Whether you’ve a question about the hostel or you want to know about events in the Lake District, we’d love to hear from you.

    Location and Things to Do

    “Elterwater is at the heart of the Lake District”

    Surrounded by the fells of the beautiful Langdale Valley, Elterwater Hostel makes a perfect base for cycling, walking and climbing trips to the Lakes, or simply a fantastic spot to escape to for a quiet break!

    Situated some 4.5 miles west of Ambleside and 3 miles south of Grasmere, a variety of cultural attractions, including the Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth museums,  and many restaurants and cafés are within easy reach. Elterwater itself is home to one of England’s best old pubs, The Britannia Inn, with an ever-changing selection of locally brewed ales and a hugely popular menu and the Wainwright Inn, another traditional lakeland pub, is  just a short walk along the river towards Chapel Stile  

    Our knowledgeable staff will be delighted to help you plan your stay with us and can recommend an array of hiking and cycling routes, as well as other local attractions and activities, to suit your interests, abilities and budget.

    Hiking, Walking and Fell Running

    Described by the Wainwright Society as “a perfect base for fellwalking, with so many notable fells in the vicinity”, Elterwater is surrounded by walks and hikes for all abilities. When you arrive, ask us for recommendations based on your experience, ability and local conditions. If you’re looking for ideas before you arrive, visit and to start you off with some walking ideas, or speak to any of our team for their suggestions.

    For those looking for a challenge, why not take on our 23 Before Tea challenge?

    Spedding crag

    A great walk straight from the hostel onto Spedding crag


    From iconic mountain passes, to muddy forest trails, the Lakes is a cyclist’s playground. With an abundance of trails and tracks for the mountain bikers, and plenty of thigh burning passes for the tarmac lovers, you won’t be disappointed with the cycling options from Elterwater. As with hikes and walks, our staff are well placed to point you in the direction of a good route to match your ability and local conditions. In addition, Pedal North has a good selection of Lake District routes, with three recommendation  (complete with GPX files to download) from the door. 

    The hostel also offers a secure lockable bike shed and bike washing facilities. 

    For longer, multi day hikes and cycles, The Sherpa Van will transport your bags from hostel to hostel at a very good price, freeing you up to carry just what you need for your day on the trail!

    For those without their own, bikes can be hired from Coniston Bike Hire, Grizedale Mountain Bikes, or Ghyll Side Cycles.

    History, Museums and Local Culture 

    Beyond the mountains and stunning scenery, or perhaps because of them, the Lake District has been home to some of Britain’s great writers, with William Wordsworth, and Beatrix Potter both making their homes here. 

    Wordsworth lived at both Rydal Mount and Allan Bank, which he described as the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”, and was also home to Canon Rawnsley who co-founded the National Trust in 1895. Rydal Mount contains many of the poet’s possessions and first editions of his works, while the gardens, designed by Wordsworth himself, are well worth a visit.  

    Beatrix Potter, author of the Peter Rabbit stories, loved Hill Top and based many of her stories there. The National Trust owned property remains very much as she left it and “appears as if Beatrix had just stepped out for a walk”. The World of Beatrix Potter attraction allows children (young and old) to immerse themselves in some of literature’s best loved children’s stories and characters.

    Beyond literature, the nearby Holehird Gardens, home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society, and Blackwell, a masterpiece of twentieth-century design, make for fascinating days out, with regular events and exhibitions. Similarly, the Armitt Museum tells the history of Ambleside, it’s people, and the surrounding area. While, just up the hill towards Loughrigg, the High Close Estate and Arboretum is well worth visiting and is on the way if you are walking over towards Grasmere. While Ambleside Roman Fort, probably built under Hadrian’s rule in the 2nd Century, and the The Ruskin Museum, described as “The most thought-provoking [museum] in the Lakes” are also well worth a visit.

    High Close tree trail has a wealth of exotic trees and shrubs in this landscape garden

    High Close tree trail has a wealth of exotic trees and shrubs in this landscape garden

    No visit to the Lake District is complete without a visit to Castlerigg Stone Circle over 4000 years old

    Activity and Adventure

    There are activities for young and old all across Lakeland.

    Why not take a trip on the famous Gondola, or hire a boat on Consiton, pack a picnic, and find your own secluded bay, or the Island on the Water that inspired Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons adventures. Alternatively, visit one of Lakeland’s wildlife hotspots or perhaps the Lake District Osprey Project, which has an interesting exhibition on these rare birds with HD cameras in their nests, as well as a number of viewpoints.

    The Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole has a range of exhibitions and activities to keep the kids entertained. While the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway takes in some of the Lake District’sDistricts most stunning scenes from the comfort of a train carriage.

    For the more adventurous, why not try a guided ghyll scramble, or other family activity with Highpoint Mountain guides, or try your hand at Stand Up Paddleboarding , cold water swimming, or take to the trees with Treetop Trek

    Windermere is the largest lake in the National Park and offers boat hire and lake cruises year round

    Food and Drink

    Elterwater itself is home to the Britannia Inn, one of Lakeland’s finest pubs (in our humble opinion), as well as the Eltermere Inn, both of which offer fantastic food and drink options. Further afield, Ambleside has a mouth watering selection of eateries to suit any budget, including the Golden Rule, a hidden gem recently awarded Silver in the Walkers Pub of the Year awards. 

    For beer, we’re surrounded by fantastic pubs, with too many to name, but Hawksead Brewery offer brewery tours, while Conisiton Brewing Company has an on site pub offering award winning Ales straight from the brewery!

    For more ideas check out our What’s On? page, which we keep updated with upcoming events, shows, races and other ideas for your stay.

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