Featuring the best attractions in the North East Lake District that are accessible by public transport
The Lake District and Cumbria are home to some of the best scenery and visitor attractions in the country. In the north east Lakes, this includes the beautiful lake and surroundings of Ullswater, the popular villages of Pooley Bridge and Glenridding, the peaceful Lowther valley and the remote Caldbeck area.
There are various bus, train and boat services through the area which will transport you to all of the popular attractions described below. Each attraction includes a brief description, photograph, link to website (where available) and any facilities such as shops, cafes and toilets. Public transport services that stop nearby (within 1 mile) are listed and the location of each stop in relation to the attraction is described. Further information on each transport service, including route maps, timetable links and other attractions visited on route, can be found by following the transport service link.
North East Lake District
Select attraction for further detail
* Aira Force – Famous waterfall on the western shore of Ullswater with lake access
* Askham – Attractive village in the picturesque Lowther valley
* Brothers Water – Picturesque small lake at the northern foot of Kirkstone Pass
* Caldbeck – Attractive village at the northern tip of the Lake District National Park
* Glencoyne – Scenic bay with lake access on the western shore of Ullswater
* Glenridding – Popular village and lake access at the southern end of Ullswater lake
* Kirkstone Pass – Highest mountain road pass in the Lakes linking Ullswater & Windermere
* Lowther Castle & Estate – Impressive castle ruins, gardens and country park
* Martindale Hause – Scenic access area overlooking Howtown, Martindale and Ullswater
* Pooley Bridge – Popular village and lake access at the northern end of Ullswater lake
* Threlkeld Mining Museum – Interesting museum dedicated to local quarrying and mining
North East Lake District - Attractions Map
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North East Lake District - Attractions
Aira Force waterfall
Aira Force is probably the most famous waterfall in the Lake District and at 65ft high, one of the tallest. From the car park there are various trails leading up through attractive woodland to the waterfall viewing areas and beyond. The views from the bridges at the top and bottom of the main waterfall are impressive, especially after heavy rain. The main waterfall walk is about 1 mile return with some steep and uneven sections. It is also well known for red squirrels and you might see one in the woods if you are lucky.
Back across the road, you can walk down to the nearby lakeshore and shingle beach with fabulous views up the lake. Ullswater is the second biggest lake in the Lake District and one of the most scenic, especially towards the southern end where it is surrounded by high mountains. The lake drains into the River Eamont at the northern end which eventually joins the River Eden heading towards Carlisle. The adjacent pier is served by Ullswater Steamers in season and you can take a boat to Glenridding at the southern end of the lake from here.
If you are feeling fit, longer walks head through Gowbarrow Park and to the top of Gowbarrow Fell, a popular peak with superb views across the lake. There is a tea room, picnic tables and toilet facilities around the car park. Free entry to waterfalls.
Buses stop near the car park entrance on the A592. The boat pier is also near the car park.
The attractive village of Askham is situated in a relatively quiet corner of the Lake District, within the Lowther valley. The village is based around two separate village greens and has a number of attractions for visitors. At the village centre, around the free village car park, you will find Askham Stores village shop, The Queens Head pub and an open air swimming pool which is open to the public over the summer months. A small village green is up the hill nearby but the main green and further attractions are down the hill.
The large main green surrounds the road, overlooked by charming old houses. Further down the hill on the right is The Punchbowl Inn and opposite the pub is Askham Hall, an historic manor house which was until recently home to the Lowther family who previously lived at nearby Lowther Castle. The Hall is now a stylish hotel. Further down the hill again is St Peter’s Church and beyond that is the River Lowther.
Buses stop on demand in the village if safe.
Brothers Water is the smallest of the official 16 Lake District lakes but it probably has one of the best settings, surrounded by high mountains and wonderful scenery. A good footpath along the western shore joins bus stops at either end of the lake and you will find pleasant shingle beaches where you can picnic and paddle or just enjoy the scenery. The footpath also passes through some ancient woodland and the historic Hartsop Hall, which is now a farmhouse. Despite the proximity of the main road, the lake remains relatively peaceful and is a great place to enjoy some real Lake District. The Brotherswater Inn is adjacent to the bus stop at the southern end of the lake for refreshments but no other facilities nearby.
Buses stop at Cow Bridge at the northern end of the lake and Sykeside at the southern end.
The picturesque and historic village of Caldbeck is the most northerly village in the Lake District National Park and one of the most remote. There are a number of attractions for visitors which are worth some exploring. Around the village centre you will find the attractive St Kentigern’s church and next door is Priest’s Mill, a former cornmill which has been well restored as an arts, crafts and gifts centre including The Watermill Cafe.
Following Cald Beck upstream from the village, a short walk leads to The Howk, an impressive limestone gorge containing a picturesque waterfall and an old Bobbin Mill ruin. Along the way you will also pass the large village green and pond which provides a pleasant place to stroll and relax. Refreshments can be obtained at the village shop, the Oddfellows Arms pub and The Old Smithy Tea Room. Public toilets in the village.
Buses stop in the village centre.
Glencoyne Bay provides a scenic lakeshore area with narrow shingle beaches next to the road and wonderful views across the lake. You can follow the good footpath in either direction adjacent to the road if you want to explore nearby shoreline. Behind the car park, the wonderful Glencoyne valley heads inland from the lake and you can explore it on foot on the Glencoyne Farm trail. There are no facilities on site.
Buses stop at Glencoyne car park.
This area around Glencoyne Bay is well known for its fabulous golden daffodils in the spring and it is these which, on a visit in 1802, inspired the local poet William Wordsworth to write the famous poem ‘Daffodils’. Although the initial inspiration possibly came from his sister Dorothy, who had noted the spectacle in her journal and it was a few years later when William penned the poem, first published 1807.
Many people will recognise the first verse;
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.
Glenridding is a small village in a fabulous setting between Ullswater lake and the high mountains behind. It is a popular tourist centre nowadays with some wonderful lake and mountain walks, but historically the village grew up as an important centre for lead mining.
The village has some attractive grassy areas with picnic tables and benches adjacent to Glenridding Beck. There are a few small gift shops, tea rooms and bars around the village, including The Inn on the Lake with great views over the lake.
The old Greenside lead mine is in the hills above Glenridding, about a mile upstream if you follow Glenridding Beck. The village boomed as the mine produced vast amounts of lead and silver from around 1825 till its closure in 1961. There are significant remnants of the workings still visible with big spoil heaps across the mountain side and some of the old processing and smelting buildings, one of which is now Helvellyn Youth Hostel. Much of the mine area is now designated as a scheduled ancient monument, although the stability of the spoil heaps has been an ongoing concern.
A short walk from the village leads to the shores of Ullswater lake. This is a picturesque parkland area with a large expanse of open grass, shingle beaches and benches next to the lake. The impressive scenery makes this a wonderful setting and it is well worth taking a boat trip on the lake to fully appreciate the beauty of the area. Ullswater Steamers operate from the adjacent pier, with a reduced service out of season, and they call at Aira Force, Howtown and Pooley Bridge down the lake. There is a small cafe and toilet facilities inside the Steamers building. Across the grass from the pier, adjacent to the lake and the main road, is St Patrick’s Boat Landing where you can hire boats and there is a small cafe.
Buses stop in the village centre where there is a Tourist Information Centre and toilet facilities.
Kirkstone Pass summit
At an altitude of 454m, Kirkstone Pass summit is the highest road and the highest bus stop in the Lake District. There isn’t much at the summit but there are some wonderful views of the surrounding hills and towards Windermere. There are good walks from here up nearby mountains, made easier by the high starting point. The adjacent Kirkstone Pass Inn is the highest pub in Cumbria and the beer garden certainly makes the most of the views. Apart from the pub there are no other facilities at the summit.
Buses stop near the pub.
Lowther Castle & Estate
Lowther Castle and Gardens are the centrepiece of the Lowther Estate and a site occupied by the Lowther family for over 800 years. The castle is now a shell but the impressive facades remain and are testament to the magnificent home that was built in the early 19th century. The castle and gardens were left in ruins in the mid 20th century but an ongoing restoration project has saved the castle and brought the gardens back to life.
You can wander within the castle ruin and around the numerous attractive themed gardens. There are fabulous views of the castle from the huge gently sloping lawn and also of the Lowther valley from the limestone escarpment walk. Beyond this is an impressive adventure playground. The stable courtyard has been sympathetically renovated to provide a cafe, gift shop and toilet facilities. Entrance fee applies to the castle and gardens which are open daily all year.
Outside of the castle & gardens, Lowther Park extends in all directions with some good walking and cycling trails through the attractive parkland, along the nearby River Lowther and beyond. Cycle hire is available at the castle.
Buses stop at Lowther Castle and on demand if safe.
Martindale Hause is an access area at the top of a steep road climb from nearby Howtown. The area gives access to some wonderful viewpoints and the adjacent St Peter’s Church. The lumpy grassy area between the church and the top of the steep road section is known as ‘The Coombs’ and there are great views from here back towards Howtown and the northern end of Ullswater. Hallin Fell rises above the road summit and the popular but fairly strenuous half hour walk to the Fell summit is worthwhile for the superb views over Ullswater and surrounding hills. Views up the remote and beautiful Martindale valley can be achieved by climbing only a short distance from the road. No facilities.
The new Martindale church of St Peter’s was built around 1880 and has some impressive stained glass. The old church of St Martin is only 0.5 miles away and is also worth a visit. Follow the road beyond the Hause, taking the first left turn. St Martin’s dates from the 16th century and is in a very picturesque setting overlooking Martindale valley. The attractive church is small and basic but has some lovely features including a yew tree in the churchyard estimated to be 1300 years old.
Buses stop at the foot of the steep road climb, near Howtown. Boats stop at Howtown pier. A relatively short but steep walk is required from there. There is also a good circular walk around the foot of Hallin Fell from Howtown.
Pooley Bridge village
Pooley Bridge is a busy tourist village located at the northern end of Ullswater lake. There are a few shops, pubs and cafes although there isn’t much else to see in the village itself. The area is popular with campers and caravaners who come from the many nearby sites. There are some good walks in the area but the main attraction are the Ullswater Steamers which can be caught from the nearby pier. Regular boats travel up the magnificent lake with various stops along the way. The historic road bridge over the River Eamont was famously destroyed in December 2015 by storm Desmond, the new bridge was opened in 2020. Public toilets in the village.
A short walk from the village centre leads to the shores of Ullswater lake at the outflow of the River Eamont. There are lovely views up the lake and you can hire a boat at Lakeland Boat Hire. The footpath also continues along the eastern lake shore where there are some attractive shingle beaches and some popular holiday parks.
Buses stop in the village centre and at the Ullswater Steamers pier which is approx 0.3 miles from the village centre.
Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum
Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum is situated in an old microgranite quarry which operated from the 1870’s to 1980’s. Since the early 1990’s the site has been developed as a museum by enthusiasts and provides a fascinating insight into local quarrying and mining. The site is covered in old quarry machinery and vintage excavators cared for by the Vintage Excavator Trust who are based here. A narrow gauge railway with steam and diesel locomotives will transport you around the site to view these machines and you are free to wonder around for a better look.
There is also a museum building with a fine collection of small mining and quarrying artefacts and nearby an old copper/lead mine has been reconstructed where you can experience conditions in a typical local mine. The open sloping site gives superb views across the valley towards Blencathra mountain. Admission fee applies. Open daily from Easter to end of October, except Mondays during school term time. Toilet facilities provided.
X4 & X5 buses stop at the village hall in Threlkeld village. Approx 1 mile walk to the mining museum, across the A66, along the B5322, over the river and second left, signposted.