Ullswater is a breathtakingly beautiful lake in sunshine or shade, in wind, mist or rain. It is to be found in the north east of the Lake District, not far from Penrith.


The second largest lake after Windermere stretches about 12km from Pooley Bridge to Patterdale. Its average width is 800m and depth 62.5m. In its exceptionally clear waters, near the deepest point, lives an unusual fish akin to a freshwater herring called a schelly. The lake's long sinuous outline shows a variety of scenery unmatched by any other lake. A number of country estates were laid out along the shores during the 19th century that added trees and lawns to the already fine landscape.


Although the lake is used as a reservoir for the Manchester conurbation, the water works are hidden underground and designed so that it is impossible to lower the water beyond a certain limit. This preservation of the lake is due to a campaign in Parliament in 1965 by Lord Birkett.


The A592 follows the north-western bank of the lake from Pooley Bridge, past the Aira Force waterfall access car park south-west to Glenridding and Patterdale. These villages have shops for souvenirs and crafts as well as everyday purchases, and pubs, cafes and restaurants to suit the needs of the most discerning of visitors.


In the area surrounding the lake there is a wide range of accommodation including some top hotels and fine restaurants, also a wide selection of varied and homely bed and breakfast establishments, neat self-catering cottages and secluded camping and caravanning sites. For help, information and advice, contact Ullswater Information Centre at Beckside car park or glenriddingtic@lake-district.gov.uk.

Outdoor activities

Facilities for water sports include sailing, sail-boarding, fishing and cruising. On the land a great variety of walks can be recommended for the strolling rambler through to the most enthusiastic hiker or mountain climber. Other enticing activities include cycling, horse-riding and mountain-biking.


William Wordsworth's 200 year old poem Daffodils was inspired by a walk along the lakeshore. 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' has been learned by generations of children the world over. Its timeless images are as fresh as the day the poem was first conceived.

Hostels and camping

The high altitude Helvellyn Youth Hostel Association Hostel is 174m above Glenridding. It is used mainly by walkers setting out for Helvellyn: at 948m, the second highest mountain in England. The nearby Striding Edge is a well-known arete. Guided walks can be arranged. Email: helvellyn@yha.co.uk

For campsites: try Park Foot Caravan and Camping Park,on the edge of Ullswater, a mile south of Pooley Bridge, or Hillcroft Park, a little closer to the village.

Luxurious or rustic?

In complete contrast the Inn on the Lake, offers the height of luxury: big, extravagant rooms, palatial beds and Jacuzzis, all with a choice of mountain or lake views. Meanwhile, in the Pooley Bridge Inn, amid a comfy, 'rustic', white -washed ambience, the first floor rooms all have private wooden balconies.

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