The little stream of Stock Beck meanders its way through the quaint town of Ambleside. Towering above it stand a whole array of houses dating from various periods; Victorian, Georgian and earlier are all represented in the slates and stones that make the region’s architecture so famous, and ever so iconic. Among all the varying façades sits the Bridge House in Ambleside. This fine example of 17th-Century architecture is a rare survival in a region where the climate is bitter and the weather rules all…
Bridge House in Ambleside: a history of the 17th-Century Dwelling
The Bridge House in Ambleside (which also happens to be one of the cutest towns in the Lake District) is easily one of the town’s most iconic sites. However, though many tourists and locals snap a photo here, few know of its rich and varied past…
For, throughout the past few centuries, the crooked little house has been used as a counting house for a nearby mill, a tea room, a cobbler’s, a chair maker’s workshop and was even once home to a family of eight! So iconic is the Bridge House, that it has since become a symbol of Ambleside in its own right, inspiring many a famous writer, artist, and painter.
The Bridge on which the Bridge House sits pre-dates the dwelling by up to 300 years. The house was eventually added and originally intended for use as an apple store during a time when the highly influential Brathwaite family ran many of the operations in the village.
During the 1920s, it was obvious that the house was in need of some pretty intensive restorations so that it could continue to be admired and loved by future generations. The house was bought by a team of local volunteers and passed on to the care of the National Trust, who still own and manage the property today.
How to visit the Bridge House in the Lake District
The property is currently managed and owned by the National Trust (who own much of the land and historic sites of interest throughout the region of the Lake District, including Beatrix Potter’s House).
Located on the main road through the town, the Bridge House is hard to miss. And the quirky, misshapen building juts out from the riverbed below. Entrance is free and the house itself takes only around five to ten minutes to visit.
Today the few rooms that make up the Bridge House are filled with a few vintage pieces of furniture and eagle-eyed visitors may even spot smoke rising from the quirky building’s chimney. Though a range was installed in the 19th-century until very recently it remained unusable for decades.
Today, the fireplace has been restored to its former glory, warming all who venture up the stairs and above the heart of the river… Bridge House in Ambleside is open daily from 11.30am to 4.30pm during the Spring, Summer and Autumn Months.
There is usually a National Trust Volunteer nearby if you have any questions about the property. If you want to get some good photos (ie without any people), then make sure to visit earlier in the day as Ambleside is a very popular town and the place soon fills up fast!
The closest car park to the Bridge House can be found in the form of Rydal Road car park. This is not owned by the National Trust and so parking fees apply, even for members. For even more Lake District inspiration, check out our guide to the best things to do in Ambleside.
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