Despite its unusual name, the reality is that the Quiet Site isn’t actually that much quieter than your average campsite. But the name is enough to put off any rowdies or big groups, so it’s certainly quieter than some of the more boisterous Lake District options.
There are a number of other ways in which this campsite truly excels, however. For starters, despite being established for over 50 years, it’s arguably the most forward-thinking and eco-friendly campsite in Cumbria. Home to the UK’s first zero-waste campsite shop and generating almost all of its energy (including the hot water) from solar and renewable sources, it has a commitment to sustainability that’s ahead of its time.
Then there’s the on-site bar, which really feels more like a quintessential village pub. Housed inside a 17th-century barn, with low beams, open fires, trinkets adorning the walls and furnishings made from old whiskey barrels, it’s every bit the real thing. A side room has games like table tennis and air hockey for children, while another is set aside for meetings, yoga or group events and, though it doesn’t serve food, the cellar is well stocked and they have their very own ‘Quiet Pint’ ale.
Yet for all the draw of a good pub and award-winning eco credentials, does the actual camping stand the test? Well, a section of the campsite is admittedly slightly blighted by a herd of statics. But these are nicely separate from the main camping area, where perfectly flat pitches are chiselled into the hillside overlooking mist-shrouded Ullswater in the valley below. To the west is Helvellyn and Fairfield, east are the Pennines and look south for Barton, Hallin and Place Fells. The very top of the campsite has the best views, which have been given over to glampers staying in the 15 ‘Hobbit Holes’. There are a clutch of pods, cabins and bell tent glamping options too. All have access to the campers’ first-rate facilities, which include the likes of super-fast WiFi at your pitch, a children’s adventure playground and even a special bath for washing your dog.
The Quiet Site is ideal for accessing the peace of the Lakes’ pathways, with several bridleways passing close by. On arrival you’ll get a handcrafted local walking guide popped into your hand. They’ve tailored the walks to all family members and interests so you should find one that suits you – whether it’s a full-on lung workout up the fells or an amble with the kids. And if you follow one of the routes that starts at the campsite, you’ve already cheated some extra altitude. Up here on the hillside, it’s a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Glenridding town and the Lakeland summer crowds below. Quiet, in its own special way.
You'll be given a sheet with some advice on local walks when you arrive at the campsite and there's plenty of local tourist information at reception. In particular, the eight-mile walk from The Quiet Site to Aira Force Waterfalls is highly recommended and constantly tops the rankings for visitors' favourite day out. On a rainy day the drive takes 10 minutes. For the real headline hikes, Helvellyn and Blencathra are two of the most famous climbs in the Lake District and both within easy reach – both hikes have steep spines if you want to get the pulse racing. If you'd prefer to explore by bike, a local bike hire company delivers to The Quiet Site (£25 per day or £40 for Ebikes). Prices include helmet, lock, pump and repair kit and as long as you give at least 24hrs notice, delivery to the campsite is free. No trip to this part of the Lakes can end without catching the Ullswater Steamer; 10% discount vouchers are available from the campsite reception for the cruise around the lake, which you can join at Glenridding or Pooley Bridge. If you go from Glenridding, jump off at Howtown and take the gorgeous walk back (dogs welcome). History bods may also want to explore nearby Dalemain House (01768 486450); don’t forget to visit the lovely tea rooms.
The on-site pub really is one of the best we have come across in the UK. They serve a variety of local ales (including their own brew) but no food. But if you’re after some dinner then head to the Brackenrigg Inn (01768 486206) overlooking Ullswater for above-average grub with a change of scenery. On the shores of Lake Ullswater, the Sharrow Bay Hotel (01768 486301) has a Michelin-starred restaurant. You can do lunch or dinner but they’re famous for afternoon teas.