Should I purchase tickets for the Ullswater steamer ahead of time or will there be room on the steamer if I wait to purchase tickets on the day we want to take the steamer? I would like to be sure we can get on the earliest departure. We will be in the Lake District during the 4th week in May.
just buy on the day no need to book
If you're on the first boat, as it is a School Holiday week, I would book just to be sure, especially if being on a specific sailing is important to you. You don't say which end of the lake you are starting from. If from Glenridding it will or should be one of the former 'steamers' , if from Pooley Bridge the first sailing is usually on one of the smaller more modern, if still historic, launches.
What I am thinking about, with local knowledge, is that the first boat is likely to be busy with walkers heading over to Howtown.
I wouldn't have thought it would be full, but you don't know, especially if the weather is good.