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Penrith to Ullswater: From Market Town to Mere

Experience both sides of The Lake District National Park boundary and escape for a weekend to enjoy the epitome of Cumbrian life for a weekend retreat.

Just off the West Coast Mainline in the Eden Valley, nestles the Cumbrian Market town of Penrith. From the bright lights of the town to the dark nights of the countryside, pair a Penrith visit with a trip to the beautiful Ullswater Valley, where the mountains dip their toes into the lake.

Penrith Castle


Day 1:
Getting to The Lake District, Cumbria, is easy thanks to excellent high-speed train service on the West Coast Main Line, calling at Penrith (The North Lakes) station.

Upon arrival, consider Penrith Castle as a primer for what’s to come. The former Cumbrian capital has seen its fair share of adventure, having seen seized by Edward I of England in 1295; and for the next 15 years, was subject to numerous border skirmishes between the Scots and the English.

Soak up the town’s history on Rowcliffe Lane, once the industrial heart of the town. Although only eight feet wide in places, it was filled with tailors, coopers, saddlers, rope-makers and whitesmiths in the 17th century.

Browse the range of quirky shops hiding down the town’s historical ginnels and alleys; and for those feeling adventurous, catch the X5 bus from stand 3 at the bus station to check out the Rheged Discovery Centre.

A hard-day’s discovering will have earned visitors the well-deserved right to eat, drink and be merry, with The George & Dragon, Clifton providing you with the perfect place to indulge.

Ullswater Steamers


Day 2:The next morning, take the 508 bus from Stand 1 for a 40-minute ride to the Greenside Road Bus Shelter in Glenridding – the driver will give you a shout if you ask him to. Browse the shops, admire the views and enjoy a brew in one of the local cafes or pubs.

Spend the afternoon by walking from Glenridding down to Glenridding Pier, clearly signposted from the main road. From there, you can take a cruise on an Ullswater ‘Steamer’ to Aira Force pier, where you can weave your way through woodland glades at the water’s edge to fell top.

Back in Penrith, take some time to find another place to enjoy the final evening meal of your stay before catching the train back home.

Aira Force


Information you need to know:

Weather: The weather in the Lake District can change quickly, clear morning skies can rapidly give way to rain, sleet or even snow so be prepared! Changes in weather can dramatically alter the difficulty of a route so please consider this before setting off. Call 0844 846 2444 to check the forecast.

Be Prepared: Appropriate clothing can make all the difference. It is important to be warm, comfortable and dry when out exploring so make sure you have the appropriate kit and plenty of layers. Your rucksack should hold everything needed and be carried comfortably. Have extra layers, a hat and gloves, enough food and drink, and a first aid kit. A compass, map and the knowledge to use them is invaluable.

Don’t rely on technology alone: Mobile phone reception isn’t always good in the Lake District. Leave details of your route and expected finish time with a buddy. If you are delayed, please contact your buddy to let them know. This will prevent mountain rescue, a team of volunteers, being called out unnecessarily. If there is an emergency call 999, ask for Cumbria Police and give your location; an accurate grid reference is ideal.

Discover more about what to do and see in Penrith here and in the Ullswater area here.

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