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Pooley Bridge is one of Cumbria’s best kept secrets

The picturesque village of Pooley Bridge straddles the River Eamont at the head of Ullswater in the gorgeous Eden Valley. If you are seeking peace and tranquillity whilst appreciating the beauty of nature, you need to come here. The two wide main streets are lined with greystone houses and a number of teashops, all overlooking the lake. The village was named after a 16th Century bridge which was unfortunately washed away during Storm Desmond in 2015. A state of the art replacement is due to open in spring 2020. In the meantime, a footbridge over the river leads to a temporary car park opposite Waterfoot Holiday Park just a 7 minute walk from the village centre.

If the scenery and tranquillity aren’t good enough reasons for a visit, here are ten more:


1. Cruise the views

The best way to travel is a relaxing sail around one of the country’s finest lakes. Ullswater 'Steamers' have lovingly restored a fleet of vintage vessels which have been sailing this route for 150 years. You can board the boat at Pooley Bridge and travel the eight-mile serpentine course to Glenridding or hop off at the awe-inspiring Aira Force waterfall. Step onto the deck, feel the wind in your hair and marvel at Helvellyn towering above you.
The boats operate all year round.

Ullswater Steamers

2. Eating out

Pooley Bridge has a mix of traditional tea rooms, inns serving top quality pub grub and fine dining. If you fancy an all-day fry up or a fish supper, the Crown will serve you a large plate full of wholesome food. Alternatively, its always worth a visit to the multi award winning 1863 Restaurant, named after the year it was built, known for its use of exceptional local produce.

3. Beautiful lake side scenery

At Pooley Bridge you are spoilt rotten with views of glorious Lake Ullswater. Surrounded by breath-taking mountain scenery to the south, and rolling hills to the north, the lake is the second largest in England at seven and a half miles long but is less than a mile across. It is also England’s third deepest at 250 feet.

4. Walk in Wordsworth’s footsteps

If you enjoy a ramble, then Pooley Bridge has a lot to offer. Why not combine a scenic walk with a sail on Ullswater Steamers. A popular route is to take a boat from Pooley Bridge to Howtown and then walk to Glenridding and catch the boat back to Pooley Bridge. This was one of Wordsworth's favourite walks and offers views of the lake and Helvellyn.

5. Two wheels good

A great way to explore the area is on two wheels. If you cycle from Pooley Bridge you can follow this tour and take in the views of the Lake District peaks and the glorious rolling hills. Amongst the many highlights are a full side view of the mighty Blencathra with its distinct ridges and gills, and the flashing glimpse of Ullswater as you free wheel down the A5091 from Dockray. If you’ve not brought your own wheels on holiday with you, don’t worry you can hire a cycle from Arragon's Cycle Centre in Hillcroft park.

Start: Pooley Bridge car park GR NY470244

Finish: Glenridding steamer pier car park, GR NY389169

Grade: Medium – Challenge
13 miles


6. Mountain high

From every vantage point in Pooley Bridge you can view Helvellyn. It stands at 3,117ft (950m) above Ullswater, at the South-Western end of the valley, standing on a mighty plateau approximately 9 miles (14.5km) in length and 4.5 miles (7km) wide. Helvellyn is the third highest mountain in the Lake District.
There are several methods of appreciating this magnificent peak. Sipping a latte in a Pooley Bridge coffee shop and admiring from afar is one. Or you could actually climb Helvellyn. If you tackle it from the east side there is a long but gentle climb beginning in the Thirlmere Valley. If you are seeking more of a challenge, the route from the western side is more heavy going.
Helvellyn remains one of the most admired mountains in Britain and was apparently climbed by Wordsworth when he was 70 years old.


7. Moor Divock stone circles

There are several ancient stones circles in the Pooley Bridge area.
The Cockpit is by far the largest and most impressive and is about 1km west of two smaller circles. It is likely that the stone circles and burial mounds belong to the bronze age. They are a great place to visit to enjoy the solitude and contemplate life.

8. Sleep well

There is no shortage of places to rest your head in Pooley Bridge. If you are looking for a luxury home from home to bring the family there is an abundance of choice. Hillcroft Park offer traditional camping and facilities for touring caravans alongside eco-friendly glamping pods. Waterfoot Park have a selection of holiday homes located in the grounds of a Georgian mansion. If you are looking for b&b accommodation the family run 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms are perfectly located in the centre of the village.

9. 20 miles of bliss

When visiting Pooley Bridge you simply must travel the Ullswater way. This 20 mile scenic route circles all the way around the Lake of Ullswater. You will be treated to vistas of the dramatic Lake District mountain skyline. If you are a fitness fiend you can, of course, cycle it or walk or even run. However, handily, the route has bus and boat stops throughout so you can hop on and off at your leisure. Keep an eye out for local wildlife as this is a hotspot for Red Squirrels and Red Deer.

10. Ain’t no party like a bridge party

In spring 2020 the brand-new bridge will open crossing the River Eamont replacing the 16th Century structure that was damaged during Storm Desmond in 2015. The village is planning a huge party to celebrate the completion of the impressive new bridge.

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