In Explore

Lowther Valley from Knipe Scar, Lake District

Cumbria’s Eden Valley is one of the county’s most easily accessible places to visit, thanks to it being just a matter of minutes away from the major transport links of the West Coast Main Line by train, and the M6 motorway by car.

Despite its convenient proximity to those routes, the Eden Valley is among the places where visitors can experience Cumbria at its most peaceful, offering a haven of serenity and well-known locations without proving a challenge to reach.

From peaceful Lake District towns and villages like Pooley Bridge and Glenridding, flanked by the Lake District fells and northern Pennines, the Eden Valley is the home of the famous Ullswater, the stunning Lowther Castle – all nestled among a landscape crisscrossed by rolling meadows and traditional dry stone walls.

Oak trees at Glencoyne bay on Ullswater looking towards Glenridding

Ullswater is Cumbria’s second largest lake, with regular ‘steamer’ services travelling up and down the lake each day, with an extra shuttle service also giving easy access to the beautiful Aira Force waterfall. From onboard an Ullswater ‘Steamer’, take-in the magnificent scenery of the surrounding fells, including the mighty Helvellyn – which can only be seen from the centre of the lake rather than the shore.

Ullswater steamers from the lake shore

The Aira Force site, cared for by The National Trust, can be found by weaving your way through a network of woodland trails, to where the waterfall thunders in one 65-foot drop past fern and rock into the pool below. Great for individuals and families, be sure to look out for red squirrels while the children explore the natural play area.

Pooley Bridge, right on Ullswater’s northern tip, features a freshly constructed bridge which is now in the final stages of completion, adding an important transport link which has been missing since the floods of Storm Desmond in 2015

Lowther Castle & Gardens

Lowther Castle – a former winner of Cumbria Tourism’s Large Attraction of the Year award, is just half an hour away by road from Glenridding – or, why not hire an electric bike from Pooley Bridge and discover the Lowther Estate on two wheels instead?

The castle occupies the site of mansions dating back to the reign of King Edward I, and lay abandoned for 70 years before being reopened in 2011 for the first time since 1938. With 130 acres of gardens to explore, a highlight for the children is the huge ‘Lost Castle’, hidden in the depths of the castle’s woodland – and it’s no understatement to say there are hours of fun to be had here. Sorry, no dragons allowed! The castle also offers a series of exhibitions revealing the Lowther family’s colourful 850-year history.

Dalemain House

If Lowther leaves you wanting more, be sure to visit Dalemain Mansion & Historic Gardens, which is just 20 minutes away by car, offering a mix of Medieval, Tudor and early Georgian architecture. Repeat visits are highly recommended, as the gardens at Dalemain are constantly changing: Not just because of the seasons, but also due to a steady flow of new additions to add variety to the garden by its dedicated and creative team.

Settle to Carlisle Railway - Photo Stuart Petch

Running through the centre of the Eden Valley and beyond, is the world-famous Settle to Carlisle railway line, which also gives passengers a chance to visit a series of historic villages and market towns, including Penrith, Armathwaite, Langwathby, Kirkby Stephen and Appleby, the latter of which is famous for its annual horse fair.

The nearby North Pennines is an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark, forming part of an 84-mile Eden Valley loop, taking-in Ullswater and providing riders, cyclists and walkers with a perfect round-trip method of taking it all in.

Perhaps the crowning jewel of the Eden Valley can be enjoyed from high above Castle Carrock and the King’s Forest, where Simmerson Hill – which marks the spectacular end to the Pennine chain, boats stunning views in all directions, revealing even more of this hidden gem in all its glory.

Where to stay during your visit? Well, 1863 Ullswater, Another Place, the North Lakes Hotel and Askham Hall are just a few of the great accommodation options available. For further ideas, look here. Make sure to book your stay in advance and plan ahead to help you in being able to enjoy all that the Lake District, Cumbria has to offer. 

Related

Lowther Castle & Gardens
Castle
Lowther Castle & Gardens

A spectacular Gothic ruin set in 130 acres of ancient and romantic Gardens, award winning Lowther Castle is a place to be inspired; by the setting, the story of the colourful characters who lived here, the transformation of the Gardens and one of the largest adventure playgrounds in the UK.

Ullswater Steamers
Sightseeing Attraction
Ullswater Steamers

The ‘Steamers’ create the perfect opportunity to combine a cruise on a beautiful lake with some of the most famous and spectacular walks in the Lake District. Operating an all year service with varying timetable connections. Cruise times vary from 20 - 120 minutes. The 'Steamers' operate a standard 'Cruise All Piers' ticket which stops at Glenridding, Howtown and Pooley Bridge Piers with some services also calling at Aira Force Pier. There is also a shuttle service between Glenridding Pier and Aira Force during our Red Timetable. Please see website for full timetable information.

Aira Force
Waterfall or Gorge
Aira Force Waterfall © National Trust Images, John Malley

The stream which flows over Aira Force is Aira Beck, which rises on the upper slopes of Stybarrow Dodd at a height of 720 metres and flows north-easterly before turning south, blocked by the high heather-covered slopes of Gowbarrow Fell.

Dalemain Mansion & Historic Gardens
Historic House
Dalemain Mansion & Historic Gardens

A much loved historic family home, set against the grandeur and picturesque splendour of the lakeland fells and the surrounding parkland. Daleman has a delightful five acre plantsman's garden.

Great days out on the Settle to Carlisle Railway
Steam Railway
Ribblehead Viaduct - Settle to Carlisle Railway. Photo by Stuart Petch.

Treat yourself to a fabulous day out by train on the famous Settle to Carlisle line this summer. The Settle to Carlisle railway is one of the most famous scenic lines in the UK. The route which is part of the national rail network will play host to dedicated high quality 2 metre compliant ‘socially distanced’ all first class trains.

1863 Bar Bistro Rooms
Restaurant with Rooms
1863 Bar Bistro Rooms

1863 is more than a bar, bistro and B&B accommodation with seven elegant bedrooms; we are a family affair who enjoy getting the little things just right, welcoming guests back times and again to share in a slice of Lake District paradise.

Another Place, The Lake
Hotel
Another Place, The Lake

Another Place, The Lake is a relaxed, convivial hotel on the shores of Ullswater from where you can explore the great outdoors. At the heart are good food, fresh air and relaxation.

North Lakes Hotel & Spa
Hotel
North Lakes Hotel & Spa

Take a warm Cumbrian welcome, a team of people who love to look after you and fantastic facilities, a perfect combination at any time of the year. Public areas are spacious with log fires and deep, comfy sofas throughout.

Askham Hall
Guest Accommodation
Askham Hall

A stunning grade I listed Pele Tower dating back to the 13th century, Askham Hall has been transformed from a stately family abode into a unique & contemporary stylish retreat. A luxurious, intimate, unpretentious home from home awaits.

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