Ullswater Steamers copyright Dave Willis

Explore Ullswater and Glenridding

Ullswater

This lovely lake is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery to its south, softening to the gentle hills of the north. The lake is the second largest in England at seven and a half miles long, but is less than a mile across. It is also the third deepest English lake at 250 feet deep.

There are dramatic views from both sides of the lake, by foot or by vehicle

Walking and hiking routes around Ullswater, Glenriding and Helvellyn

Guided walks

Join one of our free guided walks! Many start from Glenridding, Aira Force or Pooley Bridge and they're a great introduction to the area, our volunteers can tell you loads about the area you're walking in. All our routes are easy going and we can give you advice on the terrain and what to bring.

Search and book your guided walk near Ullswater

Short walking routes

Ullswater Way map

The Ullswater Way

This 20 mile route around the lake has boat and bus stopping points, so you can walk it all or do a smaller section combined with a cruise on the water.

Watch our video to see some of the spectacular views, then download the maps and plan your walk!

Ullswater way

Aira Force waterfall

Aira Force

Aira Force has a magnificent 21m (70ft) multiple waterfall with viewing bridges above and below to get close to the thundering water safely.
There is a seasonal tea room, a car park and toilets on site.

Aira Force - National Trust

Hiking up Helvellyn

At 950 metres above sea level, Helvellyn is the third highest peak in England. On its eastern side, two sharp aretes lead off the summit of Striding and Swirral Edge. The knife-edged Striding Edge provides one of the best known scrambles in the Lake District.

There are different ways to reach the summit, but all of them require you to be properly equipped. Please take a look at our checklist for walkers

In the winter, the Fell Top Assessors climb Helvellyn every day to report the conditions for Weatherline, you can join them on a Winter Skills Course to learn how to enjoy the Lake District fells safely in winter.

Pop into Ullswater Information Centre for great advice on climbing Helvellyn

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Boat cruises, boat hire and sailing on Ullswater

Ullswater Steamers copyright Dave Willis

Ullswater Steamers

Sit back, relax and enjoy a lake cruise on one of England's most beautiful lakes. With stops at Glenridding, Aira Force, How Town and Pooley Bridge, you can walk and cruise your own route.

Timetables and booking for Ullswater Steamers

Kayaking on Ullswater lake with mountains in the background

Kayak tours with Tall Bloke Adventures

Guided kayak tours on beautiful Ullswater. A great way to explore the islands, beaches and rocky shores of the lake. Leaves from Glenridding village.

Book a kayak tour on Ullswater

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Attractions and place to visit near Ullswater

Lowther Castle - the buildings and gardens copyright Lowther Castle

Lowther Castle and gardens

Dramatic ruins, gardens within gardens, and one of the UK’s largest adventure playgrounds. Lowther won the Large Visitor Attraction of the year 2018 at the Cumbria Tourism Awards, and exploring the innovative renovation of this historic castle and grounds you'll see why.

Shop, cafés, free car parking and cycle hire make this a full day out.

Dalemain house

Dalemain Historic House

The Dalemain Estate includes a splendid house, gardens, a deer park and tenant farms. Dalemain became a manor house in Tudor times, and the Georgian façade was added in the mid-eighteenth century. It’s been the home of the Hasell family since 1680. Dalemain house and garden are open to visitors and is on the route of the Ullswater Way

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Towns and villages around Ullswater

Glenridding

This small village at the foot of Ullswater is a popular starting point for walkers and climbers going up Helvellyn. England's third highest mountain includes Striding and Swirral Edges.

You can catch steamers from here - take a look at Ullswater 'Steamers' for timetables

You can hire rowing boats and bicycles in the summer from St Patricks Boat Landing. You can also get tuition or hire canoes and kayaks from the Sailing Centre in the village.

There is a selection of shops. Pop into our Information Centre next to the car park for gifts, books, maps and lots of local knowledge!

There are two hotels, bed and breakfast and self catering properties in the village, many that are family and dog-friendly. There is also a campsite, bunkhouse and Youth Hostel.

Patterdale

This village is just shy of the shores of Ullswater. It includes a pub, hotel and a post office. It's a welcome refuelling stop for hikers coming down off the fells.

It is named after the legend that Saint Patrick converted many local people to Christianity here in the early 5th century. St Patrick's church is well worth a visit. The present church replaced a church built about 1600.

For more on this lovely area, check out the community website Patterdale.org.

Pooley Bridge

A picturesque village at the northeast end of Ullswater. The river Eamont meanders through its collection of houses and pubs. Close to Pooley Bridge is the historic Dalemain House and Rheged Visitor Centre.

Howtown

This 'steamer' stop is half way along the lake. Wainwright called the walk from Howtown back to Glenridding to be "the most beautiful of lake walks in the National Park".

Brotherswater and Hartsop

This small lake south of Ullswater is at the foot of Kirkstone Pass. There is a footpath around it, although it does not hug the shoreline completely.

It used to be called Broad Water but was renamed after two brothers drowned there in the 19th century. Low Hartsop is a cluster of stone cottages once used for wool spinning. Several date from the 17th century and still have their external spinning galleries.

Kirkstone Pass

The Lake District's highest pass runs between Windermere and Ullswater. It is is named after "Kirkstone", a large boulder at top. The road from Ambleside to the top is called The Struggle for good reason!

The Kirkstone Pass inn at the top is England's third highest pub.

Martindale

The fells above Martindale are home to England's oldest native herd of red deer. The ancient deer forest is centred on The Nab but the deer range all over the fells into Mardale and Kentmere.

The church of St Martin's was built in 1634. The enormous yew tree in the churchyard is said to be more than one thousand years old. The Church of St Peter's was built in 1882 to replace the old church.

Dacre

This small scenic village has the remains of a castle with a well preserved 14th century keep. Please note the castle is private.

In St Andrew's churchyard there are four stone bears which may have come from the four corners of the keep.

Find and book accommodation around Ullswater

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Travelling to and around Ullswater

Bus service 508 runs from Penrith Station to Pooley Bridge, Aira Force, Glenridding and Patterdale all year round. In summer it continues over Kirkstone Pass to Windermere. Bus service 208 provides a direct link from Keswick to Ullswater on summer Saturdays.

Take a bus to or around Ullswater, with special group fares, explorer tickets and bus and boat cruise tickets, and make the journey part of your adventure.

Bike hire

Need more help? Pop in to Ullswater Information Centre!

Ullswater Information Centre in Glenridding

We can help you with booking accommodation, tickets or attractions. We are next to the car park in Glenridding - do pop in and take a look around Ullswater Information Centre.