Nov 03

My Top 10 Lake District views

by in Cumbria, Outdoors, Photography

I’m often asked what is my favourite lake in the Lake District and I always find it difficult to say. Each stretch of water in this glorious part of the world, from northern Bassenthwaite Lake to the justifiably popular Windermere has its own appeal.

Yachts on Windermere, Lake District - image by Zoe Dawes

Yachts on Windermere

Depending on the day, my mood and where I’ve been recently, it’s usually a close run thing between Derwentwater, Buttermere and Rydal Water. Here are my favourite lakes (in no particular order) with my favourite Lake District views in Cumbria. If you’re a photographer you’re almost guaranteed to get a good shot from these places.

Wasdale Head from Wastwater

Kayaks on Wast Water, Lake District - image Zoe Dawes

Kayaks on Wast Water

In 2007 this was voted Britain’s Favourite View, and Wastwater attracts many people each year to see what Wordsworth called its ‘long, stern and desolate’ aspect. I find Wastwater (or Wast Water as it’s also known) rather ominous with its dark and dangerous screes tumbling down to inky black depths.  However, there’s no doubting its evocative appeal with England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, hiding away in the background.

Bassenthwaite Lake from Dodd Wood

Bassenthwaite Lake - image Osprey Watch

Bassenthwaite Lake – image Osprey Watch

One of this country’s rarest birds, the Osprey, has been nesting in Cumbria for many years on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. The Osprey Watch Centre is based at Dodd Wood and during the summer months the combination of catching a glimpse of an Osprey catching fish, swirling overhead or nesting (albeit via a webcam) as well as views of this large stretch of water, is a winning combination. Plus you can win a point in a pub quiz by saying that there really is only ONE lake in the Lake District because Bassenthwaite is the only one to be officially defined as a lake!

 Towards the Jaws of Borrowdale from Friar’s Crag

Borrowdale and Derwentwater from Friar's Crag, Lake District - image Zoe Dawes

Derwentwater towards Jaws of Borrowdale from Friar’s Crag

Take a gentle stroll alongside Derwentwater, one of the loveliest lakes in the Lake District, to Friar’s Crag. It’s said to have got its name because monks used to leave from this point to get to St. Herbert’s Island where a hermit lived. There are old pine trees and a seat to enjoy the scenery including that sinuous fell, Catbells.  At the end of the lake are the dominant twin peaks called the Jaws of Borrowdale, imagined by nervous Victorians as a place of gothic horror. In reality it leads to a very attractive valley and Buttermere.

Haystacks from the shores of Buttermere

Haystacks from Buttermere Lake District view - image Zoe Dawes

Haystacks from Buttermere

From the edge of pretty Buttermere it’s easy to see why the Lake District’s greatest champion, Alfred Wainwright loved Haystacks so much.  He asked for his ashes to be scattered by Inominate Tarn, nestling in its curvaceous folds.  To the right of the lake tumbles Sour Milk Ghyll and if you are lucky you may see the red squirrel, thriving in this beautiful area.

 Ullswater from the ferry

Lake District Fells from Ullswater ferry - image Zoe Dawes

Lake District Fells from Ullswater ferry

The scenery around Ullswater is stunning and from anywhere it’s a photographer’s delight. However, if you take the Ullswater ferry around the lake you can get an ever-changing panorama without having to move from your seat, sailing past fells, little hamlets and elegant houses, from Howtown down to Pooley Bridge.

 Grasmere from the Fairy Cafe

Rowing boats at Fairy Cafe on Grasmere, Lake Diistrict - image Zoe Dawes

Rowing boats at Fairy Cafe on Grasmere

In front of the Fairy Cafe are a number of colourful wooden rowing boats bobbing and undulating in the reedy shoreline of Grasmere.  You can sample a wide variety of teas as well as tasty snacks whilst you watch the light flash across the water or, if you’re feeling energetic, hire one of the boats and row around the lake, as Wordsworth did as a young boy.

 Rydal Water from the wooden bench

Rydal Water bench in the Lake District

Rydal Water bench

There’s a little wooden bench overlooking Rydal Water that is possibly my favourite view in the world. In the middle of the lake is Heron Island and in the distance is the rocky outcrop The Lion & The Lamb perched on top of Helm Crag. The poet Coleridge used to live in the  quaint white cottage on the other side of the lake. When you are looking for peace and quiet, for a spot that feels ‘away from it all’ and yet is easily accessible this the place to go.

 Windermere from Bowness jetty

Windermere from Bowness jetty Lake District - image Zoe Dawes

Windermere from Bowness Jetty

The busiest of all the lakes, Windermere is the easiest place to get a feel for the Lakes without having to travel far. Go round the side of lake opposite the Glebe at Bowness-on-Windermere and you’ll find a wooden jetty pointing northwards. There’s a lovely view of the fells, little islets, yachts and ferries twirling  around each other as they sail along its 10 mile length. If you’re lucky you may be there when the mists swirl across the water and it’s even more magical …

 The Gondola on Coniston Water

Steam ferry Gondola on Coniston Water Lake District - image Zoe Dawes

Gondola on Coniston Water

One of the most well-known sights on Coniston Water is the graceful Victorian steam boat, Gondola, restored and owned by the National Trust. She takes passengers to historic Brantwood, John Ruskin’s house and glides over to other stops around the lake.  This is where Donald Campbell lost his life attempting to break the world Water Speed Record in Bluebird, after which the lakeside cafe is named. Looming over the water is the Old Man of Coniston and many other impressive Lake District fells.

 Tarn Hows from the footpath

Tarn Hows in winter - image Mjobling

Tarn Hows in winter – image Mjobling

Not strictly a lake, Tarn Hows is a  man-made stretch of water and has one of the most popular flat walks in the Lake District. Looked after by the National Trust it’s accessible by wheelchair and pram, making it perfect for everyone.  Almost circular, there are wooded paths all around and in the Lake District in winter you often get crisp clear days when the snow-capped mountains glitter tantalisingly in the distance.

Hopefully these will inspire you to visit these Lake District views and enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

23 Responses to “My Top 10 Lake District views”

  1. From Christopher:

    Such great impressions of the Lake District. A great place to walk. Love that bench pic. Always love a good bench pic. 🙂

    Posted on November 5, 2014 at 10:20 pm #
  2. From Zoë Dawes:

    There are plenty of other splendid views of the lakes, tarns, mountains, villages, towns, pubs, sheep, stone walls … You must see it for yourself and choose yours!

    Posted on November 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm #
  3. From Zoë Dawes:

    Thanks Christopher. The Lake District is wonderful for walking – or just looking 🙂

    Posted on November 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm #
  4. From Linda:

    Zoe! You make me so nostalgic! As my father has got older in recent years we haven’t ventured so far on my visits as we once did, so lovely to see old and favorite haunts. Thank you!

    Posted on November 7, 2014 at 12:16 am #
  5. From Zoë Dawes:

    Lovely to hear this brings back memories Linda. Living in the sunny Canary Islands I am sure just occasionally you hanker for these lakeland views 🙂 Maybe you will be able to revisit when you come back for a stay.

    Posted on November 7, 2014 at 11:15 am #
  6. From John MacBeath:

    The view from Lakeside down Windermere (near the Aquarium) is also very nice.

    Posted on November 7, 2014 at 11:20 am #
  7. From Tamworth Blogger:

    wow some of these lakes really look amazing, grate job making the post 😉 made me want to read it even more as i went further down 🙂

    Posted on November 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm #
  8. From Jones:

    Awesome views. excellent photography.Especially Windermere pic is simply superb. Love to visit that place.

    Posted on November 25, 2014 at 8:55 am #
  9. From Roger The Castle Man:

    Some great views from the Lake District, lovely photos.

    Posted on December 2, 2014 at 11:26 am #
  10. From Zoë Dawes:

    Thanks Roger – it’s diffiult to take a bad photo in this beautiful part of England 🙂

    Posted on December 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm #
  11. From Willesden taxi:

    Some nice views from the lake district

    Posted on December 6, 2014 at 10:15 am #
  12. From Zoë Dawes:

    Glad you enjoyed them 🙂

    Posted on December 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm #
  13. From Jessica @ Green Global Travel:

    This is a great overview of lake district views! I particularly enjoyed the photo of Lake District Fells. This looks like an amazing area!

    Posted on April 27, 2015 at 10:47 pm #
  14. From Zoë Dawes:

    Sure you would love it here Jessica – the Lake District is a very special place AND keen on sustainable travel 🙂

    Posted on April 28, 2015 at 5:20 pm #
  15. From Edith:

    Dear Zoë,

    So nice to see our fantastic lakes of Cumbria. I love the Lakes!!!!


    Posted on September 15, 2016 at 11:18 am #
  16. From Zoe Dawes:

    Thank you for your comment Edith. I am sure your tours of Lake District Gardens will also bring lots more visitors to see our lovely lakes.

    Posted on September 17, 2016 at 12:27 pm #


  1. Celebrating Lakes Culture in the Lake District | The Quirky Traveller Blog - November 15, 2014

    […] pint. What you'll seldom hear, is “go to a museum, see a play, visit an art gallery”, yet the Lake District is a cultural treasure trove. From contemporary art galleries, via stunning outdoor sculptures, […]

  2. A Tour of the Lake District with The Quirky Traveller | The Quirky Traveller Blog - November 15, 2014

    […] whilst in the towns, visitors are welcomed by a friendly hello and a tip of the hat. This is the Lake District in the heart of […]

  3. World First Travel Insurance Blog » Blog Archive The World First Wander: the best travel writing on the internet | Travel insurance | World First Travel Insurance Blog - November 17, 2014

    […] Wander is Zoë Dawes aka The Quirky Traveller. She has put together a stunning looking list of her Top 10 Lake District Views. Lovely. Tarn Hows looks amazing doesn't […]

  4. The World First Wander: the best travel writing on the internet | USA Insurance Buzz - November 19, 2014

    […] Wander is Zoë Dawes aka The Quirky Traveller. She has put together a stunning looking list of her Top 10 Lake District Views. Lovely. Tarn Hows looks amazing doesn't […]

  5. Grizedale Arts Anchorhold: Conversations on Cumbria Culture | The Quirky Traveller Blog - December 7, 2014

    […] of photos and then dismantles them – the photograph is the art. She hopes Cumbria and the Lake District will become better known nationally for its cultural diversity and wants to encourage visitors to […]

  6. Celebrate in luxury at Hall Hills Cottages, Cumbria | The Quirky Traveller Blog - January 13, 2015

    […] to go and explore historic Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall, whilst another couple headed off into the Lake District to do some […]

  7. ‘A Green Song – to sing at the bottle bank’ by poet Wendy Cope | Quirky Travel Tales - January 17, 2015

    […] quirks of English life. As you may know, I live very near William Wordsworth territory in the Lake District. He is revered up here so I was delighted to find a riposte by her to his much quoted […]

Leave a Reply