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Two other lakes made the Top-10 list. Derwentwater, known as “Queen of the Lakes,” came in second. Wastwater, England’s deepest lake, placed eighth.
Although the Lake District contains more than 18,000 acres of water, only one body of water is officially called a lake: Bassenthwaite Lake. The others are named mere or water (usually a large body of water), tarn (small mountain lake), or reservoir (man-made). Windermere, a popular Lake District resort area, is the largest lake covering 3,640 acres.
Located along the northwest coast in the county of Cumbria, the Lake District (also known as Lakeland) is England’s largest national park. Visitors find lakes set amidst stunning mountain scenery, wild heather carpeting gently rolling hills, and green fields surrounding pastoral farmland and historic villages.
The town of Keswick, near Derwentwater, is a great base from which to explore the Lake District. The area’s beauty inspired many artists and writers to live among the lakes and fells (mountains). William Wordsworth moved to Lakeland in 1799; his “Guide through the District of the Lakes” spurred tourism, numbering today in the millions. Walk in the footsteps of Lord Tennyson and children’s author Beatrix Potter.
Lake District of England things to do
Lake District sightseers enjoy the natural beauty by boat tour or on foot. Hiking provides rewards of stunning panoramic vistas.
Ruggedly beautiful Buttermere is surrounded by fells, most notably Haystacks (1,959 feet) and the High Stile (2,648 feet) range. Buttermere is one of a chain of three spectacular lakes, which also includes Loweswater and Crummock Water. The 170-foot Scale Force waterfall, the tallest waterfall in the Lake District National Park, flows into Crummock Water.
Cat Bells, the 1,480-foot hill above Derwentwater, is a moderately easy hike that gives walkers the “on top of the world” feeling. Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England at 3,209 feet, overlooks Wastwater and is the ultimate goal for many hikers. Make sure to dress for blustery winds and wet skies. As they say in the Lake District, there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!
The charming town of Keswick is fun to explore when you come down from the hills or off the water. The town’s centerpiece is Moot Hall, a 16th century copper warehouse, now a museum.
A few miles east of Keswick is Castlerigg Stone Circle, a mini Stonehenge. The 38 stones, approximately 5,000 years old, provided a celestial calendar for ritual celebrations: fertility celebration in the spring, harvest celebration in the fall, and the summer and winter solstice.
A popular time to visit Castlerigg is at sunset, with the sun’s rays changing colors on the ancient stones. And, the best way to end the day is by sipping a local brew in the cozy ambiance of an English pub.