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Things to do in Ullswater

Things to Do in Ullswater

Wordsworth saw the yellow spring flowers dancing on the banks of Ullswater that inspired his famous poem ‘Daffodils’. It’s easy to empathise with his lifting spirits as you gaze on this prettiest of Lake District waters today.

The majesty of the surrounding hills is married beautifully with the soft greens of the fields and woods. And the little hamlets of Glenridding, Patterdale, and Pooley Bridge and scattered cottages and farms of Howtown, Hartsop and Martindale are rustic relics of old Lakeland.

Enjoy steamer cruises on Ullswater, water-sports and row boats on the lake, enticing eateries, including Sharrow Bay, one of the most celebrated restaurants in the region. And of course the incredible walking opportunities all around. You will be happy to sit or stroll in the idyllic scenery of Ullswater. Plus this Lakeland valley has many other attractions and is also well situated to give access to the Lake District round about. There are also beautiful Ullswater Walks.

In Ullswater

Ullswater Steamers

The steamers on Ullswater have been operating along this beautiful lake for over 150 years. The main piers are at Glenridding in the south and Pooley Bridge in the north. Howtown and Aira Force provide further stopping points. You can make the boat journey a lovely way to link some of the fabulous walking routes around the lake. Heritage vessels glide you along the undulating length of one of England’s very finest waters. This is one local attraction that cannot be missed. –

Lakeland Boat Hire

This centre is located close to Pooley Bridge at the north end of the lake. Luxury motor boats, canoes and row boats are all available. Along with the appropriate safety equipment of course. Safety boats are also on patrol during opening hours in case you should get into difficulty. Messing about in boats is a time-honoured and excellent way to enjoy a holiday in the Lakes, especially in Ullswater. Boat hire is available elsewhere on the lake, including at St. Patrick’s Landing Ground near Glenridding, where you can also hire bikes.–

Aira Force

A beautiful waterfall in woods on the hillside near the banks of Ullswater towards Pooley Bridge. Aira Force also features in our suggested walks. But you can visit for the fine view and photography opportunity by going to the little car park on the A5091. A little walk into the woodland to the falls is still necessary. For the best view, go down the steps to the bottom of the waterfall, looking up at the little stone bridge straddling the river. This is not to be missed off your list of what to do in Ullswater.

Rookin House Activity and Equestrian Centre

This long-established centre is in Troutbeck near Ullswater. Do not confuse this with Troutbeck near Lake Windermere, as there are two! Pony and horse riding can be arranged, catering for children and beginners. Other things to do include archery, clay-pigeon shooting, human bowling, quad bike treks, and paintballing. . –


The Dalemain Estate incorporates a fine historic mansion house and award-winning gardens. All just a few miles from Ullswater towards Penrith. The house was built in stages over several centuries. It is charmingly rambling as a result, full of twisting passages and unexpected stairways. The gardens and parklands are peaceful havens. Plus fine homemade food is served in the Medieval Hall Tearoom. –

Reach Beyond Adventure

This company of outdoor specialists operate across the Lake District. They focus a lot of activities around Ullswater. Rock-climbling, ghyll scrambling, bushcraft and canoeing are among your options for an action packed day out. One of the popular packages Reach Beyond offer is a day out in canoes on Ullswater. You’ll explore the bays and islands, combined with raft-building, abseiling, and, if you’re brave enough, cliff-jumping. You can never be at a loss for what to do in Ullswater if you are prepared to get outdoors and go wild!-

The Old Church at Martindale

There are two churches at Martindale, on the east of Ullswater, and the older of the two is fascinating. Martindale has the only wild red deer herd in the Lake District. Howtown, with its quaint pub at the hotel and its pier which services the steamers, is close by. We recommend climbing Hallin Fell at the same time, beginning at the newer church. Then climbing the short distance to the summit, which provides superb views up and down the lake.

Tourist information

If you need further ideas for what to do in Ullswater during your stay, be sure to visit the tourist information centre in Glenridding.


There are small village stores in Glenridding, Patterdale, and Pooley Bridge. Windermere has a Booths supermarket offering quality produce, and there are several supermarkets in nearby Penrith.

Petrol Stations

There is a filling station at Glenridding. Penrith and Keswick are also good places to re-fuel, and there are petrol stations across the Kirkstone Pass at Ambleside and Windermere, and on the A591 at Troutbeck Bridge.


The nearest doctors surgery is at Penrith Health Centre, and others can be found at the Goodly Dale Health Centre between Windermere and Bowness and on Rydal Road in Ambleside. –


There are several vets located in Penrith, including Vets4Pets. Oakhill Veterinary Group have a branch on Lake Road in Windermere, there is another in Ambleside. –

Exploring Ullswater

The Ullswater valley sprawls in the north-eastern part of the Lake District. The central lakes can be accessed via the high Kirkstone Pass at the south end of the valley, past serene Brotherswater. This pass brings you to the Troutbeck valley via the A592, with its scattered stone-built hamlets and peaceful greenery, and beyond to bustling Windermere and Bowness.

At the top of the Kirkstone Pass you can choose to take the little winding road known as The Struggle down into the walkers hub of Ambleside. And from there head north to Wordsworth’s Grasmere. We recommend a visit to these central areas of the Lakes, and we would also suggest a foray to Keswick, the chief village of the North Lakes.

And on from there to the stunning scenery of Borrowdale, with beautiful and remote Buttermere lying that way. You can choose to take a minibus tour of the Lakes if you want to take away the stress of driving and navigating. Mountain Goat tours are one such option, with a booking office in Windermere, and itineraries include a ‘Ten Lakes Spectacular’. –

Getting to Ullswater

The simplest route by car to Ullswater is to leave the M6 motorway at junction 40, and follow the signs at for Keswick on to the A66 before quickly leaving that road for the A5091 towards Pooley Bridge. If you are coming from the south and want to take a particularly scenic route to the area, leave the M6 motorway at junction 36 and pass by Kendal, continuing towards Windermere and Ambleside on the A591, before switching to the A592 through Troutbeck just after Windermere village. For train travellers, the nearest station is Penrith. Buses run regularly in the Lakes, and information can be found by following the link below: