Lake District, England, United Kingdom

Lake Locations:

United Kingdom - England - England's Northwest -

Also known as:  The Lake, Lakeland

Holiday in England’s Lake District, and you will find sparkling lakes set amidst stunning mountain scenery, wild heather carpeting gently rolling hills, and green fields surrounding pastoral farmland and historic villages. Located along the country’s northwest coast, in the county of Cumbria, the Lake District is England’s largest national park. Whether you come to watch the sunset over the Irish Sea, hike the fells and valleys or delight in the community of arts, the Lake District (also known as Lakeland) will charm and delight you.

The Lake District is an ancient place with bed rock dating back 500 million years, and fells and valleys carved by the advancing and retreating of glaciers during each ice age. There are over 6,000 archeological sites within the Lake District National Park providing evidence of occupation by Stone Age inhabitants, Roman armies and Norse invaders. The region’s earliest commodity was Lake District stone. Found in sites throughout the United Kingdom, the rock was used to make ancient tools and axes. Farming has been a predominant industry since the Roman occupation with sheep being the heartiest animal for the climate and terrain. From the 16th to the 19th century mining of copper, lead, barite, graphite and slate became the region’s leading industry. During the 19th century tourism began to grow. While the first guide to the Lake District was published in 1778, it was William Wordsworth’s 1820 guide that captured the interest of holiday travelers numbering in the millions today.

With well over 18,000 acres of water, the Lake District actually holds only one lake – Bassenthwaite Lake. The remaining bodies of water are called meres (a lake that is broad in relation to its depth), tarns (small mountain lake), waters (lakes) and reservoirs. Based on statistics of the 20 major lakes, surface areas run from Windermere’s 3,640 acres to Blelham Tarn’s 25 acres with the average a sizeable 909 acres. Of the same 20 lakes, Haweswater sits at the highest elevation (807 feet) with Windermere sitting at the lowest elevation (128 feet) giving an average lake elevation of 297 feet above sea level. With well over 70 water features to explore the Lake District can claim many of England’s lake records.

Lakeland’s Windermere is England’s largest natural lake, covering 3,640 acres. At 11 miles long and half-mile wide, Windermere is large enough to have a slight but discernable tide. With depths reaching 219 feet, Windermere is a popular Lake District resort area where anglers come to troll the waters for trout, char, pike and perch. Three lakeside communities – Bowness, Windermere, and Ambleside – offer lake cruises, boat rentals, marinas and holiday homes to make your visit complete.

The deepest lake in the Lake District is Wastwater (or Wast Water). With a mean depth of 132 feet and maximum depth of 249 feet, Wastwater is also the slowest moving body of water with an average water residence time of 500 days. Wastwater sits in Wasdale Valley surrounded by spectacular views of England’s highest mountains (called fells); Scafell Pike reaches 3,210 feet, Great Gable reaches 2,949 feet, and Lingmell reaches 2,649 feet.

At approximately 170 feet, Scale Force is said to be England’s highest waterfall. The picturesque fall feeds Crummock Water (635 acres). Originally Crummock Water and nearby Buttermere (230 acres) formed a single glacially carved lake. Now the two separate lakes and surrounding countryside are owned and protected by England’s National Trust as part of an effort to return this portion of the Lake District into a “wilder landscape.”

A number of reservoirs are contained within the Lake District. Kentmere Reservoir was started in 1848 to provide power for local mills and remains the property of James Cropper Paper Mill, one of the original businesses. Two controversial reservoirs now provide approximately 30% of the northwest’s drinking water. Haweswater (964 acres) flooded the two lakeside villages of Measand and Mardale Green when it was completed in 1935. Thirlmere (814 acres) submerged the villages of Amboth and Wythburn in 1894. Today, Thirlmere is surrounded by 2,000 acres of forest, and the reservoir’s water is transported almost 100 miles down England’s longest gravity-fed aqueduct.

In an effort to protect Lakeland’s landscape, Lake District National Park was established in 1951. The park covers 885 square miles and contains 214 fells, making up England’s only true mountain range. Over 2,000 miles of “rights of way” allow visitors to hike, cycle or ride through the countryside. Over 39 miles of trail are designed specifically for visitors with limited mobility.

The Lake District (sometimes called The Lake) countryside is filled with opportunities for bird watching and wildlife watching. The reed beds along Windermere provide excellent winter habitat for birds. It is one of the best places to observe a Canada goose, coot, cormorant, graylag goose, mallard duck, mute swan, red-breasted merganser, goldeneye, gull, great-crested grebe, pochard or tufted duck. The Lake is one of the few places in England where the native red squirrel can still be found. Continue exploring and you may catch a glimpse of bats, roe deer, otters, badgers, peregrine falcons or the protected Natterjack toad.

According to National Park reports, the lakes support three rare species of fish: “the vendance, found only in Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water, the schelly which lives in Brothers Water, Haweswater, Red Tarn and Ullswater, and the Arctic charr which can be found in Buttermere, Coniston Water, Crummock Water, Ennerdale Water, Hawes Water, Loweswater, Thirlmere, Wast Water and Windermere.” The Lake is also an excellent place to fish for salmon, eel and sea trout. Anglers over the age of 12 need to secure a rod license and permission from the fishery owner before tossing a line into the water.

The Lake District’s beauty inspired many artists and writers to work or live among the lakes and fells. Samuel Coleridge, Robert Southey, Thomas de Quncey, John Ruskin, Sir Walter Scott, Lord Tennyson and William Wordsworth became associated with the Lake District’s cultural past. William Wordsworth moved to Lakeland in 1799 with his “Guide through the District of the Lakes” credited for spurring the interest in Lake District tourism. Visitors can walk in the footsteps of children’s author Beatrix Potter or novelists Melvyn Bragg and Sir Hugh Walpole. The Lake District continues to inspire with outstanding exhibits, galleries and art studios found in almost every village and town. A growing number of in-door and lakeside theatres offer a selection of opera, comedy, music and drama for your evening’s entertainment. Delight in fine lakeside dining or taste the local fare in a cozy pub, and a visit to the Lake District is complete.

Come to the Lake District and be inspired by the beauty of the land, the water and the people. Designed with holiday travelers in mind, Lake District accommodations range from youth hostels, pod-camping (wooden tents) and camping barns (converted farm buildings) to bed & breakfasts, holiday homes, holiday lodges and real estate properties. Built to suit every taste and budget, the selection is as large as Lakeland itself. Select your holiday retreat and begin your perfect vacation today.

Things to do at Lake District

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish species found at Lake District

  • Char
  • Eel
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Lake District Photo Gallery

  • The waterfall. It's quite pretty. More excuses for long exposures. I wanted to go down to the base, but by the time I was going to do that, another photographer had beaten me to it. He had a rather nice film Nikon. And a marginally bored looking wife.

Lake District Statistics & Helpful Links

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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