The Lake District
The English Lake District is the jewel in the crown of Great Britain. Boasting landscapes of lakes, mountains and forests so beautiful, so sublime, it inspired many a romantic poet through the ages, perhaps most famously William Wordsworth, Arthur Ransome and, of course, Beatrix Potter. Spanning over 912 square miles and 200 fell tops, The Lake District National Park has been protected by the Queen since 1951 and is home to some of England's highest peaks, deepest lakes and an incredibly rare biodiversity of wildlife. At the end of the last Ice Age, around 12,000 years ago, man lived amongst the caves, rocks and forests we see today clearing woodland to attract wild animals and make hunting easier. To this very day you can still see the stone circles they created and the carvings they made into rocks.
Highly regarded as the most beautiful of all the English Lakes. Ullswater is the second largest lake in The Lake District stretching for nearly 8 miles from Pooley Bridge at the north end to Glenridding at the south end and is over 60 metres deep. Some say its name derives from an old Nordic chief and is said to be so beautiful it inspired William Wordsworth himself to write three poems on the valley, most famously Daffodils, and has just been featured in Arthur Ransome's wholesome prewar adventure classic "Swallows and Amazons".
The mountains around Ullswater were sculpted by the great forces of glaciation, particularly during the period when Britain was emerging from the grips of the last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago. Ullswater has a typical "U" shaped valley showing how a glacier carved its path through the area. A careful eye can spot deep striations on the rocks that remain today. When the ice melted away it left a hollow with a lake - Ullswater. Since those times Ullswater has grown a rich and diverse ecosystem that supports many rare species. So what elusive creatures can guests at Waternook hope to see? You may not know this but Ullswater is home to some of Great Britain’s rarest species including Red Squirrel, Peregrine Falcon, Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Wood Warblers, Arctic Char, Schelley and England’s last surviving herd of Red Deer- their bloodline dates back to 1066 and times of William the Conqueror. Did you know bears, lynx, aurochs, beavers and wolves once lived in The Lake District. So whether you cosy up by the fire in Waternook with a good book, or wrap up warm and head out exploring, Ullswater is a place of wonder, mystery and excitement.
For those seeking the adventure of the great outdoors Ullswater is awash with so many opportunities, or perhaps literature and relaxation is what you seek. Ullswater has it all and we are only too happy to help source your perfect activity or interest through our Luxury Concierge Service range so please do discuss your personal needs with us.
There is plenty of information and OS maps in Waternook and The Great Barn but here is my top list of things to do:
Outdoor & Adventure
Guests at Waternook and The Great Barn benefit from one of the finest locations on Ullswater, with panoramic views of lake and mountain and over 27 acres of private grounds and half a mile of lake frontage. Nestled on the side of Hallin Fell there is an abundance of walks available right from your front door. There are so many fantastic local walks to choose from I am only going to mention a few of my favourites and they are very different. Firstly, as Waternook sits on Hallin Fell I would highly recommend climbing to the top and enjoying the jaw-dropping views from the cairn. It's a fairly easy walk and looks harder than it is but the rewards when you reach the top and incredible for such little exertion - don't forget your camera! One of my other favourites is to walk out of the fell gate by Waternook and follow the low-lying, undulating path all the way to Glenridding. The walk is about 7 miles long but is an easy path rewarding explorers with unparalleled views of both lake and mountain. When you arrive into Glenridding drop into one of the many local little pubs, kick yer boots off in front of the fire and enjoy a hearty meal and a pint of Lakeland ale. After, feeling full and thirst quenched, jump onto one of the Ullswater Steamers and enjoy Ullswater from a whole new perspective. The steamer stops at Aira Force, Pooley Bridge and Howtown [where Waternook and The Great Barn are located] so jump off here and then it’s just a short walk back to the house. For the more advanced walker the Helvellyn mountain range and Scafell Pike isn’t far away and it’s never too late to start ticking off Alfred Wainwright’s 214 fell tops. My final suggestion is The Ullswater Way. The Ullswater Way [outline map below] is a 20 mile walking route round Ullswater and it can be walked in any direction and from any starting point - you can even encorporate an open bus or a steamer! If you would rather leave the compass and OS map at home then why not allow us here at Waternook to arrange for a mountain guide and bespoke tour. We can look to build in elements upon request based on historic walks, wildlife, foraging and photography so please do let us know your personal needs.
On The Lake
Getting on to the lake is perhaps one of my favourite things to do and a quick dip off the jetty before breakfast is just the thing to blow away the cobwebs and city stresses. Waternook and The Great Barn benefit from over half a mile of private lake shoreline and private boathouse and jetty, so access for guests is easy and exclusive.
If you are a keen fisherman Ullswater is home to Salmon, Brown Trout, Perch, Minnows and the very rare Arctic Char and Schelley fish which have been isolated here since the last Ice Age. At Waternook we are only too happy to arrange for private fishing tuition from one of our local qualified instructors. All the fishing equipment you need is provided and fishing can range from fly fishing to bait and line fishing and can take place from our jetty or banks, or if you prefer to head out onto Ullswater, we can hire in motor boats for you and these will be dropped off and collected from our jetty. If you are a more advanced fisherman and are bringing your own equipment but need a few extra supplies John Norris in the local market town of Penrith has an extensive range. However sometimes even the most advanced of fishermen need to benefit from all the local knowledge so that case let us know and we can arrange for a bespoke fishing guide.
If you would rather embark on your own Swallows and Amazons adventure there is a lot of Ullswater to explore and we can arrange for kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, motor boats and RYA sailing lessons at the Ullswater Yacht Club. One thing you must do is take a ride on the Ullswater Steamers and experience Ullswater in a completely different light. You can hop on at Howtown [where we are] and trip around the lake jumping on and off at various locations. For the avid and experienced swimmer or triathlete I can highly recommend donning a triathlon wetsuit and taking to the water - but please make sure you take all the necessary precautions and don't take risks.
Photography on the Fells
Ullswater is widely known as the most beautiful of all the English Lakes, not least because of the sublime lake and mountainous landscapes, but also because of the abundance of rare and varied wildlife. The ability to take a quality photo has always been an ambition of mine. There is something so emotive about taking a photo that captures a moment in time, preserving history, and moves people in ways that words cannot. Guests who are staying at Waternook and The Great Barn can benefit from a bespoke course with one of The Lake Districts finest photographers - Rod Ireland. Available through our Luxury Concierge Service range why not indulge your senses and let us arrange a 121 session for you and capture photos like Rod's one below. Whether you're a beginner wanting to learn how to use your DSLR or a seasoned photographer looking for local knowledge and local spots you can trust us to source the best location for your personal needs.
Discover The Fells By Bike or Pony
If you're seeking a bit more adrenaline when out on the fells then we can arrange for road bikes and mountain bikes to be brought to Waternook or The Great Barn so you can embark on your own adventure. The Ullswater Valley offers family cycling routes, multi-day tours or, for the more advanced cycler, you can even take on the forests at Whinlatter and Grizedale, the mighty MTB routes over the Helvellyn range or the epic Fred Whitton Challenge.
If you prefer to experience the beauty of the open fells by pony then we have a magical experience for you. This adventure will take you high up into the mountains, avoiding all roads, giving you the opportunity experience Ullswater like never before. Adults and children are welcome and all the necessary equipment is provided.
Indoor Bespoke Classes
Cooking, Baking & Wine Tasting
For the days you prefer to just stay in and relax in the warmth and luxury of Waternook or The Great Barn why not treat yourself to one of our bespoke classes. We can bring in one of our highly skilled and knowledgable private chefs to inspire, educate and entertain you and with each course tailored to your needs it doesn't matter if you're a novice or Nigella. If you would rather skip straight to the wine that is fine by us. We can arrange for fun and educational experiences that incorporate your tastes and preferences, whether it's wines from a certain country or valley. Please let us know your personal needs and will take care of all the rest.
Yoga, Wellness, Mindfulness & Nutrition
Wave goodbye to city stresses, welcome to Waternook and The Great Barn, your haven of luxury and Hygge for the week.
Nestled at the foot of Hallin Fell in The Lake District guests at Waternook and The Great Barn enjoy a sublime, secluded setting on our private 26 acre estate with over half a mile of uninterrupted lake frontage and boathouse and jetty – perfect for that romantic Hygge moment, perfect to ease the mind, rest the soul and unshackle modern day pressures. Forget the breath-taking panoramic lake and mountain views for a moment and step inside. Both 17th Century properties , Waternook and The Great Barn combine sleek sophisticated interior styling and perfectionist attention to detail with all the Hygge essentials ranging from: open log fires with big comfy sofas; a private cinema – perfect for cozying up with family; lounges, reading rooms and outdoor terraces; a Spa and Wellness Sanctuary with outdoor lake view hot tub, bar and Laconium; yoga infinity terrace; and mood lighting throughout. And when it comes to the end of the day sink into your Vi-Spring Elite mattress and handmade “And So To Bed” frame and wake up to lake and mountain views – who knows you may even see some of Ullswater’s rare beasts including: Red Squirrel, Peregrine Falcon, Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Wood Warblers, Arctic Char, Schelley or perhaps one of England’s last surviving herd of Red Deer – their bloodline dates back to 1066 and the times of William the Conqueror. Detox your mind and your body and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Waternook is Hygge. Let us arrange for one of our experienced and knowledgable professionals to come in and create a truly unique session for you built with one result in mind - to get you back to being you again. The sessions can be a one off or we can arrange for sessions every day of your stay and they can focus on yoga, Wellness, meditation, mindfulness and nutrition. We have a luxury concierge range waiting for you. Hygge starts at Waternook.
However you decide to enjoy Ullswater and The Lake District you are certainly spoilt for choice, there is certainly no finer place than to escape to, and if you would like us to create a bespoke and memorable experience for you please contact us.