All About Kayaking From Ambleside
Ah, Ambleside – the jewel of the Lake District, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and probably our favourite place to start a Lake District Kayaking adventure.
We’re talking about a place that has it all: stunning scenery, a charming Cumbrian village, and, of course, a wide range of watersports available to the many tourists who flock here year round.
As an avid kayaker & paddleboarder with over 30 years of experience, I can confidently say that Kayaking Ambleside is a must-do for anyone who loves spending time on the water and finds enjoyment in all things involving a paddle.
Anyway, enough chatter, let’s get straight into the article so you’ve got all the tools required for yet another awesome Kayaking In The Lake District adventure.
The Allure of Kayaking Ambleside
Nestled at the northern end of Lake Windermere, Ambleside boasts an impressive natural playground for water-based activities. Trust me, once you’ve dipped your paddle into the serene waters here, you’ll be hooked. But what is it exactly that makes kayaking Ambleside such a standout experience
The Lake District is famous for its picture-postcard landscapes, and Ambleside is as quaint a village as they come here in Cumbria. So imagine launching off from here and gliding across the water, surrounded by lush green hills, backdropped by rugged mountains, It’s like paddling into a fairy tale.
As you paddle along, you’ll have ample opportunities to spot a variety of wildlife. Keep an eye out for playful otters, majestic birds of prey such as the Peregrine Falcon and Red Kite, and curious deer.
There are both Roe and Red Deer about Windermere and you never know who you might meet on your Ambleside Kayaking adventure!
An Array of Watersports
Ambleside isn’t just about kayaking when it comes to watery fun. There’s a whole host of other activities to enjoy, including paddleboarding, canoeing, and sailing. So, why not mix it up a bit and try something new?
A Taste of Kayaking on the River Rothay
While Lake Windermere is undoubtedly the main attraction for kayaking in Ambleside, there’s another hidden gem waiting to be discovered: the River Rothay.
This meandering river offers a unique kayaking experience, providing a tranquil escape from the more popular tourist spots.
Starting in Ambleside, you can paddle upstream and explore the winding waterways surrounded by lush vegetation and an abundance of wildlife. You’ll pass under charming stone bridges and have the chance to admire the stunning countryside from a different perspective.
But we’re just scratching the surface here so stay tuned for our upcoming in-depth article on Kayaking the River Rothay, where we’ll dive deeper into the ins and outs of this captivating river adventure in the Lake District.
Tips for Kayaking Ambleside
Now that you’re eager to hit the water, here we’ve provided some insider tips to ensure you have the best possible experience Kayaking out of Ambleside.
Kayak Hire Ambleside
Not everyone has their own kayak, but fear not – there are places in Ambleside where you can hire kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.
Most rental shops offer a range of kayaks, suitable for all levels of experience. Don’t forget to grab a life jacket and ask for a waterproof bag for your valuables!
Our go to destination for Kayak Hire here in Ambleside is the windermerecanoekayak.com outlet that is set-up in the warmer months from the YHA Ambleside right by the Ambleside Pier.
Parking at Ambleside
Parking in Ambleside can be tricky, especially during peak season.
Our advice? Arrive early to secure a spot in one of the pay-and-display car parks, or look for free parking on nearby streets. Don’t forget to bring some change for the parking meters!
Check out the local council website HERE for the most up to date parking information including charges plus current info on how to pay as well as a handy car parking map of Ambleside.
Paddleboarding at Ambleside
If you fancy giving paddleboarding a go instead of kayaking as many youngsters do these days, you’re in luck as paddleboard hire, as well as paddleboard lessons for beginners are readily available at this end of the lake.
Some say this is the perfect spot to learn Paddle Boarding here at the sheltered North end of Lake Windermere as there are a number of calm bays and easy access to the River Brathay which is also ideal for beginners.
Plus, you can top off your experience with a pint at one of Ambleside’s cozy lakeside pubs. A truly unique and unforgettable adventure awaits you!
As with kayaking our go to destination for Paddleboard hire here is the windermerecanoekayak.com outlet operates from the YHA Ambleside right by the Ambleside Pier. Check the website for operational times as they do not open year round here.
Safety First: Tips for Kayaking and Paddleboarding
It’s important to stay safe while enjoying the waters of Windermere around the Ambleside area.
Here are some, shall we say sensible, common-sense water sport tips for essential safety:
Check the Weather: You’d be MAD not to. Before heading out, make sure to check the weather forecast and be prepared for any sudden changes in conditions. Remember, safety comes first!
Wear a Life Jacket: Even the most experienced kayakers and paddleboarders should wear a life jacket. Accidents can happen, so it’s best to be prepared.
Paddle with a Buddy: Whenever possible, paddle with a friend or family member. Not only is it more enjoyable, but it’s also safer.
Know your limits: If you’re new to kayaking or paddleboarding, don’t push yourself too hard. Stick to calm waters and gradually build your skills and confidence.
Launching Your Kayak At Ambleside
Finding the perfect spot to launch your kayak is essential for a smooth start to your adventure so here are some of the recommended places to launch your Kayak in Ambleside:
Waterhead Pier: As mentioned earlier, Waterhead Pier is a popular starting point for kayaking and paddleboarding. There’s easy access to the water, and you’ll be in the heart of Lake Windermere in no time.
River Rothay: If you prefer a more serene kayaking experience away from the busier Lake Windermere, launching your kayak at the River Rothay is a great option. There’s a small public access point just off Borrans Road, near Ambleside Roman Fort.
Low Wood Bay Watersports Centre: Located a few miles north of Ambleside, this watersports centre offers easy access to the water, as well as kayak rentals and other water-based activities
Remember to be respectful of the environment and other water users when launching your kayak. Always follow any local rules or guidelines, and leave no trace behind.
The Best Sights and Activities in Ambleside
We’ve been exploring Ambleside for years, and we’ve discovered some truly unforgettable sights and activities. There is literally loads to do around here if the weather turns, or you’ve had enough of kayaking.
Here are our top recommendations:
- Waterhead Pier: Start your kayaking adventure here, and you’ll soon find yourself immersed in the beauty of Lake Windermere. The pier also offers boat tours and rentals, so you can explore the lake in style.
- Loughrigg Fell: Fancy a break from the water? This popular walking route offers stunning views over Lake Windermere, Ambleside, and beyond.
- Rydal Water: A short paddle from Ambleside, this peaceful lake is perfect for a more secluded kayaking experience. Keep an eye out for the famous Rydal Caves.
- Wray Castle: Paddle along the western shore of Lake Windermere, and you’ll come across this impressive neo-gothic castle. A perfect spot for a picnic and a chance to stretch your legs.
- The Ambleside Roman Fort: Steeped in history, this ancient Roman fort is a fascinating place to explore. Located just a short walk from Waterhead Pier, it’s well worth a visit before or after your kayaking session.
- Grasmere: Venture a little further on your kayak, and you’ll reach the picturesque village of Grasmere, home to the famous Grasmere Gingerbread and the former residence of poet William Wordsworth. It’s the perfect spot for a well-deserved treat after a day on the water.
The Perfect Day Out in Ambleside
To make the most of your Ambleside adventure, why not plan a full day of activities? Here’s our suggested itinerary:
- Morning: Arrive early and secure a parking spot. Enjoy a hearty breakfast at one of Ambleside’s charming cafés to fuel up for the day ahead.
- Mid-morning: Rent a kayak or paddleboard and head out onto the water. Explore the beauty of Lake Windermere, and perhaps venture out to nearby Rydal Water or Grasmere.
- Lunch: Refuel with a delicious lunch at one of Ambleside’s many pubs or restaurants. Don’t forget to sample some local ale!
- Afternoon: Spend the afternoon exploring Ambleside’s many attractions, such as the Roman Fort, Wray Castle, or Loughrigg Fell.
- Evening: Finish off the day with a well-deserved dinner at a local eatery, and perhaps enjoy some live music or a traditional pub quiz.
Kayaking at Ambleside: Kayak Mad’s Opinion
Well there you have it, now you know all that Kayaking Ambleside has to offer to ensure you have a truly unforgettable experience here.
With its stunning landscapes, an array of watersports, and charming surrounding villages, it’s the perfect destination for a day of adventure, whether it be kayaking, paddleboarding or something entirely different.
We love Ambleside and hopefully, after reading this article you’ll be keen to visit as well.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your paddle and get ready to explore the wonders of Ambleside!
Thanks for reading!