“ Pooley Bridge - a village near Ullswater lake in Cumbria. „
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We visit the Lake District every year as we have family up there, we normally stay around the Southern Lakes but we had a family wedding in Penrith, so we decided to stay in Pooley Bridge. We went up in April so we were out of peak season and the village was relatively quite of tourists, but luckily we had some good weather to get out and about.
Pooley Bridge is located on the top of Ullswater lake, just off the A592, which links Penrith with Windermere (via the Kirkstone Pass). The village is about 5 miles from Penrith and junction 40 of the M6, so it quite easy to get to.
As the village is not on any main road it is quite peaceful, with little through traffic.
~ Accommodation ~
When we visit the Lakes we normally prefer to have our own space so normally opt for a rental cottage rather than hotels / B&B's.
We staying in a beautiful 17th century cottage called Finkle Cottage (available through Hoseasons for £350 - £700 per week), which is located right in the centre of the village but looking out onto the farm field (with the spring lambs), and out onto the river and 16th century bridge. The cottage has 3 bedrooms, one double, one twin and a single. Ideal for family. We stayed there in 2008 and looking at the current photos it appears that the cottage has had a redecoration since we stayed, however, is still very cosy looking and quaint.
There are also a number of other accommodation options
- Hotels - Sun Inn, Pooley Bridge Inn, The Crown Inn, all are pub hotels however the Pooley Bridge Inn appears to be a more upmarket affair. All three are located in the centre of the village. I cannot comment on the accommodation, however, we drank and ate at all hotels & they are all very great for food & drink.
- B&B / guest house - there are a couple just out of the centre of the village
- Camping - there are 3 campsites around Pooley Bridge, located just outside the centre
~ Things to do ~
As Pooley Bridge is on the top of the lake Ullswater, the Ullswater Steamers stop at Pooley Bridge & you can cruise between Pooley Bridge and Glenridding and Howtown. Pooley Bridge to Glenridding round trip (approx 140 mins) only costs £12.70 (adult), £6.35 (child) or £30.75 (family). Which I think is a good value relaxing day out. These are old fashioned steamer boats, therefore may not be fully accessible if you have mobility problems.
Aira Force is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Lake District, the main fall is 70 feet tall. Its owned by the national trust, and is a beautiful place to walk round woodland. It was rather wet and miserable weather when we went, however, it was a lovely walk (went in my hiking boots!) and the fall at the end was spectacular due to the excess rain we had! It is definitely a must see if you are in the area.
For the more adventurous Patterdale is located on the bottom of Ullswater (10 miles from Pooley Bridge) which is the start of one of the routes up Helvellyn, Britains 3rd highest mountain! At a height of 950 m (3087 feet) it is not for the faint hearted (or unfit!), and not for small children! But the rewards are excellent when you get to the top and feel like you are looking down on the world. It is probably more than a 3 hour hike & make sure you are well prepared, as it can get cold up top even if it is a warm day. OS maps and compass are pretty essential & make sure you take supplies i.e. food (Kendal mint cake is a must!), water, extra jumper. Helvellyn is covered by Wainwright's Book One, if you are interested in Wainwright's writing
Once a month the village has a farmers market (last Sunday of the month), which sells a range of local wares. Great place to pick up meats, breads etc. As we stayed in a self catering cottage we made good use of this market.
~ Food and Drink ~
There are the three central pub hotels, which serve food and drink, all of which were very pleasant and accommodating. We went out of season, so none of these pubs were very busy, so short waiting times and very attentive service.
There is also a couple of traditional tea room in the centre of the village which sell the ususal sandwiches and cakes. Granny Dowbekins is a lovely place for a tea and scone after a days walking in the rain, and you have to try their Pooley Gingerbridge, a locally made delicacy.
There are no big shops, just small post office/corner shop. The nearest supermarket in Morrison's located in the centre of Penrith.
~ Would I recommend ~
Definitely, this was one of my favourite places to stay in the Lake District. It is a village so you have all the amenities you need within walking distance, however, it is not too busy, not near a busy road so is very peaceful. My highlight of the holiday was the accommodation we stayed in (I have recommended this to a number of my friends). Going at the time we did, it was lovely waking up and looking out of the kitchen window looking out at little baby lambs playing in the field, but it does make you feel guilty cooking lamb chops...
It's a great place for families or couples.