The Lake District is a beautiful UNESCO designated national park in the North West of England. Due to its geographical postion, the Lake District receives plenty of rainfall which means there are an abundance of wonderful waterfalls in the Lake District! There are 1000s of playful waterfalls in the Lake District national park, but here are 20 of the most spectacular Lake District waterfalls for you to discover on your next trip to the lakes!
- Getting to the Lake District national park
- Best time of year to visit the Lake District
- Map of waterfalls in the Lake District
- List of the best waterfalls in the Lake District
- Bonus Waterfalls in Cumbria
- Where to stay in the Lake District national park
- What else can I do in the Lake District national park?
Getting to the Lake District national park
The Lake District national park is situated in the north west of England.
Many people drive to the Lake District but you can also get a train to Windermere or Penrith and make the most of the fantastic bus service around the national park.
Best time of year to visit the Lake District
The Lake District is magical year-round! If you are looking to avoid the crowds, winter is a good time to visit. Spring is perfect for waterfall hunting, bluebell sightings and seeing Wordsworth’s famous daffodils. Summer is ideal for wild swimming lovers and autumn is incredible for colourful foliage. Also, regardless of what time of year you visit, given that the Lake District is one of the wettest parts of the UK, waterfalls are pretty much guaranteed!
Map of Waterfalls in the Lake District National Park
If you enjoy a map, here is a map of the best waterfalls in the Lake District national park.
19 Amazing Waterfalls in the Lake District National Park
Without further ado, here are 19 incredible Lake District waterfalls. From well known ones to secret waterfalls, this is the ultimate bucket list of waterfalls in the Lake District.
Scale Force is a wonderful waterfall in the Lake District national park. Scale Force is one of the tallest Lake District waterfalls at over 50m tall.
The waterfall is near Buttermere village and can be combined with a walk up Scale Fell and Crummock Water. If you arrive early you may be able to park at one of the village car parks in Buttermere. From Buttermere you will embark on a 2.5 mile walk to the beautiful gorge in which Scale Force is situated. You will be able to admire the huge drop of water and several smaller drops.
Scale Force has been inspiring visitors for centuries as William Wordsworth himself described this Lake District waterfall as “a fine chasm, with a lofty, though but slender, fall of water”. Another poet, who was good friends with Wordsworth wrote that Scale Force was “the white downfall of which glimmered through the trees, that hang before it like the bushy hair over a madman’s eyes”.
Scale Force must go on your Lake District waterfalls bucket list!
Another iconic waterfall in the Lake District are Lodore Falls. Popular since Victorian times, Lodore Falls are close to Keswick. You will find this magical lake district waterfall at the southern end of Derwent Water. The poet, Robert Southey was inspired after his visit to Lodore Falls as he composed a poem to the waterfalls. “The Cataract at Lodore” is one of Southey’s most famous poems. It is hard to see who would not be inspired after visiting Lodore Falls. Just be careful when clambering over the rocks as they can be slippery.
Aira Force is one of my favourite waterfalls in the Lake District. There are many wonderful view points and you don’t even need to get muddy feet to see this magical waterfall.
Aira Force is situated close to Ullswater. Ullswater is a magical place and springtime is a wonderful time to see the daffodils that inspired Wordsworth. Wordsworth also loved Aira Force. He wrote “Airey-Force Valley” which has certainly helped to make Aira Force the most visited waterfall in the Lake District.
This lake district waterfall is quite beautiful and the little stone bridges help to make it a very romantic thing to see in the Lake District.
The water travels down Aira Beck until it drops about 20m to create this romantic waterfall.
You can park at the national trust car park, wonder up to Aira Force before heading onto Gowbarrow for wonderful views of Ullswater. There is a handy tea room close to Aira Force too. Aira Force is also one of the highlights on the Ullswater way – a 20 mile walk around this lovely lake.
Rydal Falls are a small but popular Lake District waterfall. Rydal Falls can be found between the beautiful town of Ambleside and the lovely village of Grasmere. They are just 10 minutes away from Rydal Mount.
William Wordsworth lived at Rydal Mount and it is said he loved Rydal falls.
When visiting the falls, make sure you seek out the Grot at the base of the waterfall. The grot is a small stone hut built in 1668. Apparently, it was the first purpose-built view point in the UK!
Stanley Gill Force
If you are looking for a quieter Lake District waterfall, consider walking to the majestic Stanley Ghyll Force. Located in secluded Eskdale, Stanley Ghyll Force is an impressive waterfall in the Lake District. It has a 60-foot drop and is located in an atmospheric narrow gorge. Surrounded by rhododendrons and ferns on the rocky cliffs, this is a magical spot which feels far away from the various villages in the Lake District.
Stanley Ghyll Force is a few miles away from Boot. Alternatively, you can travel on the heritage Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway to Dalesgarth station and walk from there.
Do take care as the area is slippery and prone to rockfalls.
Location: Skelwith Bridge
If you are looking for a Lake District waterfall that is easy to reach consider visiting Skelwith Force.
Skelwith Force may be one of the smaller waterfalls in the Lake District, however if you are looking for a short waterfall walk, Skelwith Force is perfect!
Located just outside of Ambleside near an abandoned slate works, the 16-foot falls are created by the meeting of the River Brathay and Langdale Beck. It’s great on a rainy day or after heavy rainfall. It is just a 5-10 minute walk from the car park making this a great Lake District waterfall for children.
Stock Ghyll Force
Another great Lake District waterfall for families is Stock Ghyll Force.
Stock Ghyll Force is easy to reach from the lovely town of Ambleside. The well maintained paths mean that pushchairs and wheelchairs can use the trail.
Stock Ghyll itself is a 70-drop waterfall. The Victorians liked this Lake District spot and you can still spot the original Victorian turnstile when visiting.
This waterfall in the Lake District is particular popular in spring as daffodils pop up near the falls. For another great shot of Stock Ghyll, wander down to the base of the waterfall and cross over the beck to escape the crowds.
Ritson’s Force is a lovely waterfall in a beer garden! Well, it can be reached through the back of the Wasdale Head Inn beer garden.
Many people come to Wasdale and head straight up Scafell then leave but there are many beautiful spots to discover in Wasdale. Ritson’s Force is one of them. Rather than one large drop, Ritson’s Force consists of lots of smaller waterfalls.
Colwith Force is a wonderful waterfall in the Lake District. Just a short walk from Skelwith Bridge you can easily combine this waterfall with a visit to Skelwith Force too.
Colwith Force is situated in a pretty forest and cascades down until it splits in two.
Sourmilk Ghyll must have the most interesting name out of all the waterfalls in the Lake District. The name comes from the fact that the water is constantly splashing down the hill so that it appears milky white.
While most visitors come to Glenridding to see the famous Aira Force waterfall, High Force is another great waterfall to see in the area.
After seeing Aira Force, head up towards Gowbarrow Fell for epic views of Ullswater. On the way, stop by High Force which can be a little quieter than Aira Force.
Buttermere is a wonderful part of the Lake District. During your trip here, add in a visit to Moss Force. The waterfall is a short walk from the road and the falls are very impressive tumbling 100meters or so down the hillside.
The poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote about Moss Force “The remainder of the torrent is marked out by three great waterfalls – the lowermost apron-shaped, and though the rock down which it rushes is an inclined plane, it shoots off in such an independence of the rock as shews that its direction was given it by the force of the water from above”.
Perhaps you will be inspired to write about this Lake District waterfall too!
Location: Great Langdale
Stickle Ghyll is one of my favourite waterfalls in the Lake District. When I first visited this waterfall in 2016 as a very unfit individual, I was gasping for breath as we wondered up this magnificent cascade of water. When we returned again in 2019 to go up Harrisons Stickle via Jack’s Rake I could enjoy the falls much more!
From Dungeon Ghyll in Great Langdale you will see the magnificent falls. Wonder up whichever side of the falls you would like for as far as you like. If you do make it up to Stickle Tarn you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding fells.
There are also canyoning opportunities in Stickle Ghyll if you fancy getting very close to these falls!
Taylor Gill Force
If you like tall waterfalls, then check out Taylor Gill Force.
Located in Seathwaite Valley, Tom Gill Force tumbles over 40m down the hillside. It is just a mile away from the village of Seathwaite.
Tom Gill Waterfalls
Location: Tarn Hows
Tom Gill Waterfalls consist of a series of lovely waterfalls from big drops to wide falls. The path is a little slipeperley but worth it for views of these wonderful falls.
You can park at the Glen Mary Bridge car park.
A wonderful waterfall in the north of the Lake District is Whitewater Dash. It’s fairly remote therefore you are likely to have this Lake District waterfall to yourself!
Whorneyside Force is a wonderful waterfall in the Lake District but will take quite a while to reach. Starting from Great Langdale you can add a visit to Whorneyside Force on a hike to Crinkle Crags.
The waterfall has a 40-foot drop and a lovely pool for a quick dip at the bottom. This is most certainly one of the lesser-known Lake District waterfalls.
Spout Force is an elegant waterfall in the Whinlatter forest. Follow the path through the woods to the viewing platform. Best viewed from autumn to early spring when the trees are not full of leaves.
Rampshaw Beck Waterfall
Where: Ashness Bridge
Ashness Bridge is a wonderful Instagram spot in the Lake District national park. From the old bridge you can see lovely views of Skiddaw. Yet if you look the other way you can see a very pretty Lake District waterfall.
Not as impressive or as well known as most of the other waterfalls in this list yet in autumn the little cascading waterfall is idyllic. Furthermore, the old stone barn makes for a great photo.
This is one of my favourite waterfalls in the Lake District for escaping the crowds and seeing old stone features around the falls.
Other notable waterfalls in Cumbria
The Lake District encompasses a large proportion of Cumbria, however sections of Cumbria are also in the neighbouring national park of the Yorkshire Dales and the northern Pennines. Therefore, here are a few bonus waterfalls in Cumbria!
Rutter Force is in Cumbria but is not in the Lake District national park. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful spot next to a picturesque mill and red squirrels often scurry about!
If you like red squirrels, you might enjoy this post about things to do in Loch Garten!
Cautley Spout is another waterfall in Cumbria but rather than being in the Lake District national park it was recently added to the Yorkshire Dales national park! Cautley Spout is the tallest cascading waterfall in England and is truly majestic. Starting from the Cross Key Inn, you cross a small beck and soon see as well as hear the falls in the distance. The walk up the side is steep but wonderful. Continue once you reach the top up to the Calf for incredible views of the Howgills and the Lake District national park.
Where to stay in the Lake District national park
There are many wonderful places to stay in the Lake District national park. Vegans will enjoy staying at a vegan B&B in Ulverston. For cheap accommodation check out these Airbnbs in Kendal or Penrith which are just outside the national park. Alternatively, Grasmere, Ambleside and Keswick are fantastic central locations in the Lake District. Use the booking.com tool below to search for accommodation.
What else can I do in the Lake District national park?
Aside from waterfall hunting there are many fantastic things to do in the Lake District! From hikes and wild swims to caves and cultural activities you will not be short on things to do! Check out some of my other posts below for more Lake District inspiration:
Hope you enjoyed this list of waterfalls in the Lake District! Which waterfalls have you seen so far? Which ones are your favourites? Let us know in the comments below!