Discover Lake District. Grasmere to Ambleside hiking

Stunning views in Grasmere

Lake District is considered (probably) the best area for hiking in the UK. Lakes, green paths, picturesque towns and more. So let’s start by introducing the area.

Lake District

The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region and a popular holiday destination in North West England. It is famous for its lakes, forests, and mountains and its associations with William Wordsworth and other Lake Poets and also with Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin.

It covers an area of 2,362 square kilometres (912 sq mi) and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. Moreover, all the land in England higher than 3,000 feet (914 m) above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and largest natural lakes in England, Wast Water and Windermere respectively.

Where to stay


We stayed at Denehurst Guest House and we really enjoyed it. It is a traditional Lakeland stone house built in 1898 which offers free parking and an award-winning breakfast, cooked and served by its owners. This Cumbrian breakfast includes bacon, sausages, Windermere farm eggs, homemade bread, waffles and croissants, cereals, yoghurt, fruit, organic porridge, and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs.

More importantly, it is only a 15-minute walk from Windermere railway station. It is also near Bowness-on-Windermere which offers boat trips on the lake, and not far from Bowness Nab, where the ferry crosses Windermere lake, in case you want to visit some towns on the other side such as Hawkshead.

What to bring

  • Trainers: the hike is not difficult, but trainers are much better than flip-flops.
  • Water: depending on the season the weather can be hot. So one or two bottles per person at least. 
  • Camera/phone: of course, you will want to take pictures.
  • Water shoes/sandals: this could also be essential, but only if you plan to swim in the lake. If you don’t mind rocky lakes/rivers, you don’t need them.
  • Food: snacks and/or fruits can be a good option as well. There are a bunch of picnic breaks along the way, with tables and benches.
  • Dry clothes and/or towel: you may want to consider this as well if you are staying for long or are planning to swim. Probably having some dry clothes in the car is a good idea.

Grasmere to Ambleside hiking

We took the 599 bus from nearby Windermere (next to our hotel) to Grasmere, which takes approximately an hour.

We started our hiking route at The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, a tiny Lakeland shop in a 1630s school stocking gingerbread, rum butter, fudge and mint cake. It is a super popular shop so expect to queue for a few minutes. The delicious gingerbread (see picture above) is worth it.

From that point, you take Church Stile street and then Red Bank. Note that the map below shows exactly the right path, which may not be the same if you simply search from Grasmere to Ambleside. After walking for about 10-15 minutes on Red Bank road, you will see a gate to the footpath next to Grasmere lake, as shown in the picture below.

You won’t get lost as there are normally plenty of people doing the same as you. Hikers, cyclists and families of all sorts.

Once on the footpath, you continue next to the lake. You will get to the South edge of Grasmere lake, where a beautiful pebble beach offers hikers a great rest spot.

You will then reach the River Rothay Grasmere Foot Bridge, and continue the path which gets a bit hilly on this part. There are at least two alternative footpaths around Rydal Water, for instance, one uphill to see Rydal Cave. There are also a few places to rest in the shade and some small beaches where people swim or do water sports.

You then continue next to River Rothay, taking the Under Loughrigg road. Again you will see plenty of hikers and picnickers all the way, and also a bunch of bed and breakfasts. After some time (~30 minutes) you will see a bridge that you need to cross and take Vicarage Road, which takes you to Ambleside, passing by Rothay Park.


Google maps will give you a different path if you simply search From Grasmere to Ambleside without intermediate stops, as it does not always considers the footpaths. The map below should help.

More pictures

A few more pictures!

One of the pedestrian and cyclist roads leading to the lake
Grasmere lake
View from the South edge of Grasmere lake
Ambleside’s popular bridge house

Additional recommendations

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