Side Farm Campsite, Ullswater


Side Farm Campsite


Patterdale, Ullswater, Penrith CA11 0NL

Suitable for: 

Tents & Small Campervans - particularly for watersports and walks (No Motorhomes or Caravans)


£17 per night for non-electric grass camping pitch



4 nights in August 2021 

This campsite is a real find - small, simple and right on the edge of Lake Ullswater, with direct access onto the water for paddleboarding, canoeing, swimming and cliff jumping. It's now become a firm favourite that we will definitely be visiting again!


The best thing about this campsite is definitely its location, overlooking Lake Ullswater with Place Fell directly behind you. You'll be spoilt for choice for walking and watersports right from your pitch - that's if you can get in there - at the time of writing there were no bookings being taken, so just turn up and see. We phoned ahead to check capacity and arrived mid-afternoon on a rainy Sunday so lucked out and got a pitch.

side farm campsite by piggl

Be warned that this campsite is on a working farm and access is along a rocky, single track road with three gates to open and close behind you. The track is rough going - even when its not been raining - so be prepared to clunk and pick your route carefully - Not recommended for the lowered vehicles amongst us. We're in a VW T5 4Motion so our campervan was OK, but watch those spoilers! 

Once you've navigated the rocky road in, your next task will be to find a flat camping spot. The campsite field is located of the side of Place Fell and drops down to the lake side so is a slope with some flattened areas. We parked up our campervan on the flat ground near the facilities block, but pitches are not allocated so be prepared and bring chocks if you're in a van to level you up.

side farm campsite by piggl

So, that's the worst part out of the way... now for the good stuff! 

If you have paddleboards like us then this campsite is a dream. There is a private beach that you can launch from (free of charge!) and then the whole of Lake Ullswater is yours to explore. We paddled all over, out to the islands in the lake and aroud the edges to do some cliff jumping and swimming. The RAF also blasted over every day which was amazing to see, low over the lake. 

side farm campsite by piggl


Basic, but do-able. There is no elecric hook up for campervans. There is one converted barn containing male and female toilets and showers (in our family the men said hot showers, the women said warm showers) and a row of basins with mirrors. There is one plug socket to use in the female bathroom. The barn is constructed from breeze block with concrete floors - not a lick of paint in sight - but the toilets, basins and showers are clean enough. 

Underneath the toilet facilities are three washing up sinks with hot and cold water, washing machines and tumble dryers (paid) and bins. 


If access to Lake Ullswater isn't enough, you can also do a circular walk straight from the campsite, and up over Place Fell (one of the Wainwrights). It's a medium-difficulty hike taking about 5 hours, but our 7 year old managed it - with a handily located cafe selling ice cream as a welcome rest spot on the return journey. 

Place Fell by Piggl

For food, there is a pub within a 15-minute walk of the campsite across the fields (The White Lion), but meal times vary, and on the day we visited they had just decided to close the kitchen without warning - so don't rely on it. The hotel nearby stop serving food to non-residents at 5pm - so we trekked back to the camspite, got the van and drove for dinner at the fantastic Travellers Rest pub, located up the hill behind Glenridding with a lovely outdoor terrace. You can't book in advance - but chance it and be delighted with tasty and reasonably priced dinners.

Glenridding is a charming town (a 5-minute drive from the campsite on the opposite side of the lake) with cafes, restaurants and some shops. You can grab 1-hour free parking if you're lucky, otherwise there is a large pay-and-display car park. From the lake-shore you can board one of the tourist boats on the lake, or spend the day on the beaches along the lake. 

On our last day we drove to Aira Force High Cascades - a wonderful circular walk alongside a stunning waterfall. Our advice is get there early if you want to park - there are three National Trust car parks at various levels along the road (paid or free to members), but they fill up early and can be a bit of a nightmare. Aira Force itself is spectacular and highly recommended.

Aira Force by Piggl


The road in and out of the campsite is rough and we winced many times as our van bottomed out on the rocks. The bathroom facilities are basic - and could definitely do with at least a lick of paint - but if you don't mind the simpler side then they're absolutely fine. No electric hook-up points might be an issue if you're used to it!  


The location! Amazing views. Great access to Lake Ullswater and the many walking routes around. Nearby Glenridding isn't as busy as more popular towns, like Windermere or Bowness, so is more enjoyable to spend time in. The campsite isn't large so never felt overcrowded (no motorhomes or caravans are allowed due to the access road) and everyone was like-minded and eager to enjoy the lake.




We have been travelling in campervans for over 15 years, taking in the best that the UK has to offer. By sharing our adventures, insights, recommendations and reviews we hope to inspire you to explore more! 

Take a look at Piggl CAMPERVAN for all VW T5 and T6 Transporters, and anyone wanting to undertake their own van conversion – without compromising on function or style. 

Join us for the adventure…. 

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