The Best Of The Best: Lake District Lakes

Christine Peasnell
20th September 2022

They wouldn’t call it that if it couldn’t deliver… but what are all the Lake District lakes, and what makes each one special and unique to visit? Which is the biggest, smallest, most, or least popular? Get the lowdown on the UK’s most famous set of lakes with hoo’s guide.

All 16 Lake District Lakes

Windemere Lake

Windemere Lake is the most known lake in the Lake District and is one of the largest natural lakes in the Lake District and even England. Although long and thin, Windermere Lake is still a stunning lake to visit, and on land has plenty of tourist attractions, facilities, and amenities to keep you going.

Windermere Lake in the Lake District


Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District coming in at around 7.5 miles long and is one of the calmest lakes in the Lake District. With 3 noticeable bends, many people refer to UIlswater as “the dog's leg”, as from a map it does look a little like a dog's leg. Only 6 miles away from Penrith, the Ullswater lake is clear and deep and is a great place to visit if you’re in the area.

Ullswater lake in the Lake District

Derwentwater Lake

One of the smaller lakes on this list, Derwentwater is only 3 miles long and is a quick 15-minute walk from Keswick town. Derwentwater is also not very deep at the deepest point, meaning you can dip your toes on most of the entry points and get some brilliant snaps of the lake, and the surrounding hillsides which make it very picturesque.

Derwentwater Lake in the Lake District

Bassenthwaite Lake

Owned by the National Park, Bassenthwaite Lake is one of the larger lakes on this list, coming in at about 4 miles long. This breath-taking but incredibly shallow lake is nothing but spectacular, with desktop-background-worthy views! Why not take a picnic (to eat on land obviously, no one likes a soggy sandwich).

Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District

Coniston Water

Coniston Water is the fifth largest lake out of the 16, at five miles long and is a lake bursting at the seams with aquatic life. It has three small islands that you may be able to visit on a kayak, but with breathtaking views and silky still waters - there’s no reason not to visit Coniston Waters.

Coniston Water lake in the Lake District

Haweswater Lake

Haweswater Lake is another lake in the Lake District that was built as a reservoir in the valley of Mardale. In extreme heat, you’ll often see parts of the lake dry up as it’s not super deep but is quite long, but regardless the trails and walks around this lake are some of the best in the world - with beautiful scenery and picture-perfect waters to adventure with. 

Haweswater Lake in the Lake District

Thirlmere Lake

Another pretty long lake, Thirlmere was originally two lakes but since the dam was built for only 104 feet, and the lake reaches 158 feet deep - they became one. Although quite narrow, the surrounding area looks stunning with plenty of greenery and earthy smells to help you through the trails in the area. If you’re in the area, we strongly suggest you take a detour to experience all that Mother Nature has to offer.

Thirlmere Lake in the Lake District

Ennerdale Water

Looking a little like Emmerdale’s Intro scenes, Ennerdale Water is a shallow and usually the warmest lake, surrounded by amazing hills and trees to show off nature's true talent. Not to mention the vast array of wildlife you’ll find grazing and drinking from the lake, Ennerdale Waters is another lake you should take a peek at, especially if you love clear waters!

Ennerdale Water lake in the Lake District


Wastwater is a dramatic lake located in Wasdale Valley and is known as England's deepest lake. One of the most iconic lakes, Wastwater is situated right next to Red Pike and Scafell Pike, two of England's highest mountains making for a perfect-looking movie set. It may not be the clearest of lakes. but is still one of the prettiest ones out there.

Wastwater lake in the Lake District

Crummock Water

Crummock Water is another lake in Cumbria that is jaw-dropping material. The lake itself is not the biggest out there but is very deep and very flat - so flat that reflections appear quite realistic. Not to mention that surrounding the area are beautiful mountains and small villages to bask in the lake's glory. If you’re in the area, why not hire a rowing boat to get the most out of your adventure?

Crummock Water lake in the Lake District

Esthwaite Water

Esthwaite Water is one of the smallest but very beautiful lakes in the Lake District. This small, island-ridden lake is surrounded by hundreds of trails that have wildlife, and amazing greenery and the lake itself has its own aquatic life too. These waters are perfect for a scenic boat ride, so why not hire one out?

Esthwaite Water lake in the Lake District

Buttermere Lake

Overlooking Crummock Water, Buttermere Lake is another stunning lake that just makes your jaw drop. This lake is famous for its beautiful setting and although small and not very deep, has very still waters and is surrounded by nature's glory. If you like walks, or just want to take a break by the lake - then Buttermere could be the perfect lake for you.

Buttermere Lake in the Lake District

Grasmere Lake

Grasmere Lake is a popular tourist spot, not only because of the beautiful lake and surroundings but because of the smooth grass locations surrounding the area. Picnicking is a must when you visit Grasmere Lake, and it's also great for boating and paddling on and in the water.

Grasmere Lake in the Lake District

Loweswater Lake

Loweswater Lake is a slightly more hidden lake in the district, tucked away in a wooded valley in the west. Loweswater Lake is often overlooked by travellers but is an amazing lake to sit at in the evening as the waters are perfectly calm and the mountains in the background can often make for a picture-perfect view that we could stare at for hours. If you’re in the area, don't miss out on this one.

Loweswater Lake in the Lake District

Rydal Water

One of our last lakes on this list is Rydal Water. Being one of the smallest lakes at just ¾ of a mile long, this popular location is not just about the lake. Featuring several caverns, surrounded by beautiful trees and greenery, it's an all-day rambling and scenery-admiring destination.

Rydal Water lake in the Lake District

Brothers Water

Brothers Water is great for visiting with your… brother? Kidding - it's a top spot to visit with anyone (or by yourself), as this small valley is not only the perfect scenery for driving but also features stunning mountains and greenery in the area. The lake itself is small, but clear and bursting with aquatic life such as trout and even the rare species of Schelly, a type of freshwater fish related to salmon. Don’t worry, they don’t bite, if you decide you want to take a boat ride or even a quick dip! 

Brothers Water lake in the Lake District

make an offer and stay nearby

As well as the main 16 lakes in the Lake District you can also visit the dozens of tarns and other water bodies in the region, from the tiny trickles to the grand ones that are bigger than the official lakes. Bring your four-legged friends along to see (and splash) with our pick of the best dog-friendly hotels in the Lake District, and whoever you travel with... just hoo it!

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