Exploring the Stunning Scenery of Aira Force

Highlighted as one of the Lake District’s most famous waterfalls, Aira Force is a fantastic location made for exploring, beautiful landscapes steeped in history.

Highlighted as one of the Lake District’s most famous waterfalls, Aira Force is a fantastic location made for exploring.  Not only a beautiful landscape, this site is also steeped in history. The picturesque falls once provided inspiration to Sir William Wordsworth’s poem The Somnambulist which tells the sad tale of Lady Emma and Sir Eglamore. His time in the area also inspired many of his other famous pieces of work such as Daffodils. Now owned by the National Trust, these dramatic falls are a firm family favourite and offer many opportunities for stunning views and sightings of local wildlife. Visitors can follow the winding network of trails to watch the impressive cascading torrents of water over a 65-foot drop down into the beck below. Whichever trail is choosen, visitors will be surrounded by spectacular scenery and serene sounds of trickling water before being greeted by the crashing sounds of the main event; Aira Force Falls.

The trails

There are a variety of different trails of differing lengths to suit all abilities and experience. However, it is advised that all visitors wear sturdy footwear and waterproofs as some of the paths can become slippy underfoot, especially after heavy rainfall. There are also areas of steep and uneven paths.

There are four main trails to choose from at Aira Force:

  • The Glade Trail (0.5miles) 15 minutes
  • The Waterfall Trail (0.9miles) 45 minutes
  • High Force Trail (1.4miles) 1hour 15 minutes
  • High Cascades Trail (1.8miles) 1hour 45 minutes

All four trails begin at the Natural Play Area just up from the car park and make their way through a plethora of trees including Corsican Pines, Money Trees and Himalayan Firs. The Glade Trail ends just before the Glade Bridge as the Waterfall Trail takes over and leads visitors up the left-hand side of the riverbank. Here, the trail begins to ascend up into higher ground as visitors climb 51 steps towards the Falls View Bridge on the right-hand side. The path then takes a right hand turn as the waterfall begins to come into view. Visitors can continue on this trail to cross over the top of the dramatic Aira Force Falls before descending down 76 steps to the Scary Viewing Platform below. Visitors who want more of a challenging walk can view the incredible waterfall before continuing their ascent up towards High Force and eventually reaching High Cascades Bridge. All four trails lead back to the Aira Force car park on the opposite side of the river bank.

Access and Amenities

Located in Matterdale, Aira Force is well situated and easily accessible for tourists wishing to visit. If travelling by car, the closest postcode for a satnav is CA11 0JS. This will take you to the car park situated on site off the A592. Car parking fees apply and payment can be made with coins, via the PayByPhone app or by card at the Welcome Building or Tea-room during opening hours. Car parking is free to all National Trust members who swipe their cards at the machine. This car park can become very busy during peak times (weekends, school and bank holidays) so it is advised to arrive early or later in the evening to avoid the crowds. The car park can fill up by 10am at peak times.

Aira Force is also accessible via bus with the Stagecoach 508 bus running from Penrith Station to Patterdale Hotel with a stop at the falls. Please check the Stagecoach website for more information about bus timetables.

Aira Force can be reached by boat from Glenridding which offers an opportunity to soak in the astonishing views of the Ullswater valley.

Aira Force Facilities

There are toilets on site including disabled and baby changing facilities which are open from 10am-4pm daily. Aira Force also has its own tea-room located just up from the car park which serves delicious take-away drinks, snacks and ice creams for those sunny days. Opening times for the tea-room may vary depending upon the season so it is best to check before visiting.

Aira Force Activities for Kids

Aira Force has lots of activities that will suit children from the natural play area located next to the picnic field to the activity sheets available from the Welcome Building. Children will enjoy releasing their inner explorers as they climb trees, jump over streams and look out for animals hiding in the undergrowth.

Dogs at Aira Force

Well-behaved dogs are welcomed at Aira Force, but it is requested that they are kept on a lead to protect the wildlife and other visitors.

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