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7 Best Things To Do In Penrith

Located in the heart of Cumbria in north west England, Penrith is a historic market town at the centre of the Eden District.

This popular tourist destination is rich in history and beauty and is renowned for its wealth of specialist retailers selling a variety of fine goods.

In addition, with easy access to the Eden Valley, the Pennines and the Lake District, it makes the perfect base to explore this spectacular part of the UK.

So here’s a guide to the best things to do in Penrith and the surrounding area.

1. 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.

Aira Force Waterfall is the most famous of the Lake District waterfalls, with the main tier standing at 70 feet high.

The hike itself, it’s just a short circle route through the forests and up some steps to reach the Aira Force viewing points.

The trails are great for kids and dogs, however unfortunately they’re not wheelchair friendly.

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 older 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.

If you love your waterfalls, you might like to visit Moss Force Waterfall whilst you’re in the Lake District.

Aira Force Waterfall Penrith Lake District Waterfall Lake District
This is one to add to your list of things to do in Penrith, without a doubt – Aira Force Waterfall.
Aira Force Waterfall Penrith Lake District Waterfall Lake District
It involves a beautiful small trek through the nature to get to the falls – well worth the visit.

2. Ullswater

Ullswater is the second largest lake in England at seven and a half miles long, but less than a mile across. It is also the third deepest English lake at 250 feet deep. This lovely lake is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.

Whether you want to take in the breathtaking views from some of the UK’s highest peaks, take a trip on the steamer across the lake, or abseil down a cliff there is something to keep everyone occupied.

The Ullswater Way is a 20 mile walking route that circles around the whole of Ullswater lake.

You can complete the walk in one go, or do a smaller section combined with a boat trip or bus ride.

There’s plenty of attractions around Ullswater to keep you occupied, like sailing and canoeing on the lake, taking a pony ride across the fells, rock climbing, as well as abseiling down a cliff.

Towns and villages around Ullswater include, Glenridding, Patterdale, Pooley Bridge, Howtown, Brotherswater and Hartsop, Kirkstone Pass, Martindale, Dacre.

Travelling to Ullswater can be simple. Bus service 508 runs from Penrith Station to Pooley Bridge, Aira Force, Glenridding and Patterdale all year round.

In summer it continues over Kirkstone Pass to Windermere.

The nearest train station to Ullswater is Penrith Station.

Alternatively, Lake District: Ten Lakes Full-Day Tour will take you on a relaxed tour around all the lakes.

Ullswater is the perfect, tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Ullswater Lake Best Things To Do In Penrith
Having a moment by Ullswater – one of the best things to do in Penrith.
Ullswater Lake Best Things To Do In Penrith
This lake is as peaceful as they come.
Ullswater Keswick Town Things To Do In Penrith
Couldn’t not take a souvenir away with us from Ullswater.

3. Pooley Bridge

Pooley Bridge is a village in the Eden District of the northwestern English county of Cumbria.

Today it is a beautiful, busy village visited by many tourists. It has a great range of unique shops and pubs, and is easily accessible by car from the M6.

The name Pooley Bridge derives from a large pool in the River Eamont, ‘The Hill By The Pool’. The ‘Bridge’ part of the name was added in 1800.

Whilst you’re Pooley Bridge, it’s a great opportunity to get on the Ullswater steamers. This boat service has been running over 160 years!

It connects a few great spots on the lake, making it a handy service if you either want to get out on the water for a lovely trip or fancy visiting some other towns or attractions nearby.

The boats connect Pooley Bridge, Howtown, Glenridding and Aira Force.

Pooley Bridge Ullswater Lake Best Things To Do In Penrith
Strolling through Pooley Bridge – a great thing to add to your ‘Things To Do In Penrith’ list.
Pooley Bridge Ullswater Lake Best Things To Do In Penrith
Pooley Bridge.

4. Walla Crag Walk

Walla Crag is a 379m high fell (a barren landscape feature) located near the town of Keswick in the Lake District.

With it being a fairly low level trail, it still offers outstanding views of Derwent Water, as well as panoramas over Bassenthwaite Lake in the North and the jaws of Borrowdale in the South too.

Families do the Walla Crag Walk all the time, so it’s certainly achievable for children. Dogs are welcome on the trail too. However, you will pass lots of sheep on the way up so be careful not to disturb them.

When we visited in October, it wasn’t busy at all so our time spend up there was pretty peaceful. We perched ourselves on a rock with our picnic and enjoyed the stunning views.

There are a two starting points for the popular Walla Crag walk, depending on how much time you have or how active a trekker you are.

Walla Crag Walk Walla Crag From Keswick Walla Crag Trail Walla Crag Lake District
Walla Crag Walk is not directly in Penrith, but it’s one of the most popular things to do from there.
Derwent Water Walla Crag Walk Walla Crag From Keswick Walla Crag Trail Walla Crag Lake District
The views up Walla Crag were breathtaking. Definitely try and add this to your list of things to do in Penrith.

5. Keswick Town

Keswick is a market town in northwest England’s Lake District National Park, situated between the huge bulk of Skiddaw and the gentle beauty of Derwentwater.

This town has become the major centre for tourism in the Northern part of the Lake District.

The beautiful little market town offers lots of different activity opportunities, from shops and restaurants to museums and boating trips around lake Derwentwater.

Their high street includes many mainstream shops, as well as small local businesses too. There’s a fair few charity shops on their shopping strip too. It’s fair to say we were in our element.

Keswick Market is of great quality and brings many locals and visitors to the town. The general market stands every Saturday and Thursday, all depending the weather.

In the centre of the Market Square is the Moot Hall, now home to the Tourist Information Centre.

It is also a common starting point for the popular Walla Crag Walk.

A lot of people are drawn to Keswick for the many different walks. Boots can be hired from the George Fisher’s shop on Lake Road.

Ghyll Scrambling is very popular in Kewsick, as is water sports.There are also 2 indoor climbing walls, several mountain bike hire shops and a hefty collection of outdoor gear shops.

Glamping is becoming very popular near Keswick too, with a great choice of many beautiful sites.

You can even go on guided Alpaca walks in Keswick, if that’s your thing.

Also, the Lake District: Ten Lakes Full-Day Tour stops for lunch in Keswick if you are thinking of doing a tour of the lakes.

Moot Hall Market Square Keswick Town Walla Crag Walk Walla Crag From Keswick Walla Crag Trail Walla Crag Lake District
Moot Hall in Keswick Town – a common starting point for the Walla Crag Walk.
Keswick Town Things To Do In Penrith
Souvenir shopping in Keswick Town.
Dog & Gun Keswick Town Things To Do In Penrith
Strolling through Keswick Town.

6. Lowther Castle

Lowther Castle is located just outside the small village of Lowther, in the very North East corner of the Lake District region.

From the history and artefacts on show, to the 130-acres of gardens on Lowther estate, there’s something for everyone at Lowther Castle.

There are even tree swings and dens for the children, and scrumptious foods on offer in the cafe. It’s a great day out for families, couples or solo travellers too.

We visited in October, and the Autumn colours were out in full force. As we entered through the grand gateway we were greeted by old stables, where refreshments and toilets are available. There was even a food truck selling baked potatoes!

We moved through to the museum, learning about some of the history behind Lowther Castle and taking photos of the exhibitions on our way.

The vegetarian Viscount Lonsdale, Wicked Jimmy and the Yellow Earl are all prominent characters in the exhibitions and Lowther Castle has done a great job of making them fun.

Lowther Castle Gardens Lowther Castle Cumbria
Visiting Lowther Castle of the most popular things to do in Penrith. Although, it’s not directly in Penrith, it’s just a short 15 minute drive away.
Lowther Castle Gardens Lowther Castle Cumbria
The glorious Lowther Castle in the backdrop.

7. Rent Bicycles & Explore

Road cyclists and mountain bikers are spoilt for choice in the Lake District. There are a range of country lanes, permitted cycleways as well as bridleways to suit all experience levels, and you can be sure of fantastic views along the way!

Penrith is a great place to get around on bike. We used e-bikes to get to Aira Force Waterfall, explore Ullswater and get around Pooley Bridge too. All whilst taking in the most incredible views and feeling the fresh air.

We highly recommend hiring bikes when looking for things to do in Penrith as it allows you to embrace every aspect of the outdoors and see more places whilst doing it. You can lock your bikes up when exploring the all the different tourist attractions around Penrith.

We rented our bikes from Arragon’s Cycles and we can highly recommend them. If you’re a hard-core cyclist and don’t fancy the electric bikes then that’s an option in Penrith too.

Arragon’s Cycles is an Independent bicycle store based in Penrith, Cumbria with over 50 years experience. They stock a huge variety of cycle equipment.

Have fun exploring in and around the wonderful Penrith!

Best Things To Do In Penrith
A pit stop on the way home from Aira Force Waterfall, to take in the beautiful scenery.
Pooley Bridge Ullswater Lake Best Things To Do In Penrith
Road side selfies.
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You’ll pass by some incredible bits of scenery on your bike rides and may even spot highland cows, like we did.

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.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


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7 Best Things To Do In Penrith