Length – 2.0km / Max Width – 0.54km

Buttermere is in the north west of the Lake District, approximately 11 miles outside of Cockermouth, accessed via the B5289.

Surrounded by fells this lake has stunning scenery and is one of the more popular lakes for visitors and locals alike. At one end the quirkily named Sour Milk Ghyll (apparently named for its appearance after heavy rain) creates a spectacular waterfall.


There is a National Trust car park on the outskirts of the village of Buttermere (Grid Ref NY 172 173). National Trust members can park here for free with a valid membership car sticker. Spaces are limited and this car park does fill up fairly early on during peak days.

A large pay and display car park is available in Buttermere itself, operated by the National Park. Alternatively, at the other end of the lake a small pay and display car park is operated by Gatesgarth Farm (Grid Ref NY195 150).


Public toilets are located within the National Park car park in the village of Buttermere. The village also has a hotel, The Bridge Hotel, with a bar where walkers are welcome, serving food all day. The Fish Inn also offers accommodation and traditional pub style food.

At the Croft House Farm café food is served all day with takeaway options, and English Lakes Ice Cream is available here. At Syke’s Farm just outside of the village there is another tea room where ice cream made on site from milk produced on the farm is served, along with a selection of snacks and cakes.

Walking Trails

A walk around Buttermere is rather pleasant and relatively easy to do, being around 4.5 miles in total along fairly flat and well maintained paths. The trail starts close to the Fish Inn at Grid Ref NY 175 169 and takes you along a track to a gate with a sign indicating you are entering National Trust property. This is a popular picnic spot.

Turn right and the waterfall of Sour Milk Ghyll (Grid Ref NY 174 164) is straight ahead of you. As you face Sour Milk Ghyll you will see a gate on your left with a path leading along the lake shore. This path will take you all the way to the other end of the lake, where you can use Peggy’s Bridge (Grid Ref NY 189 148) to cross one of the becks (stream) that feeds Buttermere.

The path will take you to Gatesgarth Farm and the road on the other side of the lake. There is a short bit of walking on the road before the lakeside path begins again at Crag Wood (Grid Ref NY 189 155). This path will lead you to Sykes Farm just outside of Buttermere village.

Buttermere is also a starting point for a number of popular fell walks, including Haystacks, High Stile, and Red Pike.