Lake cruises on England’s most beautiful lake

with Ullswater 'Steamers'



Ullswater ‘Steamers' are a cruise company that nurtures the beautiful landscape in which it carries out its tourism business, having been one of the first, if not the first, Lake District tourism operator to establish a visitor payback scheme. Every passenger fare carried between our piers of Howtown and Glenridding generates a 10 pence donation for conservation work in the area, this being donated to different conservation charities at times, to reflect the needs of nature in the area, but most regularly donated to Nurture Lakeland, for its various conservation projects. To date we have raised over £40,000 towards such projects. Our main projects include visitor donation for Walkers tickets and online Visit Give donations to Penrith Red Squirrels

NEW for 2017, recent editions to our retail range and visitor donation gifts include the NEW I Love the Ullswater Way pin badge. Retailing at just £1.99, for every badge sold 50p is donated back to conservation projects and the footpath repair of The Ullswater Way. 

Environmental issues such as our consumption of fossil fuels and air emissions are central to the activities of Ullswater ‘Steamers’ and the implementation of our Environmental Management Survey (EMS) procedure has assisted us in our aim to manage our activities with a view to reducing our impact on the environment and reduce our waste streams. We also want to highlight some of the key issues especially the damage that phosphates can cause to water courses hence we are a supporter of the Nurture Lakeland Project - Love your Lakes.

Originally, the main purpose of the ‘Steamers’ was not only to carry passengers but also Royal Mail, provisions, slate and lead from the Greenside mine. During WW2 the ‘Steamers’ even ferried soldiers down to Glenridding for their training at the Ullswater Hotel. Today we operate a tourist attraction that provides a sustainable transport service linking some of the most iconic walking routes in the Lake District with a total of five heritage vessels in operation; Lady of the Lake originally launched in 1877, Raven in 1889, Lady Dorothy in 2001, Lady Wakefield in 2007 and Western Belle (built in 1935) joined us in 2010. The five boats in the fleet that traverse the 7.5 mile (12km) long lake now also transport keen nature lovers, those new to nature and others who might not have a clue which way to hold their binoculars, to a variety of wonderful wildlife experiences staged on the shores of England's most beautiful lake, the fells above it and around pathways and walks that link the world of nature to Ullswater ‘Steamers' piers.

Our employees are passionate about the natural environment and take pride in telling others about it, working in conjunction with local wildlife charities and Trusts but the company's views on wildlife go much deeper than this, with conservation being an integral part of business planning, to the extent that we will schedule work so as to not upset the yearly salmon spawning and recently refitted our pier houses with sustainable fixtures, energy saving features and even local Herdwick carpets. There are cycle racks and electric bike charge points at both main piers and electric car charge point at Glenridding. Eight key staff members hold a SMART driving tuition course. Save money when you travel by public transport, with combined train, bus & boat tickets here.

The biodiversity of the Ullswater Valley is a key element in our success and we recognise our duty to be responsible for the environmental impacts our business has not only on our waste disposal but also our sustainability towards tourism impacts on our environment. We promote walks, cycling and nature events and launched the Explore Ullswater Destination project for sustainable travel into the valley by rail/bus. In conjunction with First TransPennine Express rail services and Stagecoach buses. Ullswater ‘Steamers’ is delighted to offer an exclusive combined train/bus/boat ticket, saving you £s compared to separate fares. Read More

We currently hold the Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold accreditation and Gold Green at Heart for best environmental practice and have won numerous awards for sustainable practces over the years. Latest acheivements include, the 2015 World Tourism Responsible Tourism Award in the sea and river cruise category.These major accolades reflect the company's commitment to sustainable practices, which are at the heart of our tourism strategy. View our environmental policy and procurement policies here.

Responsible TourismGreen at Heart Gold 2016 2017

Our  latest savings and promises in 2017:

  • Continue to operate the staff mini bus scheme, carbon footprint reduction from 27180  kgs CO2 to 1445 kgs CO2 p.a - based on an average of six members of staff per day. In 2017 we purchased a high tech low emissions engine vechicle. 
  • Expansion of the Explore Ullswater sustainable transport programme into and around the valley with anniversary of the Ullswater Way in April 2017 and savings on green travel with joint tickets connecting train and bus routes
  • Reducing non reneawable aluminum waste stream by replacing cans with glass products
  • Incorporating Aira Force service  into the Lilac and Red main timetables 
  • Our office and consumables emmisions are carbon neutral. 
  • We plant 12 trees in the North West every year and offset 12 tonnes p.a
  • We continue to monitor and reduce our energy and water consumption with carbon reporting methodology 
  • We will retain Gold Award with GTBS and Green at Heart Gold and continue to work towards awards in sustainability
  • We will engage with public conferences to relay our sustainable best practices to others 
  • We consult with stakeholders, planners, EA, Natural England to ensure any new developments enhance the local infrastructure and economic community
  • We will adopt a retail product as part of the Visitor payback scheme to raise awareness and funds for the Ullswater Way -  NEW for 2017, recent editions to our retail range and visitor donation gifts include the NEW I Love the Ullswater Way pin badge. Retailing at just £1.99, for every badge sold 50p is donated back to conservation projects and the footpath repair of The Ullswater Way.