Aira Force Waterfall is the most photographed waterfall in the Lake District for a reason. So here’s all you need to know before visiting.
How To Get To Aira Force Waterfall
Aira Force Waterfall is located adjacent to Ullswater, the second largest lake in the Lake District and one of the main attractions in the region.
The entrance can be found roughly 6 miles from the small town of Pooley Bridge, and 12 miles from the popular town of Penrith.
There are a few ways to reach Aira Force Waterfall:
The easiest way to reach Aira Force Waterfall is by car, following google maps. Paid parking is available at the entrance.
We rented electric bikes from Arragon’s Cycle Centre and biked from Pooley Bridge.
It took roughly 40 minutes to reach the entrance following the main road around Ullswater. Super safe and mostly flat!
The 508 bus runs between Penrith train station and Patterdale.
The stop you need to get off at is Matterdale, which is located directly in front of the Aira Force Waterfall Car Park.
Here’s a complete timetable of the 508 bus if you need it.
The closest train station is in Penrith. It’s about 10 miles from the start of the trails, but you can then cycle or catch the 508 bus from there.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
Aira Force Waterfall Entrance Fee & Parking
Entrance Fee: Free
Car Park: 2 hrs £5.00 / 4 hrs £7.00 / all day £9.00.
Parking is FREE for National Trust members.
Aira Force Waterfall Opening Times
Waterfall & Countryside: Dawn – dusk
Car Park: Dawn – dusk
Tea-room: 10am – 5pm
Best Time To Visit + Tips
As with any tourist attraction, the best time to visit Aira Force Waterfall is first thing in the morning.
The earlier the better to avoid crowds!
We recommend wearing some sturdy shoes, because although the walk is not far or strenuous, if it has rained the night before the terrain can get a little slippery.
Also there is a small tea room on site that serves fresh pastries and sandwiches, however we always prefer to pack our own (or at least throw in some bananas) just incase.
So don’t forget to pack some snacks.
Whilst in the area, if you’re looking for an epic hidden gem check out Thirlmere Infinity Pool which is a waterfall with a view!
What To Pack:
What To Expect At Aira Force Waterfall
Aira Force Waterfall is the most famous of the Lake District waterfalls, with the main tier standing at 70 feet high.
The name is derived from Old Norse, a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements from about the 7th to the 15th centuries.
The word eyrr, refers to a gravel bank, and á, a river, hence “the river at the gravel bank”.
The waterfall and its surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.
Therefore the grounds are well maintained, and you can find staff in the Welcome Building and Tearoom that are very willing to help with any queries.
As for the hike itself, it’s just a short circle route through the forests and up some steps to reach the Aira Force viewing points.
We recommend wearing sensible shoes as the paths are maintained, but can be quite steep and are made up of small steps for placing your feet on. They can also become a little slippery if it’s rained the previous night.
The two viewpoints at Aira Force Waterfall are located directly above and below the falls.
One can be found at the foot of the falls, as you stand looking up at the vigorous waters come crashing down.
The other can be found via a stone bridge that passes over the peak of the falls, an awesome perspective although not one for those afraid of heights!
The trails are great for kids and dogs, however unfortunately they’re not wheelchair friendly.
We spent a morning at Aira Force Waterfall on our visit to the Lake District and would highly recommend it.
We cycled over from Pooley Bridge and grabbed a hot chocolate and a scone from the Tea Room before heading up to the falls.
Honestly the walk is a very short one in exchange for the views you get in return, and should be a breeze for anyone that’s moderately fit. We saw plenty of elderly couples on the way up.
The facilities were great, there is a toilet block in the car park, and you can even venture on past the Aira Force Waterfall to the Park Brow car park or High Cascades car park.
Overall Aira Force Waterfall is an awesome day out for all the family, especially if the weather is nice, as there are plenty of grassy areas to sit down an enjoy a picnic.
Where To Stay In The Lake District
Luxury – Lakes Hotel & Spa
This luxurious hotel is perfectly situated with views of Lake Windermere, a short stroll from the village of Bowness-on-Windermere.
The hotel can arrange collection from Windemere station which is just 10 minutes away.
Lakes Hotel & Spa has some of the best on-site facilities in the area, half of the rooms with hot tubs on private balconies. There’s also an on-site spa, a stylish restaurant and a cocktail bar. As well as bike hire, wakesurfing and paddleboading.
There are many walks that you can take straight from the hotel gates, and there are even boats that travel the length of Windermere, making it easy to visit surrounding areas.
Mid-Budget – The George Hotel by Best Western
This traditional hotel stands in the very centre of the bustling market town of Penrith.
Free parking and free Wi-Fi is available at the property. Meals are available to enjoy in the intimate, candlelit Devonshire restaurant which boasts a beautiful open fire.
The wood panelling and old local wall prints combine to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, where many generations of loyal visitors have returned time after time.
Budget – Albany House
Located in Penrith, Albany House offers bed-and-breakfast accommodation with free WiFi access throughout.
Guests benefit from free public parking facilities near the accommodation. The property also boasts a 4 gold-star rating from the AA, along with breakfast awards.
Rooms at Albany House B&B come with a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities and either an en-suite or external bathroom.
Breakfast is available between 8:00 and 9:00 every morning in the common breakfast room.
For more places to stay in the Lake District, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.
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