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Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District

Updated on October 30, 2017

My favorite Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District.

Planning a trip to England's Lake District?. The Lake District National Park, in North West England,is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
I'm lucky- I live in Grasmere, in the heart of the Lake District.

All the Lakes are beautiful in their own way, but here I've picked my personal choice of the Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District. If you want to vote on your favorite lake, there's a poll below for you to do this.

The 19th Century poets, most notably William Wordsworth, Coleridge and de Quincey were inspired by the Lakes of England's Lake District.

Artists , including Constable, Turner and Ruskin, have painted the Lakes.
Visitors from all over the world flock to the Lake District for the scenery .
There are 463 lakes and tarns in the Lake District. ( A "tarn" is the local word for a small lake or large pond)

Bassenthwaite Lake is the only Lake to have the word Lake in it's name. All the other lakes use the old words "mere" or "water", as in Grasmere and Rydal Water.

All the lakes in the Lake District National Park are beautiful and each of the Lake District lakes has a special character. It is very hard to decide on a Top 10 Lakes list, but here it is!

If you are planning a visit to the Lake District sometime soon, why not leave me a message on the Guestbook- I'm happy to answer any questions.

(Photo thanks to Cumbria Tourism, not licensed for reuse except by members. White Moss is a member, and is allowed to use these photos for commercial use) Intro photo by Tony Watson, taken on Derwent Water

Rydal Water- #1 of Top Ten Lakes in the Lake District.

Rydal Water, a lake loved by Wordsworth, who lived at Rydal Mount

"Like a fair sister of the sky,

Unruffled doth the blue lake lie,

Its mountains looking on"

Wiiliam Wordsworth wrote these lines about the perfect small lake of Rydal Water.A 2 hour circular walk round Rydal Water, beginning at White Moss House, taking in Rydal Mount, Rydal Hall, Rydal Caves and Rydal lakeshore is one of the most popular short walks in the Lake District. Click here for more details and photos of the Rydal Walk. I live by Rydal Water, and write from my own first hand experience!

My photo of Rydal Water on a crisp November day


You'll need a good map for your tour around the top 10 lakes. - It's spring- time to plan your outdoor activities

If you are planning a trip to the Lake District National Park this spring or summer make sure you have a good map.

Here's an excellent walking map to help you around the county of Cumbria, home of the top 10 lakes.

UK readers can buy the Lake District (OS Travel Map - Tour Map) here

Grasmere- #2 of Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District.

Grasmere was home to William Wordsworth during his most productive years.

When Wordsworth lived at Dove Cottage Grasmere , there were no buildings in front of the house and he had clear views to Grasmere Lake, a great source of inspiration for him and many other poets bewitched by the Lake District.

The village of Grasmere lies beside the lake, in the heart of the Lake District.

Grasmere | Source

Grasmere Lake has been photographed by thousands of people from around the world. Here is a beautiful Allposters photo you can buy.

Take a rowing boat out on Grasmere to enjoy the calm magic of this top 10 lake.

If you have time, take a Grasmere Walk to really appreciate this top 10 lake, Grasmere

William Wordsworth Lived at Grasmere and Rydal - Read the poems of the greatest poets on your Kindle.

To enjoy the beauty of the Lake District even more, try reading the poems of one of the world's greatest poets, William Wordsworth, who lived in Grasmere and Rydal, and who walked around these two beautiful lakes throughout his long life.

This is a classic collection of Wordsworth's poems.

Find out more about The History and background of William Wordsworth's poem "Daffodils" here

Grasmere lies in the heart of England's Lake District. - Where is the Lake District? This map will show you!

Dove Cottage,Grasmere, Home of William Wordsworth, in the heart of England's Lake District.:
Grasmere LA22 9SH

get directions

Windermere- #3 of Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District - Windermere is the largest lake in England.

Photo of Windemere at Sunset by Tony West , thank to Cumbria Tourism, all rights reserved.Not for reuse.

Windermere is 13 miles long, making it the longest lake in England and the Lake District.

It is the most southerly of the lakes, and the most accessible to visitors. When the railways came through to Windermere in the 19th century, the lake was opened to mass tourism for the first time. These days it is the first lake reached by most visitors, making it the busiest lake.

I spent many holidays as a child in a cabin on its shores. I used to love watching the Windermere Steamers ply the lake. These magnificent old boats still run today. A boat trip on Windmere is a wonderful day out.

If you're visiting the Lakes, you need a good pair of hiking boots. - Get out and walk in the Lake District- buy your bargain boots here.

My friend has just bought some great hiking boots on ebay. Nearly new, hardly worn, and a real bargain. See what you can find before you visit the Lake District.

Ladies! Did you know that there are Backpacks specifically designed for women? If you are serious about hiking, you really need to get a properly fitting backpack for the female frame It will make a huge difference to your comfort.

Coniston Water # 4 of Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District.

Consiton Water was home to Ruskin, and the setting for Swallows and Amazons

This magnificent lake is known for its stillness. It is for that reason the Donald Campbell chose it for his world water speedboat records.Sadly he was killed on Coniston in 1967 whilst attempting to break his own record in his famous boat "Bluebird".The boat is now bsing restored at the Coniston Museum.

John Ruskin, one of the great intellectuals and artists of the 19th Century, lived at Brantwood on the shores of the Lake - well worth a visit. John Ruskin is responsible also for the craft of Ruskin lace from the Lake District

The lake is also the setting for "Swallows and Amazons", the classic children's books written by Arthur Ransome.


Along the west side of Coniston run the Coniston Fells, the most famous of which is Coniston Old Man. A really challenging walk, with fantastic views.

Derwent Water # 5 of Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District

Derwent Water, sometimes called "the Queen of the Lakes"

Derwent Water in the North of the Lake District is ringed by mountains. The walk along the top of Catbells, on the west of the lake, offers amazing views up the lake to Keswick, and beyond to Skiddaw and Blencathra.

Keswick lies at the north of the lake, and The Theatre by the Lake by the shore of Derwent Water is a splendid place to visit.

Passenger boats go round Derwentwater from Keswick all day, rather like a circular bus service, stopping along the way to pick up walkers . You can get off the boat, walk a couple of stops along the lake, then hop back on!

Late 18th century painting of Derwent Water by Joseph Wright of Derby.
Late 18th century painting of Derwent Water by Joseph Wright of Derby. | Source

Ullswater #6 of the Top 10 Lake in the Lake District.

Ullswater inspired Wordsworth's poem "I wandered lonely as a cloud..."

Helvellyn towers over the west of Ullswater, with Place Fell on the west.

Take the boat from Glenridding over to Howtown and walk back along the shore round the south of the lake. It takes about 3 hours, its mostly pretty flat, and the views are wonderful.

From Glenridding drive down past Gowbarrow , home of Wordsworth's Daffodils, and visit the most famous waterfalls in the Lake District, Aira Force.

J M W Turner, the outstanding English artist, loved the Lake District and we are fortunate to have his beautiful works that allow us to see these wonderful views through the eyes of the genius that was J M W Turner.

 Ullswater from Gobarrow Park, J. M. W. Turner, watercoluor, 1819. Turner loved the Lake District
Ullswater from Gobarrow Park, J. M. W. Turner, watercoluor, 1819. Turner loved the Lake District | Source

Wastwater #7 of the Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District

Wastwater is the deepest and most dramatic of all the Lakes.

Down one side of the lake, the screes run down into the water. Along the other side, a narrow road runs all along the lake, ending at the Wasdale Head Inn and campsite.

This is the home of British rock climbing. Started by Victorian gentlemen in Tweed jackets and hobnail boots, this daring sport now has a huge following . The clothing these days is lightweight and high tech, but the challenges remain the same.

This splendid photograph "Winter reflections Wastwater" is by Stewart Smith, a brilliant local photographer who has given me permission to use his photos. All rights are reserved, and you may not use this photo with permission.

Thanks to Stewyphoto on flickr

If you would like to buy any of Stewart's photos, visit his website , Stewart Smith Photography.

Prints can be ordered onlne, and can be shipped in the UK or overseas. A great gift idea!

Want to know what's going on in the Lake District? - Check to see what's happening in the Top 10 Lakes.

The Lake District has its own newspapers that you can read online.

Take a look at what's happening the the Lakes.

Thirlmere #8 of the Top 10 Lake District Lakes

The only man made lake on my list.

In the 19th Century the city of Manchester needed a water supply for the masses of people who had flocked to this huge city following the Industrial Revolution.An Act of Parliament was passed, allowing the Manchester Corporation to flood an area of the Lake District where two smaller lakes existed. A village had to be evacuated, and the residents relocated.

The first water arrived in Manchester on 13 October 1894. It travels all the 100 miles by gravity, taking nearly 2 days to arrive.

It is carried in the Thirlmere Aqueduct , a magnificent engineering achievement, which still supplies 1 million Mancunians a day with superb Lake District water.

Thirlmere | Source

Buttermere #9 of the top 10 Lake District Lakes

Beautiful Buttermere-"The lake of the Dairy Pastures"

The village of Buttermere is the popular place to start a variety of walks. One of the few flat walks in the Lake District is a fascinating circular walk round the shores, stopping for a swim in warm weather.

Higher level walks up Red Pike, Fleetwith Pike, or Wainwright's favorite mountain, Haystacks, can all be done form Buttermere Village.

The Fish Inn at Buttermere was home to Mary Robinson,1778-1837, know as the Maid of Buttermere. She was said to be a stunning beauty, and became a tourist attraction after the Romantic poets sang her praises.Her story is told in the book by Melvyn Bragg.

Beautiful Buttermere with Fleetwith Pike in the background
Beautiful Buttermere with Fleetwith Pike in the background | Source

Bassenthwaite Lake #10 of the Top 10 Lake District Lakes

Bassenthwaite Lake- the home of the Ospreys.

Bassenthwaite Lake in the North of the Lake District stretches west from Skiddaw mountain towards to coast.

In recent years it has become the centre of a pilgrimage for bird watchers. In the early 20th Century Ospreys had become extinct in Britain However, in recent years, a nesting pair of birds has returned to Bassenthwaite Lake.

Every year now an Osprey Watch is mounted by the RSPB, the Lake District National Park and the Forestry Commission to protect the birds and their chicks. Live webcams monitor their progress, and a visitor centre has been set up so that they can be observed at a distance through telescopes by bird lovers.Its amazing!

A frozen Bassenthwaite Lake in winter
A frozen Bassenthwaite Lake in winter | Source

Vote on your favorite lake from the Lake District - Top 10 lakes in the Lake District.

Its hard to make a choice. All the lakes are so beautiful.

Which is your favorite Lake District lake?

See results

If you are visiting the Top 10 Lakes, here are some useful links - Are you planning to visit the Lake District?

If you are thinking of coming to the Lake District to enjoy the fabulous lakes and mountains, here are some linke that you might like to look at for more information.

The Top 10 Lakes on YouTube - The Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District

I've picked a YouTube video of every one of my Top 10 Lakes in the Lake District- please take a look and enjoy!

This could be the perfect location for your stay in the Lake District.


Stay in a beautiful Lakes cottage- owned by your author!

Brockstone Holiday Cottage Grasmere
Brockstone Cottage has the most amazing views over Rydal Water and the Lake District mountains, and you can rent this holiday cottage for your Lake District ...


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