Wordsworth declared Ullswater “the happiest combination of beauty and grandeur, which any of the Lakes affords”, a judgement that still holds good. At almost eight miles, it’s the second longest lake in the national park, with a dramatic serpentine shape that’s overlooked by soaring fells, none higher than the challenging reaches of Helvellyn (3114ft), the most popular of the four 3000ft mountains in Cumbria. Cruises depart from the tiny village of Glenridding, at the southern foot of the lake. Meanwhile, at Gowbarrow Park, three miles north of Glenridding, the hillside still blazes green and gold in spring, as it was doing when the Wordsworths visited in April 1802; it’s thought that Dorothy’s recollections of the visit in her diary inspired William to write his famous “Daffodils” poem. The car park and tearooms here mark the start of a walk up to the 70ft falls of Aira Force.
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