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A beautiful place
Ullswater (Cumbria, England)
Member Name: jeffjen
Ullswater (Cumbria, England)
Date: 05/09/09, updated on 05/09/09 (150 review reads)
Advantages: Lovely scenery, not as commercial as Windermere
One of my favourite places to visit is the Lake District in Cumbria. I live an hour and a half away by car, so it is fairly easy for me to visit often.
My favourite spot is Ullswater, the second largest of the lakes.
I first visited Ullswater, when I was on a holiday with my school aged 11, and staying at Patterdale Hall at the southern tip of the lake. I had two school holidays there and had the opportunity to explore the lake and participate in many walks around the area.
I never returned until 20 years later, when I took my own children to Ullswater, and everything was just as I remembered it. That is the beauty of most of the Lake District, it is so unspoilt and nothing changes.
Ullswater is approx 8 miles long and three quarters of a mile wide, stretching from Pooley Bridge in the north to Glenridding in the south, which lies at the foot of Helvellyn.
Ullswater is 60m deep at its deepest part.
There is something very tranquil about Ullswater and there is some terrific scenery of the mountain backdrop leading up to Helvellyn.
There are parking bays along the lake and some car parks which can get very busy in the summer months. There is a large car park at Glenridding but again this can get busy.
Patterdale, where I stayed on holiday is next to Glenridding and there are some lovely walks and trails along the lake which begin here. You can take a walk up to Lanty's Tarn from Patterdale, or a walk up Glenridding Beck which leads to what was once Greenside Lead Mine. Both of these are not long walks, but if you are fit and adveturous you maybe would like to climb Helvellyn which is also accessed from Glenridding.
When I visit Ullswater I often stop off at Patterdale and Glenridding and walk up Glenridding Beck to Greenside. It brings back a lot of memories for me and is just as I remember it.
It is a simple flat walk for the first part, leading from the car park at Glenridding and past the campsite. It is clearly signposted, along with Helvellyn. It then goes uphill a little, but nothing too strenuous, and you follow the trail which brings you to the former Greenside Lead Mine. You can stop off at the beck and paddle in the crystal clear water, or have a picnic. It is always so peaceful and the scenery is amazing.
Greenside Lead Mine operated for over 140 years and large quantities of lead rich effluent used to wash down Glenridding Beck into Ullswater, which was poisoning the lake. It is hard to imagine that now, looking at the clear water.
Back down on the lake, a popular attraction is the Ullswater steamers. There are four steamers on the lake which operate all year round, weather permitting.
A favourite walk of mine is to take the steamer from Glenridding to Howtown which is around half-way down the lake, and then take the lakeside trail back to Glenridding. It is quite a long walk but the views of the lake and mountains are breathtaking, and there are many places to stop off on the way such as Silver Cove, and waterfalls. I must also mention the banks of daffodils in the spring which Wordsworth wrote about in his best known work.
Aira Force is a popular waterfall to visit but it can get very busy during peak times of year.
Prices for a trip on the steamer From either Glenridding or Pooley Bridge to Howtown are £5.50 single, £8.80 return for adults, and £2.75 single, £4.40 return for children.
A family ticket is priced at £24.00 for either 2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children.
It is also possible to purchase a Freedom of the Lake Pass which allows you to hop on and off the steamers all day. Family passes are also available priced at £29.75.
Special events for Halloween and Christmas, such as the 'Ghostly Galleon' are organised on the steamers on Oct 31st for Halloween, which is great fun for the kids, with goody bags and games, and involves stopping off on an island to look for a vampire's coffin and prizes for fancy dress.
Santa trips are organised in the run up to Christmas. More information on these special events and prices/times are available by visiting :-
The villages of Glenrdding and Patterdale, although small, do offer places to stay, cafe's and a couple of shops as well as outdoor and hiking supplies.
The Patterdale Hotel is a popular choice, but there are holiday cottages, B & B's, and a holiday lodge park in the area. Also the Patterdale Hall Estate has converted some of it's outbuildings into holiday cottages and also has lodges available. Patterdale Hall is where I stayed when on holiday years ago, and I am hoping to book a short break in one of the accomodations on the estate in the near future, as all my visits to Ullswater in recent years have been just for a day.
Ullswater is also an ideal base for touring the Lake District and visiting the other lakes and villages. Whilst Windermere remains the largest and most popular, it certainly does not have the peace and tranquility which Ullswater offers. Whatever the weather (and it can rain a lot!) it always looks beautiful, even when the moutains are part covered in mist. Having said that, I will also point out that I have spent some very warm days here also!
Ullswater is easily reached from the M6 . Leave at Junction 40 and follow the signposts.
Summary: My favourite place in the Lake District