Last updated on July 3, 2023 by Wandering our World
Nestled in the heart of the Lake District, Pooley Bridge is a small town that offers a wealth of outdoor activities and picturesque views. The town is located on the banks of Ullswater, one of England’s most beautiful lakes, so it’s little surprise camping in Pooley Bridge is popular.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, and cycling in the surrounding area, while the town itself is quaint, and there are a few small shops, restaurants and pubs to enjoy.
There’s plenty of excellent campsites in Pooley Bridge to base yourself. And luckily we know them well!
With that the case, below we share with you our favourite campsites in Pooley Bridge. We then give you information on wild camping in Pooley Bridge too.
So grab your tent or caravan, some hiking boots and a healthy dose of enthusiasm. Let’s begin your Pooley Bridge camping adventure!
Camping in Pooley Bridge: The Best Campsites for Fun, Views & Adventure
Pooley Bridge is an ideal destination for campers, as there are several excellent campsites located in the area. From several of these sites campers can enjoy stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains, while still being close to all the town’s amenities.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an action-packed adventure, we’ve found Pooley Bridge to be the perfect place to pitch your tent or park up.
Below are some of our favourite campsites in Pooley Bridge and what’s close by to each. All have spectacular views, great facilities, and lots nearby to keep you entertained!
1. Waterside House Campsite
When they say waterside they’re not kidding. It’s almost impossible to get any closer to the water when camping at Waterside House.
This family-run campsite and centuries-old farm is nestled in the Barton Fells, just a mile outside of Pooley Bridge. What it offers is a perfect country atmosphere with calves and cattle grazing nearby and sheepdogs roaming around, while still being close to town.
Campers can enjoy lovely views of Ullswater while spending their nights in pitches right by the water’s edge. The farmhouse on site was built in 1694, adding to the traditional and rustic camping experience here.
You can often see sheep being dipped, sheared, or even giving birth in the springtime. So this is a great place to teach kids about country life.
And if you’re lucky you might be able to snag one of the coveted lakeside view pitches for a fantastic sunset experience every day. Just ask for those when booking – they cost more, but we think it’s worth it.
Facilities available at Waterside Farm Campsite include a modern shower and toilet block and an accessible bathroom. There is free Wi-Fi on-site and a children’s adventure area, and the opportunity to play sports such as volleyball and table tennis. The shop on-site is well stocked too, with gas exchange and seasonal catering available.
Waterside also has a boat storage facility on the lakeshore and hosts wakesurfing and paddleboarding for those looking to enjoy some watersports during their Pooley Bridge camping vacation!
Paddlers can also launch from the campsite themselves and explore the quiet backwaters of the lake. This really is the perfect place to enjoy a Pooley Bridge camping trip with unbeatable lakeside views!
What’s Close By
Staying here will allow you to enjoy beautiful surroundings close to popular tourist destinations like Keswick and Derwent Water. While outdoor adventurers will love being directly on the water. And it’s easy to hire canoes, kayaks, rowing boats, paddle boards, and mountain bikes so you don’t need to bring your own equipment.
If you’re looking to explore the area, the Ullswater Way is a great option – it’s a 20-mile long hike that passes right through this campsite.
For a more relaxed experience, simply wander down to the lakeshore at Pooley Bridge where you’ll find pubs, cafes, and other local amenities.
In essence, everything the area offers is easily accessible from this campsite. From cycling and hiking trails to art galleries and pubs, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful corner of England.
Price: From £20 per night
Address: Waterside House Campsite, Howtown, Penrith CA10 2NA, United Kingdom
2. Hillcroft Park
This modern holiday park is the perfect destination for people looking for a family holiday. Their attractively landscaped grounds provide all the amenities you could need, and we found their team dedicated to providing a warm and welcoming experience for all guests.
This holiday park has well-equipped lodges, camping areas, and plenty of activities to entertain the whole family. Their pitches are nestled between majestic hills and valleys, providing a picturesque landscape that is constantly changing with the seasons, whilst there’s lots of open space for children to play.
The facilities at Hillcroft Park include an on-site shop, games room, a play area, and luxury hot tubs! We loved the personal touches here and the friendly staff, but also the fact a Fish & Chip van visits on a Saturday!
Plus this Pooley Bridge campsite and holiday park is also dog friendly! So much so that they even have a doggy shower so you can get your furry family member all cleaned up after a day of fun in the sun.
What’s Close By
There are plenty of activities to keep you busy nearby, including paddling on the lake, going for walks in the hills, and browsing the charming shops in Pooley Bridge. Glenridding Sailing Centre is nearby, offering sailing and windsurfing lessons for all ages and abilities.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, Tall Bloke Adventures offers rock climbing, abseiling, and kayaking trips in the area.
Price: From £32 per night
Address: Roe Head Lane, Pooley Bridge CA10 2LT, United Kingdom
3. Waterfoot Caravan Park
Camping at Waterfoot Park is the perfect way to experience all that the Lake District offers. This park is located in the charming Ullswater Valley just half a mile outside of Pooley Bridge, and is the perfect place to relax and take in the stunning scenery.
There’s plenty to explore in the surrounding area and this park is a great base. You can wander through the picturesque villages and rolling hills or take a trip on tranquil Ullswater, it’s all easily accessible for Waterfoot.
The facilities at this campsite are excellent too! There’s a Mansion Bar and coffee shop with free Wi-Fi, a laundry room, showers, and toilets. The main reception/shop building is open daily, and it sells local provisions and Calor gas.
There’s even a small football pitch for older children and a children’s play area! So plenty of space for kids to run around and have fun.
What’s Close By
Taking a trip to Ullswater is a must if you’re looking for some breathtaking views in the Lake District. The lake is often compared to the likes of Lake Lucerne and is referred to as England’s most beautiful lake. With Helvellyn mountain crowning the plateau at the head of the lake, it’s not hard to see why.
Not only is the area around Waterfoot Park full of stunning landscapes and walking paths, but you can also take one of the famous ‘Steamer’ boats on the lake. Combine a cruise with some of the most famous and spectacular walks in the Lake District and you have the perfect day.
Lowther Castle is close by this campsite and worth a visit, as is the National Trust Aira Force Waterfall – which is an incredible sight.
It’s actually really easy to take a walk from this campsite right to Aira Force which is a big bonus. And if you’re lucky you might even see a rainbow near the waterfall!
Price: From £25 per night
Address: A592 Ullswater, Penrith CA11 0JF
4. Park Foot Holiday Park
Situated just one mile from town, this family friendly park provides a beautiful lakeside setting with gorgeous water views. There are a variety of accommodations to choose from, as well as space for touring caravans, tents and motorhomes. Electric hookups are available, as well as all-weather pitches.
The big bonus when staying here is that this park has a private beach, boat launching facilities, and direct access to Ullswater!
There are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained, such as pony trekking, tennis, and fishing. Or you can enjoy a lovely walk from the park into Pooley Bridge or onto Barton Fell.
The site has excellent facilities, including showers, toilets, a launderette (coin-operated machines), a clubhouse with free Wi-Fi, a bar and restaurant, a beer garden, large screen TVs, pool tables and a video game room. So something to please young and old!
What’s Close By
With plenty of activities on-site, including discos, regular entertainment and organised family-friendly events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this Pooley Bridge camping option.
We’re sure you’ll be keen to explore the stunning local area too. Thankfully the village of Pooley Bridge is just one mile from Parkfoot, and is a beautiful place to relax thanks to its pretty cafes and cosy pubs.
Glenridding village, situated at the southern tip of the lake, is popular with tourists looking to mountain walk or scale Helvellyn. The village makes for a great base to take in the breathtaking views.
Other top attractions in the area include The Dalemain Estate, Ullswater Sailing School, Aira Force Waterfall, Askham Outdoor Swimming Pool, Lowther Castle and Gardens, and Rheged.
Ullswater is a popular spot for trout fishing and other water sports. And if you’re looking for a place to cool off, there’s an outdoor swimming pool just 4 miles away. Golfers can tee off at the Pooley Bridge Golf Course, 6 miles from the campsite too.
Price: From £25 per night
Address: Howtown Rd, Pooley Bridge, Penrith CA10 2NA, United Kingdom
5. The Quiet Site
Campers have been enjoying The Quiet Site for over 50 years. This award-winning spot, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District, has a beautiful setting only 15 minutes away from the M6. Although a few miles outside of Pooley Bridge, we wanted to mention this place because it has everything and is so wonderfully located for fell walking (more on that below).
The caravan and motorhome pitches are hardstanding, and there are options to suit everyone with tarmac, stone or gravel pitches available – all with hookups. Tent pitches come with 6-amp electric hook-ups, and if your tent is larger than 8 metres, you’ll need to book two pitches.
There are also two fields offering stunning views from their top end. The tent camping area almost feels like you’re in the Alps, with great views all around!
The campsite has all the amenities that campers need for a comfortable stay. There are clean showers and bathrooms, a well-stocked shop, a laundry area, and even a playground for the kids.
The fridges, freezers, toaster, kettle and microwave in the campsite’s kitchen are available for all guests to use too which is a bonus. And there are even stands for disposable BBQs, perfect for a summer evening under the stars.
They even have a charming olde worlde-type bar, where guests can relax with a drink after a long day of hiking and exploring. On top of that they do wood fired pizzas and delicious crepes.
Considering the views, facilities, on-site food and drink options and the all-round fantastic service here, it’s little surprise this is one of our favourite campsites in the region.
What’s Close By
The Quiet Site is surrounded by some of the best fell walking in the country. Guests will have access to Blencathra, Helvellyn, and High Street within 20 minutes. A must-do walk from the site is the circular route to Aira Force waterfalls.
You’ll be right on the famous Ullswater Way that circumnavigates the lake and of course you can take a ride on the Ullswater Steamers. If at the lake, why not go out in a boat or canoe, or visit the Glenridding Sailing Centre.
It would be criminal not to mention the fabulous fishing opportunities available on Ullswater – provided you have a licence, of course.
But if that doesn’t take your fancy, there’s always the chance to see more on land with pony treks around the Lakes. Lowther Castle is just 20 minutes drive away, while Dalemain House is a must-see for its annual marmalade festival for those seeking some history and architecture.
Price: From £25 per night
Address: Ullswater, Penrith CA11 0LS, United Kingdom
6. Ullswater Holiday Park
The Ullswater Holiday Park is a great place to stay if you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors.
This campsite and holiday park is located a 20 minute drive from Pooley Bridge but we love it because it’s next to a beautiful harbour that makes for great fishing (especially if you bring your boat) and overlooks some of the most stunning scenery in the area.
It’s perfect for families and hikers, as the park offers excellent facilities and a set of cosy camping cabin pods – great for those who want to travel light.
This holiday park is idyllically set within 12 acres of enchanting woodland and greenery. The 150 pitches are perfect for tents and tourers, including electric all-weather pitches and fully serviced touring pitches which are level and based on gravel.
On-site amenities include complimentary hot showers, toilets, and washbasins. A coin-operated laundry is also available for campers’ convenience. A small store offers camping essentials, groceries, games, and newspapers, and there’s a coffee shop serving Lakeland tea, cold drinks, milkshakes, sweet treats, and great coffee.
On top of that there’s half an acre of sprawling green space which provides hours of entertainment for kids of all ages with seesaws, swings, and more.
What about the adults we hear you cry! Well you can enjoy a cold drink or two at the open-air bar when the weather is nice! Plus there’s a TV and games rooms available when you need a break from the great outdoors.
With all of those amenities you may find it hard to leave!
What’s Close By
If you do manage to leave this holiday park there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained. Enjoy boating and watersports on the lovely lakes, hiking through the stunning fells, touring the beautiful gardens and impressive halls of Dalemain Mansion, or catching a movie at the Rheged Centre Cinema.
Price: From £22.50 per night
Address: Watermillock, Penrith CA11 0LR, United Kingdom
Wild Camping at Pooley Bridge: Everything You Need to Know
Like other areas of England, wild camping in Pooley Bridge and the surrounding area isn’t officially allowed, however people still do it. Although campers are allowed to pitch their tent if they have the permission of a landowner.
However as the Ullswater area is a popular walking and hiking area, many outdoor enthusiasts often wild camp here. Especially when they are doing a long distance walk.
If you are planning to wild camp in the Pooley Bridge region – and can’t be swayed to stay in a campsite instead – we’ve compiled the following guidelines to try and help keep you out of trouble and camp in a considerate manner:
- You should camp in the same place for one night only, and pitch your tent discretely and in a remote place which will not be easily seen. Therefore don’t camp in or near settlements, someone’s farm or on cultivated land. If you think you’re on private land, always seek out the landowner and ask permission. They may request a small fee.
- Campers should set up their tent at dusk, and take it down at dawn. A tent that is discreet, blends in with the landscape, and pitches quickly is best. Therefore a lightweight walking tent like this one would be a great investment for someone planning to wild camp around Pooley Bridge.
- If you are walking a main trail you should camp away from the path as a matter of courtesy.
- When wild camping in Pooley Bridge and the surrounding area you must never make a campfire. Instead of building campfires, you could look into using a storm cooker for cooking – but check local laws first. Then there is much less wildfire risk and you can cook knowing that the fire is contained. We believe the best ones on the market are Trangia storm cookers. Portable solar ovens, like this one by GoSun, are also a good fuel-less option.
- Take any rubbish with you, and leave your camping spot exactly the way you found it.
Camping in Pooley Bridge: Weather & Best Months to Visit
Summer is the most popular season to visit Pooley Bridge because daytime temperatures tend to be a pleasant 15-20 Celsius. That makes the summer months perfect for outside adventures on the lake and in the fells, but it is worth bearing in mind that rainy days do still occur. So come prepared for all weather conditions.
Spring and autumn are great seasons to visit as you will avoid the peak tourist months. That usually means cheaper camping prices and more peace and quiet in tourist hotspots like the Aira Force falls.
With daytime temperatures ranging from 8-16 Celsius during these two seasons, it’s still possible to enjoy the great outdoors. One important thing to be aware of though is the fact that night-time temperatures can sometimes drop to 2 or 3 degrees. So if you’re camping at Pooley Bridge during these seasons make sure you’re well prepared.
Winter often sees frost on the hills and peaks that surround Pooley Bridge and Ullswater, making it one of the most photogenic seasons. However it can get quite cold, with day-time temperatures rarely making it above 6-8 Celcius. There may be some snow on occasion, and expect rain every other day.