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A whistle-stop tour of the Lake District lakes

When the solar is thrashing down on the Lake District, there’s no higher place to be than beside one of many massive our bodies of water that give this gorgeous nationwide park its title. Whether or not you fancy a cooling dip, only a paddle, perhaps take out a ship, skim stones and even simply admire the view, a day beside one of many lakes is full of potential. However simply what number of lakes are there within the Lake District? Let’s go on a whistle-stop tour.

Earlier than we set off, let’s reply the query above. Simply what number of lakes are there within the Lake District? Any quiz boffs can have come throughout the query earlier than. The reply is one. Bassenthwaite Lake is the one ‘official’ lake within the Lake District. The remaining are meres and tarns, reminiscent of Windermere or Ullswater.

In truth, there are sixteen lakes that are thought of the principle lakes of the Lake District, in addition to a whole lot of tarns dotted throughout the fells. Every one has its personal distinctive really feel, boasting a few of the most spectacular surroundings in British Isles. Hardly shocking then that the Lake District has turn out to be one of many UK’s most fascinating vacation locations.

If you happen to’re serious about visiting, hopefully our whistle-stop tour of the sixteen ‘main lakes’ within the Lake District Nationwide Park offers you slightly perception into what every of them provides.

We’ll begin with the most important lake, Windermere.


At 10.5 miles lengthy, Windermere isn’t solely the Lake District’s largest lake, it’s additionally England’s largest lake. It’s additionally arguably the best-known of the lakes, with a lot to do on and round it. It’s a agency favorite for watersports lovers, whereas the steamers and ferries making their common journeys up and down the lake present a extra leisurely method of taking within the gorgeous surroundings. There’s additionally an abundance of wildlife for many who wish to follow the shoreline.


If you’re eager to remain on dry land and easily admire the views, there are a selection of walks across the lake. Gummers How on the southern finish of the lake is a incredible stroll for the youngsters – it looks like a mountain and the views are wonderful – as is Orrest Head on the outskirts of Windermere village, from the place creator and fellwalker, Alfred Wainwright, first fell within the love with the Lake District. The quieter western shore additionally provides a day full of journey, together with Wray Fort and Claife Heights.

In brief, Windermere is buzzing with exercise.

Esthwaite Water

Simply to the west of Windermere is Esthwaite Water, one of many lesser recognized lakes within the Lake District Nationwide Park. It was, nevertheless, mentioned to be Beatrix potter’s favorite lake and the inspiration for her much-loved character, Jeremy Fisher.

Esthwaite Water is privately owned and provides a variety of choices for guests. From fishing to boat rent, osprey safaris to shoreline walks, there’s one thing for everybody.

Coniston Water

Our subsequent cease is Coniston Water, best-known for offering a few of the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s well-known kids’s e book, ‘Swallows and Amazons’.

Coniston Water

This picturesque lake is a well-liked vacation spot for households, trying to recreate a few of the tales from the e book, or just having fun with some enjoyable on the water. Why not paddle throughout to Peel Island in a canoe and revel in a picnic? Alternatively, benefit from the surroundings aboard the superbly restored Gondola, a Victorian steam-powered yacht which sails gracefully up and down the lake in the summertime months.

The Coniston Launch is one other nice technique to see the lake, providing numerous cruises. It sails from Coniston Boating centre and stops at Brantwood, the historic dwelling of John Ruskin, poet, artist and social reformer, in addition to different jetties across the lake.


Within the coronary heart of the Lake District Nationwide Park is Elterwater, a small lake mendacity half-a-mile south-east of the village of the identical title. The title itself means ‘lake of the swan’ and whooper swans nonetheless winter right here.

Elterwater Swans

As with all of the lakes, anticipate breath-taking surroundings. With the Langdale Pikes as a backdrop, the views listed here are significantly spectacular. There are additionally a few waterfalls to admire, Colwith Power and Skelwith Power, each on the River Brathay, which hyperlinks Elterwater to Windermere.

Grasmere and Rydal Water

Simply to the north of Windermere are Grasmere and Rydal Water, two of the smaller lakes within the nationwide park, however with loads to supply, nonetheless. For one, the surroundings right here is nothing wanting spectacular.

For land lovers, there’s a stunning stroll that may take you round Grasmere and Rydal Water, whereas for many who want to be within the water, Grasmere and Rydal Water and have turn out to be very fashionable for wild swimming.

However Grasmere and Rydal are best-known for his or her connection to romantic poet, William Wordsworth. Two of his former properties are close by – Dove Cottage in Grasmere and Rydal Mount, the place he lived from 1813 till his loss of life in 1850, aged 80. Described by Wordsworth himself as, “the loveliest spot that man hath ever discovered”, Grasmere and Rydal Water and properly price a go to for anybody coming to the Lake District.


Persevering with our journey north from Grasmere and Rydal Water, we come to Thirlmere, a man-made reservoir which was created in 1894 to provide water to Manchester.

The reservoir is surrounded on all sides by enchanting forests, the place residents embody pink squirrels and pink deer. The small automobile park adjoining to Wythburn Church is a wonderful start line for these planning to sort out Helvellyn, Swirral Edge and Striding Edge. Definitely not a stroll for the faint-hearted.


Situated close to the favored vacationer city of Keswick, our subsequent cease is Derwentwater, the widest of the lakes in Cumbria. Missed by the mighty Skiddaw and the extra family-friendly Catbells, Derwentwater’s dramatic landscapes change from one minute to the subsequent, relying on the time of yr and the climate, making it a photographer’s dream.


Nearly all of the land subsequent to the shoreline belongs to the Nationwide Belief and as such there are a selection of picturesque walks across the lake. As we’ve talked about, Catbells provides a family-friendly hike, and though difficult at instances, with just a few steep scrambles, it’s not too technical. We must always level out that parking can show slightly difficult, particularly on the peak of summer time, so why not take a Keswick Launch to the Hawes Finish Jetty and begin your stroll from there? Keswick Launches function on an everyday timetable across the lake, stopping at seven touchdown levels.

And for these wishing to discover the lake beneath their very own steam, why not rent a rowing boat, stand-up paddle board, canoe or perhaps a windsurf? There are additionally self-drive boats out there in the event you don’t fancy fairly a lot exertion.

Bassenthwaite Lake

As we talked about at the start of this submit, Bassenthwaite Lake is the one ‘official’ lake within the Lake District, by advantage of getting the phrase lake in its title. It’s additionally probably the most northerly of the most important lakes, and the shallowest at simply 70 toes deep.

There’s a lakeside path alongside the western shore, nevertheless the one entry to the jap shore is at Mirehouse, a superb nation home with sturdy literary hyperlinks.

The lake is a well-liked vacation spot for birdwatchers. Herons and cormorants are a typical sight, whereas the summer time months herald the return to its shores of the ospreys, little question attracted by the Atlantic salmon which come to Bassenthwaite to spawn.

On the northern finish of the lake, you’ll be able to go to Dubwath Wetland Nature Reserve, the Lake District’s first ever wetland nature reserve, dwelling to grasshopper warblers, curlews, greylag geese, reed buntings and meadow pipits, amongst others.


Earlier than we head to the western fells and arguably a few of the Lake District’s most dramatic surroundings, we’re heading east to Ullswater, the Lake District’s second largest lake and a robust contender for the title of England’s most stunning lake.

At round 7.5 miles lengthy, Ullswater is far quieter than Windermere, and the encompassing panorama is nothing wanting spectacular. There’s the problem of Helvellyn by way of Striding Edge, St Sunday Crag or the Fairfield Horseshoe on the doorstep, whereas the Excessive Avenue fells and Crimson Screes additionally supply well-liked mountain walks. The 20-mile Ullswater Manner which circumnavigates the lake is an effective way to discover the realm, though perhaps do it in levels, hopping on and off the lake’s well-known steamers on the 4 piers – Pooley Bridge, Howtown, Aira Power and Glenridding. This award-winning and environmentally accredited Lake District attraction has been offering cruises on Ullswater for over 160 years.

The extra adventurous amongst us might want to windsurf, canoe, stand-up paddle board or sail our method across the lake.


Essentially the most easterly of the most important lakes is Haweswater, which, like Thirlmere, is a made-made reservoir which was controversially constructed to provide water to cities and cities within the north-west of England. This meant flooding the villages of Mardale Inexperienced and Measand, the foundations and ruins of which will be seen these days in instances of drought, a sight which brings in guests, curious to get a glimpse of a bygone time.


You get a real sense of wilderness once you go to Haweswater, largely as a result of its tranquillity and lack of farms and grazing.

Eleven down, 5 to go. Let’s head to the western fells.

Loweswater, Crummock Water and Buttermere

If you happen to fancy getting away from all of it, these lakes are properly definitely worth the journey. At Loweswater and Crummock Water particularly you’ll be able to really feel miles from wherever. Buttermere will be busier, because it’s served by bus in the summertime.


These three lakes are interlinked; in reality, Crummock Water and Buttermere have been as soon as one massive lake. Surrounded by historic woodlands, Loweswater is the smallest of the three and if it’s tranquillity you’re after, you’ve come to the correct place. Get pleasure from a dip within the lake or take a stroll via the woods or on the encompassing fells.

The most important of the three is Crummock Water. This gorgeous lake lies on the foot of Grasmoor Peak and is dwelling to the tallest waterfall within the Lake District, Scale Power. For these searching for journey on the lake, rowing boats can be found for rent alongside the shore. It is usually well-liked with wild swimmers who love the sheltered shingle seaside by the slate boathouse. Like Thirlmere, in the event you’re fortunate you may spot a pink squirrel within the woodlands on the lake shore.

The ultimate a part of the trilogy is Buttermere, the best-known of the three. It’s simply reached from Keswick and Cockermouth, and the encompassing peaks present nice strolling routes. There’s a round route across the lake and though it’s fairly simple and comparatively flat, the steep slopes of the encompassing mountains reminiscent of Haystacks and Pillar add a component of drama.

And for images lovers, the reflections are wonderful. Particularly the road of bushes under Fleetwith Pike, Inexperienced Crag and Haystacks.

Ennerdale Water

A couple of miles to the west of Buttermere is Ennerdale Water which, regardless of being one of many prettiest lakes within the Lake District, is presumably the least visited. Stretching for two-and-a-half miles, that is probably the most westerly of the most important lakes and with no roads operating its size, it’s also one of the vital peaceable. Solely canoes and kayaks are allowed on Ennerdale (though you do must have a allow). There are additionally some wonderful walks which comply with the shoreline, or for probably the most adventurous, why not sort out one of many surrounding fells?


Our closing cease is Wastwater, described by William Wordsworth as “stern and desolate”. Wastwater is England’s deepest lake at 260 toes and boasts a few of the most dramatic surroundings within the Lake District. The steep slopes of the screes on the south-eastern facet of the lake plunge straight into the lake, whereas the slender valley with the peaks of Crimson Pike, Nice Gable and Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, has been voted one among Britain’s favorite views.


That is iconic Lake District. A lot in order that the three peaks which stand on the jap finish of lake (Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Nice Gable) have been chosen because the image for the Lake District Nationwide Park.

There’s solely a small street in which results in Wasdale Head, the favoured start line for these desirous to climb the encompassing peaks, so be ready for slightly congestion. And be careful for these Herdwick Sheep!

That’s it. We hope you’ve loved our whistle-stop tour of the Lake District lakes and that we’ve given you slightly inspiration on your subsequent journey to this wonderful place. And subsequent time that query comes up in a pub quiz – what number of lakes are there within the Lake District – not less than you’ll know the reply.

Rachael Thomas is Managing Director of Matson Floor Property Firm Restricted, which has a variety of Lake District vacation cottages, together with Birkdale Home. Birkdale Home is a luxurious Victorian residence on the coronary heart of a privately owned property within the English Lake District.

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