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Side Farm Campsite, Patterdale, Penrith, Cumbria
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Side Farm Campsite, Patterdale, Penrith, CumbriaSide Farm Campsite just might be one of the most perfectly scenically situated campsites on the planet. It can be found on the eastern side of the Lake District, comfortably sandwiched between the steep slopes of Place Fell and the sylvan shores of Ullswater - the second largest, but most enchanting, of the region's lakes. The view across it happens to be one of the most compelling and beautiful sights in England, and to simply be able to open your tent every morning and look out at this astonishing vista is reason enough to stay a substantial while at Side Farm.

The family-run, working farm site is decent and friendly enough so, for many, sitting by the tent with a book, a beer - or both - and soaking up the magnificence of the surroundings is enough entertainment. However, others might have something different in mind: lake larking. Indeed, you will see many turning up with canoes, dinghies, and other petite water vessels with the aim of paddling and sailing the alluring Ullswater. The lake comes with a 1 Omph speed limit, so it's safe for novice waterborne craft-masters. If you like keeping your toes dry, the walks from Howtown to Patterdale and Place Fell to Sandwick are equal if not superior in their breathtaking capabilities. Maybe you'll be tempted by the slopes of Helvellyn; all the routes up this monster are inspiring, but the one that everybody should do at least once is the dance across the top of Striding Edge. Then you can return back to the flat, safe bounds of Side Farm -the simple site with one hell(vellyn) of a view.

COOL FACTOR Scenically perfect lakeside campsite with a phenomenal selection of nearby walks.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans, small motorhomes, dogs -yes. Caravans, large groups (unless pre-arranged) - no.

ON SITE There are roughly 70 pitches spread out across the lakeside grass. Facilities-wise, there's one clean toilet block and 2 shower blocks (each with 2W, 2M).You can get a great cuppa at the onsite tea room. BBQs allowed off the ground. No campfires.

OFF SITE A variety of lake cruises are offered by Ullswater Steamers (01768 482229; www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk). A cinema and a national mountaineering exhibition can be found at Rheged (01768 868000; www.rheged.com). And of course there are plenty of walks in the area, as well as a lake offering bountiful opportunities for water fun.

FOOD AND DRINK The Patterdale Hotel is less than Vz mile away and offers mouth-watering dinners using fresh, seasonal, Cumbrian produce (01768 482231; www. patterdalehotel.co.uk). But if you're looking for something tasty to slap on the barbie, then look no further than the mini-market in Glenridding, which sells local meats. While you're there, if all that market madness leaves you thirsty, grab a pint at the Travellers Rest pub (01768 482298).

GETTING THERE From junction 40 of the M6 take the A66 west, then the A592 along the shore of Ullswater, through Glenridding centre, then turn left into a track to Side Farm - just after the church on the right.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Take a train to Penrith, from where you can catch a bus (no. 108) to Patterdale and then it's a short walk to the site.

OPEN March-October.

THE DAMAGE Adult £7 per night; child £3; car £2.

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