If you enjoy lakes landscapes then you will probably love a visit to the Lake District, England’s most popular national park. With sixteen lakes in the area, only one is officially a lake by name: Bassenthwaite Lake, as the others are meres, waters or tarns.
We’ve shortlisted ten of them in no particular size or order as a visitor’s guide to pick and choose those to make the most of their stay, be it for relaxing time, a stroll in the wild or more active sport activities:
1. Windermere: This long and narrow lake is the largest natural lake in both the Lake District and England. It has nineteen islands or holmes (small island or islet) and a closer view can be enjoyed with passenger services that operate through the whole length of the lake.
2. Rydal Water: One of the smallest bodies of water in the Lake District located near the hamlet of Rydal. It can be enjoyed with walks through the surrounding hills and lakeshore footpath.
Head to the western end of the lake, where some steps will take you to Wordsworth’s Seat, and appreciate why it was one of the poet’s favourite viewpoints.
3. Grasmere: Another small lake in the region, but a strongly recommended visit if you enjoy canoeing, boating or just a stroll around it. Its small island in the middle was Wordsworth’s favourite destination, but beware, it is now owned by the National Trust and it is not allowed to land there.
4. Blea Tarn: This small body of water shaped by glacial ice is easy to reach and located in a small valley between Great Langdale and Little Langdale with forest on its western shore with rhododendrons, while the other shores are covered with grassland. A favourite view for nature landscape photographers due to this charming combination of elements in one place.
5. Derwentwater: Known also as “Keswick’s Lake” as it’s only a short walk from Keswick town, Derwentwater is one of the largest lakes in the area with some islands. A must visit place considering its scenic value which can be enjoyed by walking around its shores or boat rides, but also for those interested in swimming, sailing, windsurfing, rowing and motor boats. Visit Derwentwater to understand why this unique landscape provided inspiration to Beatrix Potter, iconic children writer and illustrator, to write some of her books.
6. Esthwaite Water: If you love tranquil places and escaping the crowds you might find visiting this smaller and lesser known lake a great retreat. It is located near Hawkshead but most notably to the west is Grizedale Forest, ideal to combine this visit with a great escape in the local woods.
7. Buttermere: Owned by the National Trust, Buttermere is a popular spot with great scenic value for visitors that enjoy a unique landscape of lakes and mountains from its surrounding footpath which can be walked in a few hours. Alfred Wainwright, famous walker and author of guidebooks, wished his ashes to be scattered in Haystacks, his favourite place to walk.
8. Wast Water: Owned by the Natioinal Trust, this lake is described by poet Wordsworth as “long, stern and desolate”, it is a favourite for most visitors and it is not hard to understand why. It is surrounded by mountains, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Red Pike and Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. Add to the south-east scenery screes that cover up to a height of nearly 2000 feet to convert this view into a breath-taking landscape that has inspired painters, poets, photographers and climbers for a long time.
9. Ullswater: This easily accessible, Z shaped, clear and deep lake is close to Penrith town and is the second largest in the area. Beautiful enough to be compared to Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, Ullswater can be walked along the lakeshore. One of the most popular parts is the south eastern shore, between Howtown and Glenridding. It can be enjoyed in a variety of ways with cruises, boats, dinghies, kayaking, canoeing, sailing or windsurf. Like many other local sites, Ullswater’s Glencoyne Park served as writing inspiration to William Wordsworth, in this instance for his famous poem ‘Daffodils’.
10. Brothers Water: Previously known as Broad Water, this small lake, or perhaps for some a large tarn, is located in the Hartsop valley and can be seen at the northern end of Kirkstone Pass, providing picturesque views on the descend towards Patterdale. Not visited by many, this lake offers a great choice to have a relaxing stroll through the walk in its western shore woodland.
The list could go on and on if all the bodies of water in this wonderful area were recorded! In normal times approximately 16 million people per year would come and visit this national park that offers a wide range of accommodation types and leisure activities that would break anyone’s daily routine. Lake District National Park is definitely an ideal place to enjoy an unforgettable UK holiday with plenty of space and options to make this experience one of your own.
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