Illustrated picture. Photo: Mixi
Illustrated picture. Photo: Mixi

There are approximately 40,000 lakes in the UK. Granted, most of them – over 37,000 – are in Scotland, but wherever your travels take you on these isles you won’t be too far from a picturesque stretch of water.

Because lakes are generally surrounded by mountains, it’s unsurprising that you'll find some of the most impressive in the north, but there's also some hidden gems down south.

The List of 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in the UK

1. Dozmary Pool, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall

2. Lake Windermere, Cumbria, Lake District

3. Buttermere, Cumbria, Lake District

4. Bewl Water, England

5. Kielder Water, Northumberland

6. Rydal Water, Cumbria, Lake District

7. Coniston Water, Lake District, Cumbria

8. Loch Lomond, Scotland

9. Lake Vyrnwy, Wales

10. Lough Erne, County Fermanagh

Which are the Most Beautiful Lakes in the UK?

1. Dozmary Pool, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall

Photo: Experience Freedom
Photo: Experience Freedom

Small, but perfectly formed, Dozmary Pool gives a lie to the assertion that all of England’s most beautiful lakes are to be found north of Watford Gap. A hauntingly exquisite slice of water, Dozmary Pool complements the rugged landscape of its home on Bodmin Moor.

Apart from its beauty, it’s of interest due to its purported role in Arthurian legend: some claim that the lake is the home of the Lady of the Lake, the enchantress who gave Arthur his mythical sword, Excalibur.

2. Lake Windermere, Cumbria, Lake District

Photo: Visit Cumbria
Photo: Visit Cumbria

There are 16 lakes in the Lake District, but for many there’s only one – Windermere. The largest natural lake in England – 16.8km long, 1.6km wide and 67m to the bottom – this idyllic destination is quite rightly famed across the world.

Home to 19 islands, five boating clubs and a fleet of launches and steamers, it’s the perfect spot from which to take in the broad majesty of the Lake District National Park.

More Details

Length: 18.08 km

Area: 14.73 km²

Width: 1.49 km

Location: Lake District National Park

Max. depth: 66.76 m (219.0 ft)

3. Buttermere, Cumbria, Lake District

Photo: Sally's Cottages
Photo: Sally's Cottages

Henry David Thoreau wrote of tramping eight or 10 miles to “keep an appointment with a beech tree, a yellow birch or an old acquaintance among the pines”.

Here in the Lakes, visitors can do the same with a walk of about eight miles, first climbing to the crest of Rannerdale Knotts before returning via the iconic Buttermere Pines and the lake itself.

4. Bewl Water, England

Photo: 1066 Country
Photo: 1066 Country

This perfectly still, blue lake in East Sussex proves that not all the UK’s lakes are found in the north. Its 13-mile route around the reservoir makes a perfect trip for families on hired mountain bikes (or a long walk if you’ve got older kids), but there’s a lot more to keep you entertained.

Go nuts at Bewl Water Aqua Park where 2,400 square metres of inflatable obstacle course reigns on the water, including monkey bars, a halfpipe and a springboard into the lake. Or, hire out a pedalo, paddle board or sailing boat – parents have permission to wait it all out over a slap-up burger at The Waterfront Cafe.

5. Kielder Water, Northumberland

Photo: Fine Art America
Photo: Fine Art America

Purists might balk at the inclusion of Kielder Water – it is, after all, the UK’s largest man-made lake (as is its surrounding forest) – but this stretch of water and the view it affords across verdant moorland are certainly easy on the eye.

Built in the mid-70s, primarily to supply water to the North Tyne, Wear and Tees rivers, it’s also home to a range of water sports, cycling and other activities. Nature lovers will also lap up its riches – in 2009, three osprey chicks were hatched, the first in the area for over 200 years. It’s also home to half of England’s native red squirrels.

6. Rydal Water, Cumbria, Lake District

Photo: teahub.io
Photo: teahub.io

Despite being one of the smallest lakes in the Lake District, Rydal Water is not to be missed. Set in lush green surroundings, any lover of literature will appreciate the connections Rydal has.

Two of Wordsworth’s homes are situated on the banks of the lake, as well as a cottage formerly occupied by Thomas Quincey and Hartley Coleridge.

7. Coniston Water, Lake District, Cumbria

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

This is one of the most beautiful lakes here in the UK. It is the third largest lake in the English Lake District. It is the clean and peaceful place.

One can enjoy his whole day here and enjoy activities like open swimming in lake water, boating to cherish beautiful views of the lake, taking long lake sidewalks and ending the whole day with a good sunset view.

More Details

Length: 8.8 km

Area: 4.7 km²

Width: 793 m

Max. depth: 56.1 m (184.1 ft)

Location: Lake District, Cumbria

8. Loch Lomond, Scotland

Photo: National Parks UK
Photo: National Parks UK

Loch Lomond is a 24-mile long lake located in southern Scotland. It is easily accessible from Glasgow as its southern shore is just 14 miles away from Glasgow city. This place is home for red deers and full of Oak trees.

This lake is a point of attraction due to its watersports and amazing forest views. Its attraction points include a famous Golf club, footpaths and cycle trails on the eastern shore and countryside views.

9. Lake Vyrnwy, Wales

Photo: Fine Art America
Photo: Fine Art America

Lake Vyrnwy (Llyn Efyrnwy in Welsh) is a reservoir in Powys, Wales, which was built in the 1800s to supply freshwater to Liverpool and Merseyside. The view where water is spilling down in volumes from the dam has its own beauty and amazing view for the tourists coming specially to the place from all over the World.

A person can simply enjoy the activities like boating, water sports, horse riding, fishing, bird watching and mountain biking or simply wait until night to enjoy star gazing with their loved ones.

10. Lough Erne, County Fermanagh

Photo: Alchetron
Photo: Alchetron

The second largest lake system in Northern Ireland, Lough Erne is actually the name given to two connected lakes – Upper Lough and Lower Lough (or Broad Lough).

Just to keep people on their toes, the Upper Lough is actually the smaller lake, but is higher up the River Erne, from where the lakes derive. The Lough is home to approximately 154 islands, spread across nearly 800km2 of water.

How many lakes are there in the UK?

Ranging in size and depth, there are more than 40,000 lakes across the UK. In England there are approximately 390 lakes larger than 5 hectares. Five of England’s largest lakes are actually classified as reservoirs.

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