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Visit Ullswater, our closest lake and a gem of the National Park

An Ullswater Steamer on the lake in autumn

Ullswater is a stunning, and sometimes overlooked glistening blue jewel of The Lake District. As many tourists head for Windermere or Coniston, those in the know are walking along the shores further north.

The nearest lake to us here at Scalesceugh, Ullswater is in fact the easiest accessible lake in the National Park, being just 10 minutes away from junction 40 of the M6.

Ullswater is relatively unspoilt by the tourist trade, which has made the South Lakes far busier, though still beautiful.

It is the second largest stretch of water in The Lake District, at about nine miles long, and at its widest, three-quarters of a mile - at its deepest, almost 200 feet down. A typical Lake District ribbon lake, Ullswater was formed after the last ice age.

Both the lake itself and the surrounding villages - and nearby town of Penrith - attract visitors from far and wide. But with fewer numbers, it makes for a more pleasurable experience for tourists and locals alike.

The lake is popular for activities from paddle boarding to wild swimming to sailing, while quaint villages such as Pooley Bridge and Glenridding provide a warm welcome in their traditional pubs, cafes and specialist shops.

Map of The Ullswater Way route and the area surrounding the lake

For walkers, the area simply offers too much ever to complete, from mountains including Helvellyn and Striding Edge, to the National Trust-managed Aira Force - The Lake District's highest waterfall - and easy, lake shore routes.

The Ullswater Way is a circular 20 mile route around the lake, but it is totally possible to walk sections at a time, using Ullswater Steamers or the Stagecoach 508 bus to get around.

The Ullswater Steamers are one of the largest heritage vessel fleets in the world, and the boats operate 363 days a year. See the timetables and fares here.

The 104 Carlisle to Penrith bus leaves twice hourly from the end of the drive here at Scalesceugh, and from there you can take the 508 Penrith-Windermere service via Pooley Bridge and Glenridding (timetable here) or explore a little further.

The lake is particularly beautiful at the time of year this article is being written - autumn. So we've found a couple of autumnal Ullswater area videos for you to watch and enjoy, plus a short journey around the lovely market town of Penrith:


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