ChildrenDays OutHoliday

Day Out on Ullswater Steamers

We visited the Ullswater Steamers whilst on a camping holiday in the Lake District. We went to the steamers after spending part of the day at Hadrian’s Wall and Birdoswald Roman Fort so only spent a short time at the steamers and so took one of the shorter trip options.

Ullswater Lake in the Lake District, Cumbria, England

Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District and considered by many as the most beautiful. We parked at Pooley Bridge which is a village at the North of the lake.

Ullswater Lake view from Ullswater steamer

There is a public car park (pay and display) a few minutes walk from the Ullswater Steamers ferry terminal.

There are a variety of options for round trips across the Lake. A full trip goes from Pooley Bridge, to Howtown, Glenridding, returning via Howtown. As we only wanted a shorter trip we went from Pooley Bridge to Howtown, changed to another boat at Howtown to return back to Pooley Bridge. This was long enough for us to have an enjoyable boat trip on the lake.

The Steamers were once steam powered, but are now powered by diesel engines. Both of the boats that we went on had an indoor area as well as outdoor decks. Fortunately the weather had improved from the very wet day we had been having prior to going on the boat, but we still spent a little time in the warmth and comfort of the indoor area.

There are refreshments available on the boat and there is a toilet available.

When we left the boat at Howtown it continued on to Glenridding. We had a few minutes to wait at Howtown before we returned on the next boat.

It would have been nice to have spent a bit more time being able to explore Ullswater and the surrounding area, but we only had a short stay in the Lake District and so we set off back to the campsite.

Ullswater Steamer on Ullswater Lake in the Lake District, UK

Ullswater Steamers link with Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

I didn’t realise initially, but later found out that the Ullswater Steamers are owned by the same company that owns the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway.

There can be savings made by combining a visit to both, but only if you buy certain tickets or go in the right order.

For example if you travel on the Ullswater steamers you can get a substantial discount on the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway, but only if you buy the round-trip tickets.

Whereas I believe the discount voucher provided from the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway gives a reduction on the Ullswater Steamer’s regardless of which boat trip you choose to take as long as you buy a full-line return ticket on the train.

We went on both the steamers and the railway, but didn’t get a discount because we only bought the shorter trip on the steamers. If we had done them in reverse then we would have got a discount. We do still have a voucher for a subsequent trip on the steamers, but I’m not sure whether we will be visiting again within 12 months.

Note that you should check what offers are in effect before your plan your journey as the offer may have changed since this was written.


The Ullswater Steamers are a good way to see the beautiful Ullswater. They are particularly popular with walkers that walk between the stops and use the steamers as a ferry service to complete the round trip.

If you are also looking to visit a narrow gauge railway then it’s good combined with a trip on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway (normally on separate days as they are some distance apart), but look at what tickets include discounts as that could help save some money.