Ambleside's traditional stone buildings
If you've never been to Britain (or even if you have) I can tell you that there isn't a huge variation in the topography. Sure, there are flat bits and hilly bits. The west side of the country is even wetter and greener than the east, which is saying something. But it's not like, say, the difference between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, or the contrast between the humid Deep South and the arid Utah desert. However, one thing that does distinguish one area from another is the building materials used.
Tyneside is mainly red brick or (ugly) beige pebble dash. Up around Morpeth village you see a lot of cream coloured stone and some white plaster. Edinburgh has a pale-ish stone largely covered with coal soot. This colour as well as the row upon row of towering terraces makes the city seem very dour and imposing. Wales has distinctive purple slate roofs (like on my house) and of course the Cotswolds area is full of thatched roofs.
|Tudor-bethan buildings in the background, a tourist in the front|
Ambleside grabbed my attention with its two story buildings that looked like nothing but thin, dark grey stones just stacked with no mortar in sight. Perhaps they are held together with gravity plus a bit of ivy or green moss.
One house in particular was especially startling. It was originally built as an apple store (as in storage, not selling) for nearby Ambleside Hall. Its position over the beck made it exempt from land tax. Bridge House is said to be possibly the most photographed building in the village and a popular subject for artists.
At one point, a family with six children lived in these two rooms.
It is now owned by the National Trust and used as a (rather cramped) shop. I would imagine it's damp and chilly as well!