Lake cruises on England’s
most beautiful lake
Things to do

with Ullswater 'Steamers'



Ullswater Valley is a spectacular place to visit whatever the season so, to help you plan your adventure with us, we have devised a small sample of things to do along the length of Ullswater connected with our ‘Steamer' cruises.  Our cruises connect to some of the most famous and spectacular walking routes in Lake District National Park. For more detailed information and walking guides, click here . For information on the Ullswater Way, the round the lake 20 mile footpath, waymarked with the famous daffodil symbols, please click here.  Do the Ullswater Way, your Way ! 


Perfect Days out in and around Glenridding

Walk to or from Howtown

Combine a cruise with one of the most famous and spectacular scenic walks in the Lake District, the Howtown to Glenridding walk. This low-level walk is 7 miles/11km from Howtown Pier to Glenridding Pier House and takes approximately 3 to 4 hours.

Visit Lanty's Tarn

This moderately easy walk, affording stunning views of the Ullswater Valley and Keldas, is an ideal spot to enjoy a sunny afternoon away from the hustle and bustle. Don't forget your camera you may spot a red squirrel!

Afternoon Tea

Glenridding has many excellent cafés and hotels – why not enjoy a traditional Cumbrian Cream Tea and fantastic lake views from the terrace of the Inn on the Lake. Alternatively, browse in the Glenridding Hotel's library dedicated to Donald Campbell or try out the cyber café located in Kilners Coffee House.

Steps of the Famous

From the village of Patterdale retrace the steps of Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott who stayed at the Patterdale Hotel before their ascent of Helvellyn – at 3117ft it is England's third highest mountain.

Larking About by the Lake

Jenkins' Field, just next to our Glenridding Pier House, is the perfect place for enjoying the sunshine, a picnic or a spot of bird watching. The original slipway used by Donald Campbell is marked by a memorial plaque adjacent to the Pier House. In the autumn one of the last remaining herds of wild Red Deer can be seen grazing on the slopes of Place Fell on the opposite shore.

Skipper Your Own Vessel

A short stroll through Jenkins' Field will bring you to St Patrick's Boat Landing for Motor/Rowing Boat or Mountain Bike hire. On your voyage investigate Purse Point, Devils' Chimney or Stybarrow Crag where Wordsworth, as a schoolboy stole a boat and rowed out into Ullswater, only to be driven back by the appearance of a huge cliff believed to have been either Place Fell or Black Crag.

Cycling Routes

Try out some of the great cycle routes with the Eden Cycling Guide. Both Pier Houses have cycle racks so you can leave your bike behind and link cruises with other walking routes or follow the guide and ride all the way. Bike Hire at St Patricks Boat Hire just next door to the Pier House. Coming soon electric charge point for electric bikes with a discounted travel voucher thrown in too.

Perfect Days Out from Howtown

Enjoy the view!

Howtown is the perfect location for both long and short walks. Stroll along the lakeshore from the pier and find a perfect spot to enjoy a lazy lakeside picnic, soaking up the sun while the kids fish for tiddlers or feed the ducks. Keep an eye out for Ravens, Peregrine Falcons and Buzzards. It is advisable to refer to Ordnance Survey (OL5) map when exploring the valley.

Walk Around Hallin Fell

This is a very rewarding short walk taking approximately one and a half to two hours, well worth the climb for the splendid views of the lake and fells from the summit. Did you know that during a volcanic upheaval approximately 450 million years ago, faults in the rock allowed movement; Howtown is located on such a fault which gives Ullswater its characteristic kink.

Visit the Howtown Hotel

Only 200 yards from the Steamer Pier, Howtown Hotel is a landmark Lakeland Hotel, and the perfect place from which to experience the unique surroundings of Ullswater, whilst quenching your thirst in our Hikers Bar or enjoying a selection of teas, coffees and light refreshments from our newly opened Tearoom.

Explore Martindale and Fusedale

One of Lakeland's least visited yet most stunning valleys, Martindale is a real hidden gem. Follow the road through Martindale Common to Dale Head then along to Bannerdale. This is one of the oldest Red Deer forests in England and is a good place to watch the stags during the Autumn rutt.

Visit the Churches

Wander up the hill from the pier to visit two of the areas loveliest churches. St Peter's Church set within the parish of Martindale has a memorial window dedicated to the officers and men lost when aircraft carrier HMS Glorious was destroyed off the coast of Norway in 1940.

If you continue beyond St Peter's you will come across the thirteenth century church St Martin's. A place described by Wordsworth as "the chapel, with its bare ring of mossy wall" and "single yew tree". The Yew Tree in question is believed to be in the region of 1,300 years old.

Perfect Days out in and around Pooley Bridge

Walk to Dalemain

Walk via the bridleway to Dalemain, starting out from the footpath signposted by the bridge, taking you along the riverside. Dalemain is a stunning historic house with magnificent gardens and a medieval tearoom. Take advantage of our later sailings by spending a leisurely afternoon in the gardens then wander back to Pooley Bridge Pier House to catch the last sailing to Glenridding.

Shopping for Souvenirs and Farmers Market

Looking for a memento of your time in the Ullswater Valley? Our own ‘Ullswater Steamers' Shop and Information Centre carries comprehensive information about the area and the Lake District in general as well as a wide range of gifts. On the last Sunday of every month from April to September, Pooley Bridge hosts a traditional farmers market. The market is a great ‘foodie' day out and a chance to meet the producers of local food, drink and crafts.

Quintessential Villages

For a more energetic hike why not walk to Askham, one of Cumbria's prettiest villages built around a village green and home to two traditional Lakeland inns. The walk back over Askham Fell affords spectacular views of Ullswater and Helvellyn and, on clear days, you can see the Scottish Borders and the Yorkshire Dales. Skylarks, Curlews, and Wheatears abound on these fells in the Spring and Summer months whereas Red Grouse and Fell Ponies can be seen throughout the year.

Bronze Age Stone Circle

Moor Divock is rich in antiquities dating to the Early Bronze Age. The ‘Cockpit' is the largest of several monuments found on the moor with a diameter of 25m. Many of the stones are now fallen but the tallest of those stones still upright are just under a metre. (Further reading: A Guide to the Stones Circles of Cumbria – Robert W.E. Farrah).

Pony Trekking

Park Foot Pony Trekking Centre is just a 15 minute walk out of the village for escorted trekking over glorious countryside overlooking Ullswater. They have horses to suit all abilities. Hard hats and waterproofs are provided free of charge.

Cycling Routes

Try out some of the great cycle routes with the Eden Cycling Guide. Both Pier Houses have cycle racks so you can leave your bike behind and link cruises with other walking routes or follow the guide and ride all the way.

Lowther Castle

Visit the sandstone ruins of the magnificent castle and 130 acres of rediscovered gardens, hidden from public view for over 70 years. Wander in stunning woodlands, with an occasional view of red squirrels and a wonderful array of birds - including a heronry perched high above the Iris gardens. Admire the stunning views of the Western Lakeland Fells as you stroll along the escarpment path or marvel at the scale of the some of the gardens stunning features including the Pate D'Oie, Jack Croft's Pond or the partially uncovered Japanese Garden. 

Perfect Days out from Aira Force Pier

Lakeshore Walk

This is the ultimate day out, with a walk up to the waterfall and lunch at the café, before walking back to Glenridding on the new three mile off-road footpath, or heading back on the boat. Cruise from starting points at Glenridding or Aira Force and then walk back to your starting point. A great family walk with excellent facilities at both points including an outdoor play area and Red Squirrel Trail at Aira Force. Click here for a guide. 

Look out for the famous Daffodils

The Daffodils' written by William Wordsworth was inspired by a walk near Glencoyne in 1802; these daffodils can be found in abundance along the lakeshore in Spring. You can divert off the new path and walk around them today.

Waterfall Walk

Aira Force, a tumbling waterfall drops an impressive 65ft and can be reached by an enchanting stroll through ancient woodland and landscaped glades. You can experience the falls from up high and down below from the ornate stone bridges.  The perfect place for a family walk and picnic perhaps!

Aira Force, a tumbling waterfall drops an impressive 65ft and can be reached by an enchanting stroll through ancient woodland and landscaped glades. The perfect place for a family walk and picnic.