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
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* Aira Force – Famous waterfall on the western shore of Ullswater with lake access
* 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
* 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. The main waterfall walk is about 1 mile in length with some steep and uneven sections. You can also walk down to the nearby lakeshore and shingle beach with fabulous views up the lake. The adjacent pier is served by Ullswater Steamers and you can cruise to Glenridding from here. 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.
Brothers Water is a small but picturesque lake with high hills all around at the foot of Kirkstone Pass. It is only a short easy walk from the bus stops to the lake and the path continues along the valley floor if you want to keep going. Despite the proximity of the main road, the lake remains relatively peaceful and there is good access to the west shore from the path. There are no 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 is a scenic bay on the western shore of Ullswater lake. Opposite the car park there are narrow shingle beaches next to the road and wonderful views down the lake. A good footpath follows the road northwards towards Aira Force and a 5 minute walk from the car park leads to a picturesque wooded area between the road and the lake which is more peaceful. This area is well known for its daffodils which were the inspiration for the famous Wordsworth poem ‘Daffodils’. 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.
Glenridding is a small village in a fabulous setting between Ullswater lake and the high hills behind. It was originally famous for lead mining but has now been taken over by tourists. There are some attractive grassy areas in the centre of the village with picnic tables and benches adjacent to Glenridding Beck. There are a few small gift shops, tea rooms and bars. The Inn on the Lake hotel and bar provides refreshments with great views.
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 (reduced service out of season) and they call at Aira Force, Howtown and Pooley Bridge down the lake. Inside the pier building is a small cafe and toilet facilities. 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 also 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.
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. Separate admission fees apply for the museum, railway and mine tour. Open Tuesday to Saturday from Easter to end of October. 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.