Ullswater – Walking Beside This Most Beautiful Lake

A beautiful lakeside walkalong the shores of Ullswater, welcome to one of my favourites. This 6.5 miles walk from Howtown to Glenridding is truly one of the best low level walks in the Lake District if not the country.

Ullswater is the second largest of the English Lakes after Windermere but regarded by the majority as the most beautiful, I tend to agree with them.

the walking path beside Ullswater

Three quarters of the lake of Ullswater can be circumnavigated by road and car, but there is one quarter of it that is roadless, away from much of civilisation and more within nature. This is what constitutes the walk from Howtown to Glenridding.

With it being a linear one way walk the best way to do it without leaving a car at either end is by getting the boat, the Ullswater Steamer from Glenridding to Howtown then walking back.

BaldHiker Retreats

Ullswater Steamer

Ullswater steamer on the lake

In the summer they run frequently up and down the Lake, from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge and back, stopping off at 2 places along the lake at Aira Force and at Howton, the place you needed to be for this walk start.

The boats are not expensive at all. It is currently just £8 single to Howtown from Glenridding and the dog can go with you for just £1. Sit back relax and enjoy the scenery around too from the middle of the water on route.

Ullswater flowers

Starting The Walk at Howtown

Back on land at Howtown and the smells of nature hit you. If you have only seen Ullswater from the road sides then I advise you get over to the east side of the lake and enjoy.

Ullswater footpath sign to Patterdale

I love this part of Ullswater. From Here at Howtown you could take a small detour up Hallin Fell, or the wonderful Old St Martin’s Church.

The path back to Glenridding and Patterdale follows nature and the majority of it is close to the lake shoreline.

As you get off the steamer and off the pier, turn right and you will soon pick up the path to Patterdale, along the side of the lake. The lake will always be on your right hand side.

view over Ullswater

The walk is about 6.5 miles in total so it is perfect for a day out and especially after the boat trip. Undulating and rocky underfoot in parts but no real big climbs to worry about.

I have seen many guides say it takes about 3 hours, well, yes if not enjoying the gorgeous surroundings or pausing for a picnic in one of the many vantage viewpoints. Allow time to enjoy, a walk not to be rushed.

rocky path by Ullswater

As I mentioned earlier the variety is enormous. One minute you will be walking through lovely woodland and suddenly it will open up and a panorama up and down Ullswater will lay before you.

Ullswater view across from howtown walk

As you walk the various mountain ranges rise up into view in all directions and especially ahead of you as you wander. The peaks of the Helvellyn Range really heightens the backdrop.

view to Helvellyn range from ullswater

The path occasionally meanders directly along the shoreline, the only sound is the lapping of the water on the small stone bay beaches.

The path has points where you climb up above and overlooking too, perfect spots to sit and watch the world go by.

Wordsworth’s Daffodils

It is on this side of Ullswater too that William Wordsworth is said to have encountered the daffodils he could not resist writing his famous poem about.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

William Wordsworth
boat on ullswater viewed through the trees

All in all it is one of those walks you never forget nor never say you wouldn’t do again. It is a beauty in every sense and I have returned before and shall return again, never a doubt.

Route Details and GPX

Distance: 6.5 miles

Time Taken: 3.5 hours

Download the GPX – Howtown To Glenridding by Ullswater Walk

howtown to glenridding walk map
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  1. Great blog Paul. With fantastic pictures. Enjoyed the read. Thanks

    1. Paul Steele says:

      thank you very much Walt

  2. Thanks for this! Wonderful. Is it, then, possible to walk the entire way round the lake on a mixture of roads and footpaths? How far is it?

    1. Paul Steele says:

      you are talking over 20 miles all around yes. Lots of road would be involved

  3. What great pictures, so clear and crisp! I loved this walk, it was stunning for the duration, even on an overcast day.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      thank you.. yes a firm favourite

  4. Pete Hilton says:

    One of the most stunning places in the world. The walk from Howtown back to Patterdale is one of my most favourite. All the guide books suggest starting in Patterdale and walking to Howtown and getting the steamer back. In my opinion it’s much better to take the steamer to Howtown an then walk back to Patterdale. The pictures are great

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Yes I am totally with you on direction 🙂 Thanks very much

  5. Vera Amahorseya says:

    Beautiful scenery, peaceful and fresh flowers charm the eye.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      thanks so very much

  6. John McPartland says:

    A beautiful set of photographs. Paul captures the real beauty of Ullswater and the views bring back so many memories of many walks over many years. A great photographer.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi John.. Many many thanks. Yes, I love returning there many times. I am sure you do to 🙂

  7. Fantastic pictures. There is still some beautiful places in Britain

    1. Paul Steele says:

      thank you very much

  8. Rachel Cohen says:

    Beautiful images and post Paul!!!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thanks Rachel 🙂 hi

  9. Rajani Arya says:


    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thanks very much

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