Why we fell in love with Iveing Cottage

In February 2022 a group of friends took custodianship. We have been walking together for more than 10 years. After a day in the mountains we like to eat, drink and sleep well!

We’ve often found it a challenge to find affordable group accommodation that offers the winning combination of great social spaces and high quality sleeping.

We love to walk, cycle and run. Two of us have completed all 214 Wainwrights, so if you’re looking for advice, then we’d be delighted to help.

We hope Iveing offers practical, down-to-earth comfort for groups and families alike, a place where you’ll create special memories and want to return.

Chris, Fiona, Jon, Lee and Steve

History of Iveing Cottage

Built in the late 1770s, Iveing Cottage has a significant past, both as a private home and as a hostel. Many thousands of visitors from all over the world have enjoyed staying here. It has always been a substantial property of note in the town of Ambleside.

“A fine new house on the road out of Ambleside towards Windermere, one of those ‘works of art’ which ‘give an air of consequence to the country”

Dorothy Wordsworth, 18 May 1800

The Taylors of Abbot Hall 1784-1924

It was originally built for a Mrs Dorothy Taylor of Abbot Hall Kendal. Widowed in 1784 she moved here with her two daughters, Mary and Sarah. Mrs Taylor died in 1801. In 1824 Mary married Commander Henry Lutwidge, Uncle of Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland).

They lived in Iveing Cottage with several servants and were later joined by their orphaned niece, Eliza Alicia Taylor.

In those days, Old Lake Road was the main road into Ambleside from the south. The house sat on a large plot of land which extended southwards to Fisherbeck Lane and had uninterrupted countryside views westwards down into the valley towards the river and to Loughrigg and the hills beyond.

Walk southwards down the road today and you’ll see the old coach house and stables.

The Taylors at St Mary’s Church, Ambleside

The family were staunch supporters of the then new parish church, St Mary’s. Mary laid the foundation stone in 1854, and you will find a fine memorial to them at the back of the church to this day.

Following the death of Henry Lutwidge in 1861, Eliza inherited the house and lived here with her husband, Edmund Hugh Clerk. We believe the house was later rented out.


Artist studio and residence 1924-1939

In 1924 the house was purchased by James Henry Crossland (1852-1939), a renowned landscape painter in oils.

Born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and the son of a Vicar, he moved to Derbyshire with his family and then to the Lake District, variously Windermere, Bowness, Broughton-in-Furness, and finally Ambleside.

He exhibited in many galleries, including the Royal Academy and was a founder member of the Lakes Artists’ Society in 1904.

The hostel years 1939-2022

The YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) operated the property as a hostel until 2001. The YWCA hosted holidays for many groups of young school children in the house itself, the garden cottage and the coach house.

Over 60 years they gradually sold off most of the garden as building plots and there are now seven properties on the land.

In 2001 Iveing Cottage went into private ownership and became Ambleside Backpackers hostel, sleeping up to 72 people in bunk bed dormitories.

All bookings are managed through our lettings agent.