Aira Force Falls, Ullswater, Cumbria

Aira Force falls in The Lake District

All information is correct at time of publication – August 2015

Day four of our Lake District adventure and we set off for Dockray to do another first – see an actual real-life waterfall. As we live in a watery but very flat area of the UK, a decent waterfall is something which the children have never seen. We thought we should use the opportunity of being in the Lake District to visit one.

We chose Aira Force, mainly because it was about a 20 minute drive from our Penrith base, had good accessibility, and because I’d seen it on Pinterest when planning our trip and thought it looked pretty good.

Aira Force is on the edge of Ullswater and can be accessed from car parks situated on the A5091 near Dockray, and the A592. The main car park has toilets and a tea room. Instead, we used Park Brow car park, mainly because we missed the first one. We didn’t really know where we were going to be honest, but we got there eventually.

Park Brow car park Aira Force

From Park Brow car park (pay and display), you take the path that goes downwards behind the pay and display machine. If you are just walking down to the falls, taking a few pics, and walking back up again, two hours should be plenty.

Aira Force car park charges

Do not cross the road and try the path that goes backwards up the valley. It’s very pretty with some amazing views of Ullswater but is a bit trecherous.

To be fair, the paths are not signposted. There was no-one around to ask, so we looked at the map, tried to work out which side of the road the fall was probably on, and chose wrongly. Ah well, we managed some more firsts, such as crossing a stream using stepping stones, and using a stile, but we were no nearer finding the waterfall.

The wrong path at Aira Force falls

After about twenty minutes, we turned back to the car park, and on arriving back there, found a throng of people had appeared out of nowhere. We asked. They said the falls were just down the other path – the one that had lost out in the ‘eeny meeny miney mo’ contest. Ho hum. So down we went. It’s a bit of a giveaway as the path is so much nicer this way, but I suppose our earlier mis-choice made it more of an adventure.

The right path to Aira Force

It was a bit livlier this way, with lots more people and a few sheep thrown in. We could also hear the falls as we got closer, which is reassuring at least.

Walking to Aira Force

After a few more minutes walk, we found it!

Aira Force falls in The Lake District

Aira Force is pretty accessible actually. There’s a lot of steps both up and down and it looks like it could get muddy in wet weather, but there is a clearly defined, maintained path, and places to take some great pics.

You can look at the falls from the bottom, and from above on the overhead bridge.

Aira Force from the overhead bridge
Aira Force from above

The falls are not really accessible by prams and wheelchairs, and you may need wellies in wet weather.

The falls are free but you have to pay for parking, or it’s free for National Trust members.

We really enjoyed our trip to Aira Force. We got to see a waterfall, and found muscles we didn’t know existed.

For more information, please visit the website of The National Trust

Visiting Aira Force




Joanne and the girly gang review family days out around the UK and beyond, with a little help from their friends.

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  1. Gosh this takes me back, not been there for about 15 years, but a lovely area to walk in and the waterfall is lovely #CountryKids

    1. KidsDaysOutReviews

      It was very lovely. Can’t believe I’ve never been before.

  2. It looks like you had a great time exploring the paths around Aira Force waterfall, even if one of them didn’t take you the way you wanted to go. It’s great that it made the whole trip feel like even more of an adventure that way though. the kids look like they’re having a fab time and they managed to complete a lot of firsts exploring. That waterfall looks fab, I bet it was beautiful to stand and watch for a while and the kids were mesmerized. Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.

    1. It was fun, yes! Love #countrykids and coming to read some others very soon

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