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Patterdale, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0NP
01768 482337
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We say

Side Farm, on the eastern side of the Lake District, might just be one of the most scenically situated campsites on the planet, sandwiched as it is between the steep slopes of Place Fell to the rear and the sylvan shores of Ullswater at its front. The view across the lake to the Helvellyn Fells is one of the most compelling and beautiful sights in England, and to be able to simply open the tent every morning onto this stunning scene is reason enough to stay a while at Side Farm.

For many, just to sit by the tent with a good book, soaking up the magnificence of the situation, may be sufficient. Others arrive with canoes, pending their time paddling the length and breadth of Ullswater, the second largest but most enchanting of the region’s lakes. The lake has a rigidly enforced 10 mph speed limit, making this a very safe and wellsuited environment for the less hectic forms of waterborne craft.

But if the boating opportunities are superb, and they are, the amazing variety of places to explore on foot from Side Farm is nothing short of astounding. The site lies immediately next to the lakeside path from Howtown to Patterdale, described by Wainwright, the legendary fell walker and guidebook writer, as ‘the most beautiful and rewarding in Lakeland’. This is probably the first place to direct your energies, and the most interesting way of completing the walk is said to be by boarding one of the old Ullswater steamers at Glenridding, sailing to Howtown, then strolling back to the site. Undoubtedly a great day out, the sailing out and walking back makes quite an appealing kind of expedition. Unfortunately, at weekends or in high summer, most of humanity seems to find this idea enticing. We may be exaggerating a little bit, but if you like wild and beautiful places to yourself then choose your time or season carefully.

In the end, however, after staring at the rocky giants across the lake for a few days, the mind will inevitably start to wander up the slopes of Helvellyn – quickly followed by the feet. There are several excellent routes up this most famous of fells from the campsite (enough to keep you busy for a full week on this monster alone) but the one that everybody should do at least once is the dance across the top of Striding Edge. Yes it’s popular, and yes it can get scary when the wind is howling around the rocky crest and yes the weather can change from summer to winter in an instant, but this walk is one of the most attention-grabbing and exhilarating in England.

The site itself has flat pitching and adequate facilities including toilets and showers, but luxurious they are not and can be somewhat overwhelmed when the site is full. But bring a pair of walking boots, or a canoe, and the idyllic location will more than compensate for any minor niggles.

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★★★☆☆

Beautiful Location

This campsite has the most stunning view across the Lakes. Well worth a stay. A few tips for anyone wanting to stay here: look out for a small sign on the A592 saying 'Side Farm' in between St Patrick's Church and the Patterdale Hotel, its easy to miss; we checked in at 3pm on a Saturday and it was almost full so if you are visiting Ullswater check in before you have your day out. Most of the pitches are on a slope, but its well worth waking up in a ball at the end of your tent for the impressive backdrop. Please make sure you count your change when the owner gives you it, as we were shortchanged. But all that aside we would definitely stay here again.

★★★★★

Wonderful Site

What a lovely place to stay! Right on the shore of Ullswater, with a little pebbly beach just below the field and another rocky outcrop to sit and watch the sunset. Swimming in the lake surrounded by beautiful mountains was just lovely and there were several people using the beach to launch canoes. Beautiful lakeside and fell walks right from the campsite (and it's almost on the route of Wainwright's Coast to Coast). There were backpackers, couples and families using the site and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. The only downside really is that due to the wonderful location the site is not very flat - there are a few flat places to pitch but these were already taken when we arrived on a Thursday lunchtime (in July). It wasn't too slopey though and we managed to sleep without ending up in a heap at the bottom of the tent :) The toilets and showers were great too - very clean and with warm water - although quite busy at waking up time and going to sleep time. There are sinks for washing up as well as washing machines and tumble driers. There's also a tearoom at the farm, which we intended to visit but in the end we were too busy enjoying our beautiful surroundings. All in all I would highly recommend this site and hope to return soon.

★★★★★

Side Farm Campsite

I stayed here in my vw camper a couple of summers ago and mean to go back. I ended up extending my stay because it was so beautiful and well situated. The owners were really chilled and helpful without feeling like they were checking up on campers all the time. It's a site suitable for couples, groups, families and solo campers. You wake up to stunning views and recovering from helvellyn with a BBQ, drink and watching the sun set over the lake is wonderful. 

3 of 3 readers found this review useful.

★★★★★

Side Farm Campsite

Fantastic location, enjoyed a few days here last year (despite the weather!). Perfect for serious fell walkers. Will definitely return!

2 of 2 readers found this review useful.

We spent a relaxing 5 nights at Side Farm, what a wonderful little find. Clean, simple facilties - hot water always running and FREE showers. Well equipped and dry washing up area, with washing machines and tumble dryers. The site undulates a little, but on our arrival there was plenty of flat areas for us to choose from. The site has a small pebbled beach on to Ullswater, which other families took the opportunity to launch boats from. No phone signal on TMobile/Orange..........but that’s one of the reason’s why we chose this site. One of the other campers was on Vodafone and had a signal. Lovely little tea room based at the farm about a five minute walk from the camp site. Highly recommend the ginger cake and luxurious hot chocolate. Just Perfect.

2 of 2 readers found this review useful.

Yes, it is not easy to find a flat pitch and access to the site is a little bit rough in wet conditions but who cares when you’re in location like this! If you really worry about not having phone reception and sleeping on a slight hill then maybe you should look elsewhere. Site has direct access to the lake so perfect for those with kayaks/canoes etc. Despite being very busy when we went there (mid July 14’) it was calm and quiet. Side Farm is just beautiful! Owners are very nice and polite. Showers are free and hot! Walking distance to the shop, boat hire and a pub is all you need. I camp around UK very often and never go back to the same campsite twice – apart from this one. Perfect location!

1 of 1 readers found this review useful.

Lovely campsite in a stunning location, with direct access to and views over Ullswater.

It is possible to hire canoes (from elsewhere) and they are allowed through to deliver directly to your tent door, from where you can launch them yourself from the little beach.

Location is great - the walking path to Howdown is right behind the site and it's a 15 min walk from the actual site in the other direction to the very pleasant local pub & general store (which sells excellent bacon sandwiches and loads of other things). The campsite is an ~5 min walk from the farmhouse where you check in. The area felt safe. Several pitches on higher ground are sloping but if you pitch the right way for sleeping then you can just think of it as raked seating for the fabulous views over the lake!

Facilities are good and housed in a converted barn. Good hot strong showers (included in price) but don't expect fancy tiling - it's concrete and breezeblock but was always warm when coming in from the cold weather (we picked a rainy & cold week!). Everything is clean and functions well so I'd personally prefer them to spend their money on getting that right instead of on cosmetics and the removal of cobwebs several metres above heads! It is camping after all!

Would thoroughly recommend.

1 of 1 readers found this review useful.

★★★★★

Ullswater

Most beautiful part of the Lake Distict from this friendly site we swam in the lake kyacked on the lake ate breakfast by the lake walked alongside the lake painted by the lake and went up Helvelyn above the lake!

1 of 1 readers found this review useful.

★★★★★

Beautiful

We stayed here for two nights in June. It was glorious weather and we certainly made the most of it! It was my first time camping so I was a little apprehensive but I really need not have been. The campsite was lovely and it was such a laid back atmosphere. The views from the campsite of Ulswater are magnificent, we watched the sun set over the lake, very romantic! There is direct easy access to the water's lake edge from the campsite. We went swimming in the lake out to the island in the middle, it was so clean. Many people left there little yachts and canoes next to the water as well it was very safe.

The campsite is right next to many footpaths and is a walkers paradise. The views from the path directly behind the campsite were lovely. The facilities at the campsite were sufficient, the showers were hot and free. There was a queue in the morning but that is to be expected really. The toilet and shower blocks were made from concrete blocks and not plastered, so I imagine it would not be very nice in the colder months. There were also some friendly and large spiders knocking about in the toilet block but that's what you get with camping.

We had a lovely break but the only thing that spoiled it was our noisy drunken neighbours. The whole site was so quiet otherthan them! They woke me before 5.00am on the second night and I gave up trying to sleep and went and had a shower. Perhaps better enforcement of their strict rules particularly around noise would have helped. Suppose it was our own stupid fault for not saying something after the first night but heh, never mind.

Tip: make sure you get there early and pitch your tent on a flat bit of land, we made a rookie error and pitched on a slope, was like sleeping on a house roof! He he! Happy camping!

1 of 1 readers found this review useful.

Nearby Campsites

Cool Factor

Perhaps the most scenically placed campsite in England with an unbeatable selection of walks.

Who's In

Tents, campervans, small motorhomes, dogs – yes. Caravans, large groups (unless pre-arranged) – no.

On Site

Roughly 70 pitches spread out across the lakeside grass. 1 toilet block and 2 shower blocks (each with 2W, 2M), plus a washing-up area, 2 washing machines and 2 dryers. You can get a cuppa and a cake at the onsite tearoom. BBQs allowed off the ground. No campfires.

Off Site

Lake cruises on Ullswater with Ullswater Steamers (01768 482229); the nearest pier is a mile or so up the road at Glenridding. Ullswater itself is ringed with attractions, from Aira Force waterfall to the Dalemain stately home (01768 486450), while there’s bike and boat rental at nearby St Patrick’s Boat Landings (01768 482393). Take the weight of your feet at Rookin House Equestrian and Activity Centre (01768 483561). Choose from horse riding and quad biking to fishing and human bowling(!).

If it rains

A variety of lake cruises are offered by Ullswater Steamers (01768 482229), or a cinema and a national Mountaineering Exhibition can be found at Rheged (01768 868000).

Food & Drink

If proper pub grub is what you’re after then try the Travellers Rest pub (017684 82298) in Glenridding. Whilst your there, grab something tasty to slap on the next day’s barbie at the mini market's fab quality local meats. The nearest pub to the farm (a 15-minute walk) is Patterdale’s White Lion (01768 482214), a straightforward hikers’ pub (Patterdale is on the Coast-to-Coast walking route) with bar meals. Most other places are in Glenridding (a 20–30-minute walk or 15-minute kayak ride), including the bar and restaurant of the Inn on the Lake (01768 482444).

The White Lion Inn (01768 482214) at Patterdale, 15 minutes’ walk from the campsite, has a traditional appeal, dependable bar food and tasty home-made soup.

Open

March–October.

The Damage

Adult £8, child £3; car £2; no credit cards.

Getting There

From Junction 40 of the M6 take the A66 west, then the A592 along the shore of Ullswater through Glenridding. One mile beyond Glenridding centre, turn left into a track to Side Farm – just after the church on the right.

Public Transport

From Penrith you can catch a bus to Patterdale and then it’s a short walk.

Tags

Bicycle routes  Campervans permitted  Dogs welcome  Good walks  Laundry  Mountains  Nice views  Remote location  Showers  Tent pitches  Waterside location