Walking is one of the most popular things to do in Ullswater, and with good reason. This beautiful valley is full of lovely waterside strolls and stunning fell hikes. You can access Helvellyn from here, one of the essential Lake District peaks to conquer. A superb day walk can be constructed incorporating Place Fell, the pretty lakeside path between Patterdale and Howtown, and the Ullswater steamer service.
There is even a dedicated Ullswater Way walking trail that allows a terrific 20 mile circumnavigation of the lake. Patterdale and Glenridding will be able to supply the maps and guides you need. Further provisions are available in Ambleside and Keswick, which have a large number of excellent outdoor stores. Below we highlight some of our very favourite walks among the many:
If you park at the large National Trust car park on the west of Ullswater not far from Pooley Bridge, you can make a very pleasant circular walk of your visit to the finest waterfall in the Lakes. Begin on one side of the river and return on the other, following winding trails through peaceful woodlands. The fall itself is iconic, tumbling over rocks beneath a picturesque stone bridge into the deep pool below. 45 mins.
This is one of our very favourite day walks in the Lakes. Walk from Glenridding to Howtown via Place Fell on the east of the lake. This is an alternative to taking the shore path, which is equally worthwhile. But the height-gain of the fell gives a fulfilling sense of achievement. The views of Ullswater and the surrounding shores and hills are breathtaking. Descend to the lakeshore beyond Place Fell and walk to Howtown along the beautiful lake path beneath Hallin Fell. Take a cool drink at the unusual and traditional bar at the Howtown Hotel, before returning to Glenridding via the steamer, an unmatchable way to relax after your walk. If you prefer, extend the walk by returning by the shore path instead. 4 – 5 hrs.
This summit gives you sensational views over beautiful Ullswater, and onto the higher hills around. We recommend that you start this walk at Patterdale and head towards Helvellyn along Grisedale beck to Grisedale Tarn. Before doubling back to St. Sundays Crag and descending to Patterdale again via the long ridge of The Birks. 2 hrs.
Near Howtown, this small fell is beautifully situated by the lake, and commands wonderful views over the water and surrounding countryside, and also into remote Martindale. It is to Martindale Church you need to drive, along the road past Sharrow Bay on the east shore of Ullswater, before climbing the short but very rewarding path to the summit. 1 hr.
Parking at Patterdale lets you take the track to Side Farm on the east side of the lake. This is also the start of the route to Place Fell, but if you bear left along the shore from the farm past the campsite instead of ascending, you will find a superb, rugged path that undulates above the little bays. There are plenty of picnicking opportunities and the chance to take the steamer back from Howtown. 2 hrs.
Why not return from the Lakes saying you have walked one of the highest mountains in England? Helvellyn is the third highest, and can be tackled from Glenridding. Those in search of an adrenalin rush will want to include the exhilarating Striding Edge in their route, though this is not for everyone. 4 hrs.
This is a good option if you want to see the lands beyond lovely Ullswater. Go to the head of the valley and wind your way up the precipitous Kirkstone Pass to the inn at its summit. From the car park there, a fairly a short climb with a little scrambling brings you to the top of Red Screes, with its little tarn and terrific views across the neighbouring Lake Windermere valley. You can make a longer walk by dropping down to Ambleside via Snarker Pike, but remember that what goes down must come up! 1 hr.