A radial pattern

The Lake District is composed of series of radial lakes, mountain tarns and streams (becks) with a central mountainous area that rises to over 900 metres on four summits.

Taking the lakes individually, in alphabetical order:

Bassenthwaite Lake

Close to Derwentwater, is in the northeast. It is one of the longest and largest lakes being 6.4km in length and 1.2km in width. But it is also shallow at only 21m. Derwentwater is better known and attracts the bulk of the tourists, so Bassenthwaite remains relatively unspoilt.

Buttermere Lake

To the west of the Lake District, is encircled by peaks.

There are low level walking trails around the lake. Lake Buttermere is 2.4km in length, 1.2km in width and approximately 23m deep. Buttermere village sits between Buttermere Lake and Crummock Water. Scenically beautiful, it is a popular tourist destination.

Coniston Water

Is the third largest lake in the Lake District at 8km. It is central to the National Park at the foot of Coniston Old Man. Donald Campbell broke the water speed record here in 1955 and was killed attempting to regain it in 1967.

Crummock Water

Is 4km long with very deep clear waters. The lake is flanked by steep fells of Skiddaw slate and offers stunning views.

Owned by the National Trust, water sports are banned although small boats are permitted when hand carried to the shore. Crummock Water is therefore particularly peaceful.

Derwent Waterstrong

Is widest of all the lakes with the town of Keswick on its northern shore. Most of the lakeshore belongs to the National Trust. Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, there are walking trails along the lake's shoreline and woods.


Is a privately owned lake south of Grasmere and west of Windermere Lake. It provides some amazing views over the nearby Langdale Pikes.

Esthwaite Water

is between Coniston Water and Lake Windermere. In summer the water lilies floating on the lake's surface are a feature.

William Wordsworth and the Romantic poets

William Wordsworth and the Romantic poets made Grasmere Lake famous in the 19th century. Nearby Grasmere village is a good base for hikers and climbers as it is the close to the Helvellyn range, Fairfield and Dollywagon Pike.

The highest lake in the Lake District at 790 metres above sea level.


Is situated south of Penrith and north of Windermere. The most easterly lake, it has no habitation on its shores. After 1929 Haweswater was used as a reservoir for Manchester. A concrete dam was built and the lake level raised by 29m.


Is England's biggest and longest natural lake at 19km. Bowness on Windermere, a very popular tourist resort, Windermere itself and Ambleside, at the northern end of the lake, are located on the shoreline. The lake offers many water-based activities including steamboat cruises.


In the far west, is one of the smallest lakes in the Lake District. The surrounding wooded valley of the lake is a popular camping site and there are a number of good nature walks.

Rydal Water

Is a small lake connected by the River Rothay to Grasmere Lake. William Wordsworth lived nearby.

Thirlmere Lake

South of Keswick, was two separate lakes. In 1879 damming caused the two lakes to overflow into one large lake which is now used as a reservoir.


Is the second largest lake with three distinct bends in it. The village of Pooley Bridge is at the northern end, Glenridding at the southern end and Howtown about halfway down.


In Wasdale Valley, is very picturesque. The deepest lake in England, at the foot of England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, it is surrounded by Red Pike, Kirk Fell and Great Gable mountains.

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