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Cillside Farm, Glenridding, Penrith, Cumbria
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Cillside Farm, Glenridding, Penrith, CumbriaThe phrase 'location, location, location' definitely rings true at Gillside Farm, a site sitting pretty up in the Ullswater Valley. You can relish one of the finest views in the Lakes standing here, in the shadow of Helvellyn, and looking out across the reaches of the valley. You're free to set up camp wherever you like; you can even sleep within earshot of the moss-lined beck that tinkers eagerly past the field. The site's split into two, with canvas campers in one field overlooking the valley, and the caravans across the road under tree cover.For the aspiring Wain wright in you, Gillside Farm is ideally placed to tick off some must-do treks.The track up to Helvellyn and Striding Edge runs right alongside the farm - great for access, but as a camper, you may want to avoid this busy walkers' A-road by pitching further up the hill, nearer the welcome protection of the lichen-mottled walls.You'll be rewarded with near-panoramic views into the Ullswater Valley. But if the call of the fells falls on deaf ears, then this pathway also leads you into town and towards less-strenuous activities around the lake's edge. Time a trip down to Ullswater right and you can get the boat out to Howtown or Pooley Bridge and walk back to Glenridding on the path along the shoreline. Whatever your plans, consult the invaluable five-day weather report in the farm window.

With its picturesque views and easy access to water and walking, Gillside Farm is, at least in camping terms, a gem as precious as the local granite once was - although thankfully not as costly.

COOL FACTOR Low-key camping with outstanding views.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs - yes. Groups - no.

ON SITE Unmarked pitches spread across one tent field. Hot showers (20p), toilet block, and wash-room. Basic provisions, fresh milk, and eggs are available from the farmhouse shop, and cooked breakfasts are served from a hut on the track. Rabbits and sheep roam around the site, unfazed by the temporary squatters - just be careful where you stash your food. The pathway by the site's edge can be an intrusion. No campfires.

OFF SITE Uncover the Lakes' mining heritage at Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum (01768 779747) near Keswick. Or how about a night at the movies? The Rheged Centre (01768 868000; www.rheged.com) in Penrith has a state-of-the-art cinema with 7 IMAX-style gigantic screens showing movies every day.

FOOD AND DRINK The Travellers Rest (01768 482298), with views out to Ullswater, is a nice place to end the day. It serves a selection of cask ales, and the Travellers Mixed Grill will satisfy any post-hike appetite. Every third Tuesday Penrith hosts a farmers' market (01768 817817) with oodles of mouth-watering local specialities on offer.

GETTING THERE Take the A591 to Windermere. Then follow the A592 over the Kirkstone Pass to Glenridding. Turn left on to Greenside Road and then follow the brown signs.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT From Penrith take bus no. 108 to Glenridding town centre. The site is up Greenside Road and is well signposted.

OPEN March-October.

THE DAMAGE Adult £7 per night; child (5 to 16 years) £3; pitch £1; vehicle £1.

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