Oft-considered the most beautiful lake in England, the tranquillity of Ullswater represents the Lake District at its finest...
To gaze across England’s ‘most beautiful’ lake 1
Ullswater, aside from its arresting beauty, is notably the second largest natural lake in England (after Windermere) with its stretched Z-shape covering an area of 8.9km2. The 12km-long lake is steeped in history too – Donald Campbell set the first of his seven world water speed records at Ullswater, reaching 202.32mph in the Bluebird K7 on 23 July 1955. Meanwhile, its splendour was immortalised by Wordsworth, whose poem Daffodils was inspired by a visit to Ullswater. He also wrote of the lake as ‘being, perhaps, upon the whole, the happiest combination of beauty and grandeur, which any of the Lakes affords’.
For a Wordsworthian waterfall 2
Aira Force is a magnificently picturesque fall and just as Wordsworthian as Ullswater itself. In fact, the famous poet mentioned the cascade in three of his works. From a stone footbridge, you can watch as the beck crashes almost 70ft to a rocky pool below. The fall is National Trust-owned, so heavy visitor footfall can be expected in peak season but, nevertheless, it’s a must-see beauty spot if you’re in the area!
To stay at a cottage fit for a king 3
Believe it or not, prior to the outbreak of the Great War the German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II toured Ullswater in 1912. In preparation for the Kaiser’s visit a shooting lodge, ‘The Bungalow’ was specially built in nearby Martindale – and now you can stay in it too!
To walk the Ullswater Way 4
Opened in 2016, the Ullswater Way is a 20-mile walking route that circumnavigates the entire lake. The fully waymarked path offers viewpoints of Ullswater and, of a particular section the route takes in, Wainwright once said it was ‘the most beautiful and rewarding walk in Lakeland’. For those not keen on a 20-mile slog, the route can be completed with a little help – by jumping on a bus or even hopping aboard one of the Ullswater Steamers.
To climb a lakeside fell 5
While Ullswater makes an ideal basecamp from which to tackle Helvellyn, a much nearer high point to head for is Place Fell. It may top out at just 657m, but the lakeside hill features a jumble of crags and steep rocky scree to make its ascent challengingly fun and, once at the summit plateau, the views make it worth the sweat.
‘Combination of beauty and grandeur’ – the glorious view south along the lake towards Patterdale and the Kirkstone Pass.
The underrated Place Fell.