Five miles northwest of Windermere, AMBLESIDE is a first-class base for walkers, who are catered for by a large number of outdoors shops. The town centre consists of a cluster of grey-green stone houses, shops, pubs and B&Bs hugging a circular one-way system, which loops round just south of the narrow gully of stony Stock Ghyll. Huge car parks soak up the day-trip trade, but actually Ambleside improves the longer you spend here, with some enjoyable local walks and also the best selection of accommodation and restaurants in the area. The rest of town lies a mile south at Waterhead, where the cruise boats dock, overlooked by the grass banks and spreading trees of Borrans Park.

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