now a National Trust information centre, is an interesting folly spanning the beck of Stock Ghyll. The town also has a medieval rush-bearing ceremony at St. Mary's Church each July.