Ullswater and the East

Jonathan’s View

“Enjoy a touch of paradise on the most beautiful of England’s many lakes”

The Area

For anyone visiting the Lake District who has not visited the area near Ullswater I would say do it and do it soon. Ullswater is the loveliest lake in the Lake District, the shores particularly on the far side, are unsurpassed. The mountains that loom over the water are awe inspiring. Place Fell, Gowbarrow and Hallin Fell typify the ruggedness of the Lakeland fells; rocky outcrops, grassy hollows and bracken strewn slopes which are attractive at any time of the year.

The lake itself is a mecca for non-motorised watersport enthusiasts and some beautiful steamers plough their furrow between Glenridding, Howtown and Pooley Bridge.  Ullswater is officially classed as being in the Eden Valley with access from the M6, I have therefore included Penrith in the description of the area.

Patterdale & Glenridding

Hole in the Wall, Helvellyn
Hole in the Wall, Helvellyn

Staying anywhere near Ullswater is a pleasure. Glenridding and Patterdale lie at the south western end of the lake. Their main claim to fame is as the best access points to Helvellyn and the magnificent range of mountains nearby. Glenridding is lakeside with water sports and some beach area whilst Patterdale faces up the valley towards Brothers Water. Glenridding has shops and pubs whilst Patterdale is really just a large hotel and a youth hostel. They are both though top notch places to enjoy a holiday in the Lake District.

The twin villages can become busy in summer. However the type of person who visits tends not to stay around the villages but walk out. The lake has some excellent shoreline walking as well as mountain climbs. There is also a very large car park and visitor centre which helps the ‘management’ of the village.

Pooley Bridge & Howtown

Dalemain House
Dalemain House

Pooley Bridge is especially lovely and a personal favourite. It lies on the river and although the beautiful arched bridge was destroyed by Storm Desmond it has retained its character.Accommodation tends to be provided by the camp sites that spread along the south eastern shores of Ullswater but there is also plenty of bed and breakfast and cottage accommodation in the village. The walking is less dramtic than the other end of the lake but there is excellent access to the north end of the High Street range as well as some low level walks. Pooley Bridge is certainly more peaceful than the more frenetic Glenridding/Patterdale.

Howtown is at the road end on the southern/eastern shores of Ullswater. There is not much there (a hotel and some cottages) but it is a ferry point for the very good Ullswater launch service. Therefore it provides a start (and finish) point for the wonderful walking at its doorstep. The walking choice is as good as anything in the Lake District with lakeside, valley and mountain options.


Kidsty Pike and Haweswater
Kidsty Pike and Haweswater

The next valley to the south of Ullswater is Haweswater which is accessed from Shap. I have included Haweswater within the Ullswater area because the two valleys entrap some of the best walking terrain in the Lake District. The High Street range is best accessed from Hawesater. The range itself offers wonderful walking country. The walking is easy and a delight for the summit bagger. Haweswater itself is a large reservoir built in the 1950s. The local village was drowned as the waters rose and now there is no settlements or places to stay on its flanks. It is a lonely place where sadly now not even the eagles can find a home.

Penrith & Shap

Wet Sleddale
Wet Sleddale

Penrith and Shap are large towns on the outskirts of the Lake District but for anyone wishing to vary their holiday by exploring more of the Eden Valley they offer a good base and facilities. Indeed Shap is underrated as a base and is suitable for anyone exploring Haweswater whilst Penrith offers quick access in to the heart of the Lake District.

Smaller hamlets and individual hotels and houses litter the banks of Ullswater and up the valley towards Brothers Water. To be honest it is all lovely, any stay here really gets in to the guts of the Lake District.

The Best Walks in Ullswater and the East

My favourite walks in the Ullswater area are detailed below, click on the link for full walk details.


Hallin Fell, Howtown. It is well worth exploring this fell which may be small but full of interest with exceptional views.

Dacre & Dalemain. A 3 mile walk at the east end of Ullswater through pretty villages and countryside

Wet Sleddale near Shap A short circuit of a quiet and attractive reservoir on the eastern flanks of the Lakes.


Back of Ullswater. A lovely 7 mile lakeside path leads from Howtown to Glenridding. Add the steamer for a great day out.

Sheffield Pike from Glenridding. On the doorstep and with he best views down Ullswater.

Angletarn Pikes. A cracking walk over this craggy double summit and round a beautiful tarn from Brothers Water.

Gowbarrow via Aira Force. A lovely Lakeland fell reached via the most famous waterfalls in the Lake District.

Haweswater in Drought. A full circuit of the reservoir from the dam wall at Burnbanks.

Askham & the Lowther Valley from Pooley Bridge. Interesting contrasts of scenery on the fringes of Lakeland.

Loadpot Hill from Howtown Explore the north end of the long High Street ridge.

Place Fell. An exceptional 2,000 foot fell perched perfectly for views both up and down Ullswater.

Martindale & Beda Head. An unspoilt corner of the Lakes and a glorious valley leading in to the Far Eastern Fells.

Little known Swindale. South of Haweswater there is some lovely walking in beautiful and untouched valleys.


Helvellyn by the Edges. This very popular fell of over 3,000 foot is best climbed via Striding and Swirrel Edges.

Ridges over Dovedale. Quieter ridges sneak up high between some of the Lakeland giants.

Helvellyn and Raise . Climb over Striding Edge but descend via the Miners Track at Greenside

Fistful of Dodds. Enjoy lovely panoramic views from the soft turf of the northern Helvellyn ridge as the crowds congregate only a few miles away.

High Street Ridge Walking. A 13 mile walk on the old Roman road before a return along the banks of Haweswater.

Kirkstone Pass to Threlkeld. 18 miles traversing the Lakes south to north along the Helvellyn ridge.

Troutbeck to Pooley Bridge . A 2nd 18 mile walk traversing the full High Street ridge, easy walking but a long day.

Airy Martindale Round. From Howtown this 9 miles take in some wonderful walking and unusual views of the Ullswater area.

Hayeswater & Angle Tarn. A lovely high level circuit around Hayeswater from the pretty village of Hartsopp.

Weather Forecast



Other Things to do

Ullswater steamers. Boats of character steam up and down the lake. A single costs £5.80 from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge.

Sail and Canoe hire. Hire and tuition is available in Glenridding enabling the lake to be fully explored.

Ullswater Information. The official site of everything to see and do in the Ullswater area.

Rheged. A wet day near Penrith is well spent at Rheged with Imax films, character shops and travelling exhibitions.

Wetheriggs Pottery. A slightly bizarre artisans’ centre with pottery and farm for the children is a decent 1/2 day out.

Drowning of Mardale. An excellent account of the history of the drowned village of Mardale under Haweswater.


Places to Stay

Cottages in the Dales

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