Lakes

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

With a name like the Lake District, no visit to the area would be complete without enjoying the spectacular views of the fells along the picturesque lake shores. The Lake District is home to an array of beautiful lakes, waters, and tarns with 16 bodies of water considered to be the main lakes.

Below we detail these main waters, which are easily accessible and widely visited by both tourists and locals alike. We also detail where you can find parking, the facilities around the lake, like toilets, restaurants, pubs, and accommodation if present. And, you'll find the walking trails for each lake, complete with GPS start points, picnic spots, and pub stops.

Esthwaite Water

Located between Windermere & Coniston, south of Hawkshead, Esthwaite Water provided inspiration for one of Beatrix Potter’s characters, as it was the author’s favourite lake. Whilst most of the land around the lake is restricted, as it is privately owned, there is plenty to do here, including trout fishing, delightful walks, and Osprey sightings.

Elter Water

Old Norse for “Lake of Swans”, Elter Water provides stunning views and is famous for its swan population, as well as waterfall. The lake is located along the Cumbria Way, so is an excellent choice if you are with children or wheelchair users. The lake is just a few miles west of Ambleside in the village of Elterwater.

Wastwater

If you’re looking for the perfect place for a lakeside picnic with stunning views, then look no further. With views of Scafell Pike and other gorgeous fells, Wastwater provides an idyllic Lake District scene. The lake is located in the west within the Wasdale Valley and there is a walking trail along the shores that goes on for about 8-miles.

Ullswater

Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District and is surrounded by the beautiful and famous Helvellyn mountain range. With boat hire, sailing, and walking trails around the lake, Ullswater provides great entertainment for the whole family.

Thirlmere

Whilst no water sports are allowed on Thirlmere, the lake provides a stunning backdrop, as it is situated between a number of impressive fells, including Helvellyn, and is somewhat isolated. There are a number of walking trails around the lake with the distance around the entire lake being around 10-miles.

Rydal Water

Between Windermere and Grasmere, you’ll find the inspiration for many of Wordsworth’s works – Rydal Water. Whilst popular amongst tourists, this lake tends to be a bit quieter than some of its neighbours and boasts an impressive cave, as well as a classically stunning Lake District backdrop.

Grasmere

Located in the village of Grasmere, Grasmere lake provides beautiful lakeside scenery near the former home of William Wordsworth and, of course, the famous Grasmere Gingerbread. There is a 3-mile walk around the lake, which is seemingly popular amongst tourists, especially in the high season.

Windermere

Windermere is the largest lake in both the Lake District and in England and is the most popular lake in the area. This is the place for water sports and recreation and there are regular ferries across the lake, offering superb views. Around the lake, you’ll find ‘Windermere Way’, which is a 45-mile-long circular walk around the lake’s shores.

Loweswater

If you’re looking for something less touristy and quiet, Loweswater is an undeniably beautiful lake often ignored by visitors. Located between Cockermouth & Egremont, there is a 4-mile circuit around the lake, which offers a peaceful stroll with beautiful scenery. Whilst there are no facilities, there is a great pub known to local’s in the nearby village of Loweswater.

Ennerdale Water

Ennerdale Water is located between Cockermouth and Egremont and is another favourite amongst locals in the Lake District. There is a forest that surrounds the lake with a reasonably flat 6.5 mile walk around the lake’s shores. This is also the place that Bill Clinton proposed to his wife Hillary and it was also a filming location for 28 Days Later

Derwent Water

With its location just outside of Keswick, Derwent Water is a well-known lake by locals and tourists alike. The famous walking trail, Cumbria Way, navigates one a side of the lake with views of the popular walking fell, Cat Bells. There is also a theatre along the lake that provides a range of different events throughout the year with plenty of boat hire options along the shores.

Crummock Water

Crummock Water offers scenic views unknown to most tourists and is the ideal spot for a quiet picnic or a paddle across the water. It is located near Cockermouth with food and facilities available in the nearby village of Buttermere. To walk around the lake is 8-miles, although part of this walk is along a road.

Coniston Water

Coniston Water provided inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series with its surrounding woodland and iconic shoreline. A walk around the whole lake is about 14-miles or you can take a steamer boat across the lake with a lovely walk along the Cumbria Way back into Coniston.

Buttermere

With a 4.5 mile well-maintained path and spectacular views along the shoreline, Buttermere is a popular lake for both tourists and locals to enjoy. Not far from Cockermouth, Buttermere is easy to get to and offers a number of restaurants, as well as accommodation. Buttermere is also a popular choice for picnicking and is also the starting point for many popular fell walks.

Bassenthwaite Lake

Bassenthwaite Lake fits between Keswick and Cockermouth and is one of the largest lakes in the Lake District, offering great opportunities to spot Osprey. It is also the only lake in the Lake District to feature the name ‘Lake’ within its official name. Here there are great places to have a picnic and a number of great walking trails.

Haweswater

Haweswater provides a tranquil location for those looking to find a charming, less touristy spot for a picnic. Whilst the lake was controversially created in 1929 to provide a water supply for Manchester, it still provides a number of great walking trails and excellent views.