Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District at 7.5 miles long. It is on average 3/4 mile wide and has a maximum depth of 205 feet at Howtown. The lake has three distinct bends giving it a dog’s leg appearance.

image of Ullswater lake in the Lake District

The closest town is Penrith, some 6 miles north east of the northern tip of the lake. An attractive market town, and gateway to the Eden Valley, Penrith has junctions on both the M6 and A66, making Ullswater one of the Lake District’s most accessible lakes.

The village of Pooley Bridge is at the northern end of the lake, Glenridding at the southern end, with Howtown about halfway down. Other villages along the lake are Patterdale and Watermillock.

Ullswater is clear but deep, and in the deepest part lives a curious fish called the skelly, a species of char.

Looking South West down the lake. Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham.
image of Ullswater lake in the Lake District, view looking South West

On the lake

Ullswater Cruises operate two diesel craft ‘Raven’ and ‘Lady of the Lake’ during the summmertime.

Possibly the best lakeshore walk is found on the south eastern shore, between Howtown and Glenridding – two of the three stopping points for the boats, with striking views across Ullswater’s most attractive section.

Boat hire is available on the lake shores as well as sailing and windsurfing courses. The Glenridding Sailing Centre (external link) is located on the Spit at Glenridding and hires out kayaks, Canadian Canoes, sailing dinghies and traditional boats as well as offering tuition.

A visit to Glencoyne Park by William and Dorothy Wordsworth on 15 April 1802, gave him the inspiration to write his most famous poem, ‘Daffodils’.

Ullswater 3rd reach, and Glenridding.
image of an aerial view of Ullswater lake's third reach

The Ullswater Way

Opened in 2016, the Ullswater Way is a 20-mile waymarked trail circumnavigating the lake. The length makes it an ideal two-day hiking trip with an overnight stay on the lakeside.

Many hikers will find accommodation for the night or a spot for their tent close to either Pooley Bridge to the north or Glenridding to the south. There are clusters of accommodations and dining options around each village, and the distance between each is roughly equal.

The route is gentle enough to be achievable for most fitness levels. The trail follows shoreline paths wherever the terrain allows, and when it doesn’t, it follows quiet country lanes or ascends into the surrounding hills, offering hikers stunning views across the shimmering water below.

Adding to the existing natural beauty of the trail are the extra points of interest highlighted by the Ullswater Heritage Trail. These include commissioned sculptures such as the Herdwick Stones and Artists’ Seat.

The Ullswater Way is an ideal mini-adventure for lovers of the Lake District’s sublime scenery. After two days of walking by the lakeside, you will understand why it has been such a source of inspiration for so many artists. Read the complete guide to the Ullswater Way on hikerhero.com/ullswater-way/ (external link)

See more photo of Ullswater >>

Menu :

Grid Ref : NY 440205

Planning a visit to Ullswater? Enter your dates below to see accommodation available for your visit on a handy map (zoom out for more options)