Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater

by | Activities, Attractions, Lake District

This article is part of our Discover Alston series. You can find more articles here


Ullswater, often described as one of the most picturesque lakes in England, offers a range of activities and attractions that make it a must-visit destination. Nestled in the Lake District National Park, Ullswater provides breathtaking views, outdoor adventures, and charming villages. Using Salvin House in Alston as your base, you can easily explore the top ten things to do around Ullswater.

Things to do around Ullswater

1. Visit Pooley Bridge

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Pooley Bridge village with cozy cafes and traditional pubs.

Quaint Pooley Bridge village, a perfect starting point for your Ullswater adventure.

Pooley Bridge is a quaint village located at the northern end of Ullswater. It’s a perfect starting point for your Ullswater adventure. The village offers cozy cafes, traditional pubs, and local shops. Stroll along the river, enjoy the scenic views, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere.

  • Enjoy local shops and cafes
  • Relax by the river
  • Explore traditional pubs

2. Aira Force Waterfall

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Aira Force waterfall surrounded by lush woodland.

The stunning Aira Force waterfall, ideal for nature walks and photography.

Aira Force is one of the most popular natural attractions in the area. This stunning 65-foot waterfall, which is owned by the National Tust, is surrounded by lush woodland, making it an ideal spot for nature walks and photography. There are well-maintained paths leading to the falls, offering various viewpoints to appreciate the cascading water.

  • Experience a 65-foot waterfall
  • Enjoy nature walks
  • Perfect for photography

3. Glenridding

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Glenridding village with scenic beauty and boat rentals.

Charming Glenridding village, a gateway to hiking trails and lake cruises.

Glenridding, situated at the southern end of Ullswater, is a charming village known for its scenic beauty and outdoor activities. It’s a gateway to some of the best hiking trails in the Lake District, including the challenging ascent of Helvellyn. Glenridding also offers boat rentals and cruises on Ullswater, allowing you to explore the lake at your own pace.

  • Gateway to hiking trails
  • Rent boats and cruises
  • Stunning scenic beauty

4. Sailing on Ullswater

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Sailing on the calm waters of Ullswater with a stunning backdrop."

Enjoy sailing on Ullswater’s serene waters, a haven for enthusiasts.

Ullswater is a haven for sailing enthusiasts. The lake’s calm waters and stunning backdrop make it a perfect spot for sailing. Several local operators offer boat rentals and sailing lessons, catering to both beginners and experienced sailors. This is a fantastic way to enjoy the lake’s beauty from a unique perspective.

  • Ideal for sailing enthusiasts
  • Rent boats and take lessons
  • Enjoy the serene lake views

Explore sailing options.

5. Ullswater Steamers Boat Trip

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Scenic Ullswater Steamers boat trip on the lake.

Take a scenic cruise on historic Ullswater Steamers for breathtaking views.

A boat trip on an Ullswater Steamer is a quintessential experience, and probably the most famous of all the things to do around Ullswater. These historic vessels offer scenic cruises around the lake, providing spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. The steamers operate year-round, making stops at various points of interest, including Howtown and Pooley Bridge.

  • Take a scenic cruise
  • Year-round operation
  • Visit multiple lake points

6. Helvellyn

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Hikers on the challenging Striding Edge route to Helvellyn summit.

The challenging Striding Edge route to Helvellyn offers breathtaking views.

Helvellyn, one of the highest peaks in England, is a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts. The Striding Edge route to the summit is particularly famous, offering breathtaking views and a challenging climb. Ensure you are well-prepared for the hike, as it requires a good level of fitness and appropriate gear.

  • Famous Striding Edge route
  • Breathtaking summit views
  • Challenging hike for enthusiasts

Plan your hike.

7. Dalemain Mansion and Historic Gardens

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Dalemain Mansion with its historic rooms and award-winning gardens.

Explore Dalemain Mansion’s historic rooms and beautiful gardens.

Dalemain Mansion, located near Ullswater, is an impressive stately home with beautiful gardens. Visitors can explore the house’s historic rooms, enjoy the award-winning gardens, and indulge in afternoon tea at the on-site café. The annual World Marmalade Awards are also held here.

  • Explore historic rooms
  • Enjoy award-winning gardens
  • Indulge in afternoon tea

8. Ullswater Way

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Hikers on the scenic Ullswater Way trail.

Explore the scenic Ullswater Way, a 20-mile circular route around the lake

The Ullswater Way is a 20 mile walking route that goes around the whole of Ullswater lake. You can do the walk in one go, or do a smaller section combined with a boat trip or bus ride. There are villages and eating places along this fairly low-level, easy to walk route, making it ideal for all ages.

  • Various trails for all levels
  • Scenic lakeside strolls
  • See the lake at your own pace

9. Rheged Centre

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Rheged Centre with its cinema, art gallery, and café.

Visit the Rheged Centre for cinema, art, shopping, and dining

The Rheged Centre is a cultural hub located close to Ullswater. It offers a cinema, art gallery, shops, and a café. It’s a great place to visit, especially on rainy days, and provides activities for all ages. The centre also hosts various exhibitions and events throughout the year.

  • Enjoy cinema and art gallery
  • Shop and dine in the café
  • Activities for all ages

10. Kirkstone Pass

Top 10 Things to Do Around Ullswater: Panoramic view from Kirkstone Pass road.

Drive through Kirkstone Pass for stunning panoramic views and a visit to one of the highest pubs in England.

Kirkstone Pass, the highest pass in the Lake District accessible by car, offers stunning panoramic views. The winding road connects Ullswater to Ambleside, providing numerous photo opportunities along the way. The Kirkstone Pass Inn, one of the highest pubs in England, is a great spot to stop for refreshments.

  • Drive through scenic pass
  • Connect Ullswater to Ambleside
  • Refresh at Kirkstone Pass Inn

That’s It: The Top 10 Things to do around Ullswater

From the charming villages of Pooley Bridge and Glenridding to the thrilling outdoor activities like hiking Helvellyn and sailing on the tranquil waters, there’s something for everyone. The Ullswater Way trail offers breathtaking scenery for walkers, while cultural spots like the Rheged Centre provide entertainment and relaxation. As you journey through this beautiful region, each experience around Ullswater will leave you with lasting memories of its stunning landscapes and welcoming communities. Exploring the top 10 things to do around Ullswater ensures an unforgettable adventure in one of England’s most picturesque destinations.

Where to Stay

Staying at Salvin House in Alston gives you a comfortable and convenient base to explore these attractions. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, Ullswater has something to offer every traveler.





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