The view of Rydal Water that you can enjoy along the coffin route from Ambleside to Grasmere

Ambleside to Grasmere Walk via Coffin Route, Lake District

Are you planning to undertake the Ambleside to Grasmere walk via the Coffin Route? This article has you covered. 

The area around the charming Lake District town of Ambleside boasts a wealth of excellent hiking trails suitable for all fitness levels. If you are looking for an easy walk that showcases stunning scenery and locations associated with William Wordsworth, I can highly recommend the Coffin Route, which connects Ambleside with the quaint village of Grasmere. 

Historically, this path was used to transport the deceased to St Oswald’s churchyard in Grasmere for burial. Despite its name, there’s nothing spooky about this walk today.  

Without further ado, let’s dive into the details of this excellent day walk. 

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Ambleside to Grasmere Walk: Summary

  • Distance: 6.1km (4 miles) 
  • Duration: 2 hours 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Start Location: Ambleside Town Centre 

This Ambleside to Grasmere walk is a relatively easy ramble with stunning views along the way. The route features some undulation, but nothing too intense. 

The path does have some rough sections, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Parts of the track can become muddy and slippery after rain, which frequently occurs in this region. 

Highlights of the route include the Gardens and Waterfall at Rydal Hall and poet William Wordsworth’s homes, Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage. The two-hour walk duration does not include time spent visiting these houses. 

In terms of facilities, walkers can take advantage of the many shops and cafes in either Ambleside or Grasmere. You can also make a pit stop at the Old School Room Tea Shop, which is part of the Rydal Hall estate. 

Once you reach Grasmere, you can return to Ambleside using the same route. Alternatively, you can hop on a local bus that connects the two to return to the starting point. 

Route Description: Ambleside Coffin Route

Ksenia at the start of the coffin route between Ambleside and Grasmere

The journey begins in the Ambleside town centre. Head north along A591 towards Keswick. After crossing Scandale Bridge over Scandale Beck, turn right onto a path separated from the main road by a gate. 

Continue along this relatively flat and well-maintained path for about 20 minutes until you enter the woods of Rydal Park. Proceed through the woodland, past a campsite, until you reach Rydal Hall. 

Rydal Hall

Rydal waterfall and the Grot

At Rydal Hall, take some time to enjoy its beautiful gardens, Rydal waterfall and the 17th-century Grot viewing station, beloved by William Wordsworth. Since Rydal Hall now operates as a hotel, there’s limited access to the interior unless you are staying there. 

After enjoying the grounds, continue around the back of the stately home. There you will find the Old School Room Tea Shop, which serves hot drinks, sandwiches, and cakes. The outdoor seating offers delightful river views. 

Rydal Mount and Nab Scar

Rydal Mount - William Wordsworth's family home

Past the Hall, turn right and continue up the hill to Rydal Mount, the family home of William Wordsworth. If interested, you can visit the house and gardens to learn more about the poet’s life, with ticket prices starting from £5 per person. 

Otherwise, follow the route that traces the garden wall of Rydal Mount along the back of the house. It leads to the slopes of Nab Scar, where the track may become particularly slippery and uneven. However, the scenic views over Rydal Water are a rewarding sight. 

Continue straight along the path, ignoring a couple of bridleways to your left. Eventually, the path descends and meets Town End Road. 

Dove Cottage and Wordsworth Museum

Dove Cottage - William Wordsworth's old home which is now a museum.

At the end of the road, you’ll reach Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, another excellent spot to learn about the poet’s life. Consider spending some time exploring this attraction; adult tickets start from £15. 

Then continue to a mini roundabout and cross it. Follow Stock Lane, which will lead you all the way to Grasmere where you can enjoy a well-deserved meal and refreshments at one of its many cafes.   

Parking Facilities Near the Route

The trail does not have a dedicated car park. Your best bet is to park at one of the designated car parks in Ambleside itself, as this is the starting point of the route. 

One option is the Rydal Road car park, located just a 10-minute walk from Scandale Bridge. All-day parking there costs £9.40, with shorter stays being less expensive. 

Another good option is the Lake Road car park, just south of the town centre. The charges here are the same as those at the Rydal Road car park. 

How to Get to Ambleside

The best way to get to Ambleside is by car, whether it’s your own or a hired one. Having your own vehicle offers the most freedom and flexibility when exploring the Lake District in general. 

However, if driving is not an option, no problem. To reach Ambleside by public transport, you’ll first need to catch a train to Windermere from wherever you are in the UK. 

Once in Windermere, a bus can take you to Ambleside in just 15 minutes, as the towns are very close to each other. 

The local bus network also connects Ambleside with other parts of the Lake District. You can find more information about available routes and timetables on the Stagecoach website

Where to Stay in Ambleside

The exterior of the Wateredge Inn
The Wateredge Inn

Ambleside has a wealth of accommodation options for every taste and budget. Here are a few of my favourites for your next stay. 

Rothay Garth 

Rothay Garth is a traditional guesthouse located just a stone’s throw from Ambleside’s shops and eateries. It is packed with period charm and offers beautiful views of the fells. Additionally, the hearty breakfast is sure to set you up for a day of hiking. 

The Wateredge Inn 

My husband and I stayed at this inn during our last visit to Ambleside. The rooms are cosy, featuring classic touches, and you can start your day with an English breakfast at the downstairs restaurant. However, our favourite feature was the lakeside location, just a 10-minute walk from the town centre. 

Ambleside Salutaton Hotel & Spa 

Situated right in the heart of Ambleside town centre, this hotel is the epitome of modern luxury with a classic Lake District twist. Weary walkers can indulge in some well-deserved relaxation at the spa and enjoy a hearty meal prepared from the finest local produce at the brasserie. 

Other Things to Do in Ambleside

Ambleside is one of the most popular spots in the Lake District. It oozes traditional charm and is packed with great restaurants, pubs and shops. It’s a great base for exploring everything the Lakes have to offer. 

  • Explore Ambleside’s independent shops and cafes. 
  • Visit the quirky Bridge House. 
  • Take a walk to Stock Ghyll Force 
  • Catch a movie at Zeffirellis, a charming independent cinema 
  • Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Windermere from Ambleside Waterhead Pier 
  • Relax at Stagshaw Gardens 
  • And more! 

Final Thoughts

Now you have all the information you need to tackle this popular Ambleside walk. Chances are, you’ll fall in love with the beautiful Lake District scenery and want to explore even more. 

Looking to treat yourself after a hike? How about a delightful afternoon tea in Ambleside or Grasmere?

FAQs: Ambleside to Grasmere Walk

Where to start the Coffin Route in Ambleside?

The Coffin Route begins right from the town centre—simply head north along A591 towards Keswick, and you’ll be on your way. Alternatively, you can do the route in reverse by starting in Grasmere village centre. 

Why is it called the Coffin Route? 

It is called the Coffin Route because in the past the path was used for carrying the deceased from Ambleside to the St Oswald’s churchyard in Grasmere for burial. There is nothing morbid about this trail today though.  

How long is the Coffin Walk?

The Ambleside to Grasmere coffin walk is 6.1km (4 miles) long. It takes two hours to complete, although I would allow for more time if you would like to visit the Wordsworth museums along the way.  

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