Sykeside Camping

UK England North West England Cumbria Glenridding

  • Electrical hook-ups
  • Laundry
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
Panoramic mountain views and great hiking action right in the middle of the Lakes

Sykeside is one of those campsites that is all about the views. Situated in the midst and mists of the Lake District’s Dovedale valley and surrounded by the fells of Dove Crag, Hart Crag and Fairfield, it offers glorious mountain panoramas wherever you decide to pitch. Not only that, the Lakes themselves are enticingly close by, with unsung Brothers Water a short walk away and serpentine Ullswater four miles further away down the road.

Innumerable campers have been spilling into Sykeside’s friendly embrace for over 35 years now. The current owners have been running the place for more than a decade and know a thing or two about how to make things run efficiently. The valley campsite is hidden away down a private drive below the roadside Brotherswater Inn, and is fastidiously cared for, with neatly trimmed and well-nourished grass. If it sounds too manicured, one look up at the encircling fells puts everything into perspective. There’s still a reassuringly natural, outdoorsy vibe and, as tent pitches are unmarked, campers can choose their very own patch of grass on which to throw up their canvas when they arrive.

The best place to pitch is on the terrace on the left-hand side of the site. As it’s higher up it gives better views and stays relatively dry all year round (it’s the only part of the site open to tents in the winter months), and as you can’t take cars up the bank it’s often quieter there in summer (a word of warning, though: it’s very occasionally reserved for the use of a school group.) Otherwise, you’ll be able to park where you pitch – though after heavy rain they prefer to keep cars off the grass.

There’s a wider-than-usual range of facilities, though the showers are shared with walkers, small groups and families using the on-site bunkhouse. There’s a well-stocked shop at reception and – best of all – the campsite Barn End Bar (weekends and school holidays only). When the bar’s not open you only have to walk up the drive to the Brotherswater Inn, a quintessential Lake District pub that offers decent grub, draught beer and B&B accommodation for any non-tenters. Energetic kids get the use 
of an entire spare field (except during lambing season), allowing plenty of space for running around and football games.

There are excellent hiking routes starting straight from the site, from easy strolls around Brotherswater – which is a relatively small and unknown lake, yet a favourite of Dorothy Wordsworth, no less – to more challenging ascents up the likes of Fairfield, Helvellyn and High Street. It’s also easy to pick up the Fairfield Horseshoe ridge walk, ramble to Priest’s Hole cave, or amble all the way to Ambleside. The road outside the site, meanwhile, goes in two directions – three miles up, to the top of Kirkstone Pass (where you can enjoy a pint or an afternoon tea at the agreeable inn there), or three miles down, to the lake at Ullswater. Here, you’ll be able to catch a steamer from Glenridding to Howtown or Pooley Bridge, and then stroll back along the lakeshore – secure in the knowledge that, most weekends at least, you can recuperate later with your very own onsite, 100-yard pub crawl, from the Barn End Bar to the Brotherswater Inn.



Toilet (6 women's, 4 men's) and shower (5 women's, 6 men's) facilities are clean and heated but shared with the bunkhouse. Shaving sockets and power points are available in the shower block. There’s also a laundry room (washing machines £4, dryers £1.50), dishwashing area (with freezer for ice packs) and a shop at reception (open daily in summer; on request in winter) selling groceries and camping gear. As well as the Brotherswater Inn (open daily, except Christmas Day), the cosy Barn End bar is open at weekends (Easter–Oct) for drinks in the evening. Play facilities for kids are limited to an empty field. Off-ground BBQs are fine. Campfires permitted up until 11pm in an appropriate container (fire pit or similar).

Suitable For

Tents, campervans, caravans, motorhomes and dogs – yes. Groups of more than 6 adults (D of E excepted) Groups without a parent or a guardian over age 18 – no.
Please note: You can only book tent pitches via Cool Camping. Campervans, motorhomes and caravans must book directly with Sykeside via or on 017684 82239 


Boat trips with Ullswater Steamers (01768 482229) from Glenridding (a 10-minute drive) are available all year round – leave your car at the pier car park for a day cruising and walking round the lake. Staying at Sykeside also gives you the opportunity to explore the lesser-visited eastern side of the Lakes. It’s a 16-mile, 30-minute drive, for example, to the magnificent Lowther Castle and Gardens (01931 712192), Britain’s largest castle and garden restoration project which lies just south of the enjoyable market town of Penrith (market day is Tuesday).

Food & Drink

The on-site Brotherswater Inn serves generous portions of hearty pub grub. Otherwise, the main local destination for eating and drinking is Ambleside, 7 miles away, up and over Kirkstone Pass, where there’s the excellent Zefirellis (015394 33845), an Italian veggie pizza and pasta place with its own cinema and jazz bar. Head the other way, to Penrith, and you can drive to The Gate Inn at Yanwath (01768 862386), a renowned gastro-pub showcasing the best in Cumbrian cuisine and beer.


All year except Christmas Day.

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The Owner Says

In the heart of the Dovedale Valley, surrounded by Dove Crag, Hart Crag and Fairfield with Brotherswater nearby, Sykeside is an inspiring location for Lake District camping, offering stunning views wherever you pitch.

Video Tour


Space for 80 tents, 19 motorhomes (with hook-ups) and 5 caravans (on a separate site).

Standard Grass Tent Pitch

Grass pitch Sleeps 6 5 Available
Our standard pitch includes one adult with a tent and car. Tent pitches are suitable for tents only, not vans, campervans, motorhomes or caravans.

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Contact Sykeside Camping, Brotherswater, Hartsop, Penrith CA11 0NZ

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Getting There

From Windermere and the south, take the A592 towards the Kirkstone Pass and Ullswater – head over the pass and down the other side and you’ll see the Brotherswater Inn on the left (turn into the pub car park – then drive through for the campsite). Coming from the north and the A66, take the A592 towards Windermere and the Kirkstone Pass – pass Ullswater, drive through Glenridding and Patterdale, and the entrance to the campsite is about 2 miles beyond Patterdale, on the right-hand side of the road, just before the Brotherswater Inn. If you miss this entrance, turn into the pub car park and go on through to the site.

The nearest train station is Windermere (12 miles), from where you can pick up the Kirkstone Rambler (bus no. 508, runs at weekends from Easter until October, and every day during the school summer holidays), which runs right past the campsite.


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Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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