Even in a landscape as captivating as the Lake District, Ullswater has a bewitching quality to it. This is the second largest lake in the Lake District, at nine miles long and nearly a mile wide. Ullswater began to grow in popularity as a tourism destination from the mid-18th century, and it served as the inspiration for William Wordsworth’s famous poem, “Daffodils”.
A “ribbon” lake formed by an ancient glacier, Ullswater is surrounded by picturesque villages that are overlooked by dramatic peaks. It is generally regarded as the most beautiful lake in England and the scenery is truly magnificent, particularly when the skies darken and gusts of wind send white-tipped waves flying along the surface.
You have plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation. Hotels in Ullswater range from quaint farmhouses and bed and breakfasts to luxurious hotels with spas. It is worthwhile to book ahead when travelling during peak season, and if you are flying into either Glasgow International Airport or Manchester International Airport, both of which are a two-hour drive from most Ullswater hotels, then you can arrange car hire at either from a range of companies with no difficulty.
Where to stay in Ullswater
If you’re searching for a hotel in Ullswater, you’ll find that most are either located within the villages around the lake’s edge, or on their outskirts. Many visitors will choose to stay in Glenridding, a village at the southern end of the lake that is convenient especially for mountain walkers and climbers. From Glenridding you can scale Helvellyn, the third highest mountain in England, as well as a number of other challenging fells.
Pooley Bridge, at the northern end of Ullswater, is another popular place to stay, while you can also find pleasant and good-value Ullswater hotels around Sandwick, Patterdale, Howtown and Watermillock. If you’re looking to explore Ullswater thoroughly, you can take a ride on one of the Ullswater steamers that regularly traverse the lake, stopping at various villages, and walk back to your hotel.
Things to see and do in Ullswater
In July 1955, Donald Campbell set the world water speed record on Ullswater with his boat, Bluebird K7, but nowadays most waterborne pursuits on the lake are far more sedate. This is the perfect setting for a spot of sailing or kayaking, perhaps bringing along a fishing rod. There is an excellent network of trails around the lake that suit walking, cycling, pony trekking and mountain-biking, while up in the fells rock-climbing and mountaineering are popular activities. If you don’t mind the cold, several shallow parts of the lake are also fine for swimming.
Situated in the appealing Eden Valley of Cumbria, Ullswater is ideally positioned for exploring the area by car, and for many holidaymakers here it is roaming the charming villages that proves the real highlight of their stay. You can stop off at a welcoming tearoom for a refresher and a tasty ice cream on a hot day, or find a traditional pub with a roaring fire on a cold one. Many Ullswater hotels have their own restaurants, often serving locally sourced produce, and of course there are plenty of superb places to eat dotted around the landscape.
A journey on one of the Ullswater steamers is a must-do. This award-winning heritage attraction takes you around the lake on an atmospheric voyage and you can easily see why Wordsworth became so enamoured of the place. Many visitors staying in Glenridding will take the steamer out to Howtown on the eastern edge of the lake, then make their way back on foot, as this is considered to be the most scenic walk of them all.
Other well-known trails include the Ullswater Way, a 20-mile walk that skirts all the way around the lake, and the Aira Force, in a wooded ravine scattered with gushing waterfalls. While a holiday in the Lake District is unforgettable at any time of year, spring is much-anticipated as this is, of course, when the daffodils begin to appear.
Naturally, there is a wealth of family-friendly experiences available around Ullswater, ranging from outdoor adventures to farm visits, while couples may like to get pampered at a spa retreat.
Ullswater hotels in the Lake District are ideally located to discover the many activities around the lake and further afield, and you can usually find a hotel in Ullswater with car parking too if required. Dog-friendly hotels in Ullswater are also commonplace if you want the family pet to enjoy the fun.
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