Length – 14.5 km / Max Width – 1.02km

Ullswater is the Lake District’s second largest lake and best known for its fleet of steamers that provide lake cruises with various stopping points around the shore. Boat hire is available and the lake is a popular place for sailing, with competitions held here regularly.

Its distinctive 'Z' shape is as a result of its formation from three separate glaciers and the lake is overlooked by the spectacular Helvellyn range of fells. This lake is best accessed via the A592 that leads from just outside of Penrith to Glenridding, along the north-west shore of the lake.


Parking is available in the villages of Pooley Bridge (northern shore) and Glenridding (southern shore). Various parking spots are also available along the A592 with direct access to the lake shore.

There is a single track road that leads from the village of Pooley Bridge along the south-eastern edge of the lake to Martindale that also has a number of parking spots, including at the church at Hause Farm (Grid Ref NY 434 184).

It is not advisable to continue by car past this point as the road narrows into a farm track with very few passing points.


There are plenty of facilities at both Glenridding and Pooley Bridge, including shops, cafés, and public toilets. Walkers attempting the route between Howtown and Glenridding will be pleasantly surprised with the discovery of the Lowther Tea Room, a converted barn with a café and self-catered accommodation located on a path far from the nearest road (Grid Ref NY 418 193).

On the other side of the lake, at Aira Force waterfall, the National Trust has a café and toilets (Grid Ref NY 401 200).

Walking Trails

A walk around Ullswater is estimated to be around 20-miles, much of which is on the A592. However, the area does offer a number of spectacular trails, suitable for everyone from novice to expert.

A circular walk up to Aira Force (starting point Grid Ref NY 401 200) is a good one for families with young children and beginners, as it features gentle slopes, a beautiful waterfall, and various points of interest including a tree trunk filled with coins, as well as the shop and café run by the National Trust.

A seven-mile long walk along a fairly well maintained path is available from Howtown to Glenridding. You can catch a steamer from Glenridding to Howtown and then take a leisurely stroll back along the lake shore.

Alternatively, Glenridding is the starting point for walkers attempting to tackle the summit of Helvellyn and its notorious ridge, Striding Edge. This route is not recommended for beginners.