The Armitt Museum and Library

Rydal Road, Ambleside, LA22 9BL
The Armitt Museum and Library

The Armitt Museum & Library, Ambleside

(Photo courtesy of Dayve Ward)

If you consider yourself to be a bit of a history buff, then the Armitt Museum will surely delight.

Established in 1909, the museum is devoted to celebrating the activities of notable figures connected to the area, as well as providing detailed information about the history of the Lake District.

Situated in the centre of Ambleside, the Armitt Museum will challenge and inspire you.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01539 431 212 / Website
Please see official website
Seasonal Opening:
Open All Year (Closed Sun & Mon)

Things To See

The Armitt museum features a permanent exhibition about one of the Lake District’s most prolific writers – Beatrix Potter. However, unlike many of the other exhibitions in the area that celebrate Potter’s creations, the Armitt Museum is not aimed at younger children with whimsical characters heavily featured, instead the exhibition focuses on her wider interests, such as that in biology, natural history, and archaeology. Potter donated her collection of studies into fungi to the museum, as well as other drawings and manuscripts, and for fans of Peter Rabbit there is also a first edition of this delightful tale.

The other permanent collection - the largest on permanent public display - includes Kurt Schwitters: The Ambleside Legacy. Originally from Hanover, Germany, the artist Schwitters first visited the Lake District on holiday in 1942, deciding to move to Ambleside permanently in 1945. The Armitt Museum proudly displays 30 pieces of his works, which not only demonstrate his reverence for the natural world but also the profound adoration he had for his newfound home within the Lake District. 

Other collections include manuscripts relating to the history of the area, including those written by John Ruskin, photographs that capture moments in time from the Lake District’s history, a collection of works owned by Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, co-founder of the National Trust, and writings and photographs about the topic of mountaineering, including a first edition collection of Alfred Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide to the Fells.

In addition to the permanent collections, there are regularly changing exhibitions with items on loan from other organisations. Past exhibitions include specially commissioned works from contemporary artists.

Useful Information

There is a shop on site where you can purchase merchandise relating to the museum’s collections and exhibitions, as well as rare second hand books.

There is no café at the museum, but there are plenty of places available in Ambleside serving refreshments.


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