Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District, at 7.5 miles long, though just under a mile wide. Lying within a deep valley, Ullswater is edged by fells including Helvellyn, Cumbria’s third-highest mountain. Patterdale, Glenridding and Pooley Bridge are the three main towns in the area and all of them offer visitors a range of shops and some good pubs.
Ullswater is also said to be where William Wordsworth took inspiration for his famous ‘Daffodils’ poem. So a springtime visit here, and specifically to the small pebbly beach and woodland area around Glencoyne Bay when the daffodils are blooming is particularly appropriate.
There aren’t any speed boats allowed on Ullswater, but at Glenridding the sailing school rents out rowing boats and canoes, with tuition available if required. Alternatively, there are three old steamer boats in operation, ready to ferry you on a leisurely cruise from Glenridding, via Howtown, to Pooley Bridge which takes around an hour.
Hop off at Howtown for an array of rambling routes, or starting from Glenridding, walk along footpaths, through stunning scenery, to Aira Force. This impressive 65ft waterfall is surrounded by nature trails, where if you’re lucky you might spot one of the rare red squirrels.