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Ullswater is the second largest lake in England and one of the most beautiful in the National Park. It is 8.5 miles long by just a mile wide and reaches depths of 250ft in parts.
The lake is popular with locals and holidaymakers throughout the year, thanks to the abundance of things to see and do in the area. It is flanked by spectacular scenery, with views to rolling hills and mountain peaks extending in all directions.
We highly recommend spending a day exploring towns and villages along the shores of Ullswater during a stay at Park Cliffe camping and caravan park. It’s the ideal place to enjoy quality time with family and soak up some of the Lake District’s best loved natural landmarks and attractions.
Ullswater is popular with hikers hoping to explore the Lake District by foot. The surrounding fells offer an abundance of routes, with something to suit all ages and abilities. Nearby Glenridding is an excellent starting point for experienced walkers hoping to climb Helvellyn – the third highest mountain in England. This route can be quite treacherous, especially if the weather turns, so is best suited to keen hikers who have extensive mountain experience.
The Ullswater Way is another popular route and better suited to casual walkers. The low-level path is 20 miles long and follows a flat and easy route around the lake. The majority of people choose to conquer small sections in shorter day walks, though it is possible to walk it in a day if you’re feeling adventurous.
Some visitors choose to combine walking with public transport, which we think is a fantastic idea. There’s a frequent boat service and the open top bus provides far-reaching views across the lake from its elevated position.
Along the walk you will find installations that form part of the Ullswater Heritage Trail. There are 12 art installations in total – each celebrating a different aspect of the areas unique heritage.
There is no official starting point and you can walk the route in either direction. Download a map and print at home or buy a handy guide from the Tourist Information Centre.
Ullswater is a hive of activity in the summer months and a hot spot for water-based activities. If you’re feeling adventurous there are plenty of watersports on offer, including kayaking, canoeing, wild swimming, stand up paddle boarding and sailing.
Fishing is another popular past time, with many anglers visiting the area to take advantage of the deep and clear water. Ullswater is home to a variety of species, including perch, pike, char and brown trout. You might even catch an elusive schelly – this is an endangered and protected fish, which can be traced back to the ice age!
If you’d prefer a faster pace of travel, you could hire a motorboat or hop on one of the paddle steamers. Sit back and relax as you take in the spectacular views as you pass scenic coves and lesser-known beauty spots.
There are various meeting points along the lake, with landing piers at Glenridding, Howton, Pooley Bridge and Aira Force. There are a variety of routes to explore, which connect some of Ullswater’s most iconic sights.
No trip to Ullswater is complete without a trip to Aira Force. Spend an hour or so exploring the woodland glades and taking in the spectacular views of the waterfalls tumbling over rocks into the ravine below. This natural beauty spot is spectacular whatever the weather, but we think it’s particularly impressive after heavy rainfall.
There is a selection of marked trails through the forest during your trip as well as designated picnic areas to take a break and soak up the scenery. Next to the car park, there is a natural play area for the kids. There are also activity sheets for younger members of the family to complete.
Once you’ve finished exploring the shoreline, head slightly further in land and pay a visit to some of the towns and villages surrounding the lake. There are a handful of quaint and picturesque places to discover, including Glenridding and Pooley Bridge.
Glenridding is situated at the foot of the famed Kirskstone Pass and a hive of activity, especially during the spring and summer months. It’s the main starting point for climbers and walkers taking on Hellvelyn and there’s an excellent selection of places to grab a bite to eat.
Pooley Bridge is situated at the North East of Ullswater. It has a handful of shops, which mainly cater to the tourist trade and some great places to eat. There are some excellent teashops where you can enjoy a hot drink while taking in views over the water.
It takes approximately 1 hour to drive to Ullswater from Park Cliffe, depending on traffic. From the park head north-west towards Birks Road and then a sharp right onto the A592. Follow the A592 for 18 miles before taking the first exit on the roundabout onto Rayrigg road.
It’s also possible to catch a bus from Bowness to Glenridding on the 508 services.
There is plenty of pay and display car parking surrounding Ullswater.
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