Things to do nearby Elm How
Patterdale is perfectly located for parking up on the first day and not using the car till it is time to depart. Access to the Helvellyn range is beyond compare and the main paths to Fairfield, St Sunday Crag and Helvellyn can all be easily accessed. On the other side of the valley, Boredale Hause gives access to Place Fell, Angletarn Pikes and all the way over to High Street. There are many days of varied walking with Dovedale, Grisedale and Ullswater Lake shore offering excellent options for low-level walks.
There are lots of great opportunities for cycling and mountain biking in the area. If you are feeling brave (and strong!) then it is possible to mountain bike between the tops of Dollywagon Pike and Clough Head and further afield over the High Street Range. Keen mountain bikers should also take a day trip to Whinlatter to try out the purpose-built trails through the forest catering for all abilities and with a great café at the end. Road cyclists can choose whether to head north and explore the network of peaceful rural roads to the north of the lake; or south to pit themselves against Kirkstone Pass. With a summit at 1,489 feet it is the highest pass in the Lake District open to motor traffic and only for the fit, but at least Kirkstone Pass Inn offers a chance for refreshment at the top!
Lake steamers run between Pooley Bridge, Howtown, Aira Force and Glenridding throughout the year. A trip on the steamers is a fantastic way of completing a linear walk. The Steamer service has a popular stop at Howtown where the beautiful little Hallin Fell dominates the scene. Just stick to climbing this small but perfectly formed fell for an amazing view down the lake to the Pennines in the distance or explore the peaceful rural landscape of Martindale. You can also walk over the High Street fells to Pooley Bridge to pick up another steamer back to Glenridding or over Place Fell back to Patterdale; there are also lower level alternatives to both.
Ullswater is ideal for those who like to be in and around water, it is perfect to picnic beside, swim in, fish in, and boat and windsurf on. You can launch your own boat at Howtown or take out temporary membership of Ullswater Yacht Club. Boats can be hired at Pooley Bridge and Glenridding.
In Patterdale and neighbouring Glenridding there are plenty of pubs, cafes and hotels all within easy reach and with something to offer for all tastes and budgets. Slightly further afield try the Howtown Hotel in Howtown which can be reached in style on a steamer from Glenridding (highly recommended!) Also on the road to Howtown is the Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel, which, although at the top end of most budgets, is one of the oldest Lakeland hotels and the birthplace of the famous Sticky Toffee Pudding. Pooley Bridge has a good range of amenities with gift shops, galleries, cafes and 3 popular pubs all serving food.
Aira Force is a must see as you tour the area, spend an hour or half a day exploring and don’t miss the short (but uphill) detour onto Gowbarrow Terrace for a beautiful view of Ullswater and its sylvan surroundings beneath the rugged fells. Walkers and non-walkers alike can enjoy the variety of paths through mixed woodland to various viewpoints of the falls which are at their most impressive after rain. You may also be lucky enough to see Red Squirrels in the woodland here, they love the hazel nut trees by the paths up to High Force and the woodland is now being managed to attract them. The shore of Ullswater here is said to have been the inspiration behind Wordsworth’s famous daffodil poem, go and seek them out in the spring. In autumn the colours of the beech trees along the lake between Glencoyne and Glenridding are beautiful - photographers take note!
From Patterdale the classic Helvellyn via the edges makes a challenging days’ walk or head up to secretive Grisedale Tarn via St Sunday Crag. A quieter and spectacularly rugged route takes you up Deepdale for a surprise attack on either Fairfield or St Sunday Crag or try the lovely ridge route up Hartsop above How to Hart Crag; link them together to make a beautiful and satisfying circular days walk. Don’t miss the lovely path through Swinburns Park and up onto rugged Gowbarrow fell, with numerous little rocky tops you can always find a quiet spot here to sit and enjoy the stunning views of Ullswater. There are far too many waking options to mention here, suffice to say that even 2 weeks stating in Patterdale will not exhaust them all.
Penrith is the local market town. There is a choice of supermarkets handy for stocking up on essentials and also a good range of independent shops in the town centre. The ruined castle is surrounded by a pleasant park and the churchyard of the mainly 18th century St Andrew’s church contains some ancient crosses and hogsback tombs. From Penrith station you can catch a fast train for a day out in Carlisle, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Lancaster. Just south of Penrith off the A6 you are in for a treat at Abbot Lodge, a wide range of flavours of Jersey ice cream are made on the farm for you to try, one visit may not be enough! A couple of miles further down the road is Larch Cottage nursery a mecca for plant lovers with a range of rare and unusual perennials, shrubs, climbers, acers and conifers set amongst a lovely ‘secret’ garden of Romanesque walls and water features.
Fans of historic houses are well catered for in this area with Dalemain near Pooley Bridge, this impressive family stately home contains a maze of rooms of different periods and collections of old toys, ceramics, dolls house and furniture. The sheltered garden contains a variety of separate areas to discover. Head south east from Pooley Bridge to Lowther Castle the now roofless but no less impressive country seat of the Lowther family, the gardens and ruin have been taken over by a charitable trust and the remains of once elaborate gardens are fascinating to explore. There is also a huge adventure playground and lots of rope swings plus a birdwatching hide. Going further back in history the ruins of Brougham castle run by English Heritage stand in a beautiful location beside the River Eamont.
Just over Kirkstone Pass is Ambleside; a pretty market town on Windermere, the drive to get there is beautiful and you can even stop for refreshments at the top of the pass at the Kirkstone Pass Inn. Wander around the shops or take a trip on Windermere; the landscape is generally less rugged than around Ullswater but no less beautiful.
Keswick is the hub of the northern Lake District, located on the shores of Derwentwater at the foot of a range of popular fells it is a 30-minute drive away, and the views on the way make it worth doing just for the drive. This attractive market town nestles into the valley at the foot of Derwentwater and as the adventure hub of the northern Lake District offers a vast choice of outdoor activities on two feet, a bike, and on water. The boat landings are just a short walk from the centre and from here you can wander along the lakeshore to Friar’s Crag to enjoy beautiful views across the lake or take a launch around the lake to see Lodore Falls, Ashness Bridge or Lingholm walled gardens which were Beatrix Potter’s inspiration for Mr McGregors garden in Peter Rabbit. Back in the town there are a plethora of outdoor shops to browse and don’t miss Old Friars sweet and chocolate shop on the Main Street to treat yourself or for gifts to take home. For a cultural fix take in a show at the Theatre by the Lake or a film at the traditional art deco cinema. The town also has a wide choice of other things to do in rainy weather including the quirky Keswick museum, fun swimming pool, the puzzling place and the Pencil Museum.