Welcome to part 2 of our Guide to the Lake District Lakes! Each of the 16 lakes in the National Park have their own unique character and attractions. Which one is your favourite?
This lake is small – at only one mile long and half a mile wide - but very popular. In the central Lakes, it’s surrounded by incredible scenery and has easy access to some of the best sites of the national park. Head to the wonderfully named ‘Faeryland’ to hire a rowing boat and set off onto the water: there’s a pretty island in the centre of the lake that you can take a turn around (though this is privately owned by the National Trust, so please don’t land there). If you’re a walker, there’s a lovely route that will take you around Grasmere, past Rydal Water, and back to the village along the corpse road.
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Haweswater was once a much smaller lake, but the building of a dam in the 1920s flooded two small villages and created the larger reservoir that we see now. During dry spells, you can even spot remnants of the old villages! Though building of the dam was controversial, it was the world's first hollow buttress dam and was considered the forefront of modern engineering at the time.
Nowadays, Haweswater is a tranquil place, not often visited by tourists, and so perfect if you’re looking to escape the crowds. Thanks to this lack of disturbance, the surrounding area is home to interesting wildlife including badgers and red deer.
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Loweswater is a particularly tranquil lake. Lesser known than many of the others on the list, it is nonetheless very beautiful. Ancient woodland surrounds it and the trees on the south west shore hide a ‘secret’ waterfall, a tiny pebble beach, and even rope swings! There’s plenty of wildlife hiding in the woods, too, and you may even by lucky enough to spot a red squirrel!
There is, of course, wonderful walking, too. Enjoy a flat potter through fields and into the woods, or head up onto the fells instead. There’s a particularly lovely route with a bench where you can sit, take a moment, and admire the views.
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Rydal Water is a tiny little lake between Grasmere and Ambleside. At only three quarters of a mile long, it's the smallest on our list, yet still has bags of character and lots to offer! There are strong connections here to William Wordsworth, who once lived at nearby Rydal Mount: you can visit his home, which is still owned by the Wordsworth family, and see how it looked when the famous poet occupied it. Also well worth a visit is Rydal Hall and Rydal Falls.
On the far side of the lake on Loughrigg Fell are the remains of a quarry, including Rydal Cave. It’s a pleasant walk to here, and you can head into the depths of the large cave by means of stepping stones over a flooded pool. Keep an eye out for the fish!
Your walk can continue on past Grasmere lake (see above) into the village, or head back to the Badger Bar for a delicious meal.
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Thirlmere was two separate lakes until it was dammed and made into one single reservoir in the 1800s. Helvellyn towers over the eastern shore and the views from a 10-mile route around the lake are simply beautiful.
If you don’t fancy the full walk, then there are easier routes through the surrounding mixed woodland, or more experienced walkers might want to head up to the Hill Fort on Raven Crag. Whichever direction you go, you’ll see fewer people than at the other, better known lakes. Despite its central location, Thirlmere remains a quiet and peaceful place.
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Ullswater is thought of by many as the most beautiful of the Lake District lakes. Stretching for 11.8 km in a long ribbon, it’s home to some of the best walking in the national park. Imposing Helvellyn towers over the lake, with the dramatic ridge of Striding Edge forming part of its most popular walking route. The High Street fells and Red Screes also offer much loved mountain walks.
If you want to take in the scenery without the hiking, then you’re in luck! Ullswater is surrounded by some lovely villages such as Glenridding and Pooley Bridge (check out Chestnut House, which sells 400 gins as well as other local produce and gifts). Or why not take an easy walk to Aira Force? For the history buffs amongst you, the area is swimming in interesting sites including stately homes, stone circles and spectacular ruins.
We have lots of holiday cottages around Ullswater.
Wastwater is the deepest lake in England at a whopping 74 metres! It’s found in Wasdale, which itself is a valley of extremes, also being home to England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike) and its smallest church (St. Olaf’s).
The lake makes for an impressive view thanks to the imposing screes that rise out of the water along the whole of southeast side. It’s also a favourite starting point for hiking the Scafells, and many experienced hikers can be seen heading up there, as well as up paths to the other high fells of the area.
Despite that, Wastwater is still a relatively peaceful place to visit. Its imposing presence has inspired generations of visitors, and the valley is the birthplace of British climbing.
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Windermere is probably the best known and most popular lake in the whole of the Lake District (and the whole of England!). It’s also England’s longest lake, stretching for over 18km.
If you’d like a taste of just about everything that Lakeland has to offer from one place, then head to Windermere. Bowness and Ambleside are bustling towns that retain a traditional feel and offer easy lake access, while villages like Windermere and Hawkshead are also well worth a visit. The western banks are less populated and offer a taste of the famous Lake District tranquillity.
For getting onto the water, you can take a lake cruiser, hire your own boat, or even jump right in and go swimming! There are lots of attractions, too, including the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, Lakes Aquarium, Wray Castle and Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s former home.
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So there you have our quick guides to all the lakes in the Lake District. Are you excited to explore and discover a new one? Or perhaps you have a long-standing favourite that you return to again and again? Either way, you can use our cottage search to find your perfect nearby holiday cottage.
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