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Do you know how many lakes there are in the Lake District? The answer may shock and surprised you!

The Lake District is one the UK’s most popular destinations, not least for its incredible natural beauty and vast expanses of water.

Learn some fascinating facts about each one below…

How many lakes are in the Lake District?

First thing’s first: just how many lakes are there in the Lake District? The official answer is… one!

Bassenthwaite is in fact the only official lake in the Lake District. But there are in fact 16 bodies of water that make up the Lake District, all of which you are about to learn a bit more about!


  • At 17km, Windermere is the UK’s longest body of water
  • It has its own species of fish, Windermere Char
  • The best known and most visited area in the Lake District
  • William Wordsworth’s 1804 poem ‘Daffodils’ was inspired by a walk along the lake
  • For the best views across the lake, head to Orrest Head. At 784 feet high, you’re guaranteed fantastic scenery

Image credit – Joe Dunckley


  • Second largest of the Lake District’s lakes at 14.5km long
  • Often compared to Switzerland’s beautiful Lake Lucerne
  • It has a unique ‘Z’ shape

Image credit – bnoragitt


  • Believed to be the last remaining native habitat of the Vendace fish
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens filmed on location at Derwentwater
  • Brandelhow Park, on the western shore of Derwentwater, was the first ever property to be bought by the National Trust in 1904

Image credit – golfer2015

Bassenthwaite Lake

  • Bassenthwaite is the only official lake in the Lake District
  • It’s one of the shallowest bodies of water at just 70 feet deep
  • Bassenthwaite Lake is a very important place for wildlife and has been home to a collection of world famous Opsreys since 2001
  • A major regeneration project has been undertaken to bring phosphate levels down and ensure the water in the lake is of a high quality

Image credit – Mike63

Coniston Water 

  • Coniston Water once provided a vital fish source for the monks of Furness Abbey
  • It has a ‘U’ shape, caused by glacial action during the last Ice Age
  • Coniston Water inspired Arthur Ransome’s children’s book ‘Swallows and Amazons’
  • Home to the Old Man of Consiton, the highest point of Furness Fells at 803 metres
  • Brantwood, the former home of John Ruskin, is situated on the eastern shore
  • Coniston was the site of Donald Campbell’s world water speed record bids, which concluded with his tragic death in January 1967

Image credit – acceleratorhams


  • Haweswater Reservoir was controversially constructed in 1929 in order to supply water to Manchester. Presently, it supplies around 25% of the North West’s water
  • It began life as a small river, surrounded by the villages of Mardale Green and Measand
  • Both of which were demolished and flooded during the building of the reservoir
  • For nearly 50 years, it was the only place in the UK where you could see a golden eagle
  • Home to a small population of Schelly, a species of fish dating back to the Ice Age

Image credit – Michael_Conrad


  • Thirlmere is a reservoir that was created in 1894, submerging the villages of Wythburn and Amboth in the process
  • It is surrounded by 2,000 acres of coniferous forest, which was planted more than 100 years ago. The majority of the woodland is open to the public and there are some excellent trails with incredible views to enjoy
  • The forests are home to Red Deer and Red Squirrel. You may even be lucky enough to spot them

Image credit – Mike63

Ennerdale Water

  • Ennerdale Water is one of the least developed of the lakes, due to its remote location and the fact that no roads circle it
  • Only canoes and kayaks are permitted on the lake and you need a canoeing permit first
  • Ennerdale is inhabited by the Goldcrest, one of Europe’s smallest birds and the Opossum shrimp, a type of freshwater shrimp

Image credit – Khrizmo

Wast Water

  • At 260 feet, it is the deepest natural lake in the country
  • You get incredible views here, due to its mountainous backdrop that includes Scarfell Pike, the highest mountain in the UK
  • At the Wasdale end of the lake, you’ll find St Olaf’s, one of the smallest churches in the country

Crummock Water

  • Crummock Water is sandwiched between Loweswater and Buttermere
  • The lake is fed by several streams, including Scale Force, the tallest waterfall in the Lake District with a drop of 170 feet
  • ‘Crummock’ is derived from ‘Crooked One’ and may refer to the winding and bending nature of the lake

Image via Flickr

Esthwaite Water

  • Esthwaite Water features in Wordsworth’s poem ‘Expostulation and Reply’
  • It is nestled between Coniston Water and Windermere and is the lesser known and smallest of the three
  • Due to its nutrient rich waters, Esthwaite is home to several species of fish, including Pike and Trout. In the summer months, the water’s surface is completely covered by Lilies, a truly remarkable sight to behold


  • Buttermere is a picturesque lake with a mountainous backdrop from every angle. It’s a popular place for photographers who are able to capture incredible shots of the mountain’s reflection in the water
  • Buttermere Lake is popular with fisherman and is home to the Char, believed to have existed since the last Ice Age
  • There’s a great footpath that circumnavigates the lake and is great for a scenic stroll

Image credit – Michael_Conrad


  • William Wordsworth lived in Grasmere for 14 years and described it as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’. His former home, Dove Cottage, is now open to the public
  • There is a small island in the middle of the lake, said to be Wordsworth’s favourite location while he was living nearby. The island is now privately owned and not accessible for tourists
  • During the Summer, Grasmere hosts its annual Rush Bearing Ceremony, as well as Grasmere Sports, which features events like fell racing and hound trailing

Image credit – stephenmeese


  • Loweswater is located nearby Crummock Water and Buttermere and is the smallest and quietest of its counterparts. It tends to be frequented less than its neighbours and is largely un-spoilt by tourism
  • To the south of the lake, you can find the impressive fells of Burnbank, Blake, Gavel, Hencomb and Mellbreak, also collectively referred to as Loweswater Fells, a great place to go for a brisk stroll

Image credit – Mike63

Rydal Water 

  • This lake is popular with tourists due to its connection with William Wordsworth. The poet was thought to have referred to a spot at the western end of the lake as his favourite viewpoint. It’s now affectionately known as Wordsworth’s Seat
  • Rydal Water was Wordsworth’s home from 1813 until his death in 1850
  • There’s a great walk from Rydal Water to Grasmere known as ‘The Coffin Trail’, which gets its name from medieval times when coffin bearers used the route to carry the deceased to the nearby Church

Image credit – AndyRoland


  • Brotherswater was originally known as Broad Water, but its name was changed in the 19th century after two brothers unfortunately drowned there
  • Abundant in flora and fauna, expect to see many wild bird species, including Chaffinch, Willow Warbler and Pied Flycatcher

Image credit – Mike63

Browse our Lake District Travel Guide for more inspiration for your Lake District holiday. Why not turn your next adventure around the Lakes into a family getaway? Take a look at our great selection of hand-picked cottages for your next holiday in the Lake District.

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