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 10p 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 The Lake District Foundation, 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 2018, recent editions to our retail range and visitor donation gifts include the NEW I Walked The Ullswater Way pin badge. Retailing at just £2.00, for every badge sold 50p is donated back to conservation projects and the footpath repair of The Ullswater Way. We are also selling a Ullswater Way pictorial walking guide published by Friends of the Ullswater Way. This retails for £4.99 and £1.00 from each sale is donated for the upkeep of the Ullswater Way footpaths. 

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 Lake District Foundation.

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 charging points at Glenridding. Several key staff members also hold a SMART driving tuition qualification.

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 practices over the years. We have been recognised internationally for previous World Tourism Responsible Tourism Awards 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 2018 19

Our  latest savings and promises in 2018:

  • Continue to operate the staff minibus 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. This transport is a high tech low emissions engine vehicle. 
  • Expansion of the Explore Ullswater sustainable transport programme into and around the valley including a new Dalemain Loop extension of the Ullswater Way
  • Introduce bookable tickets for green boat, train and bus routes
  • Removal of all single-use plastic from catering such as biodegradable coffee cups and water fountains to refill your bottles 
  • We have now included the Aira Force pier in the Lilac and Red main timetables 
  • Our office and consumables emissions 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 and Natural England to ensure any new developments enhance the local infrastructure and economic community
  • We will continue to adopt retail products as part of the visitor payback scheme to raise awareness and funds for the Ullswater Way.