Glenridding sits in a perfect location at the southern end of Ullswater, facing the lake to the east, and the foothills of the Helvellyn range to the west.
Glenridding makes a good base for the ascent of Helvellyn. All three of the main eastern routes up the mountain – via Lower Man, Swirral Edge and Striding Edge – can be reached along Glenridding valley, while the entrance to Grisedale (the normal line of approach to Striding Edge) is only half a mile south of the village.
As a result Glenridding contains a number of outdoors and walking shops, as well as a number of restaurants and hotels and a large car park.
Like many Lakeland villages, Glenridding was originally a mining community, and the remains of the mine still scar the middle section of the valley above the village. The mining almost caused a disaster, when in 1929 the dam in Keppel Cove collapsed. Although a quarter of a million gallons of water hit the village, the damage was all material, and there were no casualties. The mines closed in 1962, and the village is now dominated by tourism.
Glenridding is now the southern terminal for the Ullswater steamers, and one of the classic Lake District walks is the return trip from Howtown, along the eastern shores of the lake back to Glenridding.