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Definition: Ambleside from Collins English Dictionary


1 a town in NW England, in Cumbria: a tourist centre for the Lake District. Pop: 3064 (2001)

Summary Article: Ambleside
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Town in the Cumbrian Lake District, England; population (2001) 3,600. It is situated 20 km/12 mi northwest of Kendal, and extends to the head of Lake Windermere in the Vale of Rothay. Ambleside is a busy tourist centre for much of the year, with many hotels and guest houses.

Ambleside dates back to the early years of the Roman occupation of Britain (approximately AD80). However, it was not until approximately AD900, with the invasion of the Vikings, that Ambleside gained its name as the town began to have some local importance. The establishment of a market, a charter being given in 1650, added to the town's modest affluence, and a successful trade developed in cloth, bark, corn, and paper. The interest in the Lake District generated by the ‘Lake Poets’ Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge led, by mid-Victorian times, to an established tourist trade bringing increasing numbers of visitors to Ambleside and Lake Windermere. This new source of income was to define the future of Ambleside as traditional industries began to decline and tourism flourished. Tourist attractions include both small and large fells which surround Ambleside, making the town popular a base for walkers. The Bridgehouse is a small building which was originally used to store apples, and is now used as an information centre by its present owners the National Trust.

William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived at nearby Grasmere and later at Rydal Mount, which is now open to visitors. Harriet Martineau, who died at Ambleside in 1876, lived at The Knoll, just outside the town. The site of the Roman fort ‘Galava’ lies just off Borrans Road near the north shore of Lake Windermere. A sports festival is held here every summer, which includes traditional events, such as Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, and fell running. The Rushbearing Ceremony dates from the middle ages, and celebrates the changing of the rushes which were used as floor-covering in houses.

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