There's nothing quite like a weekend in the Lake District and for me, each visit always feels like the first.
England’s prettiest lake, Ullswater, does not disappoint. Situated in the northeast of the Lake District, it's the second largest lake at nine miles long and three-quarter’s of a mile wide. The surrounding Ullswater Valley has it all; from walking routes, boat rides, cycling, pony-trekking and camping to exploring inspiring scenery, there's something to suit everyone.
For experienced climbers, Ullswater is ideal as it lies at the foot of one of England’s highest mountains, Hellvellyn, or for those that enjoy less strenuous pursuits, the woodlands and easy routes that surround the lake are a perfect option.
The Ullswater Way
Travelling with my 10-year-old niece means we have to be slightly more mindful when it comes to choosing an appropriate walking route. The Ullswater Way is a 20-mile walking route around Ullswater Lake, which offers various treks suitable for all levels. You can pick and choose where to start and to make life a little easier, catch the open top bus or a steamer to help you along your way. We walked the Lower Route from Pooley Bridge to Howtown, meeting the Higher Route just past Barton Fell - a spot that guarantees magnificent views of the lake and its windy ‘Z’-shaped path that leads to Glenridding.
After a good two and a half hour walk, we reached Howtown where we stopped for a well-earned break to enjoy some tea and cake at Howtown Hotel. From here we booked a ticket for the Ullswater Steamer to take us back to Pooley Bridge. The walk and boat ride took the best part of four hours, done at a gentle pace with snacks in between. We definitely plan to return to Ullswater to visit the almighty Glenridding and the waterfalls at Aira Force!
Where to stay
Check in to the Rampsbeck Hotel, an 18th Century house set in an idyllic spot on the shore of Ullswater Lake (prices starting from £129). The staff are friendly and the hotel is a beautiful old fashioned house with plenty of room to find a comfy fire-side sofa (dreamy in winter), play a game of Scrabble, dig into a delicious afternoon tea or enjoy a glass of wine.
We loved the breakfast menu, which offered tasty pastries and fresh fish caught from local lakes. The bar menu is varied and serves both lunch and dinner, with the option to dine in the evening from the a la carte menu (prices start from £50 per head for three courses).
Head to nearby Pooley Bridge to get all your holiday tidbits and enjoy a hearty meal at one of the public houses. We recommend the Pooley Bridge Inn, a classic old English pub with a great sized front and rear garden, the perfect spot for an after walk tipple.
Top tip: Visit the information kiosk by the public restrooms; the staff will provide maps and invaluable knowledge of the local area.
Essentials to pack when out and about:
For more information visit:
Lake District National Park
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